BBC double standards on terrorism surface yet again

Regular readers of these pages who happened to visit the Europe page of the BBC News website on January 23rd would not have been overly surprised to find the perpetrator of the January 9th terror attack on the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris, in which four people were murdered and fifteen others held hostage for hours, described as “[a]n Islamist militant”.Paris attacks art

Via an article appearing two days later in The Independent, we learn that the BBC has decided that he and the perpetrators of the attack at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo two days beforehand will not be described by the corporation as terrorists.

“The Islamists who committed the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris should be not be described as “terrorists” by the BBC, a senior executive at the corporation has said.

Tarik Kafala, the head of BBC Arabic, the largest of the BBC’s non-English language news services, said the term “terrorist” was too “loaded” to describe the actions of the men who killed 12 people in the attack on the French satirical magazine. […]

We try to avoid describing anyone as a terrorist or an act as being terrorist. What we try to do is to say that ‘two men killed 12 people in an attack on the office of a satirical magazine’. That’s enough, we know what that means and what it is.” ” [emphasis added]

As longtime readers will know, the claim appearing in bold above is simply not true. The BBC does indeed use the word terror and its derivatives in certain cases – particularly in reports on Northern Ireland. The term has also been used to describe incidents in Great Britain, Norway and Spain, among others. A report appearing on the BBC News website’s ‘London’ page just one day before the Independent article was published informed audiences – albeit in confusing grammatical style – that:

Al Muhajiroun art

In the ‘through the looking glass’ world of the BBC, a UK-based organization which was proscribed by the British government on the basis of its engagement in the glorification of terrorism can be described as a “Terrorist organization” (with a capital T, no less) whilst other groups appearing on the same list of proscribed organisations but operating elsewhere are regularly described in BBC content in euphemistic terms such as “the Lebanese militant movement” or “the Palestinian Islamist militant group, Hamas“.

The Charlie Hebdo terrorists carried out an attack not only directed at the staff of that particular publication but also with the intent of sowing fear and self-censorship in the wider Western media.  They sought to terrorise journalists – and Western society in general – into complying with their particular politico-religious demands just as terrorists of all stripes do the world over. Tarik Kafala’s claim that the correct terminology for those who gunned down seventeen people in cold blood is “loaded” means that the BBC cannot tell this story accurately and impartially to its audiences.

That fact will come as no surprise to anyone who has been monitoring the BBC’s inconsistent use of the word terror and its habit of hiding behind the smokescreen of “value judgements” it claims are implicit in that word’s use and may “raise doubts about our impartiality”.

But when shooting attacks by a far-right extremist in Norway do get the BBC editorial thumbs-up for description as “terror attacks” and “terrorist activity” is used to describe the actions of members of an armed group in Northern Ireland, it is of course difficult to conceive of any reason for the refusal to accurately name terrorism elsewhere which does not stem from a “value judgement” regarding the perpetrators – or their victims – and impossible to see how the BBC can make any honest claim to cover the subject of terrorism with impartiality.

Related Articles:

Debate widens on BBC avoidance of the word terrorist

Mapping the BBC’s inconsistent use of the word ‘terror’

BBC promotion of the myth of a non-violent first Intifada

As can be seen in the list of twenty-six Palestinian prisoners convicted of violent acts and scheduled to be released in the framework of ‘confidence building’ measures which we recently published, fifteen of them carried out their acts during the time period between December 9th 1987 and the signing of the Oslo Accords in September 1993 – considered by many observers to be the extent of the first Intifada. Seven of those prisoners were found guilty of murders carried out by shooting. 

That small sample is indicative of the broader picture.

“The intifada uprising that started in 1987 was, from the start, far more violent than commonly reported. Televised images of youths with rocks defined the violence for many, but during the first four years of the uprising, more than 3,600 Molotov cocktail attacks, 100 hand grenade attacks and 600 assaults with guns or explosives were reported by the Israel Defense Forces.”

Now consider the statement below which comes from an article written in December 2000 (over two months into the second Intifada) by the former BBC Online Middle East Editor Tarik Kafala – now head of BBC Arabic – which is still available on the BBC website. Kafala art 1

“When the 1987 intifada broke out in the Jebalia refugee camp in Gaza, it spread like wild fire to all areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It lasted, with varying levels of intensity, until 1993.

It came as a complete surprise to both the Israelis and the PLO, at the time in exile in Tunisia.

It also kept the Israeli occupation army at full stretch. Youths confronted the soldiers with stones and petrol bombs – but unlike the current violence, the demonstrators were at no stage armed with guns.” [emphasis added]

Beyond the blatantly political use of the phrase “Israel occupation army” which is obviously inappropriate for an organization which professes to adhere to standards of impartiality, Kafala clearly intentionally misleads audiences by inaccurately stating – very insistently, one notes – that those involved in perpetrating the violence of the first Intifada were “at no stage armed with guns”.

Adopting the Palestinian narrative of “resistance”, Kafala goes on to state:

“Much of the Palestinian resistance was non-violent. It included demonstrations, strikes, boycotting Israeli goods and the civil administration in the occupied territories, and the creation of independent schools and alternative social and political institutions.”

In addition to between 160 – 185 Israelis killed (depending on the time frame chosen) and thousands more wounded by that “non-violent resistance”, the first Intifada also of course saw the murders of around a thousand Palestinians by vigilantes accusing them of being ‘collaborators’ or ‘immoral’, but Kafala is apparently not interested in informing his audience about that aspect of the first Intifada.

The promotion of the myth of a non-violent first Intifada is of course by no means limited to the BBC: the same myth is promoted by both anti-Israel activists and lazy journalists. They, however, are not bound by editorial guidelines of accuracy and impartiality.

Despite clearly breaching BBC editorial guidelines, this article has remained on the BBC website for nearly thirteen years. It is time for that to be rectified.






Iran’s Press TV claims army of pro-Israel propagandists occupy BBC

If you have managed to simultaneously draw fire from the Iranian regime’s Press TV, Ali Abunimah’s ‘Electronic Intifada’, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Hamas and David Icke, then some might say you were doing something right. 

A sensational headline at Press TV informs us that “An army of pro-Israeli propagandists occupy BBC“, with the same title being used by shape-shifting lizard aficionado David Icke. ‘Electronic Intifada’ goes with the slightly more subdued header “BBC editor urged colleagues to downplay Israel’s siege of Gaza” in an article written by the PSC’s Amena Saleem, as does Hamas’ ‘military wing’ on its website. Nureddin Sabir of ‘Redress‘ claims “BBC editor tells staff to be soft on Israel“. 

So why exactly are all of the above (and quite a few more) in such a tizzy? Well the former head of the BBC News website’s Middle East desk Tarik Kafala recently moved on to become head of the BBC Arabic Service (mabrouk!) and his replacement is Raffi Berg

Mr Berg has been working at the Middle East desk for some time and apparently during last November’s ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’ he tried to ensure that his colleagues adhered to BBC standards of accuracy by writing the following e-mails:

“Please remember, Israel doesn’t maintain a blockade around Gaza. Egypt controls the southern border. Israel maintains a blockade around its borders with Gaza, as well as a naval blockade. It also controls Gaza’s airspace. We’ve mistakenly said “around Gaza” in a number of recent stories, which has generated complaints.”


“The way we have been wording our paragraph on when the fighting started is causing endless complaints. It’s the specific reference in time which is upsetting people. We have been saying: The conflict began last Wednesday when Israel killed a Hamas military leader, saying it wanted an end to rocket attacks from Gaza. More than 110 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed. To a lot of people, the conflict was already raging, and they interpret that as blaming or putting undue emphasis on Israel. Can we please use the following form of words which gets round that: Israel launched its offensive, which it says is aimed at ending rocket fire from Gaza, with the killing on Wednesday of a Hamas military leader. More than 110 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since then.”

Of course any objective observer would applaud Mr Berg’s efforts to promote accuracy and impartiality in BBC reporting. BBC Watch trusts that he will continue to do so in his new position and wishes him all the best. 

BBC’s Knell showcases Electronic Intifada

A recent article by the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Yolande Knell indicates that the BBC is not even trying to pretend to appear impartial on the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict any longer. 

Knell uses a report dated March 2nd 2013 – entitled “Israeli army ire over social media posts” – as a platform from which to advertise and promote the virulently anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada and its co-founder Ali Abunimah, with some 28.5% of her total word count dedicated to showcasing Abunimah’s activities and views. 

Knell social media

With Egypt in turmoil yet again and Syria imploding by the day, the decision by BBC News website editors to find the space on their Middle East page to run a piece based on such spectacularly trivial subject matter is nothing short of jaw-dropping. But of course the daily drip drip of material portraying Israel as a dark and unenlightened society must be offered up, and who better to recruit for that purpose than a man who dedicates his life to the demonization of Israel, with the aim of bringing about that country’s demise.  

Perhaps it was information from Abunimah which prompted Knell to make the claim that:

“Israeli citizens and Jews overseas have been recruited to various public diplomacy campaigns to promote Israel on the internet.”

Then we arrive at the ‘starring Ali Abunimah’ corner:

Ali Abunimah (L) at Leeds University ‘Israel Apartheid week’ 2011

“Online activists on both sides also scour the net for videos, comments and photos giving insights that support their views. IDF soldiers’ personal accounts are among those monitored.

Last month, a 20-year-old Israeli soldier was reprimanded for posting a photograph of a Palestinian boy’s head in the crosshairs of a sniper’s rifle.

The picture was discovered on Instagram by Palestinian activist, Ali Abunimah, a co-founder of the Electronic Intifada website.

“We look at social media accounts coming out of Palestine/Israel, whether it’s Instagram or Twitter or YouTube. We’re really looking for anything interesting and newsworthy,” he says. “We’ll investigate it and try to find some context.”

His website had hundreds of thousands of hits after it published sets of controversial Instagram pictures by Israeli recruits. International media also picked up on them.

“They had an enormous impact. I think people saw different things in them. When I looked at the picture of the child in the crosshairs, to me it really captured in a sense symbolically the way that the Israeli army and occupation views Palestinians – as potential targets,” Mr Abunimah says.

The IDF was quick to tell reporters that sharing the photograph was “a severe incident”, out of keeping with its values.

Other Instagram photographs since highlighted by Electronic Intifada include an American-Israeli soldier apparently posing naked with guns while on base and illegally smoking marijuana. His public comments express hatred of Arabs.”

“Newsworthy”? “context”? Anyone familiar with Abunimah’s  petty, yet relentless, mudslinging and ugly ad hominem campaigns will by now be wondering if this is the same Ali Abunimah they know only too well. 

Abunimah Burgas tweet

Abunimah Holocaust tweet

Abnimah jail state tweet

Abunimah tweet 3rd intifada

abunimah gaza tweets

So to sum it up: in an article about social media, the BBC promotes and sanitises the opinions of a man who uses social media to propagate conspiracy theories about a terror attack, to promote antisemitic Nazi analogies and to excuse and advocate terrorist violence against Israeli civilians, and who also runs a website which turns out a daily tirade of defamatory and even dangerous incitement against Israel.  

Ali Abunimah (L) at the 2010 ‘one-state’ conference in Stuttgart

But as we see, Yolande Knell and her editors have completely neglected to inform the BBC audiences reading this report of the nature of Ali Abunimah’s website or of his wider associations and his prime function as a campaigner for the dismantling of the Jewish State. Apparently they need reminding of the clause in the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines which states: 


We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities) are unbiased and we may need to make it clear to the audience when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint, if it is not apparent from their contribution or from the context in which their contribution is made.”

Clearly the fact that Ali Abunimah is “associated with a particular viewpoint” which promotes the destruction of a particular state and the denial of self-determination to one particular ethnic group is of considerable relevance when he is being quoted in an article concerning that particular country. 

The fact that the BBC News website’s editors are willing to promote and grant the BBC stamp of respectability to an extremist site such as ‘Electronic Intifada’ – together with its co-founder – indicates that their own political sympathies render them incapable of self-regulation. Presumably they will therefore continue down the road of making a laughing-stock of the supposed BBC value of impartiality. 

Myths and lethal narratives on the BBC website

As we all know, nothing disappears from the internet – for better or for worse. That fact raises questions about the responsibility of the BBC to ensure that archive material accessible via its website meets the same standards of accuracy as are demanded of contemporary reporting. 

The BBC’s Editorial Guidelines include a sub-section entitled Managing Online Content which, inter alia, states:

“Unless content is specifically made available only for a limited time period, there is a presumption that material published online will become part of a permanently accessible archive and will not normally be removed.

For news stories, the archive is intended to act as a permanent public record.”

But what happens when that “permanent public record” is inaccurate or misleading? Should the BBC be obliged to clearly label it as such or even to remove the webpage? 

One example of such BBC material still available on the internet are its many reports on the Jenin Massacre that never was. 

This article from April 6th 2002, for example, (also available at another URL) states that:

“Residents at the Jenin refugee camp said they feared a “massacre” was taking place, and one Palestinian fighter said he had counted 30 dead bodies.”


“Palestinians said there had been intense bombardment through the night by Israeli tanks and helicopters.

“I myself counted 30 dead bodies. There are a tremendous number of injured people. The international community will be shocked at the number of injured people,” a Palestinian fighter named Abu Irmail told Reuters news agency.”

This report by Tarik Kafala – currently the Middle East Editor of BBC Online – from April 12th 2002 states:

“Palestinians have called on the United Nations to investigate what they claim is an Israeli massacre of Palestinians.”


“Palestinians say there were extra-judicial executions in the camp – an accusation strongly denied by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).”


“According to Palestinian sources, the IDF buried the bodies of dozens of Palestinians killed in fighting in a mass grave and used bulldozers to cover them up – again a charge vehemently denied by the Israeli army.”

Reporting on April 11th 2002, the BBC’s Alan Johnston repeated unverified allegations from a Palestinian source:

“He tells me that he saw people who had been tortured.”

This article from April 15th 2002 says:

“Palestinians have alleged that a massacre took place during the battle in the camp, and have said the army had begun burying the dead to conceal evidence. The allegations have brought international condemnation.”


“The allegations of a massacre in Jenin have sparked condemnation from around the world.

The United Nations on Monday passed a resolution accusing Israel of “gross violations” of international law.”

An article by Jeremy Cooke from April 16th 2002 states:

“Israelis put the figure at something like 50 – they base that on the accounts that their own soldiers have given of the fighting which went on for the past two weeks or so.

The Palestinians, though, are still insisting that some 400 people were killed.

From what I’ve seen it is impossible to verify or contradict either of those accounts.”

Under the title “Analysis: ‘War Crimes’ on the West Bank“, an article from April 17th 2002 states:

“Palestinians and Arab politicians are already accusing the Israeli army of war crimes in the Jenin refugee camp and elsewhere in the West Bank.

They are comparing what has happened in Israel’s current campaign to the massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, in which at least 800 Palestinians died.”

Entitled “Jenin ‘massacre evidence growing“, this article from April 18th 2002 says:

“A British forensic expert who has gained access to the West Bank city of Jenin says evidence points to a massacre by Israeli forces.

Prof Derrick Pounder, who is part of an Amnesty International team granted access to Jenin, said he has seen bodies lying in the streets and received eyewitness accounts of civilian deaths.

The Dundee University expert said the Amnesty investigation has only just begun but Palestinian claims of a massacre were gaining foundation as the team continued its analysis.

He said: “The truth will come out, as it has come out in Bosnia and Kosovo, as it has in other places where we’ve had these kinds of allegations.

“I must say that the evidence before us at the moment doesn’t lead us to believe that the allegations are anything other than truthful and that therefore there are large numbers of civilian dead underneath these bulldozed and bombed ruins that we see.” “

Another article from the same date, entitled “Jenin camp ‘horrific beyond belief” states:

“Palestinians claim hundreds of bodies are buried beneath the rubble, but Israel says the numbers of dead are far fewer. An independent forensic expert says evidence suggests that a massacre has taken place.”

An article from May 4th 2002 reports that:

“Arab states are to call an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly over claims that Israel massacred Palestinians at the Jenin refugee camp.”


“The Palestinians claim Israel slaughtered hundreds of civilians during a fierce nine-day battle in Jenin last month.”

