BBC defends reporter accused of ‘twisting’ story about death of Palestinian
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

BBC defends reporter accused of ‘twisting’ story about death of Palestinian

Broadcaster said Tom Bateman's tweet 'clearly reflects' a statement put out by the IDF on the incident

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Tom Bateman's tweet about Muhammad Issa Abbas didn't include context according to critics such as actress Tracy-Ann Oberman
Tom Bateman's tweet about Muhammad Issa Abbas didn't include context according to critics such as actress Tracy-Ann Oberman

The BBC has defended a social media post made by its Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman, after he was accused of “twisting” the background behind the shooting of Palestinian man by Israeli troops.

On Thursday Bateman tweeted: “Israeli soldiers have shot dead a 26-year-old Palestinian man – Muhammad Issa Abbas, killed last night near al-Amari refugee camp.

“IDF says they fired on a gunman who’d shot at them from a car. Palestinian health ministry says he was shot in the back and died in hospital.”

A BBC spokesperson said the tweet “clearly reflects” a statement put out by the IDF on the incident – and added the corporation “reports impartiality and without fear or favour.”

Multiple reports from Israel told how Abbas was shot after he opened fire on Israeli troops on Wednesday at a refugee camp near to Ramallah.

The IDF said that troops had entered the city’s al-Bireh neighbourhood to arrest a number of Palestinians who had approached the nearby Israeli settlement of Psagot.

The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that Abbas had been shot in the back near the al-Amari refugee camp in Ramallah.

Photographs subsequently emerged of Abbas surrounded by at least three large firearms.

After he was shot Hamas, with who Abbas is claimed to have been a member, posted tributes on social media describing him as a “martyr” after his death.

Michael Dickson, executive director of Stand With Us, tweeted a photograph of the dead Palestinian brandishing three large guns, and wrote:” Nothing to see here, just the BBC’s Middle East Correspondent @tombateman twisting the story to illicit sympathy for a terrorist.”

Television actress Tracy-Ann Oberman was amongst those to criticise Bateman’s tweet.

She posted a tweet saying:”Tom why didn’t you tell the WHOLE story?

“Is this official @BBCNews remit now ? Stoke hatred both domestic and internationally with click bait poorly filled out news ?”

The BBC’s Middle East Correspondent had previously attracted criticism over his reporting of the violent conflict between Israel and Hamas back in May, where he was accused of glossing over missile attacks into Israel, and focusing on the pounding of Gaza by Israeli troops.

He has also faced claims that his BBC World Service radio reports have favoured the Hamas narrative over that of Israel’s.

Asked about Bateman’s tweet a BBC spokesperson told Jewish News: “The tweet clearly reflects the statement from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) that the troops fired on a gunman who had shot at them from a car. The BBC reports impartiality and without fear or favour”.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments