BBC News employs omission to further a narrative on Israel

The BBC News website recently created a tag called ‘Israel Elections 2019’ which to date includes just five items. Members of the corporation’s funding public could be forgiven for arriving at the conclusion that there is only one newsworthy name in that election campaign.

The latest BBC News website report appearing with that tag was published on March 11th under the headline “Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot wades into Netanyahu row over Israeli Arabs”.

The report opened with a confused introduction. [emphasis added]

“Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot has become embroiled in a row with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the status of the country’s Arab minority.

“Love your neighbour as yourself,” the Israeli actress said, amid wrangling over the role of Israeli Arab parties in upcoming polls.”

So which is it? “The status” of the 20.9% of the Israeli population with Arab ethnicity or “the role” of the two Arab lists running in the April 9th election?

Only in the article’s thirteenth paragraph did the BBC bother to clarify that in a post replying to another Israeli actress, Netanyahu commented:

“As you wrote, there is no problem with Israel’s Arab citizens. They have equal rights and the Likud government has invested more than any other government in the Arab population.” 

Clearly then this story is not about “a row with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the status of the country’s Arab minority” as claimed in the article’s opening line.

The report continued:

“Mr Netanyahu caused a stir when he said Israel “was not a state of all its citizens”, referring to Arabs who make up 20% of its population.

He cited a “nation-state” law.

The legislation sparked controversy last year.

Arab MPs reacted furiously in July when Israel’s parliament approved the legislation, which says Jews have a unique right to national self-determination in the country and puts Hebrew above Arabic as the official language.”

That link leads to a BBC report dating from July 2019 which was amended after publication to clarify that the legislation “ascribes Arabic “special status” and says its standing before the law came into effect will not be harmed”. As was the case when the BBC first reported on the Nation State Law last July, no comparison between that legislation and similar laws and constitutions in other countries was provided to readers.

Readers had to go down to paragraph twelve in order to find out the reason why the opening paragraphs of article referred to the Nation State Law:

“On Sunday, Mr Netanyahu responded with an Instagram post of his own that referred to the “nation-state” law.

“Dear Rotem,” he wrote. “Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people – and only it.””

The BBC’s article went on to provide background to the story in a section headed “How did the row start?”.

“The spat began on Saturday, when Israeli actress and TV presenter Rotem Sela challenged comments made by Culture Minister Miri Regev in a TV interview about the role of Arab parties in the 9 April general election.

Ms Regev repeated a warning by her and Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party that voters should not choose its main rivals because they might form a governing coalition that included Arab MPs.”

The BBC did not however adequately clarify the highly relevant point that Ms Regev in fact referred to non-Zionist or anti-Zionist Arab parties rather than “Arab MPs” but did go on to amplify claims allegedly made by anonymous “critics”:

“Mr Netanyahu’s critics say comments like those made by Ms Regev are part of a bid to court right-wing voters.”

The report continued:

“At the last election four years ago, Mr Netanyahu apologised after warning that “right-wing rule is in danger” because “the Arabs are voting in droves”.”

That link leads to a BBC report from March 2015 relating to a story the corporation had earlier failed to report properly. As the BBC well knows, the part of the quote it has edited out reads “Left-wing organisations are bringing them in buses” and it continues with a reference to the V15 organisation.  

Notably the BBC avoided the topic of that group’s campaign in all of its coverage of the 2015 election. The following year the BBC likewise ignored the findings of the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations concerning US State Department grants which “were used by to build infrastructure that was subsequently turned into an anti-Netanyahu apparatus for Israel’s 2015 elections, in contravention of State Department practice”.

This BBC report closed with amplification of unverified claims:

“Israeli Arabs, descendants of the 160,000 Palestinians who remained after the State of Israel was created in 1948, have long complained of being treated as second-class citizens.

They say they face discrimination and worse provision than Israeli Jews when it comes to services such as education, health and housing.”

As we see, by means of omission the BBC News website has turned a story about an actress and a prime minister posting at cross purposes on social media (as a result of the use of the phrase “a state of all its citizens” which – crucially – is not explained to readers) into yet another politically motivated portrayal of Israel as an undemocratic, discriminatory and indeed racist state.

