BBC in full pro-Israel propaganda mode

Britain’s state broadcaster, the BBC, is once again telling the world, blatantly and shamelessly, that Israeli lives are worth more than Palestinian lives.

“Israel under renewed Hamas attack”: this was last night’s BBC headline on the escalating bloodshed in Gaza,” writes Owen Jones in the Guardian newspaper. “It is as perverse as Mike Tyson punching a toddler, followed by a headline claiming that the child spat at him,” he says, adding:

There is no defence for Hamas firing rockets into civilian areas, and as sirens wail in Israel, the fear among ordinary Israelis should not be ignored or belittled. But the media coverage hardly reflects the reality: a military superpower armed with F-15 fighter jets, AH-64 Apache helicopters, Delilah missiles, IAI Heron-1 drones and Jericho II missiles (and nuclear bombs, for that matter), versus what David Cameron describes as a “prison camp” firing almost entirely ineffective missiles. Twenty-seven Palestinians are reported to have died in Gaza – and, mercifully, no Israelis have been killed by Hamas rockets – and yet the BBC opts for the Orwellian “Israel under renewed Hamas attack”. [Editor’s note: at the time of publication the toll had risen to 41 Palestinians dead and more than 300 wounded, and no Israeli casualties.]

The macabre truth is that Israeli life is deemed by the Western media to be worth more than a Palestinian life: here is the “hierarchy of death” at work. According to the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, 565 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces since January 2009, while 28 Israeli civilians and 10 Israeli security personnel have been killed. The asymmetry of this so-called conflict is reflected in the death toll, but it is not reflected in the coverage.

And so it goes for the events surrounding the abduction and vile murder of three Israeli teenagers. What was not widely reported by the western media was that – in the raids that followed their disappearance – six Palestinians, including a child, were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank. As Amnesty International put it, these were “blatant violations of international humanitarian and human rights law”.

Readers of this website will recall that back in 2009, when Israel launched its so-called “Cast Lead” blitzkrieg on Gaza, the BBC went as far as to refuse to broadcast a national humanitarian appeal for Gaza on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella organization for 13 humanitarian aid agencies.

More recently, we have published several reports on one of the BBC’s resident Israel flag-wavers, Raffi Berg, the editor of the BBC News website’s Middle East section, who was caught in flagrante instructing his staff to report sympathetically about Israel and is suspected of distorting a number of BBC reports – see the list at the end of this article.

As Owen Jones says, the BBC “is a public broadcaster, duty-bound to provide balanced reports that accurately reflect the reality on the ground. It is failing to do so, and it is up to licence payers – to whom it is accountable – to demand that it does”.

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