BBC News reports rocket attack on TA fifteen hours later

When the BBC News website finally got round to informing its readers of the rocket fire on Tel Aviv that occurred on the evening of March 14th it did so – over 15 hours after the event – using the frequently seenlast-first reporting’ formulation: “Israel strikes militant sites in Gaza after rockets fired at Tel Aviv”.

“Israel has carried out dozens of air strikes on Palestinian militant sites in Gaza in retaliation for the firing of two rockets towards Tel Aviv.”

In its opening paragraphs the report told readers that:

“Hamas, which dominates Gaza, insisted it was not behind the rocket fire.

Israeli media are citing an Israeli defence official as saying that the rockets may have been launched “by mistake” while maintenance work was being carried out.”

Even though it later repeated Hamas’ denials, the BBC did not bother to clarify to readers that for such a ‘mistake’ to have happened, Hamas would have had to set up and load a missile launcher which was deliberately aimed at Israel’s biggest metropolitan area.

The article – which included two images from the Gaza Strip and one embedded IDF Tweet with a video of sirens sounding in Tel Aviv – later informed readers that:

“The organising committee of a months-long Palestinian protest campaign also announced that Friday’s weekly demonstrations along Gaza’s border with Israel had been called off “in keeping with the public interest”.”

BBC audiences were not told that among the members of that “organising committee” are terror groups including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Neither did the BBC bother to clarify to readers that this demonstration of Hamas’ ability to turn off the ‘Great Return March’ tap at will and according to its own interests illustrates just how far off the mark the BBC’s year-long portrayal of the rioting as spontaneous public ‘protests’ has been.

Notably, the BBC’s report did not include any information concerning the related topic of some other protests which have been taking place in the Gaza Strip over the past few days.

“Palestinians in the Gaza Strip took to the streets on Friday for the second successive day to protest against Hamas and the dire economic condition in the Strip, with some reports saying the terror group used live fire to put down the demonstrations. […]

The center of the demonstrations was in Deir el-Balah, where Hebrew media reports said protesters burned tires and blocked one of the central Gaza city’s main roads.

Similar protests were also taking place in Khan Younis in the south of the Strip. […]

Quoting the demonstrators, the Ynet news site said they were beaten by security forces loyal to Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules Gaza. The Hamas members also reportedly used live fire to disperse the protests.”

Those familiar with the BBC’s serial under-reporting of Palestinian affairs will not be surprised by the fact that those demonstrations against Hamas have to date received no coverage.

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BBC Radio Ulster audiences hear that ‘Israel should be wiped off the map’

On January 30th the BBC News website published an article that included the BBC’s response to calls from supporters of the anti-Israel BDS campaign to boycott the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.

Notwithstanding the BBC’s statement on the issue, the following day – January 31st – BBC Northern Ireland’s BBC Radio Ulster decided to air a long phone-in item on its ‘Talkback’ programme hosted by William Crawley. Titled “Is the BBC right to take part in Eurovison being held in Tel Aviv, or should the corporation stay away?”, the item included contributions from journalist/activist Eamonn McCann and historian Ruth Dudley Edwards as well as seven callers.

On the hook of the Eurovision Song Contest, listeners heard thirty-eight minutes of mostly unchallenged falsehoods and delegitimisation – often outstanding for their ignorance even by the ‘standards’ of BBC Radio Ulster. [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Having informed listeners in his introduction that “Jerusalem is a disputed capital” and after noting the BBC’s statement on the call to boycott May’s event in Tel Aviv, Crawley invited listeners to phone in.

“What do you think? You’re a licence fee payer. Do you think the BBC is right to continue with its role in the Eurovision contest this year or should it boycott the Tel Aviv Eurovision?”

Crawley then asked his guest Eamonn McCann – introduced as a “journalist and former ‘People Before Profit’ MLA [member of the legislative assembly]” and a supporter of “the boycott movement” – to “lay out the case for the boycott first”.

McCann began by promoting a popular but inaccurate myth according to which the BDS campaign was initiated by Palestinians.

