On May 10th the BBC News Twitter account informed its 19.5 million followers that ‘The Archbishop of Canterbury says there could be a “moment of opportunity” for Middle East peace efforts’.
The link in that Tweet led to a filmed report titled “Time for Middle East peace efforts, says Justin Welby” which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page and is presented with the following synopsis:
“The Archbishop of Canterbury says there could be “moment of opportunity” for Middle East peace efforts.
Justin Welby, who’s on a tour of the Holy Land, was speaking after meeting Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Yolande Knell met the archbishop in Jerusalem.”
So did the archbishop actually say that ‘there could be a “moment of opportunity” for Middle East peace efforts’ as both the Tweet and the synopsis claim?
Welby’s actual words are as follows:
“Something that was discussed in both meetings was whether we…whether there is – for all kinds of reasons – a moment of opportunity. And one of the things I was particularly emphasising was the need – particularly of the poor and the weaker in the area; the minority communities – for peace. That this…although some people can endure these situations for years, for others it becomes unendurable and I’m thinking perhaps of some of the Christian communities around.”
As we see, the BBC paraphrased the contemplation “whether there is […] a moment of opportunity” as meaning that the archbishop had determined that “there could be “moment of opportunity” for Middle East peace efforts”. While remarkable, the promotion of that misrepresentation is completely in step with Yolande Knell’s previous efforts to make Welby’s trip conform to her own agenda.