Channel 4’s lying subtitles in Going for Gold in Gaza documentary.

It seems that Channel 4 has not been telling the full truth in its recently shown Unreported World documentary Going for Gold in Gaza, about the efforts of the men’s Palestinian Paralympics team to qualify for London 2012, shown on Friday night and which I subsequently blogged about.

Of its 23 minute duration almost half of the documentary was devoted to a totally gratuitous demonisation of Israel. The problem for Aidan Hartley, the presenter, was that none of the Paralympians he was interviewing had been rendered disabled by Israel. Their disabilities stemmed from either accidents or intermarrying or were hereditary.

Instead, Hartley sought out Palestinians, mainly children, who had supposedly been maimed or killed by Israel, which had no connection to the the title of the programme.

He also uncovered the case of a Palestinian boy, Yousef, who had lost an arm to cancer but who’d had a new artificial one, allegedly, blocked by Israel from entering Gaza. Terrible if true, but mean Hartley doesn’t bother trying to locate either the truth about the limb or the limb itself for Yousef.

Tom Meltzer’s review of the programme for The Guardian was equally villainous. For example, he describes the athletes as a “ragtag band of Palestinian Paralympic hopefuls”, eventhough one of them has a huge haul of medals from games from all around the world.

But now it gets worse.

Cifwatch had some subtitles in the programme translated by an Arabic expert and it now transpires that Hartley and his production team may have intentionally mistranslated the subtitles to leave out words that would have shown Israel in a good light, but which would have undermined the programme’s anti-Israel narrative.

Here is the relevant scene from the documentary:

Hartley is interviewing one of the Palestinian Paralympians who describes how he came to be disabled. The subtitles read:

“I was working on a building site and fell from a great height. After my accident, I went to a rehabilitation centre. At the centre I played sport for the first time. I felt it was a good replacement for something I had lost.”

But the subtitles should have read:

“After I was wounded, I went to Israeli hospitals and then to rehabilitation centers. The first time I did sports was at the Abu Raya center. I felt it was a good replacement for something I had lost.”

Hartley left out the fact that the Paralympian had been treated in Israeli hospitals!

And as for the “rehabilitation centers”, as opposed to just “a rehabilitation center” of the subtitles, our translator is almost certain that, from a grammatical point of view, those “rehabilitation centres” were also Israeli ones!

Additionally, the Paralympian actually said he first did sports at the Abu Raya centre, which is in Ramallah.

Mentioning those visits to Israel and Ramallah would not only have made Israel look too kind but would also have undermined Hartley’s later claim that:

“The Gaza strip has the atmosphere of a large prison. People are hemmed in and its claustrophobic and travel outside of Gaza is very restricted for any reason.”

This claim had, in fact, already been undermined when we learnt from the above clip that the Paralympian not only went to Israel and Ramallah to try to mend his broken body, but has since been everywhere to compete including to Birmingham, in 1998, to Guangzhou, in 2010, and to many Arab Games.

The programme was introduced by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, one of the main anchors of Channel 4 News, at the end of the news programme, giving it even more credibility.

Heads should roll for this but its Israel so they won’t. However, if anything, Channel 4’s subtitling should no longer be trusted.

(Thanks to Barry Mann who initially spotted the mistranslation)

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6 responses to “Channel 4’s lying subtitles in Going for Gold in Gaza documentary.

  1. Richard, you wrote in the previous blog “Channel 4′s relentless pursuit of Israel continues in Palestinian Paralympics doc.”

    “………. Nine year old Yousef lost his left arm to cancer and has been waiting 10 months for a new prosthetic arm. The medical centre’s director tells Hartley that Israel has stopped sending materials directly and that a donation from Slovenia has been left in Tel Aviv since February. Hartley repeats:

    “Let me get this right. Yousef, that nine year old boy, could have had a prosthetic limb months ago had the materials not been sitting in a warehouse in Israel for the last, nearly, eight months?”………..”

    Aidan Hartley seems to write a regular blog in the Spectator entitled Wild Life. http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/life/7289608/wild-life.thtml
    On 8th October 2011 he wrote on Israel. He describes his catastrophic visit there in the 1990’s when he had a girlfriend in Jerusalem and contracted malaria. After praying at the Holy Sepulcher he was revived and traveled to Gaza to film. His writing is convoluted, slipping in time from 1990’s to present day. He writes:

    “……….We did film some terrible things. It will be hard to get over the memory of speaking to a nine-year-old child called Yusuf. The boy wept as he told me the story of how he had lost his right arm to cancer. He couldn’t get a prosthetic limb because all the materials to make one had been held up in an Israeli warehouse for eight months.

    Gaza still lives under what the Palestinians call ‘the siege’. Militants still fire rockets into Israel, which responds with jet air strikes and missiles launched from drones….”

    NB – Yusuf who lost his right arm to cancer has become Yousef who lost his left arm to cancer!! Unless I have read it incorrectly, he encountered the right armed Yusuf in the 1990’s and the left arm Yousef in 2011!! In any event, his story doesn’t travel from one outlet to the next with too much consistency!

    Is this Al Dura revisited? Has Channel 4 taken over Pallywood!!

    This calls for Ofcom intervention!!

  2. come on

    we are talking about a reporter who was not shocked at all, that the majority of disabilities in gaza, are due to sisters marrying brothers

    • richardmillett

      Good point. He kind of indirectly blamed it on israel by saying it was due to poverty. But why does poverty encourage intermarriage?

      • which was another blatant lie

        that blind man said his father was an eye doctor

        even in the arab world, i highly doubt eye doctors are impoverished

        facts are facts…marriage within families is very common throughout the arab world

        want another blatant lie from the piece?

        why is it that the “doc” showed the men being forced to train on a patch of grass…while the women trained in what looked like a relatively modern workout studio?

        enough is enough

  3. “But why does poverty encourage intermarriage?”

    That’s simple. You save a fortune because you only have to invite one family. A guest turns up for the khafla (party) with Kalashnikov in hand (for entertainment only) and the bloke with the funny hat asks him which side he’s on – the bride’s or the groom’s, “Both” he replies, “I’m their brother!”

    Regarding Yusuf’s arm, it may be true that he lost an arm to intermarriage, but his sister may have three, so when they tie the knot, they still could have four working arms between them!

    What you lose on the swings….

  4. Pingback: C4′s Paralympic Dig at Israel | The Conservative Papers