Revisiting the editorial policy behind BBC portrayal of Israel’s capital city

Last month the BBC’s Mark Urban announced that he would be leaving the ‘Newsnight’ team after 35 years with the corporation.

One of the ‘Newsnight’ reports produced by Urban during those 35 years was aired in October 2015 when he visited Israel to report on a surge in Palestinian terrorism.

Urban’s report included a reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. As we documented at the time:

Nine years on, the BBC’s “advice to its journalists” has not changed. The political motivations behind that instruction are evident in the description of the pre-1967 status of parts of Jerusalem as “Jordanian-controlled”, the airbrushing of Jordan’s illegal invasion and nineteen-year occupation of those parts of the city and the absence of any reference to their prior status.

Those wishing to understand why the BBC refuses to call even the parts of Jerusalem which were not occupied by Jordan between 1948 and 1967 the capital of Israel can find the background to that 2013 policy decision here.

“The [BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards] Committee noted that while there is no expectation that in a two-state solution West Jerusalem would become Palestinian territory, a UN resolution passed in 1947 has not been rescinded. It calls for the whole of Jerusalem to be an international city, a corpus separatum (similar to the Vatican City), and in that context, technically, West Jerusalem is not Israeli sovereign territory. “

In other words, the BBC claims that the non-binding 1947 UN Partition Plan known as UN GA resolution 181– which was violently rejected at the time by the Arab states and the local Arab population – still has some sort of relevance or validity. Based upon that gross misinterpretation, the BBC presumes to dictate that a city in which there has been a Jewish majority since the nineteenth century “is not Israeli sovereign territory”.

Nearly nine years after its unnecessary ‘correction’ of Mark Urban’s report, the BBC is therefore still unable to tell its audiences the name of the capital city of one of the countries from which it produces the most reporting, while simultaneously ignoring the fact that the same non-binding recommendation passed by the UN GA in 1947 also included in its corpus separatum proposal places which the BBC is perfectly happy to describe to its audiences as “Palestinian territories”.

Related Articles:

WHY DOES THE BBC TRUST’S ESC PRETEND THAT THE 1947 PARTITION PLAN IS A THING?

BBC NEWS GETS ISRAEL’S CAPITAL CITY RIGHT – AND THEN ‘CORRECTS’

THE FCDO, THE BBC AND ISRAEL’S CAPITAL

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – October 2015 – part one

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – October 2015 – part two

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1 Comment

  1. says: Leila

    These misappropriations of the truth as they relate to Israel started with Israel’s victory in the ‘67. We were backward into believing that the world would say and believe (just 20 yrs on from the holocaust) that right was on our side while our enemies grabbed an open field and mounted a very sophisticated propaganda machine that we did mostly nothing to counteract. There were small, splinter groups that tried but could not get financed. And so today we are faced with the BBC’s and other broadcaster’s manipulations of the truth that reaches a world-wide audience

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