British broadcaster BBC, which has been increasingly come under attack for its Israel-Hamas coverage, has issued an apology after it erroneously claimed that Israel was targeting medical staff and Arabic speakers during its operation at Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital.
A BBC news presenter misquoted a Reuters report twice on-air saying that Israeli forces have been “targeting people including medical teams as well as Arab speakers” in Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital.
However, Reuters report had mentioned that medical teams and Arabic speakers were part of the Israeli Defence Forces who had been sent into the hospital to assist patients and staff.
It quoted an IDF spokesperson saying, “Our medical teams and Arabic speaking soldiers are on the ground to ensure that these supplies reach those in need.”
BBC issues apology
The BBC subsequently issued a clarification on its website and broadcast an on-air apology.
“As BBC News covered initial reports that Israeli forces had entered Gaza’s main hospital, we said that ‘medical teams and Arab speakers’ were being targeted,” the BBC said on its “Corrections and Clarifications” page online.
“This was incorrect and misquoted a Reuters report. We should have said IDF forces included medical teams and Arabic speakers for this operation. We apologise for this error, which fell below our usual editorial standards. The correct version of events was broadcast minutes later and we apologised for the mistake on air later in the morning.”
Good god, this is blood libel from the BBC.
The IDF said it entered the hospital *with* its own medical teams and Arabic speakers, so it can help people.
BBC reports the IDF is *targeting* medical teams and Arabic speakers.
That’s not a coincidence.pic.twitter.com/m4PEcOtFRP
— Oliver Cooper (@OliverCooper) November 15, 2023
Earlier, the Board of Deputies, an organisation representing mainstream British Jewry, said it was “appalled” by BBC’s on-air misreporting.
“At best this shows a staggering lack of care when reporting on a highly volatile situation, which can have a knock-on effect all over the world, including in Britain, where antisemitic attacks have risen by more than 500 per cent since Oct 7,” it said.
“Incidents like this make a mockery of the BBC’s oft-stated dedication to professionalism and impartiality.”
Not the first time
This is not the first time that BBC staff have been criticised for wrong reporting.
Last month the BBC admitted one its reporters, Jon Donnison, was “wrong” to “speculate” while reporting on a rocket attack on the Al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza.
The journalist had suggested on air that the rocket was fired by Israel, musing: “it’s hard to see what else it could be.”
Both Israeli and U.S. sources later confirmed the rocket had been launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Gaza but had misfired and fallen onto the hospital carpark.
(With inputs from agencies)