All of these reports – and many more – remain accessible to anyone carrying out an internet search for ‘Jenin’. None of them have been amended to make it clear that it was established definitively that no ‘massacre’ took place in Jenin and that out of the 52 Palestinian dead, the vast majority were terrorists. Needless to say, no articles appear asking how so many ‘experts’ got it so wrong or examining why the media and many others were so willing to embrace the narrative of a ‘massacre’ without credible evidence. 

As despicable as it was at the time that the BBC should be propagating unsubstantiated claims by Palestinian propagandists such as Saeb Erekat – claims designed specifically and deliberately to delegitimize Israel in the eyes of world opinion and to tie Israel’s hands in its attempts to curb the terror war launched by the Palestinian Authority against Israeli civilians – it is even more reprehensible that the BBC does nothing to correct or remove its inaccurate reports over a decade on. 

Of course the BBC was far from the only organization to unquestioningly embrace Palestinian propaganda with such alacrity, and that malaise was by no means limited to the field of the media. Another BBC article still available on the internet – from April 18th 2002 – is an account of a ‘Hardtalk‘ interview with the External Affairs Commissioner of the EU at the time (and now Chair of the BBC Trust) Chris Patten in which he ‘contextualised‘ suicide bombings against Israeli civilians under the title “Patten: Sharon’s policies caused ‘cult of death’ “.

 “But”, he went on “you do have to recognise, what is the political context in which young men and women strap bombs to themselves and go out to murder other young men and women.”

Patten also gave an interview to the Guardian around the same time:

“The European Union’s external relations commissioner, Chris Patten, in an interview with the Guardian, said Israel must accept a UN investigation of alleged atrocities against Palestinians or face “colossal damage” to its reputation. […]

Mr Patten was even more direct, telling the Guardian: “It is in Israel’s interest to behave like a democracy that believes in the rule of law. There has to be movement, and movement fast, to enable the international community to deal with this calamity.”

He added: “If Israel simply refuses all the genuine calls for humanitarian assistance; if it resists any attempt by the international media to cover what is going on, then inevitably it is going to provide oxygen for all those who will be making more extreme demands.” […]

But he said: “Israelis can’t trample over the rule of law, over the Geneva conventions, over what are generally regarded as acceptable norms of behaviour without it doing colossal damage to their reputation.” He backed Mary Robinson, the UN human rights commissioner, who has been asked to lead a fact-finding mission to the Palestinian territories.”

To the best of this writer’s knowledge, Chris Patten has never apologized to the Israeli people for rushing to defame them purely on the basis of his readiness to swallow malicious Palestinian propaganda and a disturbing willingness to believe the unproven worst about them.

In his current role, however, he does have the opportunity to go some small way towards rectifying that by ensuring the correction or removal of reams of inaccurate material from his organisation’s website which – more than ten years after it has been disproved – constitutes a lethal narrative which continues to incite against Israelis. 

BBC uses unverified quote to advance its narrative

I must admit that the enthusiastic style of the BBC’s October 17th article, headlined “Israel forced to release study on Gaza blockade“, raised ironic smiles in this household – coming as it does from an organization which has spent years (and hundreds of thousands of pounds) avoiding the release of a report of its own. 

The actual context to the study in question is only briefly revealed by the BBC writer right at the end of the article:

“The Israeli defence ministry said the “red lines” study was only ever a draft but was aimed at ensuring there was not a major health crisis.

“The quantification was not done in order to arrive at a minimum threshold or restrict the quantities, but… to ensure that there was no shortage,” an official at the Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (Cogat) told the Haaretz newspaper on Tuesday.”

The bulk of the article, however, is dedicated to presenting the politically motivated point of view of the highly partisan NGO ‘Gisha‘, including the rather bizarre claim that:

“Gisha says the research contradicts Israel’s assertions that the blockade is needed for security reasons.”

Also quoted in the article is UNRWA’s Director of Operations in Gaza, Robert Turner, who – apparently having missed the Palmer Report memo from his parent organization – not only mistakenly declared the blockade to be “illegal under international law”, but also appears to have forgotten that in 1951 his own organization also produced a report in which (clause 31) the allocation of UNRWA food rations to Palestinian refugees was set at 1,600-1,700 calories per person/day. 

