How the BBC is re-writing history in its reporting of Israel's assault on Gaza
How the BBC is re-writing history in its reporting of Israel's assault on Gaza
By The Editors / newsunspun.org
Nov 17, 2012

The BBC News, and particularly the reports from Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus, on the ongoing Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip has presented the violence as little more than a defensive policy manoeuvre by Israel, whose government, in Marcus's view, 'clearly wants' another ceasefire.

On Wednesday Marcus wrote that the Israeli assassination of Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari, the head of the military wing of Hamas, was 'a taste of things to come'. As with his reporting on Israel's threats towards Iran, Marcus does not point towards the illegalities of such behaviour. Rather this shows, for him, Netanyahu's 'determination to act', his 'initial choice, a return to the policy of targeted killings'. Excluding the BBC's complacent response to news of Obama's 'kill list' in May 2012 (with North America Editor, Mark Mardell, choosing to emphasise ‘that the care taken by the president is significant’), in what other situations might a BBC correspondent nonchalantly report on a ‘policy of targeted killings’ by a country’s leader? How many other leaders are seen by news correspondents to have a valid ‘choice’ as to whether they want to establish a policy of targeted killings?

Marcus’s analysis goes on to say that ‘the danger’ of Israel carrying out such attacks is that it ‘could eventually prompt a major Israeli engagement on the ground’. Note the wording here: there is no mention of invasion, attack, or force; ‘engagement’ would merely be ‘prompted’ by such a situation. Israel, it seems, does not attack; it is merely drawn into ‘engagement’ as it works towards ‘re-establish[ing] its deterrence and achieve a longer-lasting ceasefire’.

With regard to rocket attacks from Hamas, Marcus reverts to more explicit terminology: there has been a ‘recent upsurge in rocket attacks against Israel from the Gaza Strip and the firing of a missile against an Israeli military vehicle patrolling the border fence’. In further defence of Israel’s behaviour it is commented that there ‘has been a significant increase in the number of armed jihadist elements in the Gaza Strip’, according to ‘analysts’. In other words, we are to infer from this that the people of Gaza have brought this violence from Israel upon themselves.

After his baffling flurry of reasons for justifying the Israeli attacks (increase in jihadists; choice of policy; a warning ‘taste of things to come’) Marcus somehow assumes that Netanyahu ‘wants to avoid a full-scale ground war, like Operation Cast Lead that was launched in December 2008’.

Discussing Operation Cast Lead, another recent report on the BBC website tells us that in 2008 ‘hundreds of Palestinians were killed on the first day of Israel's operation’. Note again that this was an ‘operation’, not an ‘attack’. Hamas rocket fire into Israel, in contrast, is never referred to merely as an ‘operation’. In another example, in the same vein as Jonathan Marcus’s reporting, Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East Editor, writes that ‘the danger of the kind of operation Israel has started is that rising casualties on both sides cause a violent escalation that neither side can control’. Once again, what Israel has started is an ‘operation’, and the depiction of the circumstance as a ‘violent escalation that neither side can control’ leads a reader away from any assumption of there being a clear instigator to this violence.

As ‘speculation … mount[ed] that the Israeli army [was] preparing to launch a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip’, the BBC news website of 15 November highlighted the conflict from what could be seen as a somewhat one-sided perspective. The homepage featured 5 headlines (pictured on the right), the top story of which read, ‘Gaza missiles fired at Tel Aviv’. Also featured were reports titled: ‘Israel’s Gaza rocket problem’; ‘UK’s Hague criticises Hamas’; ‘Determined to follow the path of Jihad’; and ‘Hamas targets our children’. In this range of headlines, the residents of the Gaza Strip, on the receiving end of Israel’s bombardment, do not feature. One might have wondered if any ‘problems’ were experienced on the other side of the separation barrier, but information of the effects on the civilian population of the Gaza Strip was sparse. On Thursday 130 casualties were reported in Gaza and 19 deaths, but details of the civilian deaths and casualties are absent from reports.

