We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East. (From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

If The Facts Don' t Fit The Agenda, Hide 'Em: The BBC & The Israeli Election

Over at BBCWatch, the Sherlock Holmesian Hadar Sela has posted several must-read posts that analyse in illuminating and depressing detail how Britain's "national broadcaster" has been covering the Israeli election.

There is the trademark omission of facts that don't fit Al Beeb's agenda of emphasisng a supposedly inexorable lurch to the right and the power of rightwing bogeymen, there are errors, there is jejune analysis, there is outsourcing of reportage to a leftist Israeli activist with an axe to grind, and there is manipulative sleight of hand.

There was the doctoring of remarks by the Jerusalem Post's Gil Hoffman (who slayed the myth of a rightward shift here):
"Donnison’s report also included an interview with the Jerusalem Post’s chief political correspondent Gil Hoffman. Or at least, parts of an interview. For – as Hoffman later explained on Twitter – it seems that some things said in that interview just did not fit in with the BBC agenda.
Tweet Gil Hoffman
 Hadar Sela adds,
"But then, a very curious thing happened. Some hours later, Donnison’s report disappeared and – on the same URL and with the same title and synopsis  – a completely different one by Wyre Davies appeared...."
 As she remarks:
 "The BBC’s overall coverage of this election has presented a picture which disproportionately focuses on one side of the Israeli political map.  Audiences will not only have been unable to learn anything about the policies of Centrist and Leftist parties, but will also know nothing about the people leading them. Subjects such as the involvement of Arab women in the political process – which would likely interest readers and viewers in this ‘Arab Spring’ era – have been completely ignored. 
Overall, the BBC’s selective coverage of the elections has had one very specific agenda: to present Israel as a country lurching rightwards and to depict that perceived shift as the exclusive reason for the predicted failure to make progress on the subject of the peace process.
 Neither of those assumptions is anchored in reality, but the BBC continues to selectively tailor the news in order to influence audience perceptions."
(Regarding the election outcome and what it indicates, here's an interesting interview with Dr Colin Rubenstein, of the  Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council [AIJAC]; he stresses, among other points, that the widespread perception that the settlements are the major obstacle to peace is "a furphy that should be laid to rest".)

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