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October 22, 2016 / 20 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

Jerusalem Iranian Synagogue Defaced with Crosses

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Jerusalem Police received a report overnight Monday about crosses that were spray painted in black on the front wall and windows of the Koresh synagogue run by Iranian Jews at 34 Yossi Ben Yoezer Street in the Katamon section of Jerusalem. Police investigators and a forensic team arrived at the site.

The synagogue, named Koresh – Mishkan Shalom l’yotzei Iran (Cyrus – abode of peace for Iranian newcomers), is named after the Persian king who allowed Babylonian Jews to return to Israel after the first Exile.

The Iranian Jewish community maintains a close relationship with its brethren in Israel, as part of a tradition that began with the Babylonian exile, when the Jewish community of Iranian started to send a messenger to Israel, to check whether the Jews had started to return to the Land of Israel in order for them to also come back. Israeli Jews of Iranian descent also have a deep connection to Iran, and many continue to use Farsi.

According to a BBC report, Israel Radio broadcasts daily to Iran in Farsi. Twice a week Menashe Amir, a Persian Israeli, hosts a talk show with callers from Iran, the vast majority of whom are Muslim. The show attracts two to six million listeners every day from a country where the Jewish community is estimated at 20,000.

“I would say if 10 people are calling us from Iran, only one is talking about destroying Israel or death to Israel,” Amir told the BBC back in 2007. The Iranian callers aren’t allowed to call Israel directly, and they phone a number in Germany from which they are patched through to the Jerusalem studio.

David Israel

BBC News omissions in Coverage of Gaza UN Worker Conscripted by Hamas

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

{Originally posted to the BBC Watch website}

“Confusion over the role of the press explains one of the strangest aspects of coverage here—namely, that while international organizations are among the most powerful actors in the Israel story, they are almost never reported on. Are they bloated, ineffective, or corrupt? Are they helping, or hurting? We don’t know, because these groups are to be quoted, not covered.” [Matti Friedman, “What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel“, November 2014]

August 9th saw the appearance of an article titled “Israel: ‘Gaza UN worker helped Hamas’” on the BBC News website’s Middle East page. The article opened:

“Israel has charged a UN aid worker from Gaza with using his position to help the militant Hamas movement, in the second such case in a week.”

When the BBC reported on that previous case, it took seven paragraphs before audiences were provided with the obviously very relevant information that Hamas is a proscribed terror organisation. In this article, readers have to plough through its entire seventeen paragraphs before they are informed that:

“Hamas is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, EU, and UK among other countries.”

Readers are told:

“Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said Waheed Borsh, an employee with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Gaza since 2003, admitted aiding Hamas.

It said he used UN resources to build a military jetty and prioritised rebuilding homes of Hamas members.”

The BBC’s use of the economical terminology “military jetty” does not of course tell the full story about that project.

“Bursh is an employee of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which undertakes such projects as rehabilitating Gaza Strip homes damaged in warfare.

He has worked as a UNDP engineer since 2003 and was tasked with overseeing the demolition of homes and evacuating the waste.

According to the Shin Bet, Bursh was approached shortly after the 2014 Gaza war by Husseini Suleiman, a messenger for senior Hamas commander Abu Anas al-Andor, who asked him to use his position to help the terrorist organization. In April and May 2015, he allegedly helped build the naval commando port in the northern Gaza Strip.

Bursh is said to have used his authority to transfer to the site 300 tons of construction materials.”

Later on readers are told that:

“It [the ISA] said he [Borsh] had been instructed by Hamas to ensure UNDP projects would benefit the militant group. The ISA said Mr Borsh confessed to carrying out activities that aided Hamas.

This included informing the group when weapons or tunnel openings were found in houses where UNDP workers were operating, it said.

As a result “Hamas would take control of the site and confiscate the arms and other materials,” the ISA said.”

The BBC omits a vital piece of information from that portrayal.

