BBC Radio 4’s ‘insight’ into Israeli PM’s trial

The May 28th edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ (a programme billed as providing “insight, wit and analysis”) was titled “Israel’s prime minister in the dock”.

“In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had his day in court at the start of his corruption trial this week. He denies charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The trial could last months or even years. Israelis are wondering what it means for their future, as Tom Bateman reports from Jerusalem.”

The introduction to that lead item given by presenter Kate Adie (from 00:35 here) included the following: [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Adie: “First to a prime minister in trouble in Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu has had his day in court this week at the start of his corruption trial, charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He had tried to get the whole process put off but was eventually compelled by judges to appear in a process which might last months or even years.”

What Adie meant by “the whole process” is not clear to listeners. If she was referring to what she described in her previous sentence as “his day in court this week”, the statement is not accurate. Netanyahu did not request that the opening session be “put off” – i.e. postponed. He did ask not to be present in person and that request was rejected by the judges two days after it was filed rather than “eventually”.

Following Netanyahu’s withdrawal of his request for parliamentary immunity in late January, the indictment against him was filed by the Attorney General.  In February the judges were selected and the date of the opening session was set for March 17th. A request by Netanyahu’s attorneys to delay the opening of the trial by 45 days was rejected by the court on March 10th. Five days later the date of the opening session was postponed by the judges until May 24th because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In other words, if by “the whole process” Adie meant the entire trial, the second half of her sentence makes no sense since the request for a 45-day postponement was swiftly rejected.

In the report presented by Tom Bateman listeners were told that at an address he gave prior to the start of the first court session Netanyahu “had the security minister standing behind him along with a good chunk of the government of Israel”. The politicians who arrived at the Jerusalem District Court were in fact all members of his Likud party.

Later on (05:45) Bateman told listeners that Netanyahu “wants the whole trial televised” and added:

“…galvanising his base against threats, real or otherwise, seems to be where he is most comfortable.”

Bateman did not however inform listeners that there are others who also want “the whole trial televised”. A request to broadcast the opening session of the trial – presented by media outlets – was rejected by the court.

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  1. says: Neil C

    It is downright disgusting the lengths the BBC will go to to target Israel, with their lies, the nuanced wording and misreporting of events, their obvious hatred of Netanyahu. However their deviousness goes much deeper than mere misreporting or reporting by omission, I just watched an episode of Spooks, series 9 episode one where some of the team were seeing off some Somali Pirates, the deprevation of the BBC editor’s mindset is highlighted by the sub title translation and dubbed voiceover of the pirates greeting each other on boards the ship as ‘shalom’ not ‘salam aleicum’ Of course the BBCs deceiptfulness gives the audience the overall impression that the pirates were Israeli, when in fact they were Somali followers of Islam. The sooner the British Government stop forcing the British public to fund such a bigotted and racist corporation the better.

  2. says: Lionel Barnett

    The insidiuous focus of attention upon the Hearing of the Case against Mr Netantanyu is deplorable insasmuch it deals with it as if he is proven guilty before any evidence is produced, and is a horrendous example of racist bias bringing the news media into disrepute.
    The problem with the BBC exists because contrary to their executive claims of underfunding there is an absolute waste of public money on surplus long expired programmes kept alive to provide ‘jobs for the boys’.
    I am rallying support for each one of the hundred of TV and Radio programmes to be audited in terms of viewing and listening audiences with a detailed breakdown of departmental salaries .

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