BBC’s Yolande Knell politicises archaeology story

On the evening of April 26th a report titled “Gaza farmer finds 4,500-year-old statue of Canaanite goddess” appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page.

Written by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell, the report promotes rather more than just the story of that archaeological find.

“A stone statue of an ancient goddess of beauty, love and war has been found in the Gaza Strip. […]

On social media, some Gazans are making wry comments suggesting the goddess’s association with war seems apt.

In recent years, they have seen a series of devastating flare-ups in the conflict between Israel and militant groups in Gaza, which is governed by Hamas.”

Knell of course refrained from clarifying that those “devastating flare-ups” were the result of terrorism perpetrated by Hamas and other terrorist organisations based in the Gaza Strip.

Knell even thought it appropriate to amplify Hamas promotion of a previously used narrative intended to erase Jewish history.

“Unveiling the artefact at a press conference on Tuesday, Jamal Abu Rida of the Hamas-run Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the statue was “resistant against time” and had been carefully examined by experts.

He said that it made a political point.

“Such discoveries prove that Palestine has civilisation and history, and no-one can deny or falsify this history,” he said. “This is the Palestinian people and their ancient Canaanite civilisation.””

Moreover, she unnecessarily qualified Hamas’ previous disregard for Canaanite archaeology:

“Hamas – an Islamist, militant organisation – has previously been accused of destroying the remains of a large, fortified Canaanite town, Tell [sic] al-Sakan, to make way for housing and military bases south of highly populated Gaza City.” [emphasis added]

Knell managed to squeeze in another political talking point at the end of her report:

“While such ancient sites could potentially be a draw for foreign visitors, it [the Gaza Strip] has virtually no tourism industry.

Israel and Egypt tightly restrict the flow of people in and out of the impoverished coastal enclave, which is home to some 2.3 million [sic] Palestinians, citing security concerns.”

It is hence unsurprising that the BBC News website chose attach the tag “Israel & the Palestinians” to a report ostensibly about an archaeological find in the Gaza Strip.



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  1. says: Avinoam+Ben+Dor

    There was never a Palestinian State, no Palestinian Kings and Queens. No Palesinian history, no such language nor any archeological evidence.

  2. says: Jeff

    Oh dear. Every time a Jew hater or anti-Zionist finds anything there that’s not Jewish, it’s always claimed that that somehow is a testament to the existence and history of Palestine and Palestinians.
    How do they get away with it?
    These guys will literally say anything; Canaanite Arabs, Arab Canaanites. It’s all baloney, all the time, and amplified by Yolanda Knell and her cohorts at the BBC, Guardian, and other outlets for modern antisemitism masquerading under another name.

  3. says: Steve

    The Philistines begin history as Phonecians – a race of white invaders from southern Europe. They never spoke Arabic and never built a single mosque. They never moved into the West Bank, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or Sinai. In other words, if the “Palestinians” are an extension of the “Philistines” – their only geographical claim is to Gaza. The Philistines were completely wiped off the planet by the Babylonians in the 6th century B.C.E. Not a single survivor. I can name two famous Philistines. Goliath and Delilah. Maybe a few others .. but none whatsoever for over 2,500 years. So “Palestinians” are “Philistines” because the words are similar? If this is true, then Philidelphia belongs to the Philpinos!

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