The BBC has defended its translation of the Arabic word Yehudi (Jew) to Israeli in a recent documentary amid criticism that it was “playing down” antisemitism.
The BBC’s 60-minute documentary “One Day in Gaza” focused on the violent Palestinian protests against Israel and their attempts to infiltrate the border.
Among the Palestinian protesters interviewed, 24-year-old Bader Saleh said in Arabic: “I’m not one for fighting or burning tyres, but when I went I was convinced by it.
“The revolutionary songs, they excite you, they encourage you to rip a Jew’s head off.”
But the English translation of Saleh’s remarks offered by the BBC refers to an “Israeli”, not a “Jew”.
This was one of five times that the BBC chose to mistranslate the word “Jew” to be “Israeli”.
Following backlash, a BBC spokesperson said: “We sought expert advice on the translation before broadcast and we believe the translation of ‘Yehudi’ as ‘Israeli’ in this documentary is both accurate and true to the speakers’ intentions.”
The BBC is showing its naivety in dealing with this issue, and the “expert advice” was clearly wrong.
We are often told that the Palestinian cause is one against the Israeli government, however, this is not the case. Sadly, anti-Semitic hatred of the Jewish people is at the core of Hamas and the other extremist Palestinian terror groups that lead the assault on Israel. And this influence has filtered down into the general Palestinian population.
The Palestinian territories were found to be the most staggeringly anti-Semitic region in the world with a 93% overall index score in the most recent ADL polling. Among specific age groups, 92% of those between the ages of 18-49 were shown to have anti-Jewish views, and the figure jumped to 98% among those 50 and older.
It is unsurprising then that some of those who hate Israel will express themselves with hatred against Jews and see Jews, not Israel, as the enemy.
Anti-Semitic hatred of the Jewish people is fueling the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian terrorist organisations want to remove the Jews from the land and destroy Israel. There can never be peace until the Palestinians reject their hatred.
Sadly, the media, including the BBC, refuse to acknowledge this basic view. They instead try to paint the Palestinians as peaceful activists who are only against the Israeli government. This is not true, and changing subtitles shows how certain media outlets are willing to distort the truth to change how their audience perceives the Palestinians.
Among those to criticise the translation, Board of Deputies senior vice president Sheila Gewolb said: “The anti-Jewish racism in the phrase ‘rip a Jew’s head off’ is there for all to see.
“The BBC should explain why viewers were given a subtitle in which the word Jew was substituted for Israeli.
“Does the BBC believe that its job is to protect the perpetrators from the their own racism?”
Labour MP for Ilford North Wes Streeting tweeted his concern, writing: “Totally unacceptable on the part of the BBC – not that the word Israeli makes the statement any better.”
Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt echoed criticisms, writing on social media: “Yet another blatant example of the failure to take the scourge of antisemitism seriously.”