Wednesday, July 23, 2008

BBC has last word on Jerusalem

BBC has a brief article posted on their website concerning three pointless, brutal terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Two of these attacks, involving bulldozers used as weapons by Arabs against Jewish civilians, have been well reported. It should be pointed out that BBC radio news (as heard on NPR in the U.S.) erroneously reported immediately after both bulldozer attacks that the perpetrators had been killed by brutal mobs, not by police attempting to protect innocent people. The third terrorist attack, less reported, is the one I thought you'd like to know BBC's opinion about. It involved a policeman, David Shriki, who was shot by a sniper while on patrol in Jerusalem's old city. He died, presumably on Monday, after 12 days in a hospital (the BBC piece doesn't give the date of the death or attack). Here's how the esteemed BBC ended their brief report of that story. Quote:

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 war. Its subsequent occupation and annexation of the area is seen as illegal under international law.

That's their opinion of course. And it's an opinion they have a right to express. But why would they choose to strategically deploy such an opinion at the end of another in a series of many reports of Jewish victims of Arab terrorism? It seems that many at BBC are worried that an objective recounting of actual news events would leave too many listeners sympathetic to Israel. So police heroically defending crowds on busy Jerusalem streets transform by BBC's magic into angry mobs out for Arab blood. And a report on the pointless, brutal killing of a policeman becomes a soapbox for BBC to state their opinion on the legality of Israel's presence in Jerusalem as the last word.

Read the rest here: BBC NEWS | Middle East | Jerusalem shooting officer dies


Rebecca said...


Thanks for this comment - it is infuriating that the BBC simply refuses to consider attacks on Israeli citizens as terrorist attacks. The most recent attacker (who was shot dead, not killed by an angry mob!) was from a village in East Jerusalem with many Hamas sympathizers and was a relative of a Hamas official currently in an Israeli jail. For an account of the attack, see my blog entry from yesterday -

Adam Holland said...

Thanks, rebecca!

For readers interested in reading an eyewitness account of the aftermath of the most recent Jerusalem terrorist attack, click here. It's a must read...

Chana @ Lemon Lime Moon said...

Actually do newspapers have the right to opinions outside of the editorial page? I don't think so.
They should be reporting facts rather than opinion which then just becomes propaganda.

Anonymous said...

According to the UN's original vote for the establishment of the State of Israel, ALL OF JERUSALEM was to be a part of the fledgling Zionist Entity. It was the Arabs who conquered what is now called East Jerusalem in 1948, but... don't confuse the BBC with the truth!

Rob said...

Neither "Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 war" nor "Its subsequent occupation and annexation of the area is seen as illegal under international law" is an expression of any kind of opinion since both are statements of fact. Nor does either statement imply that deliberate attacks on Israeli (or indeed Palestinian) civilians are anything other than terrorist attacks. However, the shooting of Palestinians by Israeli settlers is hardly ever reported by the BBC, and the murder of Palestinians by the IDF is invariably described as "targetted assassination" even where the victims are children (while the deaths of uniformed IDF soldiers are invariably a result of "terrorist attacks"). So I think the pro-Israeli bias of the BBC is still safe and well.

Rob said...

Not sure if my last comment got through ungarbled, as Blogger was being weird. I'll try again.

Neither "Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 war" nor "Its subsequent occupation and annexation of the area is seen as illegal under international law" is any kind of expression of BBC opinion, as both are simple statements of fact. Nor can either be seen as a refusal to consider attacks on Israeli (or indeed Palestinian) civilian as terrorist attacks. Of course, the BBC hardly ever reports the murder of Palestinian civilians by Israeli settlers (even Baruch Goldstein's Hebron massacre merited only a brief report). The killing of Palestinian civilians by the IDF is without invariably described as either "targetted assassination" (even where the victims are children) or "retaliation for terrorist attacks", whereas when a Palestinian kills or injures a uniformed member of the IDF the attack is a "terrorist" one. So if Israelis kill Palestinians the killings are legitimised whoever the target is. When Palestinians kill Israelis it's "terrorism" regardless of the victim. So I think the pro-Israeli bias that the BBC has shown for several decades is still safe and well in 2008.

Adam Holland said...


The legality of Israel's presence in the West Bank and in Jerusalem is far from the clear cut issue you and the BBC describe. Israel came into possession of those areas after being attacked by Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War. Jordan has since renounced their rights to the land. As you undoubtedly know, the Palestinian Authority broke off talks with Israel which would have given them sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza and given them a state. They subsequently initiated the second intifada. (By the way, it has been established that this was a deliberate action by the Palestinian leadership at its highest levels, not a spontaneous reaction to Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, as propagandists would have it.)

While it would be accurate to say that Israel's presence in these areas is disputed under international law, it would be an incomplete statement. The truth, in my view, is that Israel has pursued a remedy for this situation while the Palestinian Authority has avoided it. But suffice it to say that the legality of the situation is complicated by the lack of clear remedy, and requires negotiations. That provides a succinct, clear statement of the facts, as opposed to the BBC's statement which was pleading a case for one side in the conflict.

That was the point of my piece.

With respect to your second comment: your assertion that the media fails to report murders of civilians by Israeli settlers is not supported by facts. The BBC reports Israeli military actions against terrorists without stating that the actions were against terrorists; at the same time, they report deliberate Palestinian attacks on civilians without identifying the murderers as Palestinian or terrorist. They sometimes go so far as to identify Israeli victims of terror as "settlers" even when they are residents of Sederot, or fail to identify victims as children, as they did with respect to the Yeshiva attack in Jerusalem. Most recently, they identified an Arab terrorist attacker as an "Israeli bulldozer driver", apparently a deliberate distortion.

If you see BBC as being pro-Israel, that says quite a bit about your extreme anti-Israel bias. Try citing examples if you can find any to make your case.


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