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October 28, 2015 6:27 am

BBC Says Israelis’ Fear of Terror Attacks is ‘Paranoia’

avatar by Hadar Sela

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BBC Panorama. Photo: Screenshot.

BBC Panorama. Photo: Screenshot.

During the first three weeks of October 2015, ten Israelis were killed and 112 wounded — eleven of them seriously — in 40 stabbing attacks, four shootings, and five vehicular attacks that took place throughout the country.

On October 23, however, BBC News told its audiences that Israelis are suffering from either a collective psychosis “characterised by delusions of persecution” or “unjustified suspicion and mistrust of other people” — depending on which definition of the word “paranoia” BBC editors intended with their headline that read: “Paranoia deepens wedge between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Either way, it is obviously extremely hard to believe that if British citizens had been subjected to such a wave of terror attacks, the BBC would characterize their mood as unjustified or disconnected from reality by using the term “paranoia.” And it is, of course, equally unlikely that after more than 50 attacks on British citizens in three weeks, the BBC would still be avoiding the use of the word “terror” — as it continues to do in its current coverage of Israel.

In that article — which appeared in the features section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page — the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly promotes the notion of equivalence between the distress of Israeli Jerusalemites with that of Palestinians who, according to his account, are inconvenienced by roadblocks and suspicious looks.

But at times of rising tensions and rising casualty figures like this, the two populations that normally lead parallel lives share something very profound in common.

They are united by their fears for the dangers their families might face and by the deep urge that’s within all of us to keep our children safe.

In the section of his report devoted to the neighbourhood of Issawiya, Connolly writes:

Even in better times there is deep resentment in Issawiyah at the practical outworking of the occupation – Palestinians in villages like this pay the same local taxes as Israelis in West Jerusalem but strongly feel they don’t receive the same services.

They point to the condition of the roads and pavements and the absence of recreational facilities.

“There are Jewish districts where they have parks for their dogs,” one man told me, “And here we don’t even have a park for our kids.”

He, of course, refrains from informing readers that residents of Issawiya were at the forefront of opposition to the creation of a national park on their doorstep.

Although he describes the inconvenience of roadblocks implemented to try to deal with terrorism, Connolly does not provide audiences with relevant context, failing to clarify that a very significant proportion of the perpetrators of attacks came from Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

There is an Israeli checkpoint at the main entrance to the village. The local people say that if anyone throws stones at the soldiers who man it, they close the road and force commuters returning from Jerusalem to wait in their cars for anything up to an hour.

Connolly tells readers that:

Fear for the safety of children does unite the two communities, although the fears are different.

Israelis worry their children might be the victims of a politically-motivated street attack – Palestinians fear the readiness with which Israeli police and soldiers resort to lethal force, especially if they live in a part of the West Bank where it is easy to get caught up in street protests. [emphasis added]

Those “street protests” are more accurately described as organized violent rioting, and Connolly’s apparent belief that Palestinian parents lack the agency required to prevent their offspring from participating in such activities is quite remarkable.

Connolly closes his article with promotion of a dominant — yet inaccurate — theme seen in much BBC coverage in recent weeks.

…the fears and anxieties triggered in this latest round of violence here are individual and deeply personal just as the attacks appear to have been spontaneous. […]

But the random nature of the violence and its lack of an apparent link to any known organisation is going to make any kind of diplomatic or political intervention here even harder than usual.

Yet again the BBC conceals the incitement from assorted Palestinian factions, which has fueled this wave of terrorism — and the known links of some of the perpetrators to terrorist groups — from audience view.

In addition to his written report, Kevin Connolly also produced a similar audio report that was broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program on October 24. The item (available here from 01:49:43) opens with the following introduction from host James Naughtie.

As if he didn’t have enough on his plate, the American Secretary of State John Kerry has begun a round of diplomacy trying to reduce tension in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories where an upsurge of violence has left about 60 people dead in the last few weeks. Most of the dead are Palestinians. Some have died in the familiar violent clashes with the Israeli security forces in the West Bank but some of the deaths have occurred when individual Palestinians not known to be members of militant groups have made stabbing attacks on Israelis and then been shot by the police or the army. It’s a new kind of attack and its left people in both communities anxious and frightened.

