THE BBC has been condemned after the Arabic word for ‘Jew’ was mistranslated as ‘Israeli’ in the subtitles for the One Day in Gaza documentary.
The film, screened on Monday night on BBC Two, focused on the mass protests against the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem last May.
Palestinian protester Bader Saleh said in Arabic: “I’m not one for fighting or burning tyres, but when I went I was convinced by it.
“The revolutionary songs, they excite you, they encourage you to rip a Jew’s head off.”
However, the subtitles changed it to “. . . rip an Israeli’s head off”.
“It is disgraceful that the antisemitic aspect of the incitement going on in Gaza was played down in the documentary by deliberately mistranslating the word,” We Believe in Israel director Luke Akehurst told the Jewish Telegraph.
“Hamas is an explicitly antisemitic organisation whose hatred of, and desire to harm, Jews, goes far beyond any legitimate political dispute with Israel.”
Saleh’s words were just one of at least five instances of ‘Yahud’ being mistranslated to ‘Israeli’ in the subtitles
Board of Deputies senior vice-president Sheila Gewolb said: “The anti-Jewish racism in the phrase ‘rip a Jew’s head off’ is there for all to see.
“The BBC should explain why viewers were given a subtitle in which the word ‘Jew’ was substituted for ‘Israeli’.
“Does the BBC believe that its job is to protect the perpetrators from their own racism?”
Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt wrote on Twitter: “Yet another blatant example of the failure to take the scourge of antisemitism seriously.”
But a BBC spokesman said: “We sought expert advice on the translation before broadcast and we believe the translation of ‘Yahud’ as ‘Israeli’ in this documentary is both accurate and true to the speakers’ intentions.”
It is not the first time the BBC has been forced to defend its decision to translate ‘Yahud’ as ‘Israeli’.
In 2015, a documentary substituted the word ‘Israelis’ for ‘Jews’ in its translation of interviews on the hour-long documentary Children of the Gaza War, which also aired on BBC Two.
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