By CAMERA Arabic and CAMERA UK
Long-time readers may recall the BBC’s defence of its mistranslation of the Arabic word ‘Yahud’ (Jews) as ‘Israeli’ in the past:
The 2013 ECU decision which gave a green light to one of those mistranslations and subsequent ones was based on the following:
“The Committee accepted that the main editorial purpose of this news item was to report that Hamas schools were teaching children Hebrew as “the language of the enemy”. The programme-makers, based on their professional judgement, understood the enemy in this case to be Israel, and the Committee understood the reasons why the programme felt it was important to communicate that clearly.”
In contrast, the day after the end of Operation Guardian of the Walls – May 22nd – saw BBC Arabic presenter Iman al-Qassir defending a contributor’s use of the word ‘Yahud’ on the programme ‘Talking Point’.
The first contributor was Omar Rajoub from Dura, near Hebron, who was identified as a Fatah speaker.
Rajoub: “The victory which the Palestinian people achieved, it [the people] was united behind the banner of [waging] war on the Jews and fighting them and the liberation of Palestinian land.”
When the second contributor – independent researcher Dr Edy Cohen – took issue with the use of the phrase ‘the Jews’, the presenter insisted that “he did not incite, he is free to have his opinion”.
The IHRA working definition of antisemitism of course includes “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” but as we know only all too well, five years since its publication the BBC has not yet adopted that definition and so a BBC Arabic presenter is free to justify a Palestinian contributor’s use of the term ‘the Jews’ as an “opinion”.
But perhaps next time the BBC considers translating ‘Yahud’ as ‘Israelis’, it should first think back to how Omar Rajoub and others define “the enemy”.