BBC Verify – a hostile land of make believe – part one

Everyone makes mistakes. But I learnt a long time ago that the true levels of integrity and professionalism are seen in how people react when things go wrong. BBC Verify was caught basing a story on the words of an Iranian regime mouthpiece. Its response was to deflect, deny and double-down. This reaction trashed its own legitimacy and reputation far more than the error itself did. Through its own actions BBC Verify confirmed that it will defend itself over and above the truth. Just like the used car dealer who spins you a line after he sells you a dud – BBC Verify has shown that it is not to be trusted at all.

Then, just to prove that the BBC is total oblivious to its own failings, just a few days after I caught them with the Iranian mouthpiece, I caught them making sourcing errors again. And before I had a chance to make all that public, they did it a third time. I had started off trying to check levels of bias in BBC Verify reporting, and I am now simply drowning in evidence. I have never had to do this before but because of the amount of information I need to get across, I am writing this as a series. When it is done, I will stitch them together in a downloadable PDF. But for now, this is part one.

The headlines

  • A check of BBC Verify articles shows a clear bias against Israel
  • The BBC verify lens is set up to prosecute only Israel
  • The reliance on BBC Arabic destroys the credibility of BBC Verify
  • BBC Verify has numerous agency problems – resulting in articles consistently built upon unreliable witnesses.
  • Analysis of social media activity of the BBC Verify team underscores the bias.
  • Almost none of the BBC Verify team bothered to post anything until long after October 7
  • Some of the BBC Verify team have reposted the opinions of anti-Zionists and shared other fake news material demonising Israel
  • It is clear the BBC is wrong when it says BBC Verify do not have an (anti-Israel) agenda.

A recent BBC Verify error

On March 1 the BBC Verify team published a story built around the eyewitness testimony of a Palestinian journalist named Mahmoud Awadeyah. It was Awadeyah who told the BBC that the Israelis had fired ‘purposefully’ at the men approaching the aid trucks. He was the only eyewitness to the actual event quoted by BBC Verify and so without him – they didn’t really have a story to write.

I hunted the journalist down online and found he worked for outlets connected to Hamas and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard. I also found him celebrating deadly terrorist attacks, along with images of him dining with a leading Islamic Jihad terrorist.

BBC Verify clearly did not bother to do the most basic of checks. My exclusive story about these overrated, elitist, amateurs was later picked up by outlets such as the Daily Telegraph, Spectator (twice), Daily Express, GB News, the Sun, TOI, and the Jewish Chronicle.

The only thing that remained to be seen was how BBC Verify would respond. As it turns out, anyone who had believed that BBC Verify would display a shred of professionalism or integrity was left sorely disappointed.

The BBC response

Nothing bursts the veneer of respectability more than the fact that even when blatantly caught out in an embarrassing and amateurish error – BBC News chose to double down. This is what they said:

“We stand by our journalism and reject the allegations in this piece. The BBC is not allowed access into Gaza, but we use a range of accounts from eyewitnesses and cross reference these against official statements and footage, including from the IDF. The fact that someone has expressed an opinion on social media doesn’t automatically disqualify them from giving eye-witness testimony. It is simply wrong to claim an agenda on our part – and ignores much of the journalism we have done, including BBC Verify accounts of the Supernova festival massacre.”

It is jaw-dropping that they reduced the long list of Awadeyah’s failings to him simply ‘expressing an opinion’. Working for the IRGC, dining with a commander of the Islamic Jihad, and dancing when Jews are murdered – is hardly just ‘expressing opinion’. It is as if they are talking about which toppings he prefers on his Pizza.

BBC Verify also downplay his importance to the piece -as if he was just one of a range of eyewitnesses. Without him – without those words accusing the Israelis of deliberately targeting civilians – BBC Verify has no story to write.

The BBC News CEO Deborah Turness also responded, saying that the BBC was happy with how the story was reported – and also misleadingly infers that Awadeyah was just one of a number of witnesses. This is just not true.

Additional context. I didn’t find just one photo of Mahmoud Awadeyah with the Islamic Jihad commander – I only published one. Different clothes, different days. These two clearly knew each other.

Another horrific reporting error

The BBC aid convoy article was published on March 1st. By March 5 the BBC News CEO Deborah Turness was fumbling about for a response. Given the coverage, it would be logical to assume BBC Verify would be extra careful the next time they published something.

And yet as a sign of how oblivious the BBC is to its own failings – what came next was even worse.

On Tuesday 12 March, BBC News / BBC Verify published an exclusive story that accused Israel of abusing Gazan medical staff. Because demonisation of Israel acts as a fix to a nation experiencing an addiction to antisemitism, the item was widely shared. In the end even the British Foreign Minister David Cameron felt the need to respond, calling the report ‘very disturbing’. The BBC played its part by holding the item on the front page far longer than usual.

But when you break the BBC exclusive down, cracks emerge in the story. In fact the entire piece relies on human input from just six separate sources. Three of them were Arabic speaking journalists – the other three were witnesses from the hospital.

