British leftists protest broadcaster’s idea of balance, ‘airbrushing’ out Israel’s preexisting military control of Gaza, and the imbalance of power between the sides.
The BBC is widely believed in Israel to be biased in favor of the Palestinians. Yet in Britain, which can fairly be called the nerve center of Western pro-Palestinian sentiment, hundreds of left-wingers have protested in recent days over what they call the state broadcaster’s pro-Israel bias in its coverage of the fighting with Gaza.
The Independent reported Wednesday that protesters have rallied outside Broadcasting House, the BBC’s London headquarters, as well as in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.
On Tuesday the protesters presented a letter to the BBC from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and other groups.
The letter charged that the broadcaster’s coverage of the fighting was “devoid of context or background” about Israeli military control over of Gaza.
“We would like to remind you that Gaza has no army, air force, or navy, while Israel possess one of the strongest militaries in the world,” the letter continued. “When you portray the occupier as the victim, and the occupied as the aggressor, we would like to remind you that resistance to occupation is a right under international law.”
A week ago Owen Jones, a left-wing columnist for The Guardian, wrote: “‘Israel under renewed Hamas attack’: this was last night’s BBC headline on the escalating bloodshed in Gaza. It is as perverse as Mike Tyson punching a toddler, followed by a headline claiming that the child spat at him.”
In the nine days of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, over 200 Palestinians have been killed, along with one Israeli.
A spokesman for BBC News did not address the specifics of the protesters’ criticism, saying only that this was an “ongoing and complex conflict,” and that the BBC is “committed to continuing to report and analyze sometimes fast moving events in an accurate, fair and balanced way.”
Numerous protests have been held in British cities against the BBC’s coverage and Israel’s attacks, and the Stop the War Coalition says additional ones will be held in London, Glasgow, Birmingham and Worcester in the days ahead.
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