By Randa Darwish
The BBC has been facing a backlash by the Israeli Foreign Ministry on Thursday morning over a story headline that was interpreted as “anti-Israel" and biased. The British changed the title following threats by Israeli officials to take a legal action against them.
The tweet was deleted few hours later.
The headline that read: “Israeli airstrikes kill a woman and a baby,” reported the continuous Israeli airstrikes on Gaza during Wednesday night in which a pregnant woman was killed with her one year old daughter. Several injuries were reported in several parts across the Strip.
What outraged the Israeli side is the BBC’s “deliberate lying,” while not mentioning the fact that the Israeli bombing was triggered by the rockets fired from Gaza toward southern Israel as the Israeli media reported, despite Hamas’ denial.
One of the very first to criticize the BBC’s choice of title on Twitter was Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, who replied on the BBC story’s tweet urging them to change it “immediately”.
The tweet was followed by a series of outraged comments by Israelis who condemned the BBC “misleading change of facts”.
In less than hour, Nahshon also tweeted saying the Israeli foreign ministry is going to file a written complaint against the broadcaster over their Gaza headline.
Shortly after, the BBC responded to the Israeli complaints and edited the headline slightly by adding “after rockets hit Israel” without explaining the reason behind the edit.
On the other hand, Palestinians condemned the Israeli narrative that bombing Gaza and killing a child with her pregnant mother came in retaliation for the rockets fired toward Israel.
The western media coverage on Palestine and Israel has been a point of contention for years now especially in the UK, with many media outlets accused of being biased toward Israel, including the BBC and their failure to report the Palestinian side of the struggle. However, several pro-Israel groups and organizations have been reporting complaints on the Guardian’s pro-Palestine bias.
Updated: The BBC have issued a statement reading: “Although the original headline was not factually incorrect, we updated it to add more context.” [1.51 pm GMT, 9th Aug, 2018]
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