“Additionally, Borsh disclosed information regarding cases in which Hamas would blatantly and aggressively exploit UNDP humanitarian activities for its own purposes. For example, when weapons or terrorist tunnel openings were discovered in houses being handled by the UNDP, Hamas would take control of the site and confiscate the arms and other materials. This violates clear UN procedures according to which UNMAS is supposed to be immediately notified as the United Nations Mine Action Service is the UN body in charge of dealing, inter alia, with explosive remnants of war.” [emphasis added]

The article promotes an unqualified quote from the terrorist organisation concerned.

“Hamas said the allegations were “incorrect and baseless” and part of Israeli efforts “to tighten the siege of the Gaza Strip by prosecuting international relief organisations.”

However, the statement was not attributed to the person who made itSami Abu Zuhri – and the threat included in his statement was edited out.

“Hamas, meanwhile, denied the allegations in an official statement. The group’s spokesperson Sami Abu Zurhi called the accusations “false and baseless,” and said they were aimed at helping Israel strengthen its “siege” of Gaza.

If Israel persists in its policy of accusing aid organizations in Gaza, it would face “dangerous consequences,” Zurhi said.”

As regular readers know, the BBC has in the past frequently and enthusiastically promoted UN politicized messaging on the topic of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip while concurrently ignoring the flaws in the UN’s system. Obviously it is high time for the BBC to meet its public purpose remit by finally providing audiences with some in-depth and objective coverage of the various UN agencies (and additional humanitarian organisations) working in the Gaza Strip.


Hadar Sela

Who Says the BBC Never Calls Terror ‘Terror’?

Monday, August 1st, 2016

{Originally printed to the authors’ website, This Ongoing War}

Regular readers of this blog, and of the much-more focused and excellent BBC Watch, will be aware of the infuriating and ultimately dangerous practice at the BBC to (a) Never use the word terror outside of quotation marks and (b) To use it when it suits the editors.

Then there’s another option: (c) To change their minds once or twice on a single day depending on… well, in truth, we don’t know on what such editorial swings depend.

But they certainly happen. We watched it and then described it in “22-Mar-16: At the BBC, they’re challenged by terror in quite revealing ways” when the BBC decision-makers couldn’t quite determine whether their news consumers could be entrusted with knowing that terror played a role in the Brussels Airport terror massacre.

(In the end, they decided that it did not, then that it did, and eventually, later the same day, that it did not. We documented the silliness here.)

Rule of thumb: it almost never suits the editors and has not suited them for years, to use the word terror when describing any act of savagery, no matter how transparently jihadist in nature, when such acts are directed at Israelis. Check it out.

Knowing this, and understanding how much double-talk and hypocrisy lie behind it, take a look at this morning’s BBC report from Brazil and the events we ourselves mentioned yesterday [“21-Jul-16: As the Olympics approach, Brazilian jihad comes into focus“]. The screen shot above show how that BBC item is currently headlined.

What’s obviously going on is that, while BBC editorial guidelines are one thing, the decisions taken by the editors at the BBC on a given day are frequently another.

Click to see how very seriously the BBC takes its own editorial guidelines - on paper

To see how very seriously the BBC
takes its own editorial guidelines – on paper Click

We tried to lay out our view of those double-standards (we’re being polite) in this post: “06-Jan-16: Perceptions and realities at the BBC“. It includes a revealing (though discouraging) list of our earlier comments on this important issue, all of them addressing the BBC and its terror strategy from a critical perspective.

There’s also the disturbing way the BBC pays what we consider to be self-evidently inadequate attention to the frequency and nature of terror attacks (whatever the BBC chooses to call them) against Israelis compared with its comprehensive and often up-close coverage of Israeli actions against the Arab side after those terror attacks happen,

Over at BBC Watch, they address this very matter on a monthly basis via a statistical review, and in March 2016 provided this summary chart [“Reviewing the BBC News website’s coverage of terror in Israel“]:

Chart BBC Coverage Terror Oct15 to Mar16

As you mull over BBC’s editorial practices, think of its standing as a publicly-funded (to the tune of an unparalleled billions of dollars each year), globe-straddling radio/TV/web/print colossus with a mission

to ensure that the BBC gives information about, and increases understanding of, the world through accurate and impartial news, other information, and analysis of current events and ideas.

