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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Sticking the Knife In!

Well. Here’s a thing.

This time major international news sites – most especially the BBC – have jumped to report a murder in the ongoing Palestinian knife intifada aimed at Jewish Israelis.

Hannah BladonMost happily for the po-faced, hand-wringing hacks at the BBC, Sky News, et al, the victim was not Jewish. She was not even an Israeli, but a British national. So they may describe Hannah Bladon’s terrible death with all due ceremony.

Indeed 20-year-old Hannah, from Burton, Staffordshire, was on Jerusalem’s light railway (‘tram’) on Good Friday when she was stabbed several times in the chest. She was studying at the University of Birmingham and was in Israel on an exchange programme based at the Hebrew University.

This time, the Middle East pages on the BBC’s website have been assiduously updated to ensure that readers may view tributes from both universities; condolences from Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin and an image of the murder weapon  – a long-bladed kitchen knife - posted originally on Twitter by Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Even here  hatemongers have tried to make mischief but have been slapped down by  others pointing out that the picture was published to show the length of Jerusalem Murder Weapon.14.04.17the blade.

This flurry of activity is a world away from what usually happens after such attacks.  They are mostly ignored by the international media because of  skewed, prejudiced editorial policies.

I am writing about this now as Ms Bladon’s murder occurred barely days after Hadar Sela of BBC Watch looked back at a terrorist attack of December 2014.

Ayala Shapira and her father, Avner were driving home near Ma’ale Shomron in Samaria when their car was set ablaze by a petrol bomb.

Ayala, then aged 11 and now 13, suffered life-threatening third degree burns to much of her body and face and  must continue to wear a facial pressure mask for the foreseeable future.

Ms Sela wrote: “Ayala’s story is one of hundreds of which BBC audiences have no knowledge because non-fatal terror attacks – however devastating for the victims and their families – are for the most part not reported by the BBC and certainly do not receive any follow-up coverage.

“During 2016, for example, the BBC News website reported all the terror attacks against Israelis that resulted in fatalities, but those attacks were a small proportion of the total number of incidents and audiences were not provided with the crucial context of the scale of attacks as a whole.

“Untold stories such as that of Ayala Shapira are no less important than the fatal attacks which do make BBC headlines in helping audiences to understand Israel’s policies, counter-terrorism measures and the concerns of the Israeli people.

“The fact that such stories are ignored also means that when Israel is obliged to respond to rising terrorism, audiences and BBC journalists alike are unable to put events into their appropriate context and thus arrive at uninformed and inaccurate conclusions.”

© Natalie Wood (15 April 2017)



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