Could audiences determine from that introduction that one-sixth of those casualties are Israelis murdered in terror attacks? Would they understand that those killed whilst engaged in violent rioting include some 17 people from the Gaza Strip and that the border fence there has been breached by such rioters on several occasions? Would they also comprehend that Naughtie’s portrayal of “some” Palestinians shot whilst carrying out terror attacks (and not only stabbings, as he inaccurately states) actually means that they number around half of the Palestinian fatalities and that a similar number of terrorists have been caught alive?

One doubts very much that Radio 4 listeners went away with an accurate perception of events from that introduction — and in addition, they were certainly misled by the inaccurate claim that such terror attacks are “a new kind.” Moreover, with the BBC having failed to provide its audiences with an accurate picture of Palestinian terrorism during the nine months preceding October 2015, listeners would have no way of knowing that Naughtie’s claim is inaccurate.

As in his written article, in that audio report Kevin Connolly promotes the notion of equivalence between victims of terror and their attackers, fails to provide context when describing the inconvenience caused by roadblocks, and erases the all-important issue of incitement by portraying the attacks as “random and spontaneous.”

We think of Jerusalem as a place of division – and so it is – but in times of rising tension and rising casualty figures, there is something that unites its two peoples: the grinding daily fear about how you keep your family safe.

On the way into the outlying Palestinian village of Issawiyeh there’s an Israeli checkpoint – an irritation for local people arriving home from their daily work in Israeli West Jerusalem.

The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is working on all of this now, trying to calm fears. But what can politicians do when attacks are random and spontaneous and fears so personal and so deeply felt?

Kevin Connolly apparently believes the narrative of equivalence he promotes in these two reports. He is obviously comfortable with promoting the idea that a pensioner murdered in a shooting attack on a city bus, a 59 year-old deliberately run over and then hacked to death with a meat cleaver, and a young father stabbed to death whilst walking with his family are just the same as the people who decided to carry out those attacks and were shot by security forces rushing to the scene.

He is also clearly at ease with promoting the myth that attacks on Jews for no other reason than the fact that they are Jews which are praised and glorified by Hamas and PA officials alike are “spontaneous” and “random”. And, as we see in these two reports, he has no qualms about promoting the narrative that the emotions of people who are experiencing “not a very nice feeling” and traffic inconveniences are the same as those of people who fear that they may be targeted by a terrorist simply because of who they are after seeing over 50 such terror attacks in a matter of a few weeks.

Whilst Connolly’s adopted narrative may serve to provide space-filling material for assorted BBC platforms and advance a political agenda, it certainly does nothing to contribute to meeting the BBC’s obligation to enhance audience understanding of this particular “international issue.”

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  • Daid Burstein

    BBC be dammed.Lets recall that in 1944 when Hungarian Jews were climbing on the trains in their thousands bound for direct gassing at Auschwitz & the BBC was asked to broadcast a message to them not to get on the trains the BBC remained silent!!! I am sorry as a Jew we are not Jihadists.There are hundreds of issues for the BBC to educate us with. How about telling the story of Great Britain’s part in cutting up the Middle East resulting in the Greek- Turkey wars, shifting Jordanian borders, Blair’s & Presidents Bush’s involvement! We love your nature documentaries but stop stirring hatred in the Middle East. Even Al Jazeera’s
    opinions are less biased!

  • Edward bowman

    I believe that the BBC has a recruitment bias in the News Department and favours Muslim candidates . That accounts for the BBC’s obsession with Israel whilst ignoring mass murder and mayhem everywhere else in the region. The BBC is a state within a state and is completely independent of the government who are too scared to do anything about this scandal. Years ago an inquiry about BBC bias called the Balen report was censored by the BBC and nobody could anything about that.

