Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Watchdog Calls Out BBC For Hamas ‘Propaganda’

BBC Watch accuses the newspaper of "absolving Hamas of truce violation," and refusing to name the 4-year-old Israeli who was killed by Hamas mortar fire

By: Daniel Koren

Published: August 26th, 2014 in News » World

Watchdog Calls Out BBC For Hamas 'Propaganda'

BBC Watch, a watchdog that “monitors BBC coverage of Israel for accuracy and impartiality,” has condemned the acclaimed newspaper for “absolving Hamas” of the truce violation last week, amplifying its “propaganda” against Israel, and for refusing to print the name of the 4-year-old Israeli who was killed Friday by Hamas mortar fire.

The watchdog notes that Middle East correspondent Mark Lobel last week joined the publication’s Jerusalem team covering the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel. On the 22nd of August, Lobel produced a report for BBC Television News, which BBC has been promoting on its Middle East website, called “Israel Child ‘Killed by Rocket Fire from Gaza.'” The watchdog, firstly, took offence at the usage of “inverted commas” that imply whether the child, 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman, was actually killed by mortar fire or not.

Secondly, they denounced the fact that, throughout the entire video segment, Lobel did not once mention Tragerman’s name, perhaps in an effort to dehumanize him:

“The Israeli prime minister has come out and offered his condolences..eh…to the family of a four year-old boy who was…ehm…was announced killed by one of these mortar…eh…rounds. What had happened is that since Israel…eh…assassinated three senior Hamas military leaders in the early hours of Thursday morning, there’ve been a flurry of rockets and mortars flying over the border. Eighty – over eighty – since midnight last night and several of these mortars all landed on a kibbutz several…ehm…meters away from the border with Gaza and medics said that a four year-old boy was playing inside his living room and got hit in the head and…eh…was killed.”

Lobel claimed in the piece that the mortar fire against Israel was a result of an Israeli strike where three Hamas terrorists were killed the day before, without mentioning that Hamas had violated the ceasefire on August 19th by targeting Israeli civilian communities in the South. He also, according to BBC Watch, “continues by further confusing audiences with a claim that the break-down of talks in Cairo preceded the renewed fighting. In fact it was the breach of the ceasefire by Gaza Strip-based terrorists which led to the termination of negotiations.”

On August 23rd, a day after Lobel’s piece was published, BBC reporter Quentin Sommerville penned a print version of the report, which also failed to name Daniel Tragerman as the fallen Israeli 4-year-old:

“This was the aftermath of an earlier Hamas mortar attack. It killed an Israeli child; the fourth civilian to die there since the conflict began. Israel promised it would escalate its campaign in Gaza as a result. After a lull of the ceasefire which ended on Tuesday, the violence and the casualties have been steadily increasing here.”

BBC Watch notes that the ceasefire did not simply ‘end’ but was a direct violation perpetrated by Hamas. In another article published by BBC that day, where it claimed “A previous Egyptian-brokered truce collapsed on Tuesday,” it also neglected to mention that Hamas violated the ceasefire.

In this same article, according to the watchdog, BBC is guilty of promoting “false Hamas propaganda.”

“In an interview with Yahoo News, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal rejected the charge that his organisation targets Israeli civilians. ‘We try most of the time to aim at military targets and Israeli bases,’ Mr Meshaal said. But we admit that we have a problem. We do not have the weapons available to our enemy… so aiming is difficult.'”

In publishing these articles, BBC has reiterated what many have already argued, that certain news publications skew facts in favor of a bias, whether pro or against Israel, but seems more often to be in support of the latter. Both The New York Times and TIME Magazine have retracted articles that seemed to harbor such a bias.

For example, after Hamas-run health officials released numbers that Israel argued was skewed – which have since been confirmed – the BBC’s head of statistics admitted that Israel was not indiscriminately targeting civilians, despite what Hamas would have the public believe.

Hamas have also since admitted that they’ve kicked out of Gaza those journalists who were trying to film where they were shooting rockets from, and those who would have a negative effect on their propaganda war, a war they seem to be winning.

Weeks ago, hundreds protested at CNN for perpetuating an anti-Israel bias in their news reports.

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