McCann: “well the boycott movement – BDS boycott, divestment and sanctions – that was set up in 2005 yes and that was the year after and it was a response to the publication of an opinion of the International Court of Justice about the legality of the apartheid wall – or separation wall as the Israelis call it – and the associated settlement figures. Now the BDS movement arose, endorsed by more than 60 civil society organisations that are from…of Palestinians and a…the actual…its manifesto said that they wanted a boycott of Israel – quote – until it meets its obligations under international law and that was spelled out by the BDS movement at the beginning as ending its occupation and colonisation of Arab lands, recognising the fundamental rights of Arab Palestinian citizens to full equality and respecting protection and promoting the rights of Palestinians to return to their homes. Now that’s the aim of it. It is an entirely peaceful sort of movement. Indeed it was formed because previously we had a sustained violence and nothing else – nothing else. The BDS movement couldn’t stop the violence of the resistance of Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza, but it said here is a non-violent way of engaging international support and trying at last to pressure the Israelis into abandoning what is an apartheid system. That’s what’s happening here: apartheid in the 21st century. And just as we had a boycott of apartheid South Africa, we should now certainly not be presenting Israel as a sort of normal state where light entertainment and progressive thought flourishes. That is to deny – implicitly to deny – the reality under which the Palestinian people live. Therefore boycott it.”

Making no effort to challenge McCann’s repeated ‘apartheid’ smear, to point out that the ICJ opinion has no legal standing or to clarify that ‘Arab lands’ also means Israel and ‘right of return’ means the end of the Jewish state, Crawley went on to quote the BBC’s statement once again before introducing Ruth Dudley Edwards whom he promptly interrupted with the following dubious claim:

Crawley: “This is obviously organised by the European Broadcasting Union and there were some in Israel – not least the prime minister – Prime Minister Netanyahu – who wanted the event to be held in Jerusalem, Ruth. But the European Broadcasting Union determined that it should be held in Tel Aviv. That’s a break with normal tradition. They normally go with a country’s capital and the prime minister said the country’s capital is Jerusalem so isn’t the European Broadcasting Union there making a political decision?”

Even if he does not remember that the 2004 Eurovision was held in Istanbul rather than Turkey’s capital, the 2011 event in Dusseldorf rather than the German capital, the 2013 Eurovision on Malmo rather than Sweden’s capital, the 1972 event in Edinburgh and the 1974 event in Brighton rather than in London, one would at least have thought that Crawley would recall that in 1993 the Eurovision was held in a small Irish town called Millstreet rather than in Dublin.

When Dudley Edwards went on to note that the “BDS movement is being used to help demonise Israel, delegitimise it”, Crawley jumped in:

Crawley: “Why are you bringing up antisemitism?”

After explaining that some of those behind the BDS campaign are driven by antisemitism and that the so-called ‘right of return’ means “the rights of 8 million people who hate Israel to come and live in Israel” because of the hereditary aspect of Palestinian ‘refugee’ status, Dudley Edwards clarified that “the objective is to destroy Israel”.

Crawly quickly brought in McCann at that point, who three times tarred Dudley Edward’s statements as “nonsense”.

McCann: “I mean are we all driven by antisemites? Is there a secret conspiracy here? Is the United Methodist Church in the United States, is the Norwegian Trade Union Federation, is Amnesty International, is Human Rights Watch? […] Incidentally, many of my best friends are anti-Zionist Jews. Many of my best friends are Jews.”

McCann went on to invoke Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Ronnie Kasrils and Joe Slovo.

McCann: “If they say…if Nelson Mandela says that looks like apartheid then I think that he knows a wee bit more about apartheid than either Ruth or myself and I’m gonna take his word for it.”

McCann proceeded to interrupt Ruth Dudley Edwards as she tried to describe the terrorism faced by Israelis and then went on:

McCann: “They’re not dealing with rockets every day of the week. In fact the number of rockets being fired from Gaza or anywhere else is very small – tiny, infinitesimal – compared to the firepower being directed by Israel against the Palestinian people. That is why in terms of deaths […] We can watch on our televisions and actually see heavily armed members of the Israeli Defence Forces shooting – aiming and shooting down – and shooting in the back young Palestinians. Some of them might be carrying stones – it’s all they have – and sling shots like David had to use against Goliath. That’s what you see now.”

Crawley made no effort to inform listeners that the “infinitesimal” number of rockets and mortars launched from Gaza at Israeli civilians in 2018 was one thousand or that “stones” are obviously by no means “all they have” seeing as hundreds of attacks with IEDs, grenades and firearms have been carried out in the past year alone. Neither did Crawley react when Mc Cann went on to claim that “there’s slaughter going on there” before once again invoking the political NGOs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

During the phone-in part of the item listeners heard from seven callers – all male – three of whom were against boycotting the Eurovision and four in favour. Many of the lies and distortions promoted by those callers went unchallenged.

