BBC’s Bowen revives five year-old grudge in Indy interview

Below is a paragraph from an interview with the BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen which appeared in the Independent on March 9th 2014. 

“He is still smarting from a controversial BBC Trust finding against him in 2009, which outraged journalists both inside and outside the BBC. He maintains that the ruling – relating to the sourcing of part of a story on Israeli settlements, following complaints by two full-time pro-Israeli lobbyists – was a “mistake” based on a “flawed” investigation process that has now been changed. “One person they took advice from who was held up as independent was later appointed as Israel’s ambassador to the United States,” he complains. The BBC Trust continues to defend its findings.”

Readers can view that “controversial” BBC Trust finding for themselves here and they can find out more about those “outraged journalists” here. They can also judge whether or not the claim that the BBC Trust’s ruling related “to the sourcing of part of a story on Israeli settlements” is accurate by reading details here of one of the complaints made (and its timeline) regarding Bowen’s article about the Six Day War titled “How 1967 defined the Middle East”, which is still available on the BBC News website.

If they dig through the BBC Trust’s long report, readers will find that the person Bowen complains was “later appointed as Israel’s ambassador to the United States” is in fact historian Michael Oren; the author of a comprehensive book about the Six Day War – although Bowen and the Independent of course neglect to mention that rather relevant fact. They will also note that in fact the BBC Trust actually “took advice” from two other historians – Sir Martin Gilbert and Avi Shlaim – and that references to Michael Oren’s book are to be found at an earlier stage of the process.

And if readers scroll down to the bottom of the Independent’s article they will find the comment below from one of the two people who made the original complaints – described by Bowen as “full-time pro-Israeli lobbyists” – with the last sentence of that comment capturing all that really needs to be said.

Jonathan Turner comment Independant

Related Articles:

BBC’s Bowen invents new quarter in Jerusalem

Where did Jeremy Bowen learn the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict?

Jeremy Bowen: “The Israelis would have killed me too”

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