Towards the end of the article, the following unsupported and un-sourced claim appears:

“Israeli government officials now acknowledge the food restrictions were partly intended to put pressure on Hamas by making the lives of people in Gaza difficult, says the BBC’s Jon Donnison in Gaza City.

In 2006, Israeli government adviser Dov Weisglass was widely quoted as having said: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” “

Whether it was Donnison or an anonymous editor who saw fit to include the Weisglass “quote” is not clear, but its use is very interesting.

One would expect that a reputable journalist would only use a quote if its authenticity could be verified, either due to the fact that it appears in print –written by the person quoted, of course –or was recorded. So is that the case with the Weisglass “quote” used by the BBC as support for its claim that Israel deliberately restricted food supplies to the civilian population of Gaza?

In order to determine that, we need to do a little detective work. 

Reports of the quote first began circulating in February 2006. Hamas had won the majority of seats in the Palestinian elections the month before and a newly formed government under Ismail Haniyeh was about to be sworn in. The international community (the main source of the Palestinian Authority’s income through donations) and Israel were worried that the considerable amounts of money transferred to the PA would be used by the new Hamas-run government for terror purposes and so economic sanctions were proposed by the Quartet (the UN, the EU, the US and Russia) and Israel. 

On February 15th 2006, the Israeli news site Ynet reported on a high-level meeting of government ministers, advisors and representatives from the security services at which the strategy of economic sanctions was discussed. The Ynet article quoted unnamed ‘political sources’:

 “The political sources who took part in the meeting, quoted Weisglass as saying: “We must cause the Palestinians to become thinner, but not die.”

 Weisglass, responding to the source, said: “I never said such a thing.” “

The next day, Ha’aretz’s Aluf Benn, apparently informed by “a Jerusalem source”, had a different version of the quote in his article:

“It’s like a meeting with a dietician. We have to make them much thinner, but not enough to die” 

On February 19th, 2006, the Israeli financial journalist Sever Plotzker – also writing on Ynet – claimed (without providing a source) that Weisglass had spoken of a policy of “economic diet” towards the Palestinians. 

On the same day, writing in Ha’aretz, Gideon Levy – the Israeli journalist who has made quite a successful career out of demonising his own country – embellished the story with laughter at Weisglass’ alleged remark from the meeting’s participants. Levy claimed that Weisglass had said “It’s like a meeting with a dietician. The Palestinians will lose weight, but they will not die”. Levy provided no source however: the best he could do was to claim “so it was said” –without even stating by whom – in support of his allegations.  

From then on, the alleged quote – in its multiple forms, which surely should raise any reasonable person’s suspicions – took on something of a life of its own, particularly in far-Left and/or anti-Israel circles. 

On February 27th 2006, David R Francis of the Christian Science Monitor used it (un-sourced) in another different form:

“The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger”

Francis’ article was in turn used as a ‘source’ – along with an equally unverified version of the quote from a 2008 article by Edward Said’s nephew Saree Makdisi in The Nation – by the anti-Israel blog Mondoweiss in 2009.   

April 2006 saw the Guardian’s Conal Urquhart use one version of it in an article for the Observer. In December 2008, the (again un-sourced) quote was used by British comedian, former Socialist Workers Party member and pro-Palestinian activist Mark Steel in an article in the Independent and in 2010 it was used by Media Lens , apparently using a defunct AFP article as a source, as did the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department in November 2006. 

The alleged quote has also been used – un-sourced – by political NGOs and activists such as Machsom Watch, Jeff Halper of ICHAD and B’tselem

More recently, the quote has been cited on the Lenin’s Tomb blog (run by SWP member Richard Seymour), where it was sourced from Richard Silverstein, who in turn sourced it from the New York Times, which attributed the quote to “the Israeli news media”. All well and good, except that – as we know – the Israeli media itself had nothing but hearsay and an outright denial from Weisglass himself to go on. 

So perhaps the Middle East Editor of BBC Online, Tarik Kafala, would like to disclose to the BBC’s audience (in the name of accuracy and impartiality) his verified source for this quote, because – whilst nobody else seems to be able to find one – it is of course inconceivable to think that the trusted and often quoted BBC would be lifting un-sourced  quotes from such sources as Richard Silverstein, Media Lens and Mondoweiss, purely in order to make political hay.

Isn’t it?