Caller 2: “Israel used white phosphorus on civilians – children, men, women. Journalists – kills journalists on a regular basis. It destroys olive trees. Takes land off people, you know, it murders people, children. How can anyone in their right kind of mind accept anything that Israel does? Israel should be wiped off the map and the land should be given back to the Palestinians. […] They should be…their power should be taken off them and it should be returned to the Palestinian people and they should all live in peace together in one area. […] The power and the government and the structure should be returned back to the Palestinians.”

Crawley made no effort to clarify to listeners that “the Palestinians” never had an independent state with “power and the government and the structure”. Neither did he bother to inform his audience – and his caller – that denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination is considered antisemitism according to the IHRA definition that is used by the British government.

Listeners also heard from McCann on the topic of Israel’s existence.

McCann: “I don’t accept its right to exist as it’s presently constituted. Israel is a settler state.”

They also heard him opine on the rights of the LGBT community in Israel.

Crawley: “Would you also accept that LGBT rights are more protected in Israel than any other country in that region?”

McCann: “Yes [….] but let’s get this clear…the fact that a great number of LGBT in Israel are anti-Palestinian. We mustn’t allow the fact that…if you’re LGBT you’re entitled to your freedom, you’re entitled to your liberation and your equality. You are not entitled just because you’re LGBT or anything else, you are not entitled to support and to endorse and to implement an apartheid regime against the Palestinian people. Nothing gives you that right.”

Caller 4 also promoted the lie that “Israel is an apartheid state” with no challenge from Crawley, as did caller 5.

Caller 5: “Israel is an apartheid state – much more even than South Africa. […] What happened in Israel shouldn’t be happening. All those people were moved off their land over the last 60 – 70 years. 100 years ago there was Jewish people living in what is now Israel, living then in peace and it’s only when they became, I suppose, a force that they then started moving in on Palestinian villages. […] Israel should be ostracised worldwide…as long as Israel is doing what they’re doing – slaughtering the people.”

While the level of most of the ‘discussion’ heard in this programme is frankly jaw-dropping, it is acutely obvious that its presenter – despite the BBC’s public purpose obligation to educate and inform – was perfectly content to let historical and current affairs related inaccuracies go unchallenged along with the repeated falsehoods – and in particular the ‘apartheid’ smear – that were clearly intended to delegitimise Israel and curry support for the BDS campaign.

And so, not for the first time ,we see that unfettered defamation, demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel – along with promotion of the antisemitic denial of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination – gets a free pass on BBC Northern Ireland radio stations.

Related Articles:

BBC News Eurovision BDS report follows the usual template

BBC Radio Ulster promotes ‘Zionism is racism’ and the ‘apartheid’ smear

Move over Galloway: BBC Radio Ulster airs pro-Assad & anti-Israel propaganda

Resources:

BBC Radio Ulster contact details

‘Talkback’ contact details

 

 

 

BBC News Eurovision BDS report follows the usual template

On January 30th an article by BBC music reporter Mark Savage titled “Stars urge BBC to ask for Eurovision to be moved out of Israel” appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Entertainment & Arts’ and ‘Middle East’ pages.

The article relates to a letter published – as usual – by the Guardian newspaper the previous day and most of Savage’s report is composed of unqualified quotes from that letter (together with a link to the original) and statements made by the BBC in response.

Among the quotes that went unchallenged by Savage was an ‘apartheid’ smear.

“The letter comes a week before Eurovision: You Decide, a live BBC TV show through which the British public will vote for the act to represent the UK.

“For any artist of conscience, this would be a dubious honour,” the letter said.

“They and the BBC should consider that You Decide is not a principle extended to the Palestinians, who cannot ‘decide’ to remove Israel’s military occupation and live free of apartheid.””

At the end of the report readers were told that: [emphasis added]

“Many of the signatories to Wednesday’s [sic] letter have previously made calls for a cultural boycott of Israel, criticising artists such as Nick Cave, Radiohead and Lana Del Rey for organising concerts in the country.

Their campaign follows an earlier call for Eurovision to be relocated, made last September by a coalition of artists from across Europe.

That was organised by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which urges a complete boycott of Israel over its policies towards the Palestinians.

Israel says BDS opposes Israel’s very existence and is motivated by anti-Semitism.”

That unsatisfactory “Israel says” formulation has been in evidence since April 2018.

