BBC reports on Kiryat Arba attack without using the word terror

Not for the first time, the BBC News website’s reporting on the June 30th terror attack in Kiryat Arba in which thirteen year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel was murdered as she was sleeping made sure that audiences were aware of the BBC’s preferred political designation of the location of the incident.

“A teenage Israeli girl has been stabbed to death in an attack at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.”

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As ever, the BBC itself did not employ the word terror anywhere in this report with the incident described as “an attack” and the perpetrator as “the attacker” or “the assailant”. The only mention of that word came in a quote from the Israeli prime minister inserted into the fourth version of the article some three hours after its initial appearance.

In contrast, earlier this week when the BBC covered commemoration of the terror attack in Tunisia a year ago, audiences were given a clear and accurate description of that incident – for example here and here. [emphasis added]

“A ceremony has been held in Tunisia to remember the 38 tourists shot dead on a beach exactly one year ago.

Thirty of those killed in the resort town of Sousse were British.

The attack, claimed by the so-called Islamic State, was the greatest loss of British life in a terrorist incident since the July 2005 London bombing.”


“It is almost a year since a gunman opened fire on a beach in Tunisia killing 38 tourists, 30 of whom were from the UK.

It was the greatest loss of British life in a terror attack, since the London bombings in 2005.”

The BBC of course long since made it clear that it ‘believes’ that terror attacks against Israeli citizens are “very different” from the one perpetrated against British citizens in Tunisia in 2015 – although it refuses to explain why in writing.

However, the corporation’s two-tier system of reporting acts of terror is itself clear enough indication of the fact that what lies behind its inconsistent approach are the very “value judgements” that – at least according to its editorial guidelines – the BBC supposedly seeks to avoid.

The terminology used (or not) by the BBC is determined by the way it judges the perceived motivations of the terrorist rather than by the nature of the act itself and that is what ensures that the murder of a thirteen year-old girl asleep in her bed will not be termed a terror attack – as long as that child is a Jewish Israeli and the perpetrator a Palestinian.

Related Articles:

BBC Complaints: terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tunisia are “very different”

BBC News website does ‘one man’s terrorist’

BBC Complaints clarifies discrepancies in terminology when reporting terrorism


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