BBC News continues to avoid the issue of Joint Arab List politics

Following the election in Israel at the beginning of March we documented the BBC’s provision of brief descriptions of various competing parties’ locations on the political map, with the exception of one list.

BBC News signposts Israeli political lists – except one

As efforts to form a coalition government proceed, that practice continues.

Listeners to a news bulletin aired on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme on March 16th heard a report from Tom Bateman (from 2:09:05 here) about the president of Israel having tasked the leader of the Blue & White party with forming a government after he received the most endorsements from members of the Knesset.

Newsreader: “Benny Gantz, the main political rival to the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been given the chance to form a government after winning the support of two key parties. There have been three inconclusive elections in Israel in the last 12 months. Here’s our Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman.”

Bateman: “The backing for Benny Gantz is a blow to Benjamin Netanyahu but it does little to break the deadlock that has paralysed Israeli politics. Most MPs supported Mr Gantz for the first go at putting together a coalition but their appetite to dislodge Mr Netanyahu is all some of them really agree on. The groups backing Mr Gantz include the Arab Israeli parties who won record support in the election and a nationalist, hawkish former defence minister who turned on Mr Netanyahu a year ago. The under pressure prime minister is seeking, among other options, to forge an emergency government to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak.”

In other words, while BBC audiences heard Avigdor Lieberman – leader of the Yisrael Beitenu party – described as “nationalist, hawkish”, no political categorisation was given for the Joint Arab List.

A written report on the same story appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page on March 16th under the headline “Israel election: Gantz vows to form ‘broad’ unity government within days” and with the tag “Coronavirus pandemic”. There readers found the following:

“The election on 2 March was Israel’s third in less than a year. Neither of the main party leaders was able to command a majority following the last two rounds.

This time, Likud won 36 seats, and allied right-wing and religious parties another 22. But that left Mr Netanyahu three short of a majority in the 120-seat Knesset.

Blue and White meanwhile won 33 seats; the Joint List representing Israel’s Arab minority came third with 15 seats; the centre-left Labour-Gesher-Meretz list won seven; and the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party also got seven.” [emphasis added]

Once again we see that while the BBC apparently thinks it useful to provide audiences with tools to navigate the Israeli political map, it does not provide any such signposting regarding the Joint Arab List. Instead, that list is portrayed as “representing Israel’s Arab minority” – the 16% of the Israeli electorate that the BBC inevitably chooses to portray as one monochrome group.

Information about the politics and ideologies of the four parties that make up the Joint Arab List is however crucial for members of the BBC’s audience who wish to understand both this story about Gantz trying to form a coalition government and another alternative apparently on the table but not adequately explained by the BBC – an emergency government. As Haviv Retting Gur notes at the Times of Israel:

“The Arab factions united in the Joint List are a diverse collection of liberals, Islamists, progressives and ultra-nationalists. Most are openly anti-Zionist and some have expressed proud and open support for ruthless terrorists responsible for some of the most infamous atrocities ever inflicted on Israelis. […]

One signal of a political faction’s seriousness can be found in its willingness to soberly prioritize its many goals and to sacrifice less-important ones for those that matter more. That may sound obvious, but a party like Balad, one of the four factions that make up the Joint List, had proved over the years that it could not look past its obeisance to radical Palestinian nationalism. Its members have joined the 2010 Turkish flotilla to Gaza, praised a murderer of Israeli children, and even spied for the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.”

So while the BBC is capable of identifying “religious” parties allied to the Likud and describes Yisrael Beitenu as “nationalist”, it refrains from informing its audiences that, for example, one of the parties making up the Joint Arab List (Ra’am) is also a religious group and another (Balad) is no less nationalist.

Another point worthy of note in this BBC report concerns the following statements:

“Meanwhile, Mr Gantz also criticised what he said were “the illegitimate efforts by the current prime minister to evade justice”.

Mr Netanyahu had been due in court on Tuesday to face charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three separate cases. But the hearing has now been postponed until at least 24 May because of the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Readers trying to make up their own minds about that statement from Gantz would have benefited from the knowledge that the court session originally scheduled for March 17th was postponed by the judges assigned to the case.

 

 

 

 

42 comments on “BBC News continues to avoid the issue of Joint Arab List politics

  1. The writer obviously has problems understanding.
    It is a joint list made up of diverse parties. not unknown in Israeli politics.

    The only thing not unusual was the writers devotion to the corrupt Netanyahu. the only person who gives Arafat a run for his money in inherent corruption.

    • The article quotes the following: “The Arab factions united in the Joint List are a DIVERSE COLLECTION (emphasis mine) of liberals, Islamists, progressives and ultra-nationalists. Most are openly anti-Zionist and some have expressed proud and open support for ruthless terrorists responsible for some of the most infamous atrocities ever inflicted on Israelis. […]”

          • What information did the writer omit? She has quoted the following, omitted by the BBC:

            The article quotes the following: “The Arab factions united in the Joint List are a DIVERSE COLLECTION (emphasis mine) of liberals, Islamists, progressives and ultra-nationalists. Most are openly anti-Zionist and some have expressed proud and open support for ruthless terrorists responsible for some of the most infamous atrocities ever inflicted on Israelis. […]”

          • if one is going to criticise an organisation then show what should be done.
            Either the writer does not know, does not want to know or does know and is too lazy and incompetent to say so

          • You dispute everything, agree with nothing, defend the indefensible, insult everyone, accuse everyone else of incompetence, classic traits of a troll

          • on the other hand you obviously no nothing , ignorant about almost everything you speak about . This is a classic troll

          • No I have changed my mind you are just a parrot, BTW more confirmation from the Minister, the BBC is operationally and editorially independent from government and the government cannot intervene in the BBC’s day-to-day operations. As the BBC’s independent regulator, Ofcom is responsible for ensuring the BBC delivers for audiences – including how the BBC meets its mission and public purposes.
            Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

            Q.E.D.

