Disingenuous report from BBC Trending promotes Palestinian agitprop

On May 2nd an article was published in the Features & Analysis section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the heading “Many ‘likes'” and with the subheading “Israeli soldier wins plaudits for pointing his gun at teenager”.

Nahlawi on hp

The link leads to yet another inaccurate item from BBC Trending: in this case an article written by Cordelia Hebblethwaite titled “Support for Israeli soldier who aimed gun at teen“. 

The article relates to a story which broke last week concerning an incident which took place near Beit Hadassa in Hebron. At least four Palestinian activists – not two as Hebblethwaite claims in her piece – from the opaquely funded organization ‘Youth Against Settlements’ approached a soldier with the clear intention to provoke a reaction. Two of them were filming the pre-planned provocation and the video was later uploaded to the internet.David HaNahlawi story BBC Trending

Later mistaken reports stated that the soldier had been removed from his brigade as a result of the incident, sparking a wave of expressions of support from fellow soldiers and others, not – as Hebblethwaite disingenuously claims – praising the soldier for aiming his gun at the youths, but expressing identification with a soldier targeted by the agitprop of a group of organized provocateurs who, as Hebblethwaite herself reports, were aiming to create an incident designed “to “shame and embarrass” the Israeli military”.

Hebblethwaite fails to provide readers with any context regarding attempted kidnappings of Israeli soldiers or violent attacks against them. She refrains from reminding audiences that just months ago another soldier was shot in the neck in the same city. In the paragraph in which she relates to the reactions of Israeli politicians to the incident, Hebblethwaite highlights Minister Bennett’s use of the phrase “David the warrior”, but neglects to clarify to English-speaking audiences that ‘warrior’ is a translation of the Hebrew word  לוחם and means a soldier involved in active duty rather than one with a desk job.

Not content with misrepresenting the story to BBC audiences herself, Hebblethwaite also amplifies the messaging of ‘Youth Against Settlements’ coordinator Issa Amro but refrains from providing BBC audiences with details of the full range of Amro’s activities, his International Solidarity Movement links (apparently including financial arrangements) and his organisation’s connections – all of which are necessary to view his statements in their appropriate political perspective.

Hebblethwaite’s intention in this article is entirely transparent. She – along with the editors who concocted the misleading titles and sub-heading to the report – seek to amplify and promote Amro’s baseless claim that “Israeli society is getting more aggressive and extreme”.

Apparently BBC Trending needs reminding that it is not the task of an organization supposedly committed to editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality to provide free publicity and amplification of agitprop for anti-Israel political organisations often involved in violence. 

BBC writer suggests Israelis might eat locusts out of “revenge”

March 21st saw another (quite timely, given the Pessah holiday) BBC report on the subject of the swarms of locusts which recently arrived in Israel appearing in the Magazine section of the BBC News website. Much longer than the previous BBC report on the subject, this one was written by Cordelia Hebblethwaite of the BBC and PRI and is on the whole a balanced piece.  

However, one particular sentence promotes a decidedly bizarre notion:

“Call it revenge, or just a practical killing of two birds with one stone – whatever the motivation, many Israelis have decided to cook them up, and eat them.” [emphasis added]

The claim that “many Israelis” are now munching on locusts is clearly a rather wild exaggeration, and plainly neither is nibbling on locust snacks a “practical killing of two birds with one stone” method of pest control. But the suggestion that the motivation for eating locusts might be “revenge” rather than ordinary common or garden curiosity is obviously an inaccurate product of the writer’s over-active imagination alone – perhaps coupled with an attempt to be witty.

One wonders though how often a BBC writer has used the term “revenge” in connection with the eating of foods he or she finds unconventional in other countries?