Anti-semitism in mainstream Western media: The AP and the BBC

January 10, 2022 • 11:15 am

When an institution or media outlet goes after Israel itself every chance it gets rather than criticizing specific Israeli policies, or drags in policies (“occupation” is the main one) every chance it gets, whether or not they’re relevant, then you know that that organization is verging on anti-Semitism or is indeed anti-Semitic. Just the frequency of resolutions passed by the UN, overwhelmingly against Israel rather than countries far more invidious, shows you the degree of Israel hatred of that body.

When I saw the Associated Press article about the lorry/car crash in the West Bank that killed eight (below), I was taken back at the gratuitous criticism at the end, and then I remembered that the AP had been criticized for anti-Israel bias before (see below), and I had posted about it several years ago.

I reproduced the text of this article in this morning’s Hili news, but there was only one comment about it, and it deserves a bit more scrutiny:

Here’s the whole AP article and headline; click either to go to the site, though I’ve reproduced the whole thing.

 

Now half of this article is devoted to criticism of Israel and the disparity between the wages of Palestinians and Israel in the West Bank. Do be aware that this disparity is not between the two groups when working for individual Israeli companies, for wage discrimination against “guest workers” is illegal under Israeli law.

I am not arguing about the settlements here, but about a). the nature of wage disparities, b). the cause of wage disparities, and c). why on Earth the AP would devote half its article to a completely irrelevant indictment of Israel when simply reporting on a vehicular accident involving Palestinians.

The anti-Israel sentiment is not only misguided but totally gratuitous, and that’s all I’ll say about that. As for the relative poverty of Palestinians, it’s not due to wage discrimination by Israelis, but by the nature of Palestine itself. First, if the PA and Hamas didn’t spend so much money on rockets and terrorist attacks, often enlisting young children to help dig tunnels under the Israeli border, they’d have a LOT more money to improve their country. This is a choice made by the government and many Palestinians. Second, when nearly every Palestinian child (and yes, I mean almost every one) is taught from the beginning of school that the most laudable ambition they could have is to die a martyr fighting against Jews, how do you expect kids to grow up with ambition to better themselves or the Palestinian territories?

Why the AP threw in a superfluous and erroneous slur like this is best left to them, but I don’t think that even the New York Times would tolerate this kind of biased and shoddy journalism (its biases are more subtle). Note too the mention of Israelis trying to save Palestinian lives, something that is done regularly by Israel—even trying to save the lives of Hamas leaders—but completely ignored by the West. Is this the action of an apartheid state? Even South Africa under apartheid wouldn’t go to such lengths to help the oppressed.

Israeli hospitals also train Palestinian doctors who go back to their territory and save the lives of potential terrorists who could kill Israelis (in the case of Hamas leaders, that’s their precise aim). When I asked Malgorzata why Israeli hospitals help the enemy this way, she responded, “That’s just what Israelis do.”

To see more about the AP’s bias, read this longish piece from The Atlantic by Matti Friedman, who worked for the AP (click on screenshot; another Friedman article from Tablet is here). Both pieces are from 2014, but, as far as I can see, things vis-à-vis the biases of Western “liberal” media have only gotten worse:

On to the annual awards of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for the top ten countries or institutions that are anti-Semitic. Most of them (Iran, Hamas, CAIR, JVP, and so on) are familiar to me, but one of them struck me. It’s #3 on the list below; click the screenshot to see the pdf:

And. weighing in at #3, right after Iran and Hamas, is this (remember, this is just a list for last year, not the all-time top ten):

 

I’ll let the Brits or the journalism mavens argue this out, but if you’re defending the BBC, you must defend the facts adduced above.

46 thoughts on “Anti-semitism in mainstream Western media: The AP and the BBC

      1. I think some in the College of Cardinals who came up through the ranks under JPII and Eggs Benedict would answer the first in the negative, too.

      2. Really? It seems a bit woke to me. The BBC bends over backward to be neutral on party political issues but when it comes to identity politics it has gone towards the woke-side. For reasons I don’t understand, anti semitic and anti Israel sentiment is not just permissible but required in woke theology.

        1. Oh they’ve ALWAYS been anti-Israel ! They’re on a level with Al Jazeera like that – sometimes the BBC is way worse. Qataris don’t give much of a damn about Palestine. With the BBC not only is every fart on the West Bank droned on for hours, but the whole CONTEXT of Israel is deeply savage at the (yes, now woke) unwatchable BBC.

