Jan Shure

Why did the BBC's flagship news bulletin ignore murdered Israelis?

For thirty years we have had to put up with the BBC's refusal to portray Israel as victims of terror


BNEI BRAK, ISRAEL - DECEMBER 25: Israeli police and emergency vehicles surround the scene of a Palestinian suicide attack December 25, 2003 at a bus stop in the central Israeli town of Bnei Brak, outside Tel Aviv, Israel. Three people were killed in the attack while dozens of wounded were evacuated to local hospitals. (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

April 04, 2022 12:31

For those who accuse Jews of being “over-sensitive” – even paranoid – about the BBC’s Israel coverage, here are a couple of questions: Why was there nothing about the series of terror attacks by Palestinians on the BBC’s flagship Six O’Clock News last Wednesday (30 March), some 24 hours after the third and most violent outrage in Bnei Brak when a Palestinian gunman opened fire on Israeli civilians, killing five people? 

And how did an early report of the incident end up on the BBC News website under the staggering headline, “Two Palestinians killed in Israeli raid”? 

Although news junkies would have seen a report of the terror attack on the BBC News Channel, viewers of the main BBC1 news had to wait until 10pm on Wednesday to hear a report of Tuesday’s Bnei Brak terror, as well as details of two earlier – and also unreported – attacks by Palestinian terrorists in the previous few days in Hadera and Be’er Sheva in which six Israelis had died. 

For some 30 years I have seethed at the anti-Israel bias at BBC News, such as the endless times when the absence of vital context or the omission of key facts served to put an anti-Israel spin on an action. 

And when it comes to Jews, more recently was there was the allegation of “Muslim slurs” last November in the BBC’s reports of the attack on a busload of Jewish kids in Central London. 

So one is forced to ask whether the BBC’s failure to include a report of the terror attacks in the main Six O’Clock News is simply the latest example of anti-Israel bias? 

Keeping in mind the BBC’s persistent and unrelenting portrayal of Palestinians as victims and Israelis as aggressors, it seemed reasonable to wonder if BBC News was reluctant to broadcast a story that comprehensively disrupted that perception, especially as all three attacks were in “undisputed” Israeli territory, providing very little opportunity to insert a subtext of supposed justification. 

Perhaps there was some perfectly innocent explanation for the absence of a report at Six O’Clock. With the Ockenden Review and war in Ukraine, it was a busy news day. And there had, after all, been a report on the BBC News Channel.  But every other broadcaster found time to report the terrorist attacks, prominently, extensively and many hours before the BBC.

Yes, there are shootings and violent attacks of all kinds, all the time, across the globe and these are not reported by the BBC. But Israel, for better or worse and for myriad reasons too arcane/complex to explore here, is a key location within a strategic news region. That means expensive news teams and bureaux are permanently based in Israel – including by the BBC – and that a reporter and camera crew can be speedily at the scene of any kind of incident - and that there is an expectation of swift and in-depth coverage when a story “breaks.”

Israel’s importance as a news region means that three attacks by Palestinian terrorists within a few days, with 11 dead, is a story that a broadcaster with the heft and reputation of the BBC should be expected to cover speedily and in-depth – and without the equivocation noted by, among others, Israeli diplomat Ohad Zamet, who asked in a tweet, why it was “so hard” for the BBC to show Palestinians as aggressors and Israelis as victims. 

In February CST reported a sharp rise in antisemitic hate crimes and noted that 2021 had seen the highest total of antisemitic incidents ever recorded by them. That, sadly, is in part the result of 30 years of BBC News perpetuating a fake narrative; 30 years of omitting context and key facts; 30 years of rehashing Palestinian press releases. And in 2022, of hesitating to show Israelis as victims in Hadera, Be’er Sheva and Bnei Brak. 

April 04, 2022 12:31

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