The BBC has admitted it was wrong and has now retracted its claims that Israel is responsible for vaccinating the Palestinians by clarifying that it is in fact the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority to do this.
Sadly, there have been numerous times in recent weeks on various BBC channels where Israel’s name has been sullied by false accusations. Throughout radio and TV, Israel has been accused of “withholding vaccines from Palestinians”. However, the BBC how now admitted it was wrong to make such allegations.
One particular moment of shame for the BBC was when Andrew Marr took an Israeli minister to task with bitter accusations. Marr showed clear hostility to the Israeli official. It seems though that the apology was not made regarding Marr’s show but instead about another interview.
In a Dateline London segment that was aired on 16 January 2021, presenter Shaun Ley suggested the Accords meant that the Israeli government had responsibility for vaccinating Palestinians. The claim was rebutted by a journalist being interviewed for the BBC News channel show, Jonathan Sacerdoti, who said it was the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority.
The BBC issued a clarification this week admitting responsibility does indeed lie with the Palestinian Authority.
“Although there is a wider dispute over the issue, the Accords – which Israel signed with the Palestine Liberation Organisation – give the Palestinian Authority oversight of public health under the principles of self-determination,” the BBC said.
Sadly, this information is only to be found on the “Corrections and Clarifications” page of the BBC’s website. There is no attempt from the public broadcaster to undo the damage it did to Israel’s reputation as it allowed hosts and guests to continually make false accusations against Israel without recourse.
The false allegations against Israel regarding the vaccines were used by numerous anti-Israel groups to tarnish Israel’s reputation at a time when Israel was being praised for its work in delivering vaccines. These false allegations that Israel wasn’t helping Palestinians were simply a weapon to tarnish Israel and take the spotlight away from Israeli accomplishments.
It is shameful that the BBC fell into this trap, but sadly not surprising. As Britain’s public broadcaster, we expect more from the BBC. It is not right that the BBC is now regularly spreading hostility towards Israel across the airwaves, and in this case blatant lies.