          D.A.
          NYC (regular/daily Al Jazeera watcher)

      1. I think sub stands for subscribe. Try it yourself. I think you will then get e-mail notifications whenever somebody leaves a comment in this specific thread.

    1. Good to know she was fired. I figured if she hadn’t been it would be a terrible indictment of BBC management. As it is, I have to assume they hired her in good faith and made an honest mistake.

    2. Tom Brada still works for the BBC although it’s not clear to me he did anything wrong – the quote he “completely agrees with” was mangled by the article to the point where I can’t parse its meaning.

      Alaa Daraghme has a Linked In profile that suggests he doesn’t work at the BBC. It wouldn’t surprise me if he got fired too over the Tweet he posted.

    3. Looking at Wikipedia’s Tala Halawa article again, I see that the tweets that the Simon Wiesenthal Center reports date from 2014, before she joined the BBC (in 2017).

      It doesn’t say much for the Beeb’s background checks, but when the egregious tweets did come to light in 2021 at least it dealt with her properly.

  1. I think the focus on wage disparity was meant to be relevant to the car crash news by the line of reasoning: this disparity is why many Palestinians work in Israel, which is why there is so much road commuting, which is why there is increased exposure to risk of auto accidents.

    1. Your rationale may be correct from APs perspective, which reveals their anti- Israel POV. From my perspective, a segway to road construction design/traffic safety measures would be the rational follow-up of such a deadly wreck.

  2. The Palestinians are playing the long game to achieve their ends – the destruction of Israel. It is a common strategy implemented many times throughout history for an aggrieved group, often without any real power at the moment, to turn public opinion in its favor, even if the effort should take decades. It is a strategy than can work for “good” or “bad” causes.The main tactic is relentless propaganda against the enemy, the truth being at the most optional. Right-wing America is near success after decades of blaming every ill on liberals, whether justified or not. Similarly, the Palestinians hope to take power some day in Israel by turning world opinion against the country, which means they inevitably descend into anti-Semitism. Portraying themselves as helpless victims, they hope to gain the sympathy of a naïve and uninformed world opinion. Invariably, the aggrieved group can be relentless because its members are highly motivated. It also seems a truism that those on the defense against such attacks, such as the Israelis, find it difficult to refute the endless barrage of accusations, especially when they will not resort to extreme oppression as other regimes have done. Thus, the Israelis are in a tight spot. Their only way of counteracting the propaganda is with stating the truth in as relentless fashion as their accusers to once again gain the favor of world opinion. If they cannot do this successfully, I fear that the world will react to the destruction of Israel with the same attitude as when Hitler opened the death camps.

    1. It’s not just the Palestinians, it’s much of the Arab world. Qatar has spent billions funding Middle East Departments in US universities as well as numerous think tanks. Saudi Arabia is also known for buying pro-Palestinian influence in similar ways.

      1. I came to the US as a student to study Middle East politics at Georgetown U. in DC. The School of Foreign Policy is funded (as was some of my tuition) by Qatari money (even back then, 1992, before they really started their soft power). Georgetown School of F.S. is no more anti-Israel than any US campus, if anything, less. Certainly less than NYU which should have a campus in Gaza!

        The Qataris and Saudis buy politicians and yes, think tanks big time, instead.
        D.A.
        NYC

    2. The problem isn’t the Palestinians and their propaganda machine, but the media, academics, activists, and politicians willing to happily peddle it while happily disregarding whether or not it’s true. Israel could have the best to every single possible question and it wouldn’t matter because there are too many people in too many influential positions that want to push the Palestinian propaganda. What use is an answer when nobody is listening?

  3. “Why the AP threw in a superfluous and erroneous slur like this is best left to them”

    I have a feeling why the AP, the BBC, and other news outlets have a profound anti-Israel bias is because news from the Arab Middle East is handled differently than the news from the rest of the world.

    Here is an eyewitness to the London AP newsroom who describes how half the AP staff are Arab speakers who fully prepare the final copy for ME news:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4EWW_gcVJc&list=PLcANoF5E_9TRZRaal5Rpt6AgT51WsHl5K&index=3&t=140s

    I would love to know how that separate room of Arabic speakers is funded.

  4. I almost commented after your first post, and was perhaps a bit lazy for not doing so. But I was indeed moved to annoyance by what I read about the AP, so I will respond here.

    First, it appears that the AP is blaming Israel for the accident itself by implying that Palestinians are lured onto the roads by the higher wages available in the settlements. (The AP seems to hold that it is better for Palestinian workers to work for lower wages in Palestinian communities in the West Bank.) But in fact, the crash was not an Israeli plot; it was a tragic accident, nothing more.

