CAMERA UK’s archives include extensive documentation of the BBC’s partial and problematic portrayal of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS).
For years the corporation has reported related stories without adequately clarifying to audiences in its own words that what that campaign ultimately seeks to achieve is the end of Israel as the Jewish state. Moreover, in August 2015, we learned that the BBC considers the provision of such crucial background information “not our role“.
BBC audiences have seen the BDS campaign inaccurately described as a “movement for human rights” and a campaign which calls for a “cultural boycott” of Israel. The BBC’s usual portrayal of the issue includes the ‘Israel says’ formula as a nod to so-called ‘impartiality’:
“…the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement […] campaigns for a complete boycott of Israel over its policies towards the Palestinians.
Israel says the BDS movement opposes the country’s very existence and is motivated by anti-Semitism.” [emphasis added]
However the BBC has never bothered to provide its audiences with the information which would help them understand why ‘Israel says’ such a thing and as we noted a year and a half ago:
“Once again on no occasion throughout 2018 were audiences told in the BBC’s own words that the BDS campaign is opposed to Jews having the basic human right to self-determination in their own country and that denial of Israel’s right to exist is considered – including by the UN Secretary General and according to the definition adopted by the UK government – to be a form of antisemitism.
That obviously hinders the ability of audiences to put the BDS campaign’s claim to be a non-racist human rights organisation into its appropriate context and affects their view of criticism of the campaign from other sources.”
“If the refugees return to their homes [in Israel] as the BDS movement calls for, if we bring an end to Israel’s apartheid regime and if we end the occupation on lands occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, what will be left of the Zionist regime? That’s the question. Meaning, what will the two states be based on?”
“International law and the right of return? There won’t be any Zionist state like the one we speak about [in present-day Israel]. There will be two states: One democratic for all its citizens here [Palestine] and one democratic for all its citizens there [Israel]. The Palestinian minority will become a Palestinian majority of what is today called Israel.”
We can however expect the BBC to continue to ignore that information in order to pursue the policy of agenda-driven reporting on the issue which seriously compromises the BBC’s claim to ‘impartiality’.