From the excellent Media Lens:
One of the most egregious recent omissions by BBC News was last week’s groundbreaking report by leading Israeli human rights group B’Tselem naming Israel as ‘an apartheid state’ and ‘a regime of Jewish supremacy’:
‘In the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the Israeli regime implements laws, practices and state violence designed to cement the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians.’
Apartheid in the Palestinian Territories has long been recognised. For example, in 2004, a prominent South African professor of international law, John Dugard, then UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, wrote that there is ‘an apartheid regime’ in the territories ‘worse than the one that existed in South Africa.’
Noam Chomsky concurred:
‘In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid. To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by “apartheid” you mean South African-style apartheid.
‘What is happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse. There is a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce…
‘The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just do not want them. They want them out, or at least in prison.’
All this was damning enough. But the publication of the new B’Tselem report was the first time that Israeli human rights and legal experts had publicly stated that apartheid exists not just in the Occupied Territories, but throughout the whole region that Israel claims for itself.
As the Israel-based British journalist Jonathan Cook observed:
‘By calling Israel an apartheid state and a “regime of Jewish supremacy”, B’Tselem has given the lie to the Israel lobby’s claim – bolstered by a new definition promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – that it is antisemitic to suggest Israel is a “racist endeavour”.
‘B’Tselem, a veteran Israeli Jewish organisation with deep expertise in human rights and international law, has now explicitly declared that Israel is a racist state. Israel’s apologists will now face the much harder task of showing that B’Tselem is antisemitic, along with the Palestinian solidarity activists who cite its work.’
As far as we are aware, there was no mention of the report on any of the flagship BBC News at 6 or 10 television programmes. Nor was there anything to be found on the BBC News website. Presumably, the BBC deemed it unworthy of the public’s attention. We challenged BBC foreign editor Andrew Roy, BBC world affairs editor John Simpson, BBC chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet and BBC digital news editor Stuart Millar for a response. Not one of them replied. It is perhaps significant that Millar moved to the BBC from the Guardian where, as deputy editor of Guardian US, he had scoffed at Julian Assange:
‘I like to think that #Assange chose the Ecuadorean embassy because it’s so convenient for Harrods’
This is the archetypal sneering ‘mainstream’ journalist’s view of anyone who seriously exposes the truth and challenges power.
As for B’Tselem’s landmark report detailing the reality of the Israeli state as an apartheid regime, it is possible that there were sporadic brief mentions in some outlying parts of the BBC. Longtime readers will recall that the BBC infamously buried revelations by Scott Ritter, a former chief UN weapons inspector, that Iraq had been fundamentally disarmed of any weapons of mass destruction, at 3am on the BBC World Service.
In response to the B’Tselem report, John Pilger pointed out via Twitter:
‘Israel is top of the league for vaccinating its own people [against coronavirus]. The accolades say Israel is the “example”. False. Israel is denying the vaccine to Palestinians whose land and lives it controls. WHO has pleaded with Israel: to no avail. Apartheid in action.’