Yep: Accurate and impartial, and it’s clear that many people buy that. ‘

But closer inspection, and some informed knowledge of what goes on in Israel, and a person realizes this is how ideology-driven journalism works. All those well-rounded vowels, the pompous self-justifications and the serious-sounding guidelines don’t change that.

We can take comfort from the fact that today’s BBC headline doesn’t read “Violent extremism arrests in Brazil.


Frimet and Arnold Roth

What Word will be Missing from BBC Report on Sentencing of Hamas Terrorists?

Monday, June 27th, 2016

{Originally posted to the BBC Watch website}

As has been mentioned here on prior occasions, it is extremely rare to see any follow-up reporting by the BBC after Palestinian terrorists have been arrested and put on trial but just such a report did appear on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on June 22nd under the headline “Palestinians jailed for life for killing Israeli couple“.

However, despite this being a story about the sentencing of convicted terrorists belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization who murdered two Israelis in a pre-planned terror attack, the words terror, terrorist or terrorism do not appear even once in this report.

“An Israeli military court has sentenced four Palestinians to life in prison for the murder of an Israeli couple in the occupied West Bank, the military says.

Eitam and Naama Henkin were killed in front of their four young children in a drive-by shooting on 1 October.

The military said the assailants, members of the Islamist movement Hamas, opened fire at the Henkins’ car after an attempt to abduct them failed.”

What does appear in this article is the above link to the BBC’s original report on the attack. There we learn that over nine months since its publication, BBC Online has still not got round to correcting its inaccurate presentation of Eitam Henkin’s name.


Sadly, there is of course nothing surprising about the BBC’s censoring of the word terror from this article: the same pattern was seen in its earlier reporting on the same story (see ‘related articles’ below).

However, just a few days earlier the BBC was capable of reporting that “jihadist terror struck Paris in November.


Similarly, BBC audiences were recently informed of “counter-terror raids” in Belgium which resulted in three men being charged.

“The charges they face include attempting to commit murder through terrorism and participating in a terrorist group.”

The BBC was also able to tell audiences in its own words that these raids were:

“…the biggest coordinated operation since the terror attacks here in Brussels three months ago.”

And that:

“Thirty-two people were murdered in the terror attacks in March…”


Once again we see that while the BBC rightly uses the word terror when it reports on that topic in Europe, the same word is censored from its reporting from Israel, even an article about terrorists already convicted in court.

Related Articles:

BBC’s Connolly refrains from using the word terror in report on terror attack

BBC News describes Henkin family attackers as “alleged militants”

Hadar Sela

Analysis: Trump Giving Israel a Bad Name with ‘Profiling’ Comment

Monday, June 20th, 2016

“I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, using Israel as an example for a place where this method is flourishing and yielding results. “You look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it and they do it successfully. And you know, I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense,” he said.

Sadly, as Israel is being drawn with increasing frequency into the US presidential elections, with the Democrats using the Israeli-Arab conflict as a battle field between the Sanders and Clinton proxies, bits of prejudice and misinformation about the life and politics of the Jewish State are coming to the fore and, more often than not, spreading more ignorance than knowledge about it.

Donald Trump’s cartoon depiction of Israel’s security forces’ strategies is a case in point. A few years ago, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected on a promise to do away with police racial profiling, because it perpetuated decades of abuse when African-Americans and Latinos would be routinely stopped and frisked by police. But predictive profiling, which takes into account multiple elements in an individual’s manner and appearance, is a crucial component of law enforcement work, and it’s much more complex than just skin color and religion.

Not according to the BBC, which informed its listeners on Sunday: “Profiling uses ethnicity, race and religion to determine whether a person has or is likely to commit crimes.”

And, sadly, this is probably what Trump meant when he shared with Face the Nation what he had taken from Israel’s security strategies. In a sense, Trump’s and the BBC’s notions of profiling come down to the store detective who spots a black person coming in and sticks to them expecting that they are more likely than others to shoplift.

