BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen retweets anti-Israel activist Joseph Dana.

This article by me first appeared on the recently launched BBCWatch website.

The BBC has had many notorious anti-Israel episodes over the years – too many to mention them all – but here are a few to jog the memory.

BBC journalist Barbara Plett said she “started to cry” as Yasser Arafat left the West Bank in 2004 to go to France for treatment not long before he died. BBC governors ruled her comments “breached the requirements of due impartiality”.

In 2006 Orla Guerin reported, while standing in front of damaged buildings in Bint Jbeil, Lebanon, that the town had been “wiped out” by the Israeli air force. Meanwhile, Alex Thompson, of Channel 4 News, correctly reported “the suburbs pretty much untouched by the Israeli attack and invasion”.

More recently the Itamar massacre was hardly mentioned on the BBC despite its many TV and radio news programmes. The BBC eventually apologised and blamed its oversight on a “very busy news period”. Five Israelis being stabbed to death in their family home by two Palestinian terrorists, including a baby girl in her bed, was not deemed newsworthy enough by the BBC.

Another even more recent example was Will Gompertz’s review of Habima’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ at The Globe in May which appeared in the Entertainment & Arts section of the BBC website. In the review, which was headlined “The Merchant of Venice: A protest within a play”, Gompertz proceeded to review the disruptions by anti-Israel activists instead of the actual play itself.

Gompertz even described one of the anti-Israel activists as “a handsome grey-haired woman” and, instead of condemning the disruptions out of hand, he merely mused “about the rights or wrongs of staging a protest in a theatre where the majority of the people have paid to see a show”.

Such partiality continues to this day in the guise of Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East Editor. On October 5th 2012 Bowen retweeted to his 21,333 Twitter followers, which he has courtesy of his position at the BBC, a tweet by Joseph Dana who was “curious that Israeli forces can fire tear gas and use stun grenades next to the Al Aqsa mosque and the story doesn’t make international waves”.

The Al Aqsa Mosque is on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; one of the potentially most explosive square kilometres on earth, should something go decidedly wrong there. Tear gas and stun grenades would be used only in extreme circumstances. One can imagine the sensitivity with which a respectable journalist should be reporting any story to do with a place considered so holy by both Jews and Muslims.

Any responsible journalist would check out such a story, especially considering its prospect for “international waves”, before reporting it either on twitter, TV or radio. Not Bowen, though, who apparently decided that the story as it stood sounded too good to resist reporting.

Had Bowen bothered to have a brief browse he would have found articles giving him the all-important context.

Ynet reported that several hundred Arab worshippers stoned the Israeli police before the police “used crowd-control measures to disperse the crowd.” Israel Hayom reported how “police came under a barrage of rocks”. The Times of Israel reported how “hundreds of Arabs threw stones at security guards”.

In addition to the stone-throwing, The Jerusalem Post reported that “an Arab man tried to stab a police officer” and that “rioters on the Mount threw rocks in the direction of the Western Wall Plaza, but police officers were able to stop them before any rocks reached Jewish worshippers below”.

Joseph Dana, who lives in Ramallah and is a prolific anti-Israel activist, is hardly an objective and reliable source for reporting on Israeli matters. Appearing in November 2011 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London to give a talk, Dana answered – when asked by an audience member whether Zionism was “the work of the devil” – that he, Dana, had managed to free himself from a “Zionist indoctrination programme”. It really is ludicrous for Bowen to quote Dana as a serious source on Israel.

The recent Leveson Enquiry on media ethics addressed the media’s reporting of individuals but, sadly, did not get round to addressing how the media reports on countries.

Individuals have a right to sue for defamation; a country has not, but the knock on effect for Jews around the world of biased reporting against Israel can be deadly as we saw in Toulouse where a Rabbi, two of his children and another child were shot dead outside a Jewish school when Mohamed Merah seemed driven to revenge by one-sided reporting of Israel’s defensive operations in Gaza.

Britain likes to think it has a good record on multiculturalism. However there is a vicious anti-Israel culture in this country supported by more than a few politicians, university academics, charities and certain media organisations such as The Guardian and The Independent. Therefore, when British Jews go to synagogue to pray, the sad fact is they have do so surrounded by the strictest security.

This is not something for Britain to be proud of. And it is also a culture contributed to by many journalists at the BBC; Jeremy Bowen being the prime example.