  • Joseph

    Dear Friends,
    Here you have the answer:

    For more information, please see below:

    Joseph Rosen

  • Myron Slater

    The BBC is antisemitic and it’s very obvious, anybody that reads this paper, and believes what they print, are being indoctrinated into becoming antisemitic also.

    • Livin’ Out Loud

      Haha..sometimes I actually think it’s funny, the lengths anti-Semites will go to, to show out their inner anger and pain. In the news, the terrorists will have just killed many people, in MANY countries, and people will still point at the Jews–who of course never have a thing to do with it. The Palestinians will be joyous, and say so, killing Israelis, and the angry ones will wave their angry wands and pretend that this doesn’t happen either!! Personal anger, pain and deep problems often have to have somewhere to land. Sadly and very unfortunately, it has landed on the Jews for many of these sad creatures. Jealousy, fear of our strengths and our love of G-d, has got them in a tizzy.. ? Even Jimmy Carter wrote a falsified book on Israel. He is being sued.
      I think if we put our energy into choosing the right folks to run the United States and learning to love ourselves, as well as others, we’d have a chance..By the way, the Old Testament, which belongs to many of us, says that we Jews have nothing to fear. G-d will redeem us and our beauty, victoriously..?? All in love..G-d bless us all…peace ✌?

  • Vivienne Havalant (Leijonhufvud)

    I am a European living outside of the UK and can assure all your readers that the BBC very definitely distorts the truth. So much so I will no longer listen to BBC news, a pity more of us don’t follow my example. The best news I can get about the middle east outside of Israeli publications is from RT News. The BBC will not be announcing the fact that M15 is concerned about a major Jihadi attack in the UK. To get to the truth about today’s crisis with the impact of ISLAM not only on Israel but the rest of the world, one has no choice but spend hours on the internet, to keep abreast of the realities of today’s political climate.

  • Jonas

    BBC is by the root anti-Semitic (Jew-hatred),
    so BBC stays for Bigot Bias Chouse.

  • mervyn caplan

    As we know the BBc is owned by the Satanic Nobility of Europe and the neo Nazi Bildebergers.The agenda of the BBC is the agenda of the 34000 paperclip Nazis that the evil CIA brought into America with the Krupp armaments industry. Divide and conquer and then a Satanic NWO Nazi government murdering 7 Billion people and enslaving the remainder. Israel should ally itself with Russia as Putin was the only one who told Iran to shut up nd leave Israel alone.

  • yvonne green

    I’ll be addressing this issue in a reading at Poetry Place in Betterton St. Covent Garden, this money at 7.30, livestreamed on thee free app Periscope by Promoting Poetry. Thereafter on Utube by SintStudios. It is to Algeimer that we’re indebted for analysis which articulates the nuance – a response to the barrage of negative press reporting is an important counterbalance.

    • yvonne green

      Correction: This Monday, 2nd November 2015 at 19.30 at 22 Betterton Street WC2H 9BX

    • Livin’ Out Loud

      Thank you…I’m in California, U.S. Do you know of a similar place near us? Thanks so much, again ✌?

  • Henry Herzog

    Just another part of the long chain of anti-Semites throughout the ages. As Tom Lehrer sang, “And everyone hates the Jews”.

  • I do not find the obtuseness of either the BBC or Mr Connolly particularly surprising. The BBC long ago lost any traces of being a news service & became (& reporters had to follow suit) an agitator against Israel, Israelis & anything that reminds us of Israel. (I don’t suppose they use Israeli microchip technology?)

  • Charles Martel at the battle of Tours

    Yep Jews have nothing to fear from Islam.Sorry how did I get that knife in my back.Islam = Jew hatred. They are the chief purveyors of hatred around the globe. They believe their own lies according to the Muslim writer Fouad Ajami who wrote the Dream Palace.

    As the rest of the world suffers from war and economic malaise Islam grows due to the lack of the world willing to confront it`s violence and intolerance.When will the rest of the world say enough of this death cult called Islam!

