As has been documented here previously, since the end of January 2019 BBC coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest has included repeated amplification of the BDS campaign’s call to boycott the event being held this week in Tel Aviv.
That editorial policy of unquestioningly and simplistically amplifying the boycott campaign without the provision of context and factual background information and with no explanation of the BDS campaign’s aims was also evident in two additional recent reports. Interestingly though, the BBC finally got round to mentioning a counter call which it initially ignored.
“Madonna Eurovision performance in doubt” by Mark Savage, BBC News website, 14 May 2019
“But there have been calls for performers and broadcasters to boycott the competition over Israel’s human rights record.
In January, British figures including Dame Vivienne Westwood, Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters, Mike Leigh, Maxine Peake and the band Wolf Alice signed a letter calling on the BBC to cancel coverage of the 2019 song contest.
The signatories criticised Israel over its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. “Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations – and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights,” they wrote.
Others denounced the proposed boycott, saying that Eurovision’s “spirit of togetherness” was “under attack”.
Public figures including Stephen Fry, Sharon Osbourne, Marina Abramovic and pop mogul Scooter Braun signed a counter-statement, claiming “the cultural boycott movement [was] an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition”.”
“Eurovision Song Contest 2019: Why Wolf Alice are boycotting” Newsbeat, BBC News website, 15 May 2019
“The group’s guitarist Joff Oddie describes Eurovision as “a wonderful idea, if a bit naff at times”.
But rather than being a secret fan, Joff is one of several artists who’ve been calling on people to stay away from this year’s event in Israel.
He supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which wants a complete cultural boycott of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.
“This is the most controversial Eurovision Song Contest that’s ever happened,” says Joff.
He’s DJing at an anti-Eurovision gig in London this weekend, which is due to take place while the grand final is being broadcast.
“The boycott is like any grassroots movement. Instead of feeling disempowered, we can feel empowered.”
The Israeli government says BDS opposes Israel’s very existence and is motivated by anti-Semitism. […]
The BBC’s record of reporting on the anti-Israel – and anti-peace – BDS campaign is abysmal. For years the corporation has reported related stories without adequately clarifying to its audiences that what that campaign ultimately seeks to achieve is the end of Israel as the Jewish state – even while providing the campaign and some of its supporters with free PR.
And so once again in these two articles we see BBC journalists recycling trite campaign slogans such as “Israel’s human rights record”, “occupation”, “violation of Palestinian human rights” and “treatment of Palestinians” without providing (in clear breach of the corporation’s public purposes) any of the background information essential for audience understanding of the issue.
However, on May 14th the BBC News website purported to ‘explain’ the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to its audiences, as we shall see in a future post.