34 responses to “BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen retweets anti-Israel activist Joseph Dana.

  1. Thanks as ever for this.

    Keep it up and I hope all is well with you.


  2. Joseph Dana is part of the Jew-washing stock for the PA. The Jewish people, who takes pride in its high intelligence, has also a good stock of useless idiots.

  3. You’re back! 🙂

  4. And still we await for the Malcom Balen Report to be made public !
    If ever.

  5. Jews who don’t want to make Aliyah also don’t want to learn from history: its a package deal.

  6. Good piece.

    My only question is about this:

    “Another even more recent example was Will Gompertz’s review of Habima’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ at The Globe in May which appeared in the Entertainment & Arts section of the BBC website. In the review, which was headlined “The Merchant of Venice: A protest within a play”, Gompertz proceeded to review the disruptions by anti-Israel activists instead of the actual play itself.”

    I couldn’t find anything on the page that proved his article was definitely meant to be a ‘review’.

    Also, his description of one of the protestors as “a handsome grey-haired woman” is almost certainly a dig, rather than praise, given the intentional use of the ‘h’ word!

    • richardmillett

      Thanks, Chas. You might be right but it seems to have the hallmarks of a review. Either way it was a highly politicised piece for the arts and entertainment section, for example his use of “occupied West Bank”

      • james griffin

        er…actually Richard, the West Bank IS occupied. Who are all those men with guns frightening the women and children and controlling the daily movements of 3 million people? Actors?
        And I would say the term ‘The Jewish State of Israel’ when 25% of the population is not Jewish, is a ‘highly politicised’ statement.

      • Somehow I doubt you have ever been there!

      • james griffin

        sure I have. 3 times. On my last visit, I was in Hebron, Kiryat Arba and Bethlehem.
        And you? Have you been there?

      • richardmillett

        I’m not sure that you can occupy a place that you technically have a right to be.

      • Absolutely- Have never seen anyone hassled by soldiers- Other than stone throwing teenagers- old enough to be in any mans army.
        The GDP of the PA is higher than in the UK-

      • @Steve: You’ve never seen anyone hassled by IDF soldiers? Here’s an example for you. And the kid doesn’t look old enough to be in any man’s army…
        @Richard: “technically have a right to be” – care to expand on the technicalities for us? Even Bibi ditched the recent report that said Israel wasn’t occupying the West Bank.

      • @Steve. You’ve never seen anyone hassled by IDF soldiers. Here’s an example for you (re-posting the link to a YouTube video – which for Richard means that this is an endorsement of the soldier’s treatment of the child):

      • Here’s a truly nauseating one of an IDF monster stepping on that little boy’s sister:

        And here you’ll see his father being shot in the leg:

        It’s truly sickening!

        Just to round it off, here’s some genuine footage of the IDF apparently employing ultra-orthodox diggers!

      • Sorry – genuine footage:

  7. Bowen is an idiot and he is detested by a huge portion of the British public. But we all know how the BBC likes to “look after its own”.

    • Bowen “is detested by a huge portion of the British public”… Really?
      For a man that likes ‘factual data’ can you back that statement up?
      Hope you can – otherwise it casts a dark shadow on all of the other ‘factual data’ you put forward in your other posts.

  8. At least the BBC made some effort during the Olympics and recognised that Jerusalem was the capital city of Israel. It came after much fighting, though.

  9. Looks like he read this article and then added the follow “Retweets aren’t endorsements” on his Twitter page.
    Hypocricy at its best.

  10. Hey Bowen, if you’re reading this, how come as the BBC’s “middle east correspondent” you were utterly unaware of what was going on in Egypt leading up to the revolution? How come you’re so utterly clueless about anything outside your trendy hotel bar in Tel Aviv? Why do you still have a job? Why do I have to continue funding your pointless existence with my license fee?

    • He still believed Tel Aviv was the capital of Israel four months ago. He is a slow learner. Be patiient with him while they pspend your tax money in unpublished reports.

      • Correct Jose. In fact up until last year he believed that the “middle east” consisted of Tel Aviv, the Gaza strip and some place called “Arab East Jerusalem”, where awful things were happening according to his favourite source for objective news, “electronic intifada”. He thought that Cairo was a fish and chips shop in Haifa.

