The BBC’s pro-Israel/Zionist bias is well known. However its gushing commentary on Israel’s rollout of COVID vaccinations exceeds all its previous crimes of omission and commission.
Last Saturday I was listening to BBC News 24 when it became apparent that the BBC was broadcasting a lengthy segment on how wonderful Israel’s vaccination programme was.
Not once was there any mention of the fact that not only were Palestinians in the West Bank not being vaccinated but that they had stopped vaccinating refugees and asylum seekers in South Tel Aviv in addition to the sparse vaccination of Israeli Palestinians, in particular the Bedouin who live in largely ‘unrecognised villages’ in the Negev.
Israel is now agreeing to vaccinate Palestinians who work in Israel or the West Bank settlements. But this is because of the need to protect Israeli Jews not because of any concern for the Palestinians.
Israel is now exporting their surplus vaccines as diplomatic rewards. This is seen as more important than fulfilling their obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention. I therefore submitted a complaint ‘The disgusting racism of the BBC’.
I am currently listening 2.08 a.m. to a disgusting report on Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. Not once did your racist reporter comment on the refusal to vaccinate 5 million Palestinians whilst exporting vaccines as a bribe to countries who are diplomatically useful.
Your useless racists who masquerade as reporters couldn’t even be bothered following up today’s Ha’aretz report
Israeli Decision Makes COVID Vaccines Off Limits to Thousands of Foreign Residents
Yes Israel is deliberately refusing to vaccinate refugees and asylum seekers. It barely bothers to vaccinate the Bedouin in the Negev.
It’s like a report on Nazi Germany which fails to mention the situation of the Jews. But then come to think of it that is exactly what you did in the 1930’s.
You are in clear breach of your statutory duty of balance. THe only balance the BBC knows is between one racist and another racist, one right-wing bastard and another right-wing bastard.
I have no confidence whatsoever in your complaints system so I am simply not going to pay the license fee anymore as I object to paying for racists to propagate their foul output.
Perhaps if Britain only innoculated Christians you’d find nothing wrong in that?
The BBC is a bunch of disgusting racists and establishment toadies
The BBC Complaints Service is not there to investigate complaints but to justify BBC behaviour. They can be trusted to go the extra mile in order to exonerate their colleagues. It is only on the rarest of occasions that they will partially uphold a complaint and that is when the offence is so obvious that it is impossible to justify.
Unusually I got a reply at 10.00 a.m. the following morning. Clearly my accusations of racism had stung them into responding:
Dear Mr Greenstein,
Thank you for contacting us about BBC News.
Our coverage has highlighted that Israel has a very high rate of vaccinations, and looked at the strategy of the rollout.
We have also explored the situation faced by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip. Tom Bateman has reflected calls from human rights groups for Israel to take responsibility for Palestinians in the area in his coverage of Israel’s rollout of the vaccine. Andrew Marr challenged Israel’s Health Minister Yuli Edelstein on the availability of the vaccine to those in occupied areas on his BBC One programme. Shaun Ley has also questioned Jonathan Sacerdoti on the Israeli Government’s responsibility for those in the West Bank and Gaza on Dateline London.
The programme I complained of on BBC News 24 was part of an hourly rolling broadcast. This was just one of numerous times I have heard the same story on the BBC of how Israel is leading the world.
I fired back a response the following morning. It reminded me of when British Police in the 1930s used to have exchange visits with German Police. The news organisations of the day, the BBC included, would cover such visits without mentioning uncomfortable facts such as German Police responsibility for implementing the Jewish policies. From 1936 the German police were incorporated with the SS into the RSHA under Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler’s deputy. Of course the BBC of the day would occasionally mention Hitler’s anti-Jewish policies but not in a way to disturb the ‘news story’ of the German police. I wrote:
The racism of coverage of Israel’s vaccine rollout
Case number CAS-6568783-N7Y3J5
An ambassador is expected to lie on behalf of their country. The BBC is not funded by the public to lie and lie again.
Aoife Nugent states that he considers that the BBC ‘have reflected all sides of this news story across our output’. This is a straightforward lie. 4 instances are pointed to where the BBC has questioned Zionist spokesmen regarding Israel’s outright refusal, in contravention of Part IV Geneva Convention to eradicate infectious diseases in a captive population.
And for the 99.9% of the time when you are praising Israel’s efforts as prompted by my particular complaint you don’t mention it at all.
You have an obligation to mention it EVERY time that you mention Israel’s vaccine rollout. Imagine in Britain that Jewish people were exempted. T here is no excuse for your racist bias. It is relevant to EVERY news story.
EVERY time you mention the % of Israelis vaccinated you should put that in the context that 50% of the population Israel controls is denied a vaccine. This is killing people and you have blood on your hands by propagating the myths that Israel spreads.
You have also failed to mention the fact that the 50% of Arab villages that are ‘unrecognised’ mainly in the Negev do not have vaccine clinics and it was only the threat of legal action that forced Israel’s health authorities to print information in Arabic. Remember? Arabic was downgraded from an official languge to one with ‘special status’ under the Jewish Nation State Law.
By propagandising for Israel over this you are DISGUSTING RACISTS
This is not a one-off. The BBC has a pattern of one-sided support for Israel which has got worse over the past two decades. It is unlikely to change with the recent appointment of former Goldman Sacks banker Richard Sharp to the post of Chairman of the BBC.