    Second, the AP reported that Israeli police provided aid to the victims and that the military provided transport. Those were good things that I have no doubt the victims welcomed, and I doubt that the Palestinian Authority would have had the means to be so responsive. Yet, rather than praise the Israeli response, the AP used the rescue as a mechanism to restate the body count and focus blame on the Israeli occupation.

    The AP did nothing here but to use a tragic accident to further a political agenda. If that isn’t cynical, I don’t know what is.

    1. “The AP did nothing here but to use a tragic accident to further a political agenda. If that isn’t cynical, I don’t know what is.”

      Had the accident almost but didn’t happen, I wonder if the AP would have felt cheated.

  5. At least one BBC Jerusalem correspondent, Orla Guerin, has had been accused of serious anti-Israel bias in her reporting over the years.

  6. if the PA and Hamas didn’t spend so much money on rockets and terrorist attacks, often enlisting young children to help dig tunnels under the Israeli border, they’d have a LOT more money to improve their country. This is a choice made by the government and many Palestinians

    Well…maybe. I suspect that the foreign aid they receive from Saudi comes with some conditions, and any monies they get from Iran…you betcha. That sort of money can’t be shifted to more economically useful purposes or it simply dries up.

    That’s not an excuse for the attacks. But it is to say that I doubt the Palestinian economy or employment rates would start going gangbusters if they became more peaceful, because there is some off-book part of their economy that is essentially “jobs” funded by Iran and the like to fight a proxy war with Israel.

    1. If Palestine became a peaceful neighbor to Israel, Israel would be more than happy to boost its economy by a ridiculous amount. Israel has undertaken efforts countless times over the years to help the people there. When they found that they couldn’t provide simple economic aid because it was just diverted to terrorist activity, the tried building infrastructure. Naturally, Hamas destroyed any infrastructure Israel built, so Hamas and the PA actively keep the people under their rule from having better lives. It’s better for their propaganda abroad if their people seem worse off, and they sure don’t want their antisemitic propaganda at home being mucked up by Israel and Jews helping them. Every time Israel tries to help, their work is either destroyed, diverted toward anti-Israel activity, or they’re actively shot at.

  7. I find it infuriating that mainstream Western newspapers like the NYT or organizations like the BBC never report on the Palestinian tradition of child soldiers. It’s not like this is hard to confirm, MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch post videos of Arab child soldiers every week. They just choose to ignore this hideous practice that makes sure the pointless bloodshed will move forward.

  8. The NYT is no more subtle than the other actors in this ongoing, tragic play. When Hamas was firing rockets into Israel during the most recent conflict, the primary headline in the Times detailing the conflict was about Israel firing artillery into Gaza resulting in the deaths of Palestinian children. There was little mention of the fact that Hamas started the conflict or that Israel was responding to the initial Hamas attack until the last few lines of the article. The Washington Post operates in the same manner. I have become numb to this tripe over the last few years and fully expect antisemitism to get worse.

  9. In terms of the bus incident in London in December, there are conflicting reports of what was or wasn’t said inside the bus and we will have to wait for the investigation to be completed.

    According to The Guardian, ‘The BBC said the audio had been checked by “a number of Hebrew speakers”, reports the Times’. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/jan/08/nadine-dorries-grills-bbc-over-coverage-of-antisemitic-attack-story Unfortunately, The Times itself is behind a paywall hence the roundabout citation. I haven’t seen the BBC comment directly on this audio checking process. Obviously, the Board of Deputies of British Jews fundamentally disagrees with the BBC’s report of what was said.

    The involvement of the government, in the form of culture secretary Nadine Dorries, is something of a red herring and best seen as an opportunity to bash the Beeb. During the Conservative Party conference in October, she suggested that the BBC might not even exist in ten years ‘ time – which doesn’t bode well for the BBC’s licence fee settlement that she is currently negotiating with it.

  10. Given that most woke belive that simply putting the word ‘Israeli’ in front of the word ‘Jew’, transforms any anti-semetic statement, even something so blatant as calling for Jews to be ‘burnt alive’ into a ‘legitimate statement’ in support of the Palestinian People you can understand just how easy it is for people to write stuff like this.

    1. I’ve watched it now. It includes his interview with the YouTuber mentioned by the Simon Wiesenthal Center (starts 20:15 minutes in). Personally, I think the interaction is badly mischaracterised in the Center’s report (assuming that it hasn’t been re-edited since it was first broadcast last month).

