2017 was a plentiful year for Middle East related anniversaries but BBC audiences did not see reporting on all of them.
In June the BBC gave generous coverage to the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War – often without provision of relevant context but with uniform promotion of the BBC’s chosen narrative.
BBC WS tells a context-free tale of Egypt’s Six Day War ‘naksa’
BBC’s Bateman erases history and context from his account of the Six Day War
BBC’s filmed Six Day War backgrounder falls short
Jeremy Bowen promotes political narrative in BBC’s Six Day War centrepiece
BBC Arabic’s Sally Nabil promotes more uncorroborated Six Day War hearsay
A third feature promotes the BBC’s chosen Six Day War narrative
Radio 4’s Hugh Sykes joins the BBC’s ‘it’s all down to the occupation’ binge
BBC’s Six Day War messaging continues on R4’s ‘Today’
BBC News endorses its Six Day War narrative by celebrity proxy
BBC World Service history programmes on the Six Day War – part one
BBC World Service history programmes on the Six Day War – part two
In contrast, later the same month the tenth anniversary of the violent take-over of the Gaza Strip by the terrorist organisation Hamas did not receive any BBC coverage whatsoever.
BBC bows out of coverage of 10 years of Hamas rule in Gaza
Neither the 120th anniversary of the first Zionist Congress nor the 40th anniversary of President Sadat’s historic visit to Israel received any BBC coverage.
In contrast, copious cross-platform coverage was given to the Balfour Declaration centenary throughout October and November. While much of that coverage focused on the promotion of a particular political narrative, the question of whether Britain fulfilled the pledge made in that declaration was largely ignored.
Politicising the Balfour Declaration on BBC Radio 4 – part one
Politicising the Balfour Declaration on BBC Radio 4 – part two
BBC Radio Wales on the Balfour Declaration – part one
BBC Radio Wales on the Balfour Declaration – part two
MEMO Balfour event participant hosts BBC Radio 4 discussion on Balfour Declaration
BBC’s Corbin sidesteps prime issues in Balfour reports – part one
BBC’s Corbin sidesteps prime issues in Balfour reports – part two
More Balfour Declaration agitprop promotion on the BBC News website
More BBC Balfour Declaration centenary reporting from Yolande Knell – part one
More BBC Balfour Declaration centenary reporting from Yolande Knell – part two
BBC’s Bateman amplifies PLO’s Balfour agitprop
BBC News portrays propaganda installation as a “museum”
BBC report on UK Balfour dinner follows standard formula
BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ Balfour Declaration centenary special – part one
BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ Balfour Declaration centenary special – part two
BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ Balfour Declaration centenary special – part three
BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ Balfour Declaration centenary special – part four
BBC WS ‘Newshour’ Balfour Declaration centenary special – part one
BBC WS ‘Newshour’ Balfour Declaration centenary special – part two
BBC’s Balfour Declaration centenary programming continues
With the exception of one Radio 4 item aired in June, the 70th anniversary of the UN Partition Plan in November did not receive any BBC coverage.
No Partition Plan anniversary coverage from the BBC
The BBC produced one item relating to the 30th anniversary of the first Intifada in December.
BBC News gives a sentimental account of the first Intifada
As we see, the BBC chose to focus on just two of those 2017 anniversaries, producing reporting that primarily promoted specific political narratives rather than providing the full range of information and historical background that would enable audiences to put the events into context.
With the seventieth anniversary of Israel’s independence on the horizon, we can no doubt expect that the coming year will see similarly politicised messaging promoted under the banner of ‘history’.