BBC News misrepresents BDS campaign yet again

On May 8th the BBC News website’s Europe page ran an article titled “Copenhagen buses burned in ‘anti-Israel attack’“.Copenhagen buses art

Whilst the details of the incident presented in the BBC’s report are consistent with those presented by other media outlets, it continues the BBC’s practice of misrepresenting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) as “pro-Palestinian”.

“Last week, the city’s transit authority ordered the removal of advertisements by a pro-Palestinian group calling for a boycott of Israeli goods.”

The report includes a description of the adverts promoting BDS but fails to inform readers that they also featured a series of inaccurate maps frequently used in anti-Israel propaganda. Whether or not the BBC’s description of ‘Charlotte and Lizzie from Hellerup’ as “two Palestinian women” is in fact accurate is unclear.

“The notices, placed on 35 buses across Copenhagen, showed two Palestinian women opposite the words: “Our conscience is clean! We neither buy products from the Israeli settlements nor invest in the settlement industry.”

But within four days, the bus company, Movia, removed the adverts, saying they were “unnecessarily offensive”.

Movia added that it had “received a significant number of inquiries regarding the Danish Palestinian Friendship Association’s campaign against Israeli settlements.””

Copenhagen buses advert

Clearly readers will be unable to comprehend the bus company’s decision to remove the adverts because, as usual, they are not informed of the aims of the political campaign promoted by the non-transparently funded ‘Danish-Palestinian Friendship Association’ – despite the fact that a link to the organisation’s website appears in the BBC’s report.  

Whilst the BDS campaign’s political crusade to bring about the demise of Jewish self-determination by means of delegitimisation and demonization is not infrequently directly or indirectly amplified in BBC programming, the corporation inevitably refrains from informing its audiences exactly for what its ‘one-stater’ supporters are campaigning.

“With pressure imposed by the international community through a BDS campaign a la anti-Apartheid campaign which brought Apartheid South Africa to an end, we believe that Israel itself can be transformed into a secular democratic state after the return of 6 million Palestinian refugees who were ethnically cleansed in 1948, a state for ALL of its citizens…therefore, we think that one of the major tools of the struggle towards a secular democratic state is BDS.” Haider Eid, 2009

“So BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state…I view the BDS movement as a long-term project with radically transformative potential… the success of the BDS movement is tied directly to our success in humanizing Palestinians and discrediting Zionism as a legitimate way of regarding the world.” Ahmed Moor, 2010

“BDS represents three words that will help bring about the defeat of Zionist Israel and victory for Palestine.” Ronnie Kasrils, 2009

In the interest of adherence to its editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality, the BBC needs to ensure that an accurate description of the aims of the BDS campaign is a standard inclusion in any report which relates to that campaign’s activities or features interviews with its supporters.

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