There is of course nothing novel about the BBC avoiding informing audiences in its own words that what the BDS campaign ultimately seeks to achieve is the end of Israel as the Jewish state. For years we have documented on these pages how the corporation has serially failed to provide an accurate and impartial portrayal of the aims and agenda of the BDS campaign – even as it has frequently provided that campaign and some of its supporters with free PR. Moreover, in August 2015, we learned that the BBC considers the provision of such crucial background information “not our role“.

Research carried out in the UK shows “a clear link between antisemitism and hostility towards Israel, finding that a majority of people in the UK who support boycotts or regard Israel as an apartheid state hold anti-Jewish views.”

The survey:

“…sought to examine the relationship between anti-Jewish sentiment and a belief that Israel should be boycotted and is an apartheid state – two of the central, interrelated claims of the country’s critics in the UK. […]

“A relationship exists between British people’s agreement with each of the two key contentions and their predisposition towards anti-Jewish sentiment – as one scale increases, so does the other,” write the authors, Dr. Jonathan Boyd, executive director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, and Dr. David Graham, its senior research fellow. […]

The correlation between anti-Jewish sentiment and support for BDS was stronger than the belief that Israel is an apartheid state and bigotry against Jews, although the latter correlation is “clearly evident”.”

Among the public purposes set out by the Royal Charter and Agreement that are the constitutional basis for the BBC are the provision of “accurate and impartial news” and “learning for people of all ages”.

As long as the BBC continues to unquestioningly amplify politically motivated delegitimisation such as the ‘apartheid’ smear and to report stories relating to the anti-Israel BDS campaign without providing audiences with the full range of information concerning the aims of that political campaign, it not only neglects those public purposes but, as the above research shows, opts out of playing a part in tackling anti-Jewish racism in the UK.

Related Articles:

The Guardian: Platform of choice for anti-Israel activism  (UK Media Watch)

BBC Music again covers a BDS story without explaining that campaign’s agenda

BBC Music promotes falsehoods and BDS campaign website

BBC Radio 4 provides a stage for anti-Israel activist’s agitprop and defamation

Reviewing BBC reporting on the BDS campaign in 2018

 

 

One to watch out for on BBC Two

BBC Two has a programme called ‘See Hear’ which is described as a “Magazine for the deaf community highlighting the issues affecting the community”. The programme has in the past included a series called “On Tour” in which a deaf presenter has visited foreign cities in order to “explore deaf culture in other countries” and to ask:

“What is life like for the local deaf community and what are the highlights for deaf travellers seeking out a short city break?”

The current “On Tour” series – now presented by deaf British actor Nadeem Islam – has already visited Reykjavik:

“Nadeem Islam visits Reykjavik in Iceland, the land of ice and fire. The birthplace of the legendary Vikings, who pillaged and plundered their way around the world, today’s Icelandic people are more laid back – but there are still living, breathing deaf Vikings around – and Nadeem is going to meet one.

Nadeem experiences a dip in one of the hot springs that are dotted around Iceland’s mountainous landscape, watches a geyser erupt, tries on a few animal furs, enjoys a spot of knitting, does some whale watching and tastes one of the most revolting foods ever – fermented shark fat!

Oh, and let’s not forget to mention Nadeem’s trip to the world-famous penis museum!”

And Rome:

“Nadeem Islam visits Rome in Italy, also known as the Eternal City, to see what sights there are for deaf people to see. Starting with a guided scooter tour, Nadeem also meets the deaf signing guides who work at the Colosseum, and imagines being a deaf gladiator thousands of years ago.

Nadeem then has the opportunity to spend some time with one of the most powerful deaf men in Rome – Roberto Wirth, the proprietor of the five-star Hotel Hassler. Rome is a city where the inhabitants express themselves freely through gesture and body language – but do deaf people get equal status? With the campaign for legal recognition of Italian Sign Language still ongoing, it is a big issue.

Nadeem then rounds off his trip with a visit to One Sense, a deaf-owned restaurant, and gets to try his hand at a spot of Italian cuisine!”

The episode scheduled to be aired on the morning of January 16th is titled “On Tour: Tel Aviv” and its synopsis suggests that viewers may see a departure from the disabilities and travel genre.

“Nadeem Islam visits the city of Tel Aviv in Israel, also known as The Miami of the Middle East. Wandering the sunny boulevards and beaches with his deaf Israeli guide Omer, they take in the beautiful Bauhaus architecture and a show at the famous Nalaga’at theatre of the deafblind. Nadeem has a Muslim background, and Omer is Israeli – will international signing be a bridge for them to meet in the middle and discuss the issue of Israel and Palestine?