If Israel’s security forces had used this yardstick in their approach to predictive profiling it would have choked not just its international airports, but traffic on the streets in many cities, too. If all you need to be in order to trigger security response is dark-skinned or Muslim, three-quarters of Israelis would spend their days and nights in police stations.

Chris Weller, who last year reported in Business Insider about his experience as a foreign, non-Jewish traveler at Ben Gurion airport, noted that “no flight leaving Ben Gurion has ever been hijacked, and the airline servicing Israel, El Al, hasn’t seen an attack in more than 30 years.” And yet, dozens of El Al and other flights leave Ben Gurion every day, and passenger traffic is brisk and efficient.

Israel employs, on the streets of its cities as well as in its airports, an intelligence driven system that relies on good communication, alert operatives, and multi-layered screening. Daniel Wagner, co-author of the book “Global Risk Agility and Decision Making,” cites Raphael Ron, a former director of security at Ben Gurion for 5 years, who said the passenger-oriented security system there is focused on the “human factor,” and is “based on the assumption that terrorist attacks are carried out by people who can be found and have been stopped through the use of this simple but effective security methodology.”

Unlike all US airports, departing passengers in Ben Gurion are not asked to take off their shoes during physical screening processes. Instead, passengers are interviewed by trained agents before they get to the check-in counter. So that the area in front of the check-in is not conceded to potential terrorists, as was the case recently in the Brussels airport attack. The interviews last one or two minutes for the most part, so that the line of passengers is moving quickly, and when the agents (they work in pairs) do suspect someone, based on factors such as vocabulary, general behavior, dress, age, race, religion and destination—they may be detained and questioned for as long as it takes.

But the scrutiny at Ben Gurion begins well ahead of the passenger’s arrival at the terminal itself. Every vehicle first passes through a security checkpoint where armed agents examine it, have a brief exchange with the driver, and assess their risk level. Meanwhile, the vehicle is gauged by a weight sensor, and an undercarriage scan. Then, outside and inside the terminal building agents are always mingling with the crowd pouring in, aided by hidden surveillance cameras that are monitored around the clock. Suspicious people would be challenged without waiting for them to reach a counter or a metal detector. An agent would approach them and strike a conversation to assess their mental state and risk level.

All of that well coordinated system relies on a broader intelligence infrastructure that uses informants, social network scrutiny and surveillance — traditional police methods which Israel’s security forces have been using and improving over the past decade and a half both in green line Israel and in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Chris Weller offered an excellent example for the way Israel combines computer technology with the human factor, to create a smooth, reliable, fast and effective communication system regarding predictive profiling. “I learned that before any passenger ever gives up his luggage to the fine folks at Ben Gurion International, an employee places a neon yellow sticker on the back of your passport. On it is a 10-digit number. The first number, ranging from one to six, indicates your perceived threat level to whomever else you’re passed along. I got a five.”

And so, with a simple bar-coded sticker, the first agent who meets the passenger communicates his impressions to the next agent down the line without having to exchange one word or even a gesture. Leftwing writer Lia Tarachansky complained a few years ago about the same system:

“So I enter the line … My Israeli-Palestinian roommate tells me he’ll wait while I answer the security lady’s questions. She sees I speak Hebrew, she asks if I packed my own bags and she gives me a ‘1’ as expected. I’m white and I’m an Israeli, therefore I’m probably a Zionist. High from excitement and privilege I ask if my friend can come with me to the check-in. She says of course and asks for his ID. Her face changes.

“Where it says the Jewish birth date the line in his ID is blank. i.e. not Jewish. i.e. Palestinian.

– you know this man?

– yes

– how?

– he’s my roommate

– where?

– Jaffa

– wait here.

“She looks at his last name. It’s Christian, i.e. Arab. She disappears with our passports. The roommate looks at me and we both know what’s going to happen. When she comes back her smile is gone. She tears the ‘1’ off my bags and angrily puts on a ‘3’ as though to say ‘you didn’t tell me you have an Arab friend!’ Her face says ‘don’t you see you’re [expletive] it all up for us?!’”

