Wednesday 21 January 2015

Stabbing attack

BBC Watch discusses the way the BBC has been presenting this morning’s stabbings in Tel Aviv. I hadn’t heard Kevin Connolly’s version of this event, but just as I was about to go out this morning I was unlucky enough to catch Yolande Knell’s piece on this incident on the BBC News channel.

I’m alway conscious that a whole generation nurtured by the Oz soap “Neighbours” has been permanently influenced by Oz pronunciation. I’m not talking about the upward inflection, which I sense has died down. It’s the way they pronounce “Here.” With a silent ‘r”.  “Hee.”
Several BBC broadcasters of a particular age do this, but Knell, she who pronounces Ramallah like a native, does it most of all.

Yolande Knell described the knife attack that took place on a bus in Tel Aviv. She recounted what happened, giving a potted account of other attacks on Israelis by Palestinians in the recent past. 

“The Har Nof Synagogue attack”

“In November, an Israeli soldier was killed in a knife attack in Tel Aviv” 

“An Israeli woman was stabbed to death in the West Bank in a separate attack” 

She then spent the rest of her report setting out the many and varied reasons why, in her (and the BBC’s) view, Palestinians who carry out these attacks feel motivated to do so. She omitted to mention the gross incitement by the Palestinian leadership or the praise meted out to the heroes and martyrs who carry out such attacks, including the motorist who drove into and killed a baby. What a hero.

So much time did Yolande spend explaining why a Palestinian might want to stab Israeli civilians, virtually appearing to justify such attacks as she did so, that this aspect of her report all but eclipsed the news of the attack itself. 
One of the reasons she gave was “The settlements, built on land that the Palestinians want for their state, illegal under international law, though Israel disagrees with this.”

Need I say that there’s a difference between disputing the validity of the so-called International law and disagreeing with it. We might disagree with something we don’t like, say, pronunciation of a word. That’s a matter of opinion and perhaps related to our right to be offended.

‘Israel’ does indeed disagree that settlements are illegal under international law, and obviously ‘Israel’ dislikes Israel-bashers believing that they are. Nor is ‘Israel’ delighted when people like Yolande Knell reiterate it at every opportunity.  However ‘Israel’ not only disagrees with the concept that settlements are illegal under international law, it definitely disputes the legality and validity of the claims that settlements are illegal under so-called international law.

The BBC has reluctantly taken to using the more accurate term ‘dispute’ with regard to Israel’s position on settlements, and Yoland Knell shouldn’t be muddying the water.

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