Yes, the BBC Is Biased against Israel

Is the BBC biased against Israel? Just by researching the BBC’s website during July, the answer is yes!

Compare three main components: number of articles related to Israel compared to other countries; casualties in these countries; and the difference in terminology used.

Number of Articles

During July, the BBC reported on Israel almost every day, with 22 articles, all focusing on conflicts.

In comparison, 19 articles were published about Syria during that time with nine of those articles featuring Israel.  For example, “Syria War: More than 200 dead in suicide attacks,” should have been about civilian casualties, but BBC injected Israel into the article by detailing Israel’s evacuation of White Helmet workers. However, it does so with the following caveat: “the Syrian government condemned the move, describing it as a “criminal operation” by Israel and others.”

Following Syria, there were eight articles published about Sudan; 10 published about Egypt; and seven about Cyprus. At most, two of those 25 articles discussed conflicts. Crimea is amongst the most contentious areas of the world and was reported on six times, but only two of the articles focus on the conflict.  Myanmar was reported on six times, but no articles were directly related to current conflicts.

Casualties

In the article “Israel suspends fuel deliveries to Gaza over arson attacks” it says that two Palestinians were killed and 14 others wounded in an Israeli air strike while failing to mention any Israeli casualties during this time.

Compare this to Syria, where more than half a million people were killed and 11 million displaced since the civil war began or Crimea, with 10,000 people killed in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Sudan’s ongoing civil war, has left tens of thousands of people dead and millions have been forced to flee the country. 232 civilians were killed, “some hung from trees and others burned alive in their homes.” 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar during last year’s military crackdown.

Terminology

The BBC tends to report on Israel by using a different structure for its headlines than other countries with conflict. Most of the titles of articles published about Israel begin with actions carried out by Israel. For example, the BBC published an articles entitled “Israel suspends fuel deliveries to Gaza over arson attacks,” “Israel deals “hardest blow to Hamas since 2014 Gaza war”, “Israel carries out Gaza strikes as soldier dies from gunshot” and “Israel freezes Palestinian funds over attacks payout.” In each instance, there is more to the story than what the headline portrays. This misrepresentation helps fuel the world’s inability to hold Hamas responsible for its actions

When examining Syria, the headlines are more factual and more accurately represent the content of the article. For example“Syria War: IS ‘Seized women and children’ in Sweida attack” clearly informs readers what expect. Other examples include: “Syrian War: What we know about Douma ‘chemical attack” and “Syria conflict: Syria’s Druze vow to free women and children kidnapped by ISIS.”  These examples illustrate that articles regarding the Syrian conflict begin with either the “Syria conflict” or the “Syria war.” These headlines focus on events occurring within Syria instead of headlining the actions of the Syrian government.

Syria is not the only country in which the BBC uses this style of reporting for its headlines. BBC articles about Crimea and Myanmar have similar styles such as “Rohingya crisis: Myanmar to try Reuters journalists who reported on massacre” and “Ukraine crisis: US to give Kiev $200m in defense support.” It is clear that BBC reports about specific conflicts in a similar fashion through its headlines except when it reports on Israel.

In the past, the BBC apologized for some of its headlines, but it seems the apologies are mere lip service, since the misleading headlines and articles continue. This dishonest reporting should not only be alarming to Israelis who suffer partly due to media coverage like this, but also to the British citizens who are counting on their sources to be fair and honest.

About the Author
Attorney Ran Bar-Yoshafat is Deputy Director of the Kohelet Policy Forum. Fields of interest include constitutional law, international law and public diplomacy. Ran is Israel's former MMA champion, an author and international public speaker.
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