Tarachansky described in her vivid style just how unhappy she was with the Israeli security system, but the fact is that even in her anti-Israeli narrative one can see that no one was hurt in the encounter she described, no one was manhandled, no one even missed their flight. But the system quickly spotted and responded to the potential threat, and the response was to replace a passport sticker. This hostile depiction of the Israeli method is, in fact, a song of praise to a rational, sophisticated and effective security system.

One wonders whether Donald Trump, or the media, understand the full depth of this system when he describes Israel’s success in police work and security as “profiling.”


Patchy and Selective BBC News Reporting of Gaza Border Incidents

Monday, May 9th, 2016
{Originally posted to BBC Watch website}

On May 3rd terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired shots across the border at an Israeli military vehicle. The next day cross-border incidents continued with five separate mortar attacks on Israeli troops which were claimed by both Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In the evening the Israeli airforce responded with strikes on Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip.  On May 5th an additional mortar attack raised the number of cross border incidents to seven in less than 48 hours and further incidents which took place later in the day brought the number of attacks into double figures. On the same day the IDF announced that it had discovered a cross border attack tunnel – the second to be detected in less than a month.

None of the above was reported at the time on the BBC News website.

As the mortar attacks against IDF soldiers dealing with the newly discovered tunnel continued, the IDF retaliated with artillery fire and according to Palestinian media reports, a woman was killed near Khan Yunis.

In the early hours of May 6th the BBC News website published a report with the context-free headline “Israel tank fire kills Gaza woman, medics say.

Readers of the report found the background story presented in qualified terms, using the BBC’s standard ‘Israel says’ formula.

“Israel said it was responding to mortar rounds fired by Hamas fighters.”

“The army said attacks by the militants were targeting Israeli forces searching for tunnels in the border area.”

Only in the tenth paragraph did the BBC get round to describing the context to the headlined incident in its own words – but its portrayal inaccurately described the cross-border attacks as having begun a day later than is actually the case and failed to adequately clarify to readers that the violence was initiated by Palestinian terrorists.

“Since Wednesday, Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups have fired guns and mortar rounds across the border, and the Israeli air force has carried out bombing raids.

The exchange of attacks continued on Friday.”

BBC reporting of the discovery of the latest cross-border attack tunnel is limited to 35 words in two paragraphs:

“The clashes came after Israel said it had discovered a new tunnel reaching into Israel from Gaza.

Israeli army spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner said the tunnel was about 30 metres (100ft) below the surface.”

On the evening of May 6th the attacks from the Gaza Strip escalated when terrorists fired missiles at Israeli civilian communities in the Eshkol region near the border. The BBC’s article was not updated to include that information and no additional report on that incident was published.

Since the beginning of the year the BBC News website has failed to report on any of the missile attacks on Israeli civilian communities by terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Hadar Sela

Saed Erekat: Dead Terrorists Are ‘Men Who Lost Hope’

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

What do you call an Arab who stabs Jews to death?

If you are PLO secretary general Saeb Erekat, who was the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority when it talked as if there were “negotiations,” the answer is: “They are dead men who have lost hope.”

That is what Erekat told BBC’s HARDtalk in an interview aired Wednesday. He also maintained that “violence is not the answer,” but when the interviewer asked him about the stabbings, some of them in the backs of children and elderly men and women, Erekat could not say a bad word.

Instead, Arabs murder Jews because they have lost hope, all because Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not “negotiated” non-negotiable demands presented by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Erekat insisted in the interview that there will be a Palestinian Authority country, sooner or later. He said:

For Palestinians and Israelis there is only one option, if not this year, next year, or 10 years’ time is to live and to let live, it’s a two state solution. It’s Palestine to live side by side with the State of Israel in peace and security on the 1967 lines. That’s the only option.

I couldn’t do it through the Security Council; I couldn’t do it through negotiations, not because I failed, because I was foiled by the likes of Benjamin Netanyahu.

However, he said he is thinking about leaving his post at the helm of the PLO.



Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/saed-erekat-dead-terrorists-are-men-who-lost-hope/2015/11/05/

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