Unevidenced claims of Israeli attacks promoted on multiple BBC platforms

On November 3rd the BBC television’s ‘News at Ten’ aired a report by Jeremy Bowen, part of which was previously discussed here:


The same report went on to show an unverified video which had appeared on social media on the same day (from 0:56 here) which Bowen described as follows:

Bowen: “More dead civilians on al Rashid Street – one of only two roads south, where Israel says civilians must go to be safe. The BBC has located the video to a stretch of road 7 kilometres south-west of Gaza City. The man is saying ‘Oh God! A little girl, woman, a girl’.”

Footage then moved to an unidentified man, with Bowen telling BBC viewers that: [emphasis added]

Bowen: “This doctor said he was shot at by Israelis in the same place yesterday. He says over a stretch of 1.5 kilometres snipers were shooting at cars. They had a donkey cart. The donkey was cut to pieces along with the cart and everyone on it.”

Bowen provided no evidence whatsoever to back up that hearsay from his unnamed contributor.

As noted by the Jerusalem Post in relation to that video used by the BBC:

“Reuters, and multiple other sources, confirmed that the location was the Al Rashid Coastal Road specifically the section between Wadi Gaza and Gaza City. Reuters was unable to confirm anything else about the video, such as the identity of the person filming, those seen in the video, or what killed them.”

Bowen did not address the topic of satellite images showing that IDF forces were not located in the area where the video was filmed.

On November 4th Hamas attacked Israeli forces securing a humanitarian corridor on a different road in the Gaza Strip.

“The IDF had informed residents that the Salah al-Din route, a major road running from Gaza City to southern Gaza, could be used for humanitarian transit by civilians. “While the IDF was opening a humanitarian axis for the movement of Gaza residents to the south, terrorists from the terrorist organization Hamas attacked the forces involved in opening it,” the IDF said.”

On November 5th the BBC News website’s ‘UK’ page published an uncredited report headlined ‘Rafah crossing: More than 100 Britons leave Gaza but dozens remain’ which includes the following: [emphasis added]

“Omar Mofeed, from London, said his brother and pregnant wife, along with their three children, also do not believe it is safe to travel through Gaza.

“The British foreign ministry called us saying Israel has allowed a safe route […] then people start going, and Israel attacked people who are walking on this safe route,” he said.

The Israeli military has said it does not target civilians.”

On November 3rd Omar Mofeed tweeted an interview he gave to BBC television in which he inaccurately claimed that “Israel doesn’t allow anyone to go from Gaza City to Rafah border”. Mofeed also implied that cars carrying evacuees had been bombed by Israel and – apparently referring to the video used in Bowen’s report – went on to say:

Mofeed: “…we have seen pictures this morning that people were trying to travel and they were bombed.”

The claim in Mofeed’s tweet that “Israel have bombed” the Shifa hospital where his brother Dr Ahmed Mokhallalati works is of course inaccurate but in line with talking points he has also tried to promote elsewhere. The November 3rd incident concerned an ambulance which was being used by a Hamas cell in the location of Shifa hospital, where Hamas has hideouts and a command centre.

Omar Mofeed also appeared in an audio item originally aired on BBC Radio 5 live and re-promoted by the BBC on November 5th under the title ‘Can British nationals leave Gaza?’.

In that item BBC audiences heard repeated inaccurate claims from Mofeed which were not challenged by interviewer Steffan Powell:

“…Israel doesn’t allow anyone to leave Gaza [City]…”

“…then people start going and Israel attacked people who are walking on this safe route…”

“Israel has bombed these people who are trying to evacuate…”

“Israel is bombing this [safe route]”

Notably, BBC audiences reading, watching or listening to any of those interviews with Omar Mofeed were not told that the IDF has repeatedly advised civilians in the northern part of the Gaza Strip to evacuate to the south and has provided details of safe routes for those heeding that advice.

Neither were BBC audiences informed that Hamas has been preventing such evacuations by civilians as well as the exit of foreign passport holders such as Mofeed’s family from the Gaza Strip.

BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality include a section concerning ‘contributor’s affiliations’:

“4.3.12 We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities and think-tanks) are unbiased. Appropriate information about their affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context.”

It would of course have been very helpful for BBC audiences to have been made aware of the fact that the man provided with multiple BBC platforms from which to repeatedly promote the false claim that Israel has deliberately targeted civilians trying to evacuate from the north of the Gaza Strip is an anti-Israel activist who was formerly a director at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a Labour Party activist and active with Hamas-linked UK organisations such as the Palestinian Return Centre. As recently as September 2023, Mofeed made a submission relating to the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill.

The BBC needs to urgently ask itself how those unproven claims of Israeli attacks on civilians trying to evacuate northern Gaza were repeatedly promoted on its TV channels, radio and website. It also needs to clarify why such unevidenced claims, be they from an unnamed ‘doctor’ or a person it failed to clarify is an anti-Israel activist, went entirely unquestioned by BBC journalists, including its international affairs editor Jeremy Bowen.

Accurate and impartial journalism has apparently once again fallen victim to the BBC’s urge to promote a politically motivated narrative.

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  1. says: Grimey

    The stream of lies and omissions is never-ending from the Iran Propaganda Corporation (aka BBC) – as overseen by Maqbool, their Muslim religious editor. Surely Sunak must close down this traitorous organisation.

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