Saturday 10 August 2019

The BBC shows its contempt for Israel

All knife crimes are shocking, but the picture of one young victim with his innocent, kind-looking expression is particularly haunting. The description of the dead boy’s character is equally poignant: “Dvir Sorek had a heart of gold.”

This teenage victim wasn’t in a drug gang; he didn’t come from a broken home or live in a deprived inner-city area or belong to a murky sub-culture. The tenor of the BBC’s report tells its own story. 

Israel hunts killer of off-duty soldier in West Bank 

That’s the headline. Even that choice of words is peculiar; when “Israel” starts hunting people, you know you’re in for a bumpy ride. Does “Britain” hunt the perpetrator of the latest London stabbing? It’s a job for the police, surely. And does an 18-year-old victim seriously deserve to be labelled so dispassionately:  “off-duty soldier”? 

Well, yes if you feel contempt for “Israel”. If you wish to portray a student who had yet to receive any military training, was unarmed and not in uniform when he met his death, as a legitimate target who got what he deserved, then indeed, you’d label him thus. But that’s impartiality for you. You’ve got to be fair and include a meaty justification for the murder, whenever you find one.

Of the 433 words in the report, 168 were devoted to ‘reasons’, evidently for the benefit of supporters of Hamas and perhaps also to avoid accidentally making a seemingly pro-Israel value-judgement.

66 additional words were used to describe a different, but similar abduction and murder of Jewish teenagers, which goes to show how thorough the BBC’s reporting is. Or maybe not. Missing details suggest that ‘thoroughness’ isn’t necessarily a quality best attached to a report that overlooks the customary  handing out of ‘candies’ to celebrate such courageous assassinations, nor a report that fails to mention the pecuniary expectations of the killer’s family, designed to reward and incentivise such heroic acts under Mahmoud Abbas’s generous ‘Pay for slay’ policy. 

In the name of ‘both sides of the story’ if nothing else. Oh, and the fact that “Cpl Sorek” was awarded that rank posthumously; when he was alive he was a mere ‘private’.

All of this may mean nothing to your average Israel-hating reader. They may genuinely believe that all Israelis are legitimate targets, and if they do, they will see nothing untoward in the way this report is starkly bisected by two emboldened and bullet-pointed message-laden statements - crude reminders that Israel is guilty and deserves to have its teenage sons stabbed to death.
  •  Israel backs West Bank homes for settlers 
  • Palestinians to halt agreements with Israel

One has to go to BBC Watch to track down the reality behind this lazy Israel-bashing emoting, which you can read here and here and the BBC’s helpful link to the lengthy apologia for Hamas takes you here 
Israel razes Palestinian homes 'built too near barrier'  
(note the scare quotes and the emotive words 'razes' and 'homes') where the reality is only to be found outwith the Beeb.  Once again BBCWatch supplies the missing information.
“Readers were not informed that most of those “homes” were in fact multi-storey buildings in various stages of construction – and hence for the most part uninhabited – or that a halt to that building work was ordered in 2012. 
“The BBC did not inform readers that while that no-build zone has been in force since 2011, construction of the said structures commenced after that date. Neither were they told that the court addressed the background to that no-build zone.
Individual examples of reporting where the wording is subtly redolent of Hamas propaganda and anti-Israel bias may seem trivial and insignificant, but they form a pattern. 
When the alarming rise in antisemitism becomes too serious a matter for the public to ignore the BBC cannot claim to be an innocent party. 


  1. ynet News calls the victim a soldier as well. And I don't understand your objection to the article mentioning the murder of other Israelis by Palestinians - if the article had left out context like that, BBC-watchers would probably be saying "the report conveniently forgot to mention that this was the 16th murder this year" or something like that. I can't see how them highlighting a pattern of murders is anti-Israel. As for the bullet points, how is "Palestinians to halt agreements with Israel" anti-Israel as you seem to think? Sounds like it was a move by the Palestinians, who should accept responsibility.

    I enjoy reading your blog, and only comment when I disagree (bias!) but I think you could try looking at this one with "fresh eyes".

    1. I know. All the other reports call him a soldier because he was a solder. But he was also an unarmed 18-year-old religious student who hadn’t yet started his military training.

      Even the IDF calls him “19-year-old Corporal Dvir Sorek” though he was only promoted posthumously. However, the IDF uses his rank respectfully, whereas the BBC uses the label ‘soldier’ impersonally and dispassionately, as if ‘off-duty soldier’ defines the person. Defining him in this way implicitly ‘justifies ‘ or rationalises his killing.

      I can see your point about the relevance of the other murders, but I wasn't objecting to the mention of them per se, simply remarking that it was extraneous information in the light of the conspicuous and more relevant omissions I cited.

      I am well aware that the points I make may seem trivial or churlish, but I will say that since I first heard about this horrible incident I have read all the reporting I can find online, and the more I see of the BBC’s version the less I like it. The BBC’s bias is often barely visible, (how can it be otherwise?) but it seems to work.

      I'm glad you enjoy reading the blog, and of course you're always free to disagree.

    2. What is relevant is that the BBC has frequently presented aggressive young Hamas members mounting armed assaults on the Israeli border with the intent of getting across to kill Israeli citizens as "peaceful protestors" (after they end up getting shot by the IDF).


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