BBC’s Connolly misleads on Lebanese boycott law

Four days after the BBC News website featured a filmed report by Tom Brook on the subject of Ziad Doueiri’s film ‘The Attack’ on its ‘Entertainment & Arts’ page, the same website now has two additional items on the same subject by Kevin Connolly of the BBC Jerusalem Bureau.

Another filmed report (with a link to the second – written – one) appears on the ‘Entertainment & Arts’ page:

Connolly 'the attack' filmed

A written report appears in the ‘Features & Analysis’ section of the ‘Middle East’ page:

Connolly 'the attack' written

In his rather confusingly titled written article Connolly states:

“The 1955 boycott law has its roots in the Middle Eastern conflict around the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 – a way of carrying on a kind of economic war.”

In fact, the Arab League boycott, from which the said Lebanese law originates, was formally declared in 1945 – two and a half years before the termination of the British Mandate, the establishment of the State of Israel and the war initiated by Arab states.

“The Arab boycott was formally declared by the newly formed Arab League Council on December 2, 1945: “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” All Arab “institutions, organizations, merchants, commission agents and individuals” were called upon “to refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Zionist products or manufactured goods.” As is evident in this declaration, the terms “Jewish” and “Zionist” were used synonymously by the Arabs. Thus, even before the establishment of Israel, the Arab states had declared an economic boycott against the Jews of Palestine.”

Connolly makes the 1955 Lebanese Anti-Israeli Boycott Law sound like something of a formality:

“The effect is that at an official level, Lebanese institutions act as though Israel does not exist.”

 As we saw back in January, the law is enforced and the Lebanese website ‘Now Lebanon’ even has a handy guide to some of its practicalities.

Now Lebanon guide 1955 law

Connolly’s downplaying of the Lebanese boycott law and its historical beginnings means that he passes up the opportunity to properly inform BBC audiences of its bigoted roots (the BBC itself admits that the British-conceived Arab League’s primary raison d’etre was “preventing the Jewish community in Palestine from creating a Jewish state”) and the contemporary use made of that law by modern-day non-governmental boycotters in Lebanon who make up part of the same BDS campaign to which his colleague Tom Brook gave a platform in the BBC’s previous report on the subject.

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