There’s a meme going the rounds on the social media about the British Broadcasting Corporation.
It says when one person says it’s raining and another says it is sunny, it isn’t the BBC’s job to present a balance of the two viewpoints; the BBC’s job is to look out the window and see which of them is right.
Let’s apply this to a complaint made by the far-right, Israeli-government-supporting Board of Deputies of British Jews, that made a complaint to the BBC about this Newsnight sequence in which the attack on the refugee campaign in the Palestinian city of Jenin by the Israel Defence Force was questioned:
🔥 WOW 🔥
This is massive. First time I've seen a BBC newsreader actually challenge the narrative on apartheid Israel!
— Lisa Betenzos (@LisaBetenzos) July 5, 2023
(I have no idea why Jimmy Hill’s face kept appearing in the clip; presumably it’s a comment by whoever made it about the veracity of Mr Bennett’s claims.)
The Board of Deputies made a complaint, which you can read below. And below that, you can find evidence refuting its claim:
Watch this clip from 2017 of the IDF shooting an unarmed Palestinian teen during the March of Return protests and then laugh having done it. They seem to be enjoying killing very much indeed, calling their unarmed victim a ‘son of a whore!’ https://t.co/KPftRsTCC5
— Phil Gould 🇵🇸🖕🥁 (@bongosaloon) July 5, 2023
Only last month, an IDF trooper shot two-year-old toddler Muhammad Tamimi in the head, in what is believed to have been a deliberate act of aggression against the child:
Images from my friend Bilal Tamimi after leaving the hospital. And the two-year-old in the hospital.
What could justify this sort of brutality? pic.twitter.com/6jmI5U5lm8
— Miko Peled (@mikopeled) June 4, 2023
He died of his injury a short while later.
It therefore seems unsupportable that the Board of Deputies of British Jews can claim that it is “disgraceful” to say the IDF forces seem happy to kill children. The evidence is there, for all to see.
Sadly, it seems the BBC has not looked out of the window to check what the weather is actually doing.
“I am pleased that the BBC have apologised for the clearly unacceptable language which was used in their interview with Naftali Bennett. Having written to the Director General on this matter today, I appreciate the Corporation’s speedy response.”
– Marie van der Zyl, President pic.twitter.com/IIstqqR9Ro
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) July 5, 2023
In fairness, the BBC apology said the line of questioning was appropriate – it was just the language that was used that caused offence.
But that was enough for the Board of Deputies to crow about it.
Considering the way both organisations have responded to this incident, perhaps the BBC should look into the subject more deeply.
Perhaps Panorama could run a film examining the number of children the IDF have murdered and the frequency of these killings, alongside the after-the-event excuses for them, with analysis of whether the claims of the Israeli government actually stand up to scrutiny.
This Writer has a feeling the results would be illuminating – but I don’t think the BBC, under its shrinking-violet director general Tim Davie, would have the nerve.
For now, it seems the best advice possible for both parties in this dispute is to say that, if the Board of Deputies doesn’t want to see reports saying Israeli armed forces murder children…
Perhaps it should call on the Israeli armed forces to stop murdering children.
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