BBC misrepresentation of Israel’s stance on Iran talks continues in Kim Ghattas report

A filmed report by the BBC’s State Department correspondent Kim Ghattas from November 20th 2013 also appears on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the title “Fresh push for Iran nuclear deal”.

Ghattas filmed report 1

Ghattas opens her report:

“One by one the senators arrived for a meeting at the White House: an urgent last-minute pitch by President Obama. Don’t impose more sanctions on Iran for now, he told them. The senators appeared unconvinced.”

The report then cuts to a statement made by one of the senators – not identified by the BBC – who says:

“It was a long meeting and a lot of questions were asked and a lot of questions were answered but I think everybody’s gonna go back and seek their own council.”

Ghattas then introduces a clip showing the US president by saying:

“The president then made his case again – in public.”

Obama: “Let’s look, let’s test the proposition that over the next six months we can resolve this in a diplomatic fashion.”

Ghattas continues:

“John Kerry’s also been lobbying in congress since the last round of talks. But they’re both up against America’s best friend in the region. Israel launched its own feverish campaign against a deal with Iran – on Twitter and on television.” [emphasis added]

The image appearing on the screen as Ghattas says “on Twitter” is this one:

Ghattas filmed report 2

The image appearing on the screen as Ghattas says “on television” shows a short clip from a video made – as is clearly visible – by the Emergency Committee for Israel, which is an American organization: not “Israel” as Ghattas inaccurately claims. 

Ghattas filmed report 3

Ghattas goes on:

“In Geneva earlier this month Americans and Iranians spoke more over thirty hours than they did over the last thirty years. In exchange for halting progress in its nuclear programme, Iran would get moderate sanctions relief while negotiations continue and Iranians say the US must stick to its end of the bargain.

And at the White House they agree. This administration believes in ending wars – not starting new ones. Barack Obama is convinced that negotiations with the Iranians are the way to avoid conflict. He wants a deal with Iran if he can get it. He sees it as part of his political project – his potential legacy.

But thousands of miles away from here, Israel is already warning that a deal with Tehran in itself could provoke war.” [emphasis added]

So here we have Ghattas giving a superficial presentation of the Obama administration’s policy in overtly sympathetic tones whilst BBC audiences are once again mislead with regard to Israel’s stance on the P5+1 talks.

As we have previously pointed out here, Israel has not expressed opposition to diplomatic efforts to solve the problems presented by Iran’s nuclear programme – quite the contrary, as Israeli minister Yuval Steinitz has explained to the BBC in person. And had Ghattas and her team bothered to read other entries on the Twitter feed they used as an image in their report, they would have found ample evidence that the Israeli stance does not include a “feverish campaign against a deal with Iran”, but urges an agreement which will prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capability. 

“Netanyahu called on the international community to stand by what he said were its original demands for an end to all enrichment of uranium by Iran, the export of all already enriched material, and the closure of the under-construction heavy water plant at Arak.”

The BBC’s repeated disingenuous misrepresentation of Israel’s approach to the P5+1 talks clearly breaches BBC editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality as well as deliberately misleading audiences and actively preventing them from obtaining the “understanding of international issues” which it is obliged to promote under its public purposes remit.

Related posts:

Inaccuracy and distortion in BBC report of Netanyahu’s UN speech

BBC misrepresents Israel’s stance on P5+1 talks yet again

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