BBC’s Gritten airbrushes Ahed Tamimi’s record of incitement

On November 6th a report by David Gritten was published on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page under the headline ‘Ahed Tamimi: Israeli forces arrest Palestinian activist in West Bank’.

Despite the instruction in BBC editorial guidelines that “We should not adopt other people’s language as our own”, the photograph taken from a state-run Turkish news agency chosen to illustrate that article is captioned as follows: [emphasis added]

“Ahed Tamimi became an international symbol of resistance to Israel’s occupation as a teenager”.

Making no effort to inform readers about the partisan Palestinian NGO (Palestinian Prisoners Society aka Palestinian Prisoners Club) that he twice uncritically quotes in his report, Gritten tells readers that:

“The prominent Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi has been arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.

Ms Tamimi, 22, was detained overnight in the village of Nabi Saleh, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said.

Israel’s military told AFP news agency she was suspected of “inciting violence and terrorist activities”.

Israeli media reported that Ms Tamimi was arrested in connection with a post on Instagram that threatened to “slaughter” Jewish settlers.

“[By comparison] you will say that what Hitler did to you was a joke,” she is purported to have written, referring to the mass murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, according to the newspaper Haaretz.

The post is no longer visible online, nor is the account carrying Ms Tamimi’s name and photo where it was published last week.”

Gritten’s account of Tamimi’s post does not provide its full text to those who choose not to click on that link to Ha’aretz.

““Our message to the herds of settlers is that we are waiting for you in all the West Bank cities, from Hebron to Jenin,” Tamimi wrote in a post last week.

“We will slaughter you and you will say that what Hitler did to you was a joke, we will drink your blood and eat your skulls. Come on, we’re waiting for you,” she wrote.”

Gritten later promotes denials from Tamimi’s mother, without clarifying that she was herself convicted of the crimes of incitement, obstructing a soldier, and aiding the attack of a soldier in 2018, for which she was sentenced to eight months in prison and a fine.

“However, Ms Tamimi’s mother, Nariman, denied that she wrote the post.

“There are dozens of [online] pages in Ahed’s name with her photo, with which she has no connection,” she told AFP.”

Repeating the partisan phrasing in the photo caption, Gritten goes on:

“Ahed Tamimi became an international symbol of resistance to Israel’s occupation as a teenager.

In 2015, the then-14-year-old was photographed biting an Israeli soldier who was trying to detain her younger brother.

Two years later, she was arrested after being filmed slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier during a confrontation outside her home. An Israeli court subsequently sentenced her to eight months in prison.”

The link in that last paragraph leads to a report by Yolande Knell from January 2018 which opens with the statement: “To some she’s a modern-day Joan of Arc” and was discussed here:


Ahed Tamimi was arrested in December 2017 and charged in January 2018 – among other things, with incitement.

“Among the charges against Ahed were aggravated assault of a soldier, threatening a soldier, preventing soldiers from carrying out their duties, incitement, disturbing the public peace and stone throwing. […]

Regarding the incitement charge, the MAG [Military Attorney General] cited a statement given by Ahed to her mother, who was filming the December 15 incident on Facebook Live. Immediately following the squabble, Nariman asked her daughter what kind of message she wanted to convey to viewers.

“I hope that everyone will take part in the demonstrations as this is the only means to achieve the result,” she said. “Our strength is in our stones, and I hope that the world will unite to liberate Palestine, because [Donald] Trump made his declaration and [the Americans] need to take responsibility for any response that comes from us,” Ahed added, apparently referring to the US president’s decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Whether it is stabbings or suicide bombings or throwing stones, everyone must do his part and we must unite in order for our message to be heard that we want to liberate Palestine,” she concluded.

The MAG said the Facebook Live stream earned “thousands of views” and “dozens of likes.”” [emphasis added]

Clearly information concerning Tamimi’s previous record of pleading guilty to incitement is relevant to this story and would have been useful to audiences trying to understand this latest BBC portrayal of the Palestinian activist who was the topic of at least thirteen written, filmed or audio reports produced by the BBC Between December 19th 2017 and March 21st 2018 aa well as a further four reports in late July 2018.



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1 Comment

  1. says: David Long

    When she was first arrested the BBC inserted a Jeremy Bowen ten-minute film into the evening news, which was the most biased propaganda I have seen yet from them.The family were all presented as saintly concerned activists, with lots of deep focus close-ups of them, looking concerned thoughtful, and very normal. Not a mention of their very bloody murderous past.

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