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BBC Arabic Producer Admits Retweeting ‘Inaccurate’ Photo Against Israel

The producer is working on a documentary for the BBC regarding Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.
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September 8, 2020
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 29: A camera crew film outside BBC Broadcasting House on January 29, 2020 in London, England. The BBC announced today that it is to cut 450 jobs by 2022 in an effort to save GBP 80 Million. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

A senior digital producer for BBC Arabic admitted to The Jewish Chronicle (JC) that she had retweeted an “inaccurate” photo criticizing Israel.

The JC reported on Sept. 8 that the producer, Rosie Garthwaite, had retweeted a tweet from January showing a map of Palestinian land shrinking since Israel’s founding in 1948 and contracting even more should President Donald Trump’s peace plan be implemented. The tweet had read, “I think as usual there was a White House spelling error. I think #Kushner meant ‘PIECE PLAN’ not #PeacePlan.”

“#Kushner” is a reference to Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser and Trump’s son-in-law.

“The first map wrongly suggested that after the end of the Ottoman Empire all of the land in what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza was controlled by the Palestinians,” the JC reported. “The final 2020 map deliberately underplayed Palestinian territory in order to make Israeli ownership of land seem more extreme and unfair.”

The BBC said in a statement to the JC that Garthwaite has since rescinded her retweet because “she realized it was inaccurate.” Garthwaite confirmed this to the JC.

However, the JC report highlighted other tweets from Garthwaite regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which included a 2017 tweet sharing a post that read, “Happy one hundred years of British duplicity in the Middle East” on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. That declaration stated that the Jews have the right to their own homeland in what was then the territory of Palestine.

Other tweets from Garthwaite highlighted in the report include sharing an article in 2019 that called Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi an “icon” and sharing a post in a 2018 tweet accusing Israel of violating the terms of a ceasefire with Hamas.

Garthwaite currently is working on a documentary for BBC Arabic focusing on how two Israeli organizations — Elad and the City of David — have been working to build Israeli settlements and conduct archeological digs in East Jerusalem. She considers this illegal under international law because East Jerusalem is occupied territory, according to the JC.

The international community — including the United Nations Security Council, the U.N. General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Court of Justice — has condemned the establishment of settlements in the occupied territories as violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international declarations.

Doron Spielman, vice president of the City of David, alleged in a letter to the BBC that the Garthwaite frequently asked his organization biased and fallacious questions, which is why he is concerned that her documentary will “vilify Israel, Jewish history and Jewish charities and present a number of false and misleading claims,” the JC reported.

British researcher David Collier tweeted, “Another @BBC employee caught spreading lies with raw anti-Israel propaganda. The first thing the BBC should do is stop any Israel related program she is working on. It is impossible to calculate the damage these ‘journalists’ and the BBC have done to the truth. Shameful.”

The JC had previously published a report on Sept. 2 highlighting BBC World News reporter Nimesh Thaker using an anonymous account to retweet a tweet criticizing his colleague, BBC 5 Live presenter Emma Barnett, for engaging in “the same old ‘antisemitism’ excuse whenever people criticize Israel.” Barnett had said in July that rapper Wiley’s anti-Semitic tweets “burn deep” for her since her grandmother fled persecution by the Nazis in Austria and her husband’s grandmother “survived unspeakable torture in Auschwitz.”

International human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky sarcastically tweeted that sharing inaccurate information against Israel is “a standard job requirement there [at the BBC].”

 

Sussex Friends of Israel tweeted, “If only a report had been commissioned that looked into the possibility of an anti-Israel bias at the BBC. If only such a report existed we might well be able to judge whether the BBC does indeed hold the Jewish state to a ‘double standard’ other countries are not held to.”

 

The report that Sussex Friends of Israel referenced is an apparent reference to a 2004 internal report from journalist Malcolm Balen investigation allegations of anti-Israel bias at the BBC. The report has never been publicly released.

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