Related Articles:

How BBC radio programmes misled by adding one letter and a plural

BBC News website framing of Israeli legislation

Inaccurate BBC WS radio portrayal of Israeli legislation

Revisiting a missing chapter in the BBC’s 2015 election coverage




25 comments on “BBC News employs omission to further a narrative on Israel

  1. oh dear the writer is getting her knickers in a knot over implied criticism of the present poor PM of Israel of which she is a fervent and uncritical supporter indeed an apologist.
    Let us see.
    We have an ‘early ‘ election in Israel. If it was early it should be happening now not a lot later. why so.
    We still have a problem is Israel a nation of just jews as BenGurion wanted or of all peoples. Not sure on this.
    Do arabs have equal access to all government services? do they pay the same prices and get the same allotments. Do they visit the same offices or different offices?

    You apparently do not like infrastructure built if the people vote and speak the wrong way. Democracy is terrible. Only invert where people are appreciative. Where they vote and speak in the right way. Ungrateful sods

    How ironic yet again you criticise the BCC for its omissions. Projection at work yet again.

    • As in any country even Oz there is a procedural protocol which has to be followed when calling an election, this invokes a specific timescale, which is different for each country. Despite it being the Jewish State, Israel is not just a nation of Jews as you well know, 2.6 million Israeli Arabs, then 200,000 Druze, 100,000 Christians, yes they all have equal access to all government services indeed Israeli hospitals even treat citizens of Gaza and Syria as well, but then most people (and it seems you) are conveniently blinkered when it comes to accepting the truth, because you are foolish enough to swallow the lies about Israel that the BBC vomit out to the world on a daily basis. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. There are in this world 17 out of the 57 Islamic countries that Jews are not even allowed to visit and you are critical of the diversity being embraced in the one and only Jewish State, guess what that makes you………

      • I am pleased that all Israeli citizens go to the same offices and have equal access to services. I know that wasn’t the case. No I didn;t get that from the BBC.

        I am bemused how a person can say there is diversity in a jewish state.

        • Diversity encompasses may different things, acceptance of different religions, allowing them to practice their religion in peace and safety without paying jizzya. Acceptance of LGBT rights, where the rest of the Middle East hang them or throw them off buildings. Acceptance of the colour of their skin, acceptance of their different cultures or ways of life. So anyone who does not accept that Israel is far more tolerent than any other country in the Middle East despite it being the Jewish State is just showing their antisemitism by saying otherwise because the facts speak for themselves.

          • You naturally bring up a red herring. Compare Israel with other countries in the region.
            You naturally do not understand how silly that is although you bring up arguments that show that.
            Just for the record in case Neil wishes yet again to resort to lying. I have always criticised other countries and their ‘democratic’ traditions.
            The question is whether in Israel are all people treated equally.
            I know they have not been in the past but Neil assures me they are now. Equal access to all services and no differences in paying for them.
            Lastly Israel is either a Jewish state or a state for all. It is a problem the country has always had.

          • Red herring? well try to stop chewing on it and swallow it, your failed attempts to humiliate merely show that you have no arguments to use, show me what equal rights Jews and Christians have in Iraq, Libya Yemen and Syria or STFU

          • Nothing wrong with my comprehension this is exactly my point, the obsessional over reporting of the minutia of events in Israel, the anti Israel smears the BBC employs by using anti-Israel NGOs such as B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence as “respected sources” without giving viewers background details of the political stance of these organisations, whilst ignoring all the other terrorist events in the rest of the world merely shows that the BBC is completely antisemitic Since 1948 approx 30,000 ‘Palestinians’ have died and 21,000 Israelis and whilst any deaths are regretable the 30,000 Palestinians account for 0.06% of the total number of Muslims killed in the world since 1948. What is even more laughable is that 90% of those Muslims were killed by Muslims and yet how little is reported about such massacres and how quickly, how far and how wide the death of a Palastinian is reported by the world’s media when that Palestinian is killed succeeding in or attempting to succeed in killing Jews, events which are rarely reported. Hence why there is this blog which highlights the disproportionate reporting and the classic modus operandi of the BBC in refusing to report anything deemed as anti-Islamic and reporting everything that can be twisted to demonize Israel. You cannot take your stance with this kind of prejudice in isolation you have to look around and compare to events in the rest of the world.

          • then you might want to cogitate on how many times this blog has been caught out being wrong.