Nadeem also takes on a couple of deaf volleyball champions, meets a deaf Holocaust survivor, learns the Israeli fingerspelling alphabet, and joins Tel Aviv’s Pride march – one of the largest in the world!” [emphasis added]

The BBC Academy’s ‘style guide’ of course tells BBC journalists that “in day-to-day coverage of the Middle East you should not affix the name ‘Palestine’ to Gaza or the West Bank – rather, it is still an aspiration or an historical entity”.

Remarkably BBC Two appears to believe that this particular episode of its half-hour travel show should include a political discussion simply because its British presenter “has a Muslim background”.

Now there’s a stereotype for you.

Related Articles:

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Breaches of the BBC Academy ‘style guide’ continue

 

 

 

BBC WS misleads on Israel’s capital city yet again

On April 3rd the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour‘ aired an item relating to a statement made by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince. Presenter James Menendez described the story as follows (from 48:52 here):

Menendez: “King Salman of Saudi Arabia has reiterated his country’s support for a Palestinian state after his son and heir apparent said that Israelis were entitled to live peacefully on their own land. Prince Mohammed bin Salman made the comment – unusual for an Arab leader, or Arab leader in waiting, anyway – in an interview with the Atlantic magazine during his visit to the United States. It was taken as a public sign of ties between Riyadh and Tel Aviv appearing to grow closer.” [emphasis added]

Obviously Menendez was using the common journalistic practice of referring to a nation’s capital city as shorthand for the country’s government. Obviously too, Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital and – as the BBC has acknowledged in the past – not the seat of its government.

As we know, the BBC presumptuously refuses to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but nevertheless, Menendez’s choice of wording led listeners to believe that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital – which is clearly inaccurate.

This is not the first time that ‘Newshour’ has misled listeners with regard to Israel’s capital city. BBC Watch has – again – requested a correction.

Related Articles:

BBC Watch prompts edit of BBC WS inaccurate location of Israel’s capital

BBC News gets Israel’s capital city right – and then ‘corrects’

BBC partially corrects ‘The World Tonight’ inaccuracies

The continuing saga of the BBC’s failure to make a simple correction

BBC Weather and a country called null

Which country does not have a capital city on the BBC website?

CAMERA Prompts AP Correction: Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital (CAMERA) 

 

 

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – April 2017

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during April 2017 shows that throughout the month a total of 118 incidents took place: eighty-nine in Judea & Samaria, twenty-six in Jerusalem, one inside the ‘green line’ and two attacks from the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula.

The agency recorded 96 attacks with petrol bombs, 10 attacks using explosive devices, three stabbings, four shooting attacks and two vehicular attacks in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem. Also recorded were one stabbing attack in Tel Aviv, one shooting attack from the Gaza Strip and one missile attack from the Sinai Peninsula.

Two people (one foreign national and one member of the security forces) were murdered in attacks during April and thirteen (8 civilians and 5 members of the security forces) were wounded.

The missile attack from Sinai on April 10th did not receive any coverage from the BBC in the English language and the shooting attack from the Gaza Strip was also not reported.

The BBC News website did report the vehicular attack near Ofra on April 6th in which Sgt Elhai Teharlev was murdered and another soldier wounded. The stabbing attack in Jerusalem on April 14th in which British exchange student Hannah Bladon was murdered and a civilian wounded also received coverage on the BBC News website. In both cases the word terror was absent from the BBC’s reporting.  

Among the incidents resulting in injuries which did not receive any BBC coverage were a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on April 1st, a vehicular attack at Gush Etzion junction on April 19th, a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on April 23rd and a stabbing attack at the Qalandiya crossing on April 24th.

In all, the BBC News website reported two (1.7%) of the 118 terror attacks that occurred during April. Since the beginning of the year the corporation has reported 0.68% of the total attacks that have taken place and coverage of missile attacks stands at zero. 

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – January 2017

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – February 2017

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – March 2017

 

Revisiting the BBC’s policy on naming and personalising victims of terror

Earlier this month the trial of one of the two terrorists who carried out an attack on a Jerusalem bus last October in which three Israelis were murdered and dozens injured came to a close.

“A Jerusalem court on Monday sentenced an East Jerusalem terrorist to three consecutive life sentences and an additional 60 years in prison for killing three people in an attack on a bus in the capital last October.