Providing an analysis of international media coverage from the beginning of the Israeli assault, Noam Chomsky and others wrote on 14 November ‘There was … hardly any mention on the morning of November 12 of military attacks on Gaza that continued throughout the weekend. A cursory scan confirms this … for the New York Times and for the BBC’. In news reports, they write, ‘[w]hat is not in focus are the shellings and bombardments on Gaza, which have resulted in numerous severe and fatal casualties’. This despite ‘[t]he fact that casualties have overwhelmingly been civilians [which] indicates that Israel is not so much engaged in "targeted" killings, as in "collective" killings, thus once again committing the crime of collective punishment’.

Responsibility for any escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza is firmly laid at the hands of Hamas. A headline in The Guardian reads: ‘Obama presses Egypt to rein in Hamas as Gaza conflict escalates’. The idea is not floated in the media that Israel could or should halt its attack (neither do condemnations appear of the initial breach by Israel of the ceasefire). It is noted in The Guardian that Egyptian foreign minister, Mohamed Kamel Amr, called on the US to ‘put pressure on the Israelis to halt the assault on Gaza’. Reports of reactions such as this from non-allied states form the only appearances of such a suggestion.

Further, a BBC report on the deaths of Israeli civilians provided ample space for Benjamin Netanyahu to justify civilian casualties in Gaza. Netanyahu claimed that Hamas ‘deliberately place their rockets next to their children’ we are told by the report. The message is clear: if Palestinian children die, it is not because of Israeli behaviour, but rather it is because of the evil ‘militants’ who have engineered the situation this way.

The reporting has so far downplayed the assassination that instigated the conflict, and omits altogether the killing by Israel of 20-year-old Ahmad al-Nabaheen on 5 November, and of the 13-year-old boy killed as he played football outside his home on 8 November, portraying the Israeli assault on Gaza instead as a defensive measure. The history of these events is already being written from the point of view of the more powerful side of the conflict, and mainstream journalists are proving themselves complicit in this process.

4.0 ·
1
Trending Today
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 10,329 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body
4 min · 7,418 views today · Vestigial structures are evolution's leftovers — body parts that, through inheritance, have outlived the context in which they arose. Some of the most delightful reminders of...
DAPL Opponents Vow to 'Rise' From Ashes of Oceti Sakowin and Keep Fighting
Lauren McCauley · 3,434 views today · 'They cannot extinguish the fire that Standing Rock started,' Dallas Goldtooth declared
Those That Did Not Seek Revenge
Dr. Ann Russo · 2,279 views today · Dr. Ann Russo on violence, healing, and transforming justice.
Stunning Small Homes Form Part of a Communal Compound for Best Friends
Lighter Side · 1,405 views today · If you’re lucky enough to have longtime friends even as an adult, then you know probably already know how much it means to be able to spend time together. Maybe you even have a...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 1,263 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
The Foiled Bomb Plot in Kansas That Didn't Make Trump's Terror List
5 min · 1,220 views today · When a plot by a pro-white militia to bomb a Somali mosque in Kansas was foiled by the FBI last October, the aborted conspiracy received little national coverage - nor did it...
Michael Moore Wants to Help You Find Your Next Anti-Trump Protest
Sarah Ruiz-Grossman · 1,121 views today · The Resistance Calendar lists upcoming rallies across the country.
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 1,082 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 1,063 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
The Most Astounding Fact about the Universe
3 min · 855 views today · This is Neil Degrasse Tyson's response when asked to describe the most astounding fact about the universe. Background music is the cinematic orchestra - To build a home.
To Change Everything, Start Everywhere
8 min · 818 views today · To Change Everything, Start Everywhere! The case for complete self-determination—a guide for the furious, the curious, and the pure of heart. To Change Everything: An...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 793 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Transition From Caterpillar to Butterfly as Analogy for Social Change
4 min · 729 views today · An exceprt from Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview in which Dr. Bruce Lipton talks about the fractal nature of reality and compares the current global awakening and the...
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 676 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 654 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 588 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
From Sanctuary City to Liberated City
Frank Lara · 573 views today · In just one week, with several strokes of a pen, Trump unleashed upon the working class in the U.S. an attack not seen in decades. From his attack on the flawed Affordable Care...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 454 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 450 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
How the BBC is re-writing history in its reporting of Israel's assault on Gaza