  • Annie

    Can someone explain to BBC lay and ignorant staff , that paranoia is an unfounded fear,the one which is not based on reality of the situation. Fear of death from the random deadly attacks from the hands of lunatics and criminals is a very well founded , reasonable and normal fear, which requires proper and active response. This is not a discussion around the table about rules , ethics , disagreements or displeasure with life, this is an active and proper defence of normal life. It is very embarrassing, extremely shameful ,and actually illegal for BBC to misinform the public about the nature of human behavior, and to promote undercovered ignorance under the guise of an interpretation of events by lay .

  • Andria

    The BBC is notoriously biased against Israel and that was even the funding of a special commission a few years ago. Their journalists and editorial board can’t hide their antisemitism.

  • Annie

    How much did he get paid to “enhance” (read deceive) to feed the audience with this political bloody garbage?

  • Elliot Alman

    Kevin Connolly will certainly never win a Pulitzer Prize. His reporting shows absolutely no insight into the conflict. He either reports this way to avoid being fired by the BBC for fair and honest reporting or he is not a neutral journalist but an opinionated pro-Palestinian writer, or just plain anti-Semitic, or all three. He reflects the BBC position on Israel, unfair, biased, thoughtless, and just plain stupid..

  • This Mr. Connolly has no understanding of the whole situation and moreover his way of writing shows his Anti-Semitic brain, which he cannot control. Instead of condemning the behavior of the terrorists he blames the peaceful Israelis. I advise Mr. Connolly to move to the West Bank where he can explode himself in showing his hatred of Jews. He is a disgusting person not worth paying anymore attention to him.

  • nelson marans

    The usual anti-Israel rhetoric emanating from the BBC and the British media. If some one would reenact the York massacre they would be delighted

  • Sherlock Holmes

    The BBC Panorama not long ago devoted a program to the Jerusalem Light Rail, in which the main person interviewed was a Jewish tourist guide explaining why we Jews are planning to tear down Aqsa and the Dome. No reference to the Israeli Govt, who guarantee the status quo, or the Chief Rabbinate who oppose Jews even ascending the Mount. The BBC is withholding publication the Beilin Report with the court’s agreement, BUT we must continue to make the moral case that our licence fees paid for this report.

  • HaroldT

    What do you expect from these rabid anti-Semites?

  • Fred

    That the BBC has become a second rate Arab friendly outlet is obvious to all. The slaughter^& mayhem caused by Arab squatter is Paranoia in the eyes of the illustrious Connolly, would he say that the bombing and beheading in London was a play in the park and the British were cheering on. The BBC employs sadly a lot of uneducated, hypocritical & ignorant broadcasters & reporters. The BBC Wartime shine is gone and a dark tinge is on. Shame on you BBC ,your opinion is below the gutter.

  • Mickey Oberman

    The BBC. Bloody British Chronicle of anti Semitic lies.

    Little wonder it is rapidly succumbing to the cult of Islam.
    Especially when being fed on Bollocks Broadcast by Connolly.

  • As I recall the British citizenry was equally paranoid about those little v2 rockets that occasionally landed in London. Shame on those Brits for being paranoid!

  • Adrianne Taubman

    I just want to SCREAM at the liars at BBC! I am so frustrated at the falsification of their
    articles and photo, my stomach is in knots. How can we possibly stop them…I am desolate
    but also furious. Feel so helpless about the media’s disgusting lies.

  • Julian Clovelley

    As the Norman invaders discovered in Britain in 1066 – when you start occupying someone else’s territory the hostility this action causes makes it likely that your people will be attacked when exposed and you will be forced to live within armed fortified settlements – then called citadels and castles

    Will people never learn. In eleventh century Britain a similar state of fear existed in both the occupying and the indigenous populations

    And we can read the accounts from 1000 years ago. The BBC report is hardly surprising

    • Roy

      Inane and illogical rubbish, entrenched in the distorted mindset that desperately attempts to use irrelevant history to justify this century-old malady, no matter how insipid and absurd the argument may be.

  • Maimon Pinto

    One has to look up some of the attacks the IRA committed on different cities in England and see if they called their citizens Paranoid or Paranoia?!