Monday, 9 January 2017

The BBC's 'soft boycott' of Israel

The eminently sensible Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle published a powerful piece a few days ago about the BBC and its attitude to Israel

Please read it for yourselves and see what you think. I think it raises a serious question mark over the BBC's reporting. 

To summarise Stephen's case: You may have heard reports this past week of a potentially transformative treatment for prostate cancer. It was widely reported. Radio 4's Today reported it, but what Today didn't mention was that much of the research was carried out in Israel. The BBC News website reported it, but only mentioned that the treatment was developed in Israel in what Stephen Pollard, understandably, calls "a throwaway line right at the end". (Paragraph 31 out of 31).

Stephen writes:
I wish I could believe this is just an honest mistake – that, purely by chance, the Israeli origins of a medical breakthrough had been left out. But I’m afraid I don’t think that – and I don’t think you will, either. It happens too often and too regularly for it to be pure chance. It’s what I call the soft-boycott strategy.
Can you think of a good reason why as to why Today didn't mention it (as SP says they didn't) or why the BBC News website relegated the fact to the very end of its main report (as can be seen from the report itself)? 

Is the BBC engaged in a 'soft boycott' of good news about Israel?


  1. Replies
    1. (Could be useful medical term for appeasing Islam) … but fixed. ;-)

  2. Talk of how countries are presented on the BBC allows me to mention Start the Week today with Marr interviewing Martin Sixsmith about he book on the story of a woman with family in Pakistan. Almost choked on my cornflakes. What was utterly remarkable about the exchange was just how frank they were about Pakistani culture. It was described matter of factedly as tribal, violent, cruel, misogynisic, corrupt and operating outside the law. Marr sounded quite enthusiastic in a sort of "Not everyone knows this, but they should" way, as though we all needed to get up to speed on this.

    Can you imagine how someone appearing on Question Time and making the same points and arguing it is therefore insane to be so blase about immigration from that part of the world would be dealt with?

    Sixsmith did do that Guardianesque thing of saying the tribal thing was rather good in the way they all looked after each other, without quite recommending we should revert to tribalism and become Iceni or West Saxons or Jutes or whatever again.

  3. There was a time, decades ago, when the BBC actually supported Israel - hard to imagine now, I know. But in more recent times the complete refusal by the BBC to report anything positive about Israel does amount to a form of soft boycott. There is even a particular kind of rudeness reserved specifically for interviewing Israeli politicians - reminiscent of the wimpy kid who suddenly becomes a loudmouth when he realises the school bully is on his side.