Last month, Bilal Abu Ghanem was convicted of three counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder and aiding the enemy in wartime for his role in killing three people in a terror attack on a bus in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood.”

As readers may recall the BBC News website reported the murders of Chaim Haviv and Alon Govberg but did not name them or provide any other personal details. The death of a third victim of the same bus attack – Richard Lakin – two weeks later did not receive any BBC coverage at all.

In another trial this month:

“A Palestinian man who stabbed two Israelis to death in Tel Aviv last year was convicted by the Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday on two counts of murder and three of attempted murder after confessing to the charges.

Raed Masalmeh, 36, a father of five from the Hebron-area town of Dura in the West Bank, previously pleaded not guilty to murdering Reuven Aviram and Aharon Yesiav in a Tel Aviv office building synagogue on November 19, 2015.”

The BBC News website reported that attack, together with another one on the same day, but once again the victims were not named. There has been no BBC reporting on either of these trials.Istanbul attack victims

After last November’s terror attacks in Paris, the BBC News website produced an article paying tribute to the people murdered and that practice of naming, personalising and humanising victims of terror attacks has since continued.

BBC audiences have learned about victims of the March 2016 attack at Brussels airport and the June 2016 attacks in Orlando and at Istanbul airport. In July 2016 the BBC News website made efforts to personalise victims of terror in Baghdad, in Kabul, in Nice and in Munich. Five policemen killed in a shooting attack in Dallas were the subject of an article titled “Dallas police shootings: Who are the victims?“.

However, for BBC audiences the vast majority of terror victims in Israel remain faceless and in very many cases such as those noted above, even nameless.  

BBC post terror attack report focuses on travel permits rather than victims

Following the deadly acts of terror in Paris in November 2015 and in Brussels in March 2016, the BBC found it appropriate to provide its audiences with information about the victims killed and wounded in those attacks.

The morning after the June 8th terror attack in Tel Aviv in which four people were murdered and sixteen wounded, the BBC News website found it appropriate to focus audience attentions on a topic other than its victims.  The website’s Middle East page ran the headline “Palestinian permits frozen after attack”, linking to an article titled “Tel Aviv shooting: Israel suspends Palestinian permits“.

Pigua Sarona mkt follow up art permits

The third version of that report was amended to include the names, ages and gender of the four victims of the previous evening’s attack. In contrast to the articles concerning the Paris and Brussels attacks, no additional personal details or photographs were provided.

“Two women – Ilana Nave, 39, and Mila Mishayev, 32 – and two men – Ido Ben Aryeh, 42, and Michael Feige, 58 – were killed in the shootings, police said.”

Editors did however consider it necessary to amend the report in order to inform BBC audiences of the terrorists’ sartorial tastes.

“The two gunmen, who were smartly dressed, opened fire with automatic weapons on diners and passers-by after sitting down and ordering food at one of the complex’s restaurants.”

Once again, the only use of the word terrorism in the report came in the form of a direct quote.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Sarona complex shortly after Wednesday night’s attack, calling it “a savage crime of murder and terrorism”.”

While failing to note the fact that Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organization, the report included the following information:

“Islamist group Hamas praised what it called an “heroic attack” but did not say it was behind it.

In a statement a day after the killings, the West Bank-based Palestinian Presidency said it “repeatedly emphasised its rejection of all operations targeting civilians regardless of their identity and irrespective of the justifications”, without directly addressing the Tel Aviv attack.”

Readers were not however told that Fatah – also headed by Mahmoud Abbas – put out statements concerning the terror attack which used language remarkably similar to that adopted by Hamas spokesmen.  [emphasis added]

“”The Fatah Movement stated in a notice from the Mobilization and Organization Commission” that the Tel Aviv operation (i.e., terror attack, 4 murdered) which occurred last night is a private and spontaneous natural response to Israel’s choosing force…

Head of the Information Committee of the Fatah Mobilization and Organization Commission Munir Al-Jaghoub said: ‘Israel needs to understand the results of its actions, [which are] a continuation of the promotion of the option of violence and the policy of demolishing homes and expelling residents of Jerusalem, and the ongoing invasions of the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza by the herds of settlers… and the cold blooded murder of Palestinians at their checkpoints, which are spread through the territories occupied since 1967.'”

“In a brief press release on Thursday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri deemed the operation a natural response to the Israeli occupation’s crimes against Palestinians and the constant Israeli desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque and Muslim sanctities.”

