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June 30, 2015 7:04 am

BBC Peddles Anti-Israel Lies, Helps Whitewash Hamas

avatar by Hadar Sela

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BBC screenshot. Photo: HonestReporting.

BBC screenshot. Photo: HonestReporting.

The June 17 edition of the BBC World Service radio program ‘Newshour’ – presented by James Coomarasamy – included an item (from 14:00 here) introduced as follows:

Last year’s conflict between Israel and Gaza lasted 51 days and claimed more than two thousand lives. Israel and Hamas continue to argue about who was responsible, over the number of casualties and over each other’s conflict during the war. But the impact on Gaza’s infrastructure was undeniably considerable. Its only power station was hit by an airstrike.

That portrayal is, of course, inaccurate: the fuel tanks at the Gaza power plant (not the structure itself) were hit by errant tank shells (not by “an airstrike”), whilst the IDF tried to prevent an imminent attack by terrorists carrying anti-tank missiles. Additionally, the conflict was not “between Israel and Gaza” but between Israel and terrorist organizations based in the Gaza Strip, and Coomarasamy’s bizarre and unsourced ‘they’re each as bad as the other’ claim that “Israel and Hamas continue to argue” actively hinders audience understanding of the facts behind the conflict.

All that, however, was merely the entrée to the real purpose of this item: license-fee funded promotion of a new book by the BBC’s long-time favorite medic-cum-terrorist supporter, Mads Gilbert. Coomarasamy continues:

One man who witnessed that war at close hand is a Norwegian doctor, Mads Gilbert. He returned to Gaza to work in al Shifa hospital as he’d done in three previous conflicts there. He documented his experiences – he’s collated them in a new book called ‘Night in Gaza’. So why did he think it was important to do that?

Coomarasamy makes no effort to relieve listeners of the misleading impressions created by Gilbert’s inaccurate claim of a ‘siege’ on the Gaza Strip or to inform them that the descriptions they hear of shortages of medical supplies actually have nothing to do with Israel.

Gilbert: “I had been in Gaza for two weeks in June to make a report for the UN about the situation in the healthcare system and basically the whole civilian sector in Gaza was down on its knees because of the siege and then on top of that came this horrific 51 days. Shifa was totally drained of supplies, drugs, equipment – everything you need to run a hospital.”

One of the issues regularly raised on my blog is the BBC’s frequent breaching of its own editorial guidelines on impartiality due to its failure to inform audiences of the “viewpoint” of interviewees. At one point during the item listeners hear Coomarasamy say to Gilbert:

“You are a medical doctor but you are an activist. You are a pro-Palestinian activist. Would you say that’s fair?”

Gilbert answers:

“Like many others I support the Palestinian people’s right to resist occupation and I think that’s part of my medical duty. Medicine and politics are Siamese twins – you can’t separate the one from the other.”

Unfortunately, rather than clarifying to audiences that the Gaza Strip has not been under occupation for a decade and instead of pursuing the subject of what Gilbert really means when he talks of a “right to resist” (in a recent interview with the Guardian, Gilbert stated that “[t]he right to resist implies also the right to resist with arms, if you’re occupied”), Coomarasamy gets into a futile academic discussion with Gilbert about medicine and politics before providing him with the opportunity to whitewash Hamas abuses.

JC: “What about…I mean have you tried to understand the point of view of Hamas and what they were doing in the hospital? Because if you look at the Amnesty International report from last month they very clearly say ‘Hamas forces used the abandoned areas of Shifa, including the outpatients clinic area, to detain, interrogate torture and otherwise ill-treat suspects even as other parts of the hospital continued to function as a medical centre’. And first of all, do you recognize that portrait?”

MG: “I don’t support Hamas. I don’t support Fatah. I don’t support any Palestinian faction. I support the Palestinian people.”

JC: “But do you recognize the Amnesty International characterization of what was happening in the hospital when you were there?”

MG: “Bear in mind that Amnesty was not allowed to enter Gaza. I am not saying that this is not taking place. I’m saying that where I worked it was a proper hospital. And yes, the Palestinian Authorities had their press conferences outside. I am allowed to work freely. I walk around wherever I want. I’m never controlled. I never have my pictures controlled. So from what I have seen in Shifa hospital and in the other Palestinian hospitals in Gaza, this is not the picture I recognize.”