          • Therefore information, facts and figures detailed information are required not just objections to everything written

          • bot when the information is not listed. That is lying by omission.
            I have changed my mind on this.topic.

            The joint list is not that important. No-one on it will be invited to whatever government is formed.
            It is like saying you give equal treatment to Tulsi Gabbard and to Joe Biden.

          • Sela has not omitted any information pertinent to this article. It is not the gist of the article, nor the function of this blog, to provide a complete analysis of Israeli politics.

          • It is the organization who should decide what should be done for itself. Show some evidence from some credible source that a political commentator is ethically obligated to tell an organization what they should do.

          • Wrong the writer never included the necessary information.

            Pot and kettle yet again with this writer and supporters who apparently cannot read.

          • I’ll repeat this again. The following is the information that the writer has included that BBC has not:

            “The Arab factions united in the Joint List are a diverse collection of liberals, Islamists, progressives and ultra-nationalists. Most are openly anti-Zionist and some have expressed proud and open support for ruthless terrorists responsible for some of the most infamous atrocities ever inflicted on Israelis. […]

            I hope that you comprehend. But again, if you want to continue the repartee, then that’s fine. The higher search ratings service Israel.

          • I know understanding basic English isn’t your forte however that is nether here nor there.
            They are a disparate group.
            The question is why did they form a joint list. Err Lieberman reference anyone.

          • I hope that I can control my laughter. I have to go to sleep. You began this whole back and forth with the following:

            The writer obviously has problems understanding.
            It is a joint list made up of diverse parties. not unknown in Israeli politics.

            And now you switch to a different “question” which is beyond the scope of this article.

          • The purpose of this blog us to monitor the BBC, which it does well. The Bbc’s article does not provide the same information for both Arab and predominantly Jewish parties. That is the gist of this article. Got it?

          • That gist is contained in this sentence:
            “In other words, while BBC audiences heard Avigdor Lieberman – leader of the Yisrael Beitenu party – described as “nationalist, hawkish”, no political categorisation was given for the Joint Arab List.”

  2. The writer has made the valid point that, whilst the BBC gave a short description of the policies of the Jewish parties, it did not do so with the Arab parties – obviously after the report had been vetted by those in charge (ie..the arabists in Broadcasting House and Tehran).

  3. Pingback: 03/18 Links Pt2: Exploiting the Coronavirus for Anti-Israel Campaigns; Heba Yazbak: ‘We’ll divest Israel of its Jewishness and Zionism’; Rashid Khalidi Undermines His Own Thesis – 24/6 Magazine

  4. The Iranian deputy minister for health was one of the first government officials to become infected with Covid-19 in any country. The figures released then were 19 dead and 137 having contracted the virus way back in early February, figures which most concluded then were under declared. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/26/iranian-health-minister-diagnosed-with-coronavirus-goes-into-quarantine-as-locals-accuse-tehran-of-cover-up.html However the BBC and other media outlets have not bothered to investigate why Iran was so badly affected or why they had so many deaths, so soon into the crisis or indeed how it was introduced into the county. The BBC know very well the kind of Islamist backed cover up they are carrying out in every aspect of their reporting (the originally posted story being one of many) and their staff were probably the generating source of the antisemitic tropes currently being posted on Twitter and social media. I was amazed when yesterday it was announced that Israel would shortly be going into production of a Covid-19 vaccine. https://www.livemint.com/news/world/coronavirus-update-has-israeli-scientists-have-developed-covid-19-vaccine-11584008237876.html , yet the BBC announced it could be 18 months before the UK produce one, perhaps BBC science department will continue to boycott reporting the incredible scientific developments made by Israel by also refusing to take the Israeli vaccine?

  5. What everybody should bear in mind about the Joint List is that one of its larger components, Hadash [= the Front for Democracy & Equality] is the latest transmogrification of the Israel Communist Party. Ayman Oudeh, chairman of the Joint List, is a member of Hadash. He is the prototypical hypocritical Arab-Muslim moderate. In Hebrew and English, he speaks moderately and sometimes even sensibly. But in Arabic he breathes fire and brimstone against Israel and exudes hatred for Jews and the Jewish state of Israel. You can probably find his hate harangues on MEMRI or PMW.

  6. There is nothing new about chadash 🙂 once a commie always a commie, the only thing worse is an anti-Israel commie, the UK’s Corbyn being a fine example who is just about to enter his own political wilderness.

  7. You know Neil, as I’ve said before, the more co’s mments the blog gets, the higher its search rating and thus the more likely that people will see Sela’s posts. Everyone posting here helps Israel!

  8. Pingback: Dangerous coronavirus advice, and intellectual poverty in Gaza > CAMERA UK

  9. Pingback: BBC News Channel grossly misleads on Israeli courts | BBC Watch

  10. Pingback: BBC News Channel grossly misleads on Israeli courts > CAMERA UK

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.