The report did include a rarely seen mention of Palestinian celebration of the terror attack.

“News of the attack was greeted in parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip with fireworks and cheering. Some Palestinians handed out sweets and waved flags in celebration.”Pigua Sarona mkt follow up art

The main focus of the report was on the topic of the temporary suspension of entry permits into Israel previously issued to Palestinians resident in the PA and Hamas controlled territories.

“Israel says it has suspended entry permits for 83,000 Palestinians after gunmen killed four people in an attack at an open-air complex in Tel Aviv. […]

Israel later announced a permit ban that will impact Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip who had planned to visit relatives in Israel, attend Ramadan prayers in Jerusalem or travel abroad via Tel Aviv’s airport.”

The report did not clarify to readers that those permits were announced several days earlier within the framework of the special goodwill measures adopted for Ramadan. 

Related Articles:

Compare and contrast: BBC News personalisation of victims of terror

Comparing BBC personalisation of victims of terror in Paris, Brussels and Israel

BBC coverage of Sarona Market terror attack – part one

BBC coverage of Sarona Market terror attack – part two

 

BBC coverage of Sarona Market terror attack – part two

As was noted in part one of this post, while news of the terror attack at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv on June 8th was emerging, the head of the BBC’s Jerusalem bureau took to Twitter to inform his followers that such attacks are “rare”.

Sarona complex, Tel Aviv

Sarona complex, Tel Aviv

Despite the fact that this was the sixth terror attack in the Tel Aviv district in less than nine months and that its four victims bring the number of civilians murdered in the city in that time to ten, that theme was also in evidence in the report produced by the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ on the evening of June 8th.

Presenter Tim Franks described the terrorists (from 14:11 here) as follows:

“…we’re able to bring you up to date on that story that broke just before we came on air and that’s news of a shooting attack in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. The police say that…eh…three people have died, that two assailants were involved in the attack….” [emphasis added]

During the conversation with his interviewee – Ben Hartman of the Jerusalem Post – Franks promoted the notion that terrorism in Tel Aviv is “rare”.

“I guess…ah….some of the striking things about this attack, Ben, are the…as you mentioned…I mean Tel Aviv has been relatively free of…of violence…ah…in recent months.”

He later introduced further misleading and inaccurate claims into the conversation.

“And I suppose also, Ben, ahm…the attacks that we’ve got used to reporting – at least… ahm… within Israel, within Jerusalem – have been…tended to be…those people…ahm… going after – Palestinians going after – maybe members of the security forces with things like screwdrivers or in cars; that sort of thing and not this rather sort of…ahm…bigger attack using weapons. Err…err…guns, rather.”

As readers can see for themselves in the monthly reports produced by the Israeli Security Agency, the number of civilians killed and wounded in terror attacks since October 2015 is considerably higher than the number of members of the security forces, meaning that Franks’ implication that the terrorists primarily target soldiers and policemen is false and materially misleading to audiences. The same reports show that his attempt to suggest to audiences that the weapons of choice have been confined to “screwdrivers” or “cars” is no less misleading: while the agency recorded 96 stabbing attacks (mostly with knives rather than screwdrivers) and 20 vehicular attacks between October 2015 and May 2016, it also recorded 77 attacks using firearms and 132 attacks using IEDs.

Franks also made an unexplained reference to a building in the proximity of the Sarona Market.

Sarona complex, Tel Aviv

Sarona complex, Tel Aviv

“Ahm…this was an open-air mall as well. I mean one normally associates these malls, these shopping areas, as having fairly heavy security and it’s pretty close to the main defence HQ, isn’t it?”

The mention of the proximity of the site of the attack to the offices of the Ministry of Defence was also a feature of additional BBC reporting, including the BBC News website’s written report on the attack.

“The attacks took place in two locations in Sarona Market, close to Israel’s defence ministry and main army HQ.”

There too, the BBC refrained from informing audiences why it apparently perceives that information to be relevant. 

Listeners to the 10:30 p.m. news bulletin on BBC Radio 5 live (from 01:58 here) heard that same theme promoted:

“Police in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv say they’ve made two arrests after a shooting at a popular shopping and restaurant area that’s left four people dead. The attack happened near the country’s defence ministry.”

Later bulletins on that same station at midnight (from 01:30:00 here) and at 01:00 (from 00:47 here) similarly failed to clarify to listeners that the “shooting” was a terror attack.

