Saturday 6 November 2021

''Israel has long claimed...''

Whilst far from being the worst of its kind, here's an interesting example of biased BBC language in action, concerning a BBC News website article headlined Israeli bookstores pull Sally Rooney's books in boycott row

You can tell the BBC journalist's sympathies by how the story is laid out and by how Sally Rooney isn't just 'a writer' but 'the acclaimed writer' - as announced in the second paragraph. The piece even ends with a list of some of the prizes she's won. 

And it's one of those pieces where one side - the favoured, pro-Sally Rooney side - gets the word 'said' while quoting what they say, while the other other side - the unfavoured, pro-Israel side - gets phrases like 'has long claimed', 'vehemently rejects' and 'denounced'. And the latter only gets one line of direct quotation too:

Two of Israel's biggest bookstores say they are stopping selling works by Irish author Sally Rooney, after she refused to allow an Israeli publisher to translate her new book into Hebrew.
The acclaimed writer said it was in support of calls to boycott Israel over its policies towards the Palestinians.
The move by the bookstores follows a backlash against Rooney's decision.
Her stance triggered a wave of both praise and condemnation, escalating into a war of words on social media.
On Thursday, bookstores Steimatzky and Tzomet Sefarim said they would remove Rooney's books from their branches and online sites. The companies have more than 200 outlets across Israel.
It is the first such action by Israeli booksellers since it emerged last month that Rooney had turned down a bid by Israeli publisher Modan for the rights to translate her book Beautiful World, Where Are You.
She said that while she was "very proud" that her two previous novels had been translated into Hebrew, "for the moment, I have chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house".
Rooney said it was out of solidarity with the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for a complete boycott of Israel.
She could not, she said, "accept a new contract with an Israeli company that does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people".
Apartheid was a policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991.
Israel has long claimed BDS opposes the country's very existence and is motivated by anti-Semitism. It vehemently rejects any comparison with apartheid as a smear tactic.
Rooney's decision was denounced by Israel's Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai, calling "the cultural boycott of Israel anti-Semitism in a new guise".
The author said it would still "be an honour" to have Beautiful World, Where Are You translated into Hebrew by a company which shared her political position.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel said Palestinians "warmly welcomed" her move, while others said she had been misrepresented.
Rooney has received several book prizes in the UK, including The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017 and a Costa Book Award in 2018.

Even The Guardian gives the critics of Ms Rooney a fairer hearing.

This story, incidentally, did make it as a main headline on the BBC News website's home page yesterday, as that's how I know about it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.