  11. The title of the piece would lead the reader to think this was an article reporting a deadly vehicle accident. In fact, it is an editorial justifying Abbas’ statement that the crash victims are “martyrs of trying to make a living.” The day of mourning seems to be a political statement to protest those responsible for the martyrs’ deaths, which is apparently Israel and not the drivers of the vehicles. I have definitely noticed in the last 20+ years the tone of reporting on Israel and Palestine has gone from “Criticizing Israel is not anti-semitism” to “Israel is a brutal regime committing crimes against humanity.” I find it alarming and dangerous.

  12. I don’t think their dedication of half the article to the Occupation was because of anti-Semitism. It’s just that this is how the Woke (who have taken over media and who wrote this article) see the world. Remember, they see *everything* in terms of intersectional hierarchies and battles between oppressor and oppressed. They’ve been *trained* to identify these kinds of scenarios.

    According to their worldview, Israel is responsible for these deaths because if it were not for the occupation driving down wages in Palestine (and remember, disparities are *always* due to oppression), those people wouldn’t have felt the need to work in Israel. They would not have been on the road, and they wouldn’t have died. If only Israel would let Palestinians have equal wages.

    This is how they think, and that’s why they dedicated so much space to explaining the Occupation. To them, *everything* is attributable to the Occupation. Just like, to them, everything in US race relations is attributable to slavery and Jim Crow (and the War on Drugs).

    So I would not read this as anti-Semitism. (I sincerely doubt they’re anti-Jewish.) I would read this as another example of Woke Ascendancy where Israel plays the role of oppressor and Palestine the role of oppressed.

    1. You have left several questions unanswered, however. Why are the Israelis universally seen as oppressors by the woke? Why are the Woke literally obsessed by Israel and not by Syria or Iran, for example? Are the women, gays, and apostates o atheists in Iran not oppressed.

      The UNIVERSAL obsession with Israel as an “apartheid state”, even in the face of the evidence, has no explanation to me except anti-Semitism. It’s not like the Jews weren’t demonized for several millennia, you know. This is nothing new.

  13. My final post, as I’m chipping in too much. The characterisation of Alaa Daraghme as a “Senior BBC producer” seems to be mistaken ; in fact David Collier’s blog post from which this story seems to originate is about “Tom Bateman – a BBC Middle East Correspondent” retweeting Daraghme’s posts. It isn’t clear whether or not the BBC has ever employed Daraghme; Collier writes:

    Whether in fully employment [sic] or as a freelancer – Alaa Daraghme is part of the BBC Arabic’s network in Jerusalem. He produces videos for them and reports for them. The BBC’s own Middle East correspondent certainly knows him well enough to promote and admire his work.

    https://david-collier.com/alaa-daraghme/

    So the Senior BBC producer isn’t Daraghme and I can see no evidence that Bateman retweeted the misleading “ramming” video. Daraghme, who did tweet that video, may not ever have been a BBC employee. Certainly, the BBC needs to do more vetting of freelancers and local staff though (as the Tala Halawa case also illustrates). Bateman clearly needs to be more careful about who he retweets; my understanding is that BBC News staff are having greater restrictions imposed on their social media posts, so hopefully that is being addressed. (Again, the case of freelancers is problematic since their social media profiles are important in terms of promoting themselves and it’s difficult to see how the BBC can regulate them as they do with direct employees.)

  14. When I go for a walk in my immigrant-heavy neighborhood in Frankfurt/Germany, I pass lots of Grafitti saying “Free Falastine” and the like, usually juxtaposed to “Refugees welcome”/”Open the borders” (of Germany, not of Palestine!).
    The AP piece is reprehensibly partisan, no doubt about it, the only legitimate reason to bring up the greater political situation here it all would be as a context to the idiotic propagandistic “martyrs” statement by Abbas which shows how these people think (i e that everything bad that ever happens is the fault of Israel) but is given uncritically here, as if it were warranted. Unfortunately, I find that a lot of foreign reporting is partisan and shows more about the attitudes of the journalists/the “line” of their superiors than about the country and conflicts they report on. If there is lots of reporting about a country, this is oftentimes to justify meddling there or putting pressure on one party of a conflict, and you never get the full picture, you never get the sins of the side chosen as the “good” one, and the sins of the “bad” side are exaggerated.