          • Unfortunately all I have ever seen of your ‘proof’ is a few facts about 70 years ago which obviously you were not around to experience so have read about, but of course do you trust who wrote that?, was it open to scrutiny and public examination? Many facts still cannot be ascertained only assumed. The whole blog is about the deliberate distorting of the truth by the BBC, to suit their own pro-Islamic agenda, like for example the two Fadjr-5 rockets fired at Tel-Aviv tonight from Gaza that the BBC cannot be bothered to tell the world about because they cannot blame Israel for Hamas launching rockets on innocent civilians. They will only report the fact when Israel retaliate but of course I am wasting my time trying to educate you to the truth you are obviously not interested in it.

          • look in the mirror.
            i have shown plenty of times including here where the writer has unashamedly distorted information.
            your pathetic response is that it is pro-iranian. which simply shows those who are islamic are both Shia and sunni and do not appear to like each other.
            As for the time Israel grew into a state. Still plenty of people around to tell the tale that occurred.

          • The BBC did not report anything until Israel retaliated as I and many others predicted because that is what the BBC have become now, predictably anti-Israel and predictably pro-Islamic. Antisemitism within Islam is from the Shia, who also happen to be Iranian, who also fund and control Hezbollah and Hamas, what is your point, why does that make my comment pathetic? I’ll tell you why because you have no response to the truth apart from insults and yet you yourself never post a single fact.

          • You assert pro-islamic information but as usual provide no evidence.

            antisemitism is built in the Islamic religion. It matters nor whether it is shia or sunni.

            you need to understand criticising Israel in certain situations does not mean being pro-iran.
            Hamas can murder at will or more accurately attempt to murder at will because they simply deny the humanity of jews.
            you appear to deny the humanity of muslims.

          • I do not deny the humanity of anyone that shows humanity to others and strives for genuine peace and co-existence without subjugation and death threats. Neither Hamas, the PLO nor Hezbollah show any of those traits indeed their very charters call for the ethnic cleansing of Jews and the destruction of Israel. According to the President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas, “Hamas is funded by Iran. It claims it is financed by donations, but the donations are nothing like what it receives from Iran” So in conclusion that statement alone throws your comments into a cocked hat and I and others are still waiting for your comments on how Jews are treated in Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and Yemen et al.

          • It is irelevant.
            you claim Israel is a western country so act like one not like your neighbours

          • You cannot even manage a short sentence that makes sense. I do not launch rockets at innocent civilians, I do not entice civilians to attack border fences with the promise of financial gain, nor do I promise them that if they do not I will harm them or their families, nor do I dig tunnels to smuggle weapons, nor do I dig tunnels to attack my neighbour, nor do try to stab innocent civilians in the streets, nor do I try to shoot innocent civilians, not do I try to set fire to their fields of wheat, nor do I steal medical supplies to sell on the black market nor do I steal money from aid agencies that should be distributed to the population, nor do I steal cement meant for reconstruction of essential services to build attack tunnels, nor do I build my headquarters under a hospital to ensure it is never attacked, nor do I dictate what the press can and cannot report about me, nor do I refuse to hold elections at the allocated time. Nor do I eliminate any possible opposition should I hold those elections, nor do I throw homosexuals from the tops of buildings, nor do I drag people around the streets tied by a rope to a motorbike, nor do I stage Pallywood productions to hoodwink the media into writing sympathy pieces, nor do I persuade women, who get a visa to have treatment in an Israeli hospital, to attempt to blow themselves up and kill as many Jews as possible, nor do I indoctrinate my children to hate Jews and brainwash them into thinking they can wipe Israel off the map, nor do i use women and children as human shields. So exactly what trait are you referring to when you say I act like Hamas?

          • of course not you just approve of people being murdered because they are members of an organisation.
            You are a rank hypocrite of the worst order.

          • Look at yourself in the mirror you are used to staring hypocrisy in the face and then tell me how peaceful Hamas are, the same Hamas who murdered many members of the PA for being members of the PA in 2006/2007

          • you are not only a hypocrite but an inveterate liar as well.
            I have never said Hams was peaceful.

          • Your ability to argue and reason is as pathetic as your blatent support of Hamas a recognised terrorist organisation who do not want peace only the destruction of Israel and if telling the truth like that makes me a liar what kind of a monster does that make you?

  2. Pingback: 03/12 Links Pt2: Political Powerlessness Is Expensive; Trump Promotes ‘Jexodus’; Anti-Boycott Laws Are Not "Loyalty Oaths to Israel"; Ilhan Omar Can’t Break the U.S.-Israel Bond – 24/6 Magazine

  3. Neil is 100% right. Perhaps Nottrampis will comment on how Jews are treated in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, UAR, Yemen, etc and whether they have equal rights with Moslems ?

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