Friday, June 15, 2007

Ridiculous Apology by the BBC

(Hat tip: Michael) Yet another reason nobody should support the BBC:

The BBC apologized this week for referring to Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and promised not to repeat "the mistake," following a complaint by four British organizations.

Arab Media Watch, Muslim Public Affairs Committee, Friends of Al-Aksa and the Institute of Islamic Political Thought sent a joint complaint to the BBC after a presenter on its Football Focus program on March 24 mentioned that Jerusalem was Israel's capital and "historic soul."

In a letter to the complaining NGOs, Fraser Steel, head of editorial complaints at the BBC, said: "We of course accept that the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and that the BBC should not describe it as such. I was therefore pleased to see that Katherine Tsang [BBC Information adviser], when she wrote to you in April, acknowledged the error and apologized for it. [Presenter] Steve Boulton and other senior managers in BBC Sport told us they very much regret the mistake and apologize for it."

"Senior managers will try to ensure, as you suggest, that the mistake is not repeated. Because it appears on the Web site, there will be a public acknowledgement of the error, and the action taken in consequence."

Steel added: "I'd like to add my apologies for this most regrettable, but I'm sure accidental, factual mistake. I appreciate that the status of Jerusalem is of particular concern to Palestinians, and it is important that it is not misrepresented. I am confident that lessons have already been learned, and they will be emphasized as a result of my decision."

Sick. It is mind-boggling how slanted the BBC is. A good, simple response by Israel:
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said in response: "Jerusalem is Israel's capital. It is the right of every sovereign state to determine which city will be its capital."


  1. Wow. I'm so disgusted. Once, on a long car ride home from somewhere after Shabbat, we had the BBC on for some reason and it was truly frightening what they were saying. I made my dad change the station because it was making me nauseous.

  2. Mr. Regev appears to have a good point.

    To be fair to the BBC, though, most countries don't recognize Jerusalem as the capital. Not referring to it as such could be seen as impartiality, rather than "slant." Suppose that China declared that Taipei is it's capital. Would it be "slanted" to refrain from referring to it as such?

  3. But the differences in this case are obvious: Israel always had half of Jerusalem, and in 1967 captured the rest of it in war, and controls it. Find precedence that shows that a conquering country doesn't own a city it captured in war.

    China (the PRC) doesn't control Taipei, but rather the ROC (Taiwan) does. That's not a true comparison whatsoever.

  4. Maybe Kashmir would be a better example? What if Pakistan declared Kashmir (or at least the part of Kashmir it controls) its capital? Would the BBC treat it differently? Should it?

  5. Well, if India and China built up forces to attack and wipe out Pakistan, and they somehow held on and took over all of Kashmir, then it would be accepted. But in Israel's case, it's suddenly disputed.