  15. One more comment after all, to bring together all of the stuff about the BBC into one place. As you’ll tell, I’m seriously angry about the Beeb’s treatment by the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC):

    1) “BBC falsely reported that anti-Muslim slurs could be heard within the bus”. There are currently two separate investigations going on into the one sentence of its reporting referred to: a) an internal BBC one (independent of the News division responsible for the reporting of the incident) and b) an external one by the UK’s independent broadcasting regulator, Ofcom. To label the reporting as false and discriminatory before those investigations have been completed smacks of a disregard for the processes of natural justice.

    2) “Senior BBC Producer Aala Daraghme…” Flat wrong. It’s not even clear if Daraghme has ever been employed by the BBC or is just a local freelancer. International news organisations like the BBC do need to do much better when recruiting local staff, though.

    3) “BBC reporter Tala Halawa tweeted …”. The SWC’s report supposedly deals with anti-Semitism in 2021, but the only connection to last year is that her 2014 tweet became known then, resulting in her instant firing. That the SWC cites a seven-year-old tweet from before Halawa was employed by the BBC rather than any incidences of anti-Semitic bias in her output during her time with the broadcaster suggests that there weren’t any. Pre-employment vetting of potential employees’ historical social media posts is challenging for any employer, but the BBC should clearly have done much better when recruiting Halawa in 2017.

    4) Tom Brada interview. Anyone watching British Jew Tom Brada’s full 26 minute documentary about the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK – in which the reporter’s father discusses how he never met his own grandparents because they were murdered in the Holocaust and his mother expresses how frightened she is by modern-day anti-Semitism – would struggle to see it as an example of BBC anti-Semitism. In the specific segment referred to by the SWC, Brada continually challenges the YouTuber’s assertions. To construe Brada and his work as an example of BBC anti-Semitism is insulting to him and to the BBC and it is hard to see such a blatant mischaracterisation as anything other than deliberately misleading. I’m not sure how viewable the programme is outside the UK, but you may be able to watch it here and judge for yourself: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00130hp

    5) “BBC Arabic-language often refer to all Israelis as ‘settlers’ “. I don’t speak Arabic, but given the errors and bias in the SWC’s other allegations of BBC anti-Semitism I’m inclined to take this one with a pinch of salt. If true, the BBC has an easy-to-use online complaints system and additionally the regulator Ofcom is independent both of the BBC and the government. I’m certain that either complaints procedure would deal harshly with any actual anti-Semitism.

    6) “The UK Jewish community is reeling from attacks”. Indeed, as Tom Brada’s nuanced and thoughtful documentary (point 4, above) illustrated.

    1. I suggest reading Hadar Sela’s analysis of BBC programs about Middle East in Camera UK (previously BBC Watch). It’s quite illuminating. And there are statistics about BBC coverage of Israeli and Palestinian actions – the bias against Israel is evident (like in Human Right Council or UN)

      1. Maybe, but Jerry said, “I’ll let the Brits or the journalism mavens argue this out, but if you’re defending the BBC, you must defend the facts adduced above”, which I believe I have done with respect to the specific allegations made against the BBC in his post. Of course, if anyone wants to defend the “facts adduced” by the Simon Wiesenthal Center then they should address them specifically too.

        1. I’m really sorry, but I simply don’t have time to write an essay about the “facts” you listed. For years now I follow BBC coverage of Israel and I see a very strong anti-Israeli bias. And there is always a problem with BBC investigations. Try to check the saga about Balen report.
          Just to address the “anti-Muslim slur” invented by the BBC (not even by the journalist who reported the incident. It was an addition from one of the editors) – this was debunked but specialists in the field of linguistics, see https://www.thejc.com/news/news/damning-new-evidence-undermines-bbc's-oxford-street-racist-slur-claim-5QMDcvQg2mg3yAXxTJIzif

  16. Maybe Israel is an exception because claiming a homeland after 2000 absence was presumptuous considering it was populated. Looking at the continuing head count, it sure looks that way. If you can think of any group making similar claims today, I’d sure like to hear about it. And, if they did, how would you react considering it relied so much on biblical accounts?

    1. Hey, there, Mr. Newbie. Do you even have an idea what you’re trying to say? Do you think that that area was Judenfrei for 2000 years? Sorry, but you’re wrong, and you don’t have to rely on the Bible to know that Jews have lived in the area that was Israel since, well, since there were Jews.

      Since you’re saying that the Jewish claim to Israel (supported, by the way, by the UN) is wrong, you’re flirting with anti-Semitism. But first I’d learn how to write before you start looking at Wikipedia.

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