Obsession: four BBC ‘Beitar’ articles in under a week

This is getting ugly. 

On February 14th – just one day after a report about a group of racist fans from the Beitar Jerusalem football club (one of two produced until then by the BBC) had finally given up the place it had held on the Middle East page of the BBC News website for six whole days – two more articles on the same subject were instated on that same page.

ME pge 14 2

The first report, dated February 8th, was a written article. The second one, dated February 11th, was a filmed report by James Kelly which was obviously shown on BBC television news broadcasts and also appeared on the Middle East page of the BBC News website. The third one, dated February 14th, is also a filmed report for BBC television news – by Wyre Davies – and is sweepingly titled “concerns of racism in Israeli football”. The fourth report – also dated February 14th and by Wyre Davies – is a written article. 

Davies Beitar

Davies Beitar 2

Neither of Davies’ reports contains any new information: both merely rehash the same themes which appeared in the previous two already published and promoted prominently during the preceding week.

But in the filmed report, note Davies’ ‘translation’ of the words of the football fan shown at 02:01. Davies says:

” ‘We won’t allow Muslims. This is a Jewish club’ says this man.”

In fact, although the man’s words are hardly the height of polite conversation, he does not say the words ‘allow’ or ‘Jewish club’. That ‘translation’ is pure fabrication on Davies’ part. 

In his written report, Davies tries to imply linkage between racism and a specific branch of Israeli politics: 

“Beitar Jerusalem is traditionally seen as the club of Israel’s political right wing.

Many politicians, past and present, from the conservative Likud party are lifelong fans.”

The BBC’s obsessive focus on this issue is doing it no favours: its ugly agenda is all too clear. Four consecutive and tediously similar articles in less than a week on the subject of a minority group of racist fans at one football club out of dozens in Israel are not an accident of coincidence. They are clearly the product of an editorial decision to exploit an incident in order to dictate audience  perception of Israel as a country riddled with anti-Muslim racism. 

It is precisely this kind of prejudiced coverage which gains the BBC a reputation for bias and compromises its impartiality. 

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