A BBC headline stated “Gaza air strikes ‘kill woman and child’ after rockets hit Israel,” quoting the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. The article’s subheadline said “Militants... fired dozens of rockets,” when the count had gone up to over 150. Its tweet leading to the article reads: “Israeli air strikes ‘kill woman and toddler.’”
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon respond - ed on Twitter: “Your title is deliberately misleading!!! Israel reacted following the launching of over 100 rockets at Southern Israel, targeting and injuring civilians. Change it immediately!!!”
“This title is a deliberate misrepresentation of reality (that’s the polite equivalent of ‘this is a LIE’, if you don’t get it),” Nahshon wrote. “Israelis were targeted by Hamas and IDF acts to protect them. Change it IMMEDIATELY!!!”
The BBC later changed its online headline to “Gaza air strikes ‘kill woman and child’ after rockets hit,” but left the tweet up.
The Israeli Embassy to the UK filed a formal complaint to the BBC.
“The headline is back-to-front,” embassy spokesman Udi Avivi wrote. “Hamas struck Israel before Israel responded with air strikes. Therefore, I would ask for the headline to be corrected according to the order in which the events occurred.”
As for the tweet, Avivi pointed out “Hamas fired over 70 missiles into Israel, injuring 23 people. Dozens of villages were targeted. Thousands of families spent the night in bomb shelters.”
“Disappointingly, none of these facts are deemed relevant for BBC World on Twitter,” he added.
Nahshon told The Jerusalem Post : “We demand that they change the tweet, even if that means deleting it and putting up a new one,” he said.
Others on Twitter responded to Nahshon with more examples of similar news coverage, such as an account called “Dutch people supporting Israel,” which sent an article from Dutch news site AD, with the headline: “Three dead by Israeli attack on Gaza, pregnant woman with child one of the victims.”