This new revised style guide provides no reason for optimism with regard to improvements in the accuracy or impartiality of BBC reporting on Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict. As was the case with the old ‘Key Terms’ guide, it is based upon partial and politically motivated interpretations of “international law” and refuses to acknowledge the existence of any history before 1967. The clear adoption of a specific political narrative is shown by the use of language such as “Israel says this is in response to rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel” in the section concerning the Gaza Strip and “[t]he presence of settlements is one of the most contentious issues of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict”. The notion that “[i]t is normally best to talk about ‘Jewish settlers’ rather than ‘Israeli settlers’ – some settlers are not Israeli citizens” is bizarre and the self-appointed quasi-divine authority reflected in the sentence “The BBC does not call Jerusalem the ‘capital’ of Israel” is frankly offensive.
What a wasted opportunity on the part of a corporation supposedly committed to accuracy and impartiality.
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