  11. The Guardian also had to recant… They were even more misleading than the Beeb, claiming that Tel Aviv was Israel’s capital:
    But they don’t go as far as the BBC and still don’t admit Jerusalem is the capital, which proves their fantastic capacity do deny factual data.

  12. I mean they cannot go on eternally saying “Tel Aviv is not the capital of Israel”. At some point they have to go on the positive side and say whiat city is the capital. Maybe we could proceed by elimination and ask them if Haifa is the capital of Israel, or maybe Ashdod, or Beersheva, or Ashkelon, or Netanya, or Modi’in or…
    But the shortest way is that they answer the question directly and join the BBC in saying that it is Jerusalem.
    Simultaneously they shoulb both recant about Jerusalem being the capital of fantasyland Palestine.


    Even more curious …not an ounce of tear gas, a stun grenade or an arrest in sight.

    • The subject of this blog post is the BBC and its anti-Israel bias… Just to let you know.

      • Actually the subject is Jeremy Bowen re-tweeting. Richard was keen to point out the ‘context’ of the extreme force used by the IDF in their crowd control, i.e. Arabs throwing stones, as if to justify the beatings, stun grenades and tear gas used.
        Just to let you (and other readers of the blog) know that no such extreme crowd control measures were applied to the ‘hundreds of Jews hurling rocks at cars in Jerusalem’ – as reported by Haaretz. Despite rocks hitting moving vehicles.
        Perhaps Mr. Bowen should have composed a tweet comparing and contrasting the two, rather than re-tweeting without Richards mandatory context.

  14. Now again, the discussion of the “occupied West Bank” is a ‘little’ off-subject but let’s talk about it a little bit. First by giving the “West Bank” its real name, Judea Samaria. I’m sure no one would call that piece of land “West Bank” because that would be from the point of viex of someone living on the “Eadt Bank” of the Jordan river. And that would be Jordan itself, an illegal invader of that piece of land. Moreover, it has been called the “West Bank” only for 19 years of occupations while Judea Samaria are age-old denominations. And anyway, who has ever seen the bank of a tiny river extend to 40 km from it? This name is ludicrous!

    So is it “occupied Judea-Samaria” ? Not even! For a piece of land to be occupied, it has to belong to another state first then have been captured by a new one. And to whom did that piece of land belonged before 1967? Let’s see… Jordan? No! It took that land illegally in 1948 (against UN partition plan, San Remo, Balfour, etc). The British? No! They only had a Mandate, there. The Ottoman Empire? It was defeated in 1917 and the victors later created the surrounding countries, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and gave them for exclusive Arab use, including Jordan taken out of the Palestine Mandate despite former promises of the British to Jews.

    So technically, Judea Samaria was a no man’s land and wasn’t attributed to anyone. Not to Jordan, neither to Arabs nor to Jews. Therefore, all we can say about it is that Judea Samaria is a disputed territory. Two people have claims on it. One party wants to negotiate borders, the other won’t and attacks undisputed Israel territory relentlessly from there. So there are IDF soldiers patrolling, roadblocks and everything but no occupation of that disputed land.

    Case closed!

    • Case closed only because Richard has seen fit to moderate and edit my replies (perhaps because a link to a YouTube video of IDF soliders beating up a child weren’t on-message).
      Your analysis is so full of holes one could drive a truck through it (albeit slowly due to the presence of 500 or so checkpoints), but it’s not worth writing a response while the moderator’s only looking to publish one-sided stories and not stimulate debate.

      • Your videos are the same kind that the Hamas’ Pallywood industry produces every day. Fake or cut at the right place.
        The last one I saw was a child that had been harassing the soldiers for a while, then o caught. Of course,not a trace of what he did before to get his ass kicked.
        Next time abstain from you usual ad hominem criticism without justification and argueing by the bias of the moderator. He moderates me either, btw and sometimes without any good reason.
        All my arguments about Judea Samaria are indisputable, factual, easily checked.

  15. And for those who ignore the ‘technicalities’ of Judea Samaria (aka the “West Bank” to revisionists of History):

  16. Here’s an example of a really terrible broadcast Bowen did years ago !
    As part of the daily influential news programme called “What the Papers Say” outrageous language was used against the actions of Israel and Jews . The English Lebanese newspaper containing libellous accusations against Jews (including the use of the Holocaust turned against the Jews) was quoted in full by him… A Member of Parliament endorsed my plea that such racist words had no place on the airwaves in Britain, but this was rejected. .