  • Soha Ibrahim BBC Arabic journalist
  • Marie-Jose Al Azzi BBC Arabic journalist
  • Muath Al Khatib Palestinian WAFA journalist
  • Dr Atef Hout, Doctor at Nasser hospital
  • Abu Sabha, Doctor at Nasser hospital
  • Hatem Raba, Doctor at Nasser hospital

These are the six people that between them helped BBC Verify build its exclusive story. I managed to track them all down online (It should be noted that Camera UK helped with translations during some of the research).

The three ‘journalists’

Two of the three journalists actually work for the BBC. From their timelines it is clear nobody at the BBC is checking the BBC Arabic staff.

The first is Soha Ibrahim. Her timeline is toxic beyond measure. Just two examples of Ibrahim liking posts that celebrated and supported the Oct 7 attack:

Soha Ibrahim terrorist support BBC

The second journalist Marie-Jose Al Azzi –has already deleted some of her timeline. She was caught a few years ago supporting BDS and trying to persuade artists not to perform in Israel.

BBC Verify Marie-Jose Al Azzi

Despite this, she is still on the BBC payroll. And then there is the Palestinian, Muath Al Khatib . He went to Thailand and was triggered by the number of Jewish people he saw there:

bbc veriy khatib

These are the three journalists that BBC News / Verify relied on and trusted to source the story. It would be those three who were tasked with finding the ‘impartial’ evidence that the BBC needed.

The three ‘doctors’

Then there are the three doctors who act as the reliable witnesses in the BBC story. The first is Dr Atef Hout. He was the witness who told the BBC that ‘anyone who moved would have been shot’ by the IDF. Here he is in 2021 celebrating rocket attacks against innocent Israeli civilians.

Next up was Ahmed Wael Abu Sabha – he claims he was beaten and abused by the IDF. In this post he is glorifying the terrorist Uday Al Tamimi:

And finally there is Hatem Raba. He told the BBC people were ‘dying of thirst’. I found a Facebook profile of him as a doctor in Gaza. But the profile is only three months old. Before this he had a different profile, showing him as a political activist for Fatah.

It really is this easy to fool the BBC. He also shares material that glorifies terrorism:

Six sources – and all of them are problematic. Between the six sources listed above they could contrive anything – and BBC Verify would swallow it whole. Which is exactly how the BBC ends up acting as a Hamas propaganda outlet.

This latest expose is now being reported on by the Daily Mail (twice) and the Telegraph.  But there is still more coming from me in part two. Stay tuned.

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5 thoughts on “BBC Verify – a hostile land of make believe – part one

  1. There has been some passing coverage of this in our own press, notably the JPost and the Times of Israel, mostly to show how the foreign media attempts to influence the pressure that is applied to Israel to deviate from our mission to rescue the hostages and destroy Hamas. It is hard to gauge the impact of this tactic. In the UK the government is paralyzed in fear of the Islamists and their every utterance seems to play to that gallery. Similarly in the US, where Biden has to regain the Muslim vote in Michigan and Detroit and is balancing precariously on his own tightrope of appeasement. These actors barely need the encouragement of the agents provocateur.

    Ultimately it may not matter. The Liberal West has had years to cultivate it’s position of ‘Oppressive Jews-bad. Oppressed Arabs-good’ and it makes me convinced of one thing. A nuke could land on Tel Aviv killing 4 million people. The press would characterize it as legitimate resistance. A thousand little Jacks and Janes would write on their social media sites that we had it coming. They’d get 10 million likes and marches in Capitols across the world would whoop with joy and demand that the Mullahs should finish the job. Bad faith hacks who push their own Jew hating biases are simply a small cherry on the bun.

    This is why we are impervious, will continue our mission undeterred and will crush the terrorists in their UN funded rat holes and hospital bunkers. We even released our entire Hasbara team to milluim, judging this to be a better use of their time than trying to change minds. Telling people that we’re nice doesn’t protect Jews, making our enemies fear us does.

    Am Yisrael Chai.

  2. BBC – it was the fault of the UK Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Office of Chief Rabbi etc who just buried their heads in the sand over the years and did NOT challenge the BBC.
    We have to ask why Bowen was promoted as a result of the hidden never published 2004 report of Balen, instead of being kicked out on grounds of bias against the Jews and Israel- he set the agenda for the current reporting methods.
    The BBC constantly promote anti Semitism in the UK by its constant, unabated, bias reporting- much of which lacks plain objectivity and is subjective opinion of its staff.
    Those of us who have studied the BBC for 50 years know the pattern, identify their racism but communal leaders never back us.

  3. Just been reading in Dov Joseph’s “The Faithful City” p 24 about how in 1947 “The Near East Broadcasting Company’s programs from Cyprus, controlled by the British Foreign Office, blanketed the Arab world with the ex-Grand Mufti’s material.” Officially the Mufti was still wanted by the Brits as a Nazi war criminal.

  4. I don’t know what you mean by “Communilal leaders never back us” I know the BoD are in continuous meetings with the B.B.C. at the highest level on their anti Israel bias.

    1. well they can not be in the least bit successful if the BBC bias we see all around is so easily available
      from the incident with the boys on the bus being falsely accused of being ‘Islamophobic’ to the incident of Israel being accused of bombing the hospital that islamic jihad had actually done, the bbc jumps in feet first with either anti-Israel or anti-Jewish stories that then need to be reluctantly apologized for, the BoD doesn’t seem to be particularly effective

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