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BBC comes under fire for mistranslating ex-Palestinian prisoner as praising Hamas

November 27, 2023 at 6:19 pm

Palestinian prisoners released by Israel last week [@RespondCrisis/X]

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has come under fire for mistranslating an interview of one of the Palestinian prisoners released by Israel last week in the prisoner exchange deal and temporary truce with the Resistance group, Hamas, misquoting her as supporting the group.

In the interview of the released prisoner, the BBC showed her as saying in Arabic with English subtitles that “no one helped us. Only Hamas cared. Those who felt our suffering, I thank them very much”. The account of Respond Crisis Translation – a collective of language activists – on X revealed, however, that she instead said “they [Israelis] imprisoned us for a month. As winter came, they cut off the electricity. We almost died from the cold weather.”

She was also quoted as saying “and we love them [Hamas] very much”, but that was corrected by Respond Crisis Translation as “they [Israelis] sprayed us with pepper spray and left us to die inside the prison.”

The group stated that “She never mentioned Hamas or a word like it”, condemning the BBC’s clip as an “egregious mistranslation” that is not only an error but “a racist fabrication that fans the flames of the war” in Gaza. “Mistranslations such as these – intentional or not – are exacerbating the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.”

Following the criticism, as well as outcry by many other users and activists, the BBC admitted this morning that the clip had inaccurate subtitles but claimed that it was “due to an error in the editing process”. It also updated it and posted a longer clip which it said “does include reference to Hamas”.

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