Thursday, 23 July 2015

Did the BBC cover-up the antisemitism of Gaza's children?

My latest post at Writing from the Edge

Here's an extract:

Has a mistranslation in a BBC documentary created an image of innocence where none should exist?

Was the motivation of the broadcaster to avoid diminishing sympathy towards the Palestinians while increasing antipathy towards Israel?

For those that missed the coverage let me bring you up to speed.

According to a report in the Jewish Chronicle, Britain's oldest and most widely read Jewish newspaper, the BBC substituted the word “Israelis” for "Jews" in its translation of interviews with Palestinian children.

The documentary, Children of the Gaza War, was presented by the BBC's chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet to mark the first anniversary of the conflict and included extensive and sympathetic interviews by Doucet with both Israeli and Gazan children and their parents.

At one point in the film, a Gazan child says the “yahud” are massacring Palestinians. However the TV subtitles read: “Israel is massacring us”. The Jewish Chronicle pointed out to its readers that the correct translation for “yahud” from Arabic to English is “Jew”.

Lyse Doucet told the JC: “We talked to people in Gaza, we talked to translators. When [the children] say ‘Jews’, they mean ‘Israelis’. “We felt it was a better translation of it.”

The Jewish Chronicle appears to be raising two very important issues. Are Palestinian children in Gaza antisemitic and can we trust the BBC to be fair to Israel.

Let me attempt to unscramble the thinking (or lack of thinking) going on here.