Not only has Sharp given £400,000 to the Tory Party but he is donating his £160,000 salary to his Sharp Foundation which has given £35,000 to the pro-Israel Quilliam think tank run by Maajid Nawaz (who has been associated with Israel supporterTommy Robinson).
That is why I have set up a petition on the BBC’s refusal to mention, that Israel’s vaccination programme has refused to distribute the vaccine to all inhabitants of what is now Greater Israel.
Because of the growing criticism of its coverage, the BBC commissioned the 2004 Balen Report which was never published despite court action by the Israel supporter, Steven Sugar.
In 2006 the BBC commissioned a panel headed by Sir Quentin Thomas which commissioned a statistical analysis which showed, ‘That a disparity (in favour of Israelis) existed in BBC coverage’. They also found that more coverage was given to Israeli fatalities than to Palestinian. Despite the report’s recommendations, the BBC did absolutely nothing to remedy the situation.
“While the broadcast media give a clear account of the Israeli perspective on this conflict, many journalists and especially in the BBC still find great difficulty in doing the same for the Palestinians. This is in spite of the report originally commissioned by the BBC Governors, which made clear the weaknesses in the BBC’s approach to presenting the history of the conflict and the nature of the military occupation imposed by Israel on the Palestinians.”
1. The use of ‘terrorism’ has always been used to describe actions by Palestinians but the BBC have never applied that term to the murder of Palestinians by the IDF. Thus lending Israeli security forces an unwarranted legitimacy.
2. The BBC has consistently failed to differentiate between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism resulting in the inference that criticism of Israel is ostensibly racist. The BBC has also invited proponents of Israel, whether they be Israelis or not, to appear on television with people who were less forceful or capable of presenting the opposite view. In addition to the fact that Israeli propagandists are often invited to appear alone.
3. The failure to present ‘the other side of the debate’ particularly on the accusation of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, was conspicuous. You might have thought that Jewish victims of the ‘anti-Semitism’ witchhunt would have been invited to appear but this simply didn’t happen. Instead their persecutors appeared monotonously.
4. To end reports by saying, ‘The Labour Party was invited to appear but refused.’ was not credible. There are many advocates, including Jews, who would be more than willing to take part and present the argument of how anti-Semitism was being exploited by right-wing members of the Labour Party and the Israel lobby. They were never invited.
The most obvious example of this was the BBC Panorama programme by John Ware, an out and out Islamaphobe with a track record of hostility to Jeremy Corbyn. The programme was entitled ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ but as the response to my own complaint admitted, the programme proceeded from the assumption that the Labour Party was anti-Semitic.
The Panorama programme featured Jews complaining of anti-Semitism. All of them were officers from the Jewish Labour Movement. No attempt was made to interview for example Jackie Walker or myself, Jews expelled from the Labour Party. That would have spoilt the narrative. See my own report on the programme.
5. It’s not only what the BBC says but what it doesn’t say. Margaret Hodge MP made accusations against Jeremy Corbyn for being anti-Semitic but was never challenged by interviewers. In 1987, Islington Council tried to sell a historic Jewish cemetery to property developers and was opposed by Jeremy Corbyn who successfully campaigned against the sale –who was the council leader? Margaret Hodge. This story has been out there for some considerable time so why was she not questioned on this?
6. In the Al Jazeera exposé of how the Israeli embassy planned to ‘take down’ Foreign Office minister, Sir Alan Duncan because of his Palestinian sympathies, Newsnight did not report on it. Had it been Iran it would have been a never-ending story.
7. Perhaps the greatest public reproval the BBC has ever faced was their decision not to broadcast the DEC Gaza appeal in 2009 when every other broadcaster obliged. Robert Fisk, wrote,
“And this, remember, is the same institution [the BBC] which said that to broadcast an appeal for medicines for wounded Palestinians in Gaza might upset its “neutrality”. Legless Palestinian children clearly don’t count as much as the BBC’s pompous executives.”
8. The recent (19th Jan) BBC Radio Scotland show, The Kaye Adams Programme discussed the issue of Israel’s vaccination distribution. She started by saying that the ‘political’ issue would not be raised. That issue was Israel’s decision to deny the Palestinians receiving the vaccine.
The BBC’s Jerusalem correspondent did raise the issue and Kaye again censored it by saying, that she did not want to ‘diminish’ the issue but did so by not allowing any discussion of it.
Had the British government denied an ethnic group the vaccine wouldn’t that have been important enough to discuss? You can’t isolate an issue when it has major health and wellbeing consequences for a section of the population. Kaye Adam’s decision to not allow the ‘politics’ to be discussed was in itself – political. This was clearly an editorial decision to censor any criticism of Israel.
Some of the worst offenders at the BBC were:
James Harding – Director of News & Current Affairs, BBC News (2013–2018) and past editor of the Times said at a Jewish Chronical event,
“I am pro-Israel. I believe in the state of Israel. I would have had a real problem if I had been coming to a paper with a history of being anti-Israel. And, of course, Rupert Murdoch is pro-Israel.
Danny Cohen – Controller of BBC 1, 3 and Director of BBC television (2007-2015) wrote a letter while still a BBC executive condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement which campaigns to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian West Bank and Gaza.
James Purnell – BBC Director of Radio and BBC’s Director of Strategy (2013-2020) was the chairman of Labour Friends of Israel during his parliamentary career.
Raffi Berg – BBC online News Middle-East Editor (2013-) had written emails to his BBC staff asking them to be more lenient towards Israel in their reporting on Gaza.