Listeners to the BBC’s most popular radio station – Radio 2 – on the evening of June 8th may have noticed an interesting editorial decision in news reports on the attack.

The third item in the station’s 9 p.m. news bulletin (from 01:00:59 here) informed listeners that:

“Three people have been killed and five wounded in a shooting in Tel Aviv. The attack happened in an area of bars and restaurants. Two suspects are in custody. Police are still looking for a possible third gunman.”

However, an hour later in the 10 p.m. news bulletin (from 00:06 here), the report was changed.

“Three people have been killed and five seriously wounded in a shooting attack in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. The attack happened near the country’s defence ministry. Police say two suspects are in custody, one of whom is undergoing surgery.”

At 11 p.m. listeners to the news (from 00:08 here) were told that:

“Israeli police say two Palestinian gunmen have opened fire in Tel Aviv, killing at least four people. Thirteen others were wounded in the incident near the Israeli defence ministry. Both suspected attackers were arrested; one was injured by gunfire.”

In other words, not only were Radio 2 listeners not informed that this was a terror attack but the BBC decided to erase the information which previously enabled them to understand that the victims were customers frequenting cafés and restaurants and instead shifted the focus over to a location unrelated to the story.

Related Articles:

Radio 4 gives insight into BBC avoidance of the use of the term ‘terror’ in Israel

BBC claims attacks on Israelis in Judea & Samaria are “rare”

BBC Complaints: terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tunisia are “very different”

Telegraph thinks it’s important that attack on Israelis occurred “near the defense ministry”  (UK Media Watch)

BBC coverage of Sarona Market terror attack – part one

As information concerning the terror attack in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market on the evening of June 8th came to light, the BBC News website updated its report on the incident numerous times over a period of some ten hours.

The initial article was titled “‘Several wounded’ in Tel Aviv shooting”.  None of the later amendments to the headline – made after circumstances became clearer – informed readers that the incident was a terror attack, with editors opting instead to use the ambiguous phrasing “shopping centre attack”.

Pigua Sarona mkt headlines

The first three versions of the report made no mention of the word terror. Later versions included statements from the Tel Aviv chief of police, the Israeli prime minister and from eye witnesses which did include the word terror inside quotation marks but in all versions the BBC refrained from telling audiences in its own words that Palestinian terrorists had murdered and wounded civilians enjoying a night out in a café.

The latest version of the BBC’s report has not to date been updated to inform BBC audiences of the statement released by Hamas claiming that the terrorists are members of its organization or of the praise for the attack from Ismail Haniyeh.

The attack was the sixth in the Tel Aviv-Yaffo area since October of last year.

October 8th 2015: Tel Aviv: Female soldier and three others stabbed. Terrorist was shot and killed.

November 19th 2015: Tel Aviv: Two people were killed and one wounded in a stabbing attack during afternoon prayers in a Judaica store located in the Panorama building – a commercial center in southern Tel Aviv. The terrorist, from Dura in the West Bank, was apprehended. Hamas “welcomed” the attack. The victims: Rabbi Aharon Yesayev, 32, of Holon and Reuven Aviram, 51, of Ramle.

January 1st 2016: Tel Aviv: In a shooting attack at a pub, two killed – Alon Bakal (26), the pub’s manager, and Shimon Ruimi (30) – and 8 injured, two seriously. The assailant (29, Arab-Israeli citizen from Arara village in northern Israel) was killed a week later during an attempt to apprehend him. Taxi driver Amin Shaaban, 42, of Lod, was later shot and killed by the terrorist who carried out the shooting attack on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street.

March 8th 2016: Tel Aviv-Jaffa: 29-year-old American student Taylor Force was killed and 10 others wounded in a stabbing attack which began near the Jaffa port. The assailant fled on foot along the Tel Aviv beach promenade, stabbing passersby and motorists before he was shot and killed by police.

May 30th 2016: Tel Aviv: An Arab from Salfit (17) stabbed a soldier with a screwdriver. The assailant was arrested.

Nevertheless, the head of the BBC’s Jerusalem bureau thought it necessary to inform his Twitter followers that such attacks are “rare”.

Pigua Sarona mkt Colebourn tweet

That theme was also seen in some of the radio coverage of the attack which will be discussed in an upcoming post.

Related Articles:

Radio 4 gives insight into BBC avoidance of the use of the term ‘terror’ in Israel

BBC claims attacks on Israelis in Judea & Samaria are “rare”

BBC Complaints: terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tunisia are “very different”