Coomarasamy ends the interview there and, as has so often been the case in the past, BBC audiences have once again been fed Gilbert’s unhindered falsehoods and propaganda – as well as promotion of his book.

Mads Gilbert is not a “pro-Palestinian” activist as claimed by Coomarasamy in his ostensible impartiality box-tick. Those who are truly pro-Palestinian (and perhaps especially those supposedly bound by a professional oath) would not whitewash Hamas’ torture of its political opponents, its exploitation of patients as human shields or its diversion of resources which could improve the lives of ordinary Palestinians for the purposes of terrorism. Sadly, the BBC continues to avoid telling Mads Gilbert as he really is.

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  • Another video from Mr. Pat Condell that exposes the anti-Israel bias of the BBC specifically, and the British news media generally:

  • Thomas the Catholic

    This is a good article and I do not mean to be critical of it. But, I think that everybody knows that the BBC is biased. And, that Mads guy is well known. These facts are a world wide open secret. It is sort like the Naked Cowboy in the Times Square. Everybody knows he is there and he did spend a dime on advertising. The slander from BBC and all other corporate media is known and expected. Articles, like the below link, are what is needed.

    This is a great article and it explains the odd the article which appears from time to time which tells the truth. The odd articles are invariably written by those not affiliated with an NGO, corporate media, etc. In other words, the truth got out there by accident by a single or small team of writers on the odd website.

  • Watch Mr. Pat Condell expose the bias of the BBC:

  • Reform School

    While the BBC avoids telling Mads Gilbert as he really is, the Algemeiner avoids telling that political spin changed the BBC World Service to the BBC Whirled Service.

  • We hear way too much about how young Muslims are radicalised yet those who preach h the hate are not the ones Dying for the ’cause’? I use cause, out of a lack of understanding as to what fundamentalists want! Do they expect to convert us ALL? If that is the case, God will not want conversion at the point of a Gun! That is not belief!!!

  • Pastor CJ

    I report daily news on my blog and have to forever CORRECT BBC

  • judithg

    charlie rose, who in my opinion has some serious mental issues, ran a program tonite on pbs featuring this bbc woman, her bbc woman friend, the sewer rat who is the spokesperson for iran. the young woman tried not to look and sound like the damn fool she was meant to be. mr. rose also had Bret Stephens from the wsj and switched back and forth between vienna with the three aforementioned and Bret Stephens who was at his table. despite mr.Stephens clear and articulate explanation of the disasterous consequences of a bad deal with a bad actor like iran, mr. rose would cut him off and give camera time to the bbc hostess,her friend,and the iran sewer rat.
    it was like watching nazi fascists being interviewed at one of their death camps while they ate lunch and explained how a partnership with the united states would benefit the united states. despite the evidence to the contrary presented by Brett Stephens, he was completely ignored by mr. rose.
    it was sickening, frightening delusional and hallucinatory programming. something is very wrong with charlie rose and something is very wrong with our world. both of which are dangling half off a precipice with no trace of redemption.

  • Ephraim

    Typical of the B(ritish)B(iogots)C(orporation).

  • steven L

    BBC like the Guardian is full of antisemites. I pity them.
    Jealousy is a very serious disease.

  • Ike

    At one time the BBC had a sterling reputation for truth and integrity. The fascists have succeeded in reducing a once venerable news agency to a propaganda rag. Brits should be up in arms!

  • marcia mattheus

    No surprise. Add: NY Times; CNN

  • marcia mattheus

    No surprise. Add them to the list: NY Times; CNN


    Dr. Gilbert, if Israel is so bad to your mind, WHY DOES ISRAELI DOCTORS TREAT ARAB CITIZENS FROM GAZA, AND EVEN SYRIAH?????????? Please explain.

  • dante

    mads gilbert and coomarasamy should be handed over to i.s.; one can be confident that these swine would have no objections to the sadistic horrors of the jihadists; after all, they’ve never objected to similar atrocities in gaza. (yes, it must be conceded that the jihadists of gaza are a bit camera shy, but regime-sanctioned sadistic mob violence is always a big draw in gaza.) so, let i.s. give them the i.s. treatment. and, one can throw in the flotilla mob.