The Other

Several other bloggers are alarmed at the recent tidal wave of films and documentaries we’re being bombarded with, which subtly or overtly misrepresent Israel. Many have been brought to us by the BBC, but the most seductively beguiling of them all is on Channel Four. On last night’s Newsnight, in a wider discussion on the role of the media, I heard Mark Thompson say that BBC is obliged to “confront people with the other.

In the light of that, I feel justified in explaining why I find The Promise so disturbing, and why I feel that under the principle of confronting people with “the other”, it’s high time the BBC made and aired a programme that shows Israel in a truer, fairer light.

After Louis Theroux, Michael Morpurgo, and some upcoming radio plays which have clear anti Israel agendas, I suspect that as far as Israel is concerned, the BBC may not even be aware that there is an “other”.
A state of emergency should be declared.

Peter Kosminsky has spent several years, some say eight, some ten, devising and incubating this drama. He uses his considerable cinematographic skills to produce a slick advertising-savvy film with an agenda that subliminally and openly reconfirms what many think they already know about the Israel Palestine conflict. Namely: ‘Rich European Jews are transplanted into Muslim Lands by the British in a blundering attempt to atone for the holocaust, with the unintended consequence of penalising the innocent indigenous Arab population.’

The filmmaker has so far used two cheap tricks to mimic balance. One. Gratuitously and voyeuristically-inserted ‘real’ footage of emaciated concentration camp corpses. Two. A cafe suicide bombing in which two of the characters we’re following are injured. These two devices represent Israel’s case for the defence, while everything else represents the case for the prosecution.

Rich, heartless Jews versus poor, noble Palestinians; the giant key symbolising the right of return; left wing, European-born Israelis; checkpoints, the wall, stolen land, brutal Israeli soldiers, heroic, wronged Palestinian schoolgirls, Jewish terroism, stony-faced settlers.

Peter Kosminsky has even turned reality completely on its head! The stone-throwing children were not Palestinian, but Israeli! The Israeli hostess calls Palestinians ‘animals’ when Kosminsky really ought to have known that it’s Jews that are the desendants of pigs and apes. Ruthless Zionists tarred and feathered the female spy as a bluff to make our hero trust her. And though terrorism is the current method of resistance of the Muslims, it was brought to you first by Jews; and guess who were ‘put into prison camps’ by the Jews.

All this, and still one episode to go. But these things have all been done before, though perhaps less slickly and perhaps less seductively.

The website indicates that Kosminsky hopes to introduce a wider audience to the Palestinian cause. They are to learn the “truth” Kosminsly-style, through drama.
Comments, tweets, and even a liveblog, which Kosminsky himself has graced with his interactive presence, are all provided on the website. The gullible media addicts have tweeted and texted their appreciation in droves. They were captivated, amazed, thrilled, and ever so grateful that the hitherto mystifying Israel / Palestine conflict has been set out in technicolour for easypeasy digestion, painlessly and enchantingly.
What is alarming is that this advertising propaganda masquerades as enlightenment.
Kosminsky, far from trying to warn people that his partisan film isn’t a substitute for a fully comprehensive education, graciously accepts the plaudits. Lindsey (No I am not an anti-Semite) Hilsum provides a handy Potted Political History. Comments pointing to the omissions and obfuscations therein are dismissed by a Channel Four spokesman – because Lindsey Hilsum is an expert, so there.
I know it’s not part of my remit to comment on Channel Four business, so, if only because of the BBC’s obligation to confront people with “the other”, I rest my case.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Email this to someone
Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to The Other

  1. Fran at AFI says:

    Sue  – a query ‘Rich European Jews are transplanted into Muslim Lands by the British in a blundering attempt to atone for the holocaust, with the unintended consequence of penalising the innocent indigenous Arab population.’
    Is this your summary or Kominsky’s?

       0 likes

    • sue says:

      It’s my (admittedly cynical) summary of what many people already think about the I/P conflict, (courtesy of the BBC etc) and  it’s also how I interpret Kosminsky’s message. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

      The antisemitic comments on the website from viewers expressing their gratitude for showing just how beastly the Israelis are illustrate what effect the film is having. I wonder if Kosminsky will find that gratifying, or alarming.

         0 likes

  2. Fran at AFI says:

    In the meantime the Muslim Brotherhood’s BBC stooges continue their whitewash of this extremist movement here

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12504820

    Note the slur on Israeli citizens by the MB spokesman is allowed to pass without comment or context, implying that Israelis want to hold back freedom and democracy in the region.

       0 likes

    • NotaSheep says:

      I believe this quotation covers this:
      At the end of World War II, there were 50 million refugees. Today, all the refugee problems dating from before the 1950s have been solved. All, except one — the problem of the Palestinians.

      Why did this problem not get solved? The reason is simple: Because the Arab countries did not allow it to get solved. And because Islam does not allow it to get solved.
      In May 1948, the number of Jews in the Arab countries was estimated to be close to 1 million. Today, fewer than 8,000 Jews are left in the entire Arab world. In 1948, the Arab countries forced the Jews out and confiscated their properties. More Jews fled the Arab countries than Arabs fled Israel. Where are the Jewish refugee camps? There are none.

      So, why are there refugee camps for Palestinians in areas surrounding Israel? Because the Palestinians were not welcomed in the neighboring Arab countries. There was no Arab solidarity; the refugees were forced into camps and slums, where many of their descendants still linger today.

         0 likes

  3. Charlie says:

    I’m watching The Promise  as well.  It’s cherry picking history, for instance leaving out the fact that Arabs in the small enclave that was originally envisaged for the Jews were told to leave by surrounding Arab countries, not by the Jews.

     Believing they could drive the Jews into the sea.  What a mistake to make. It was the Arabs that forced out a similar number of Jews from their countries causing another refugee problem.

    Funny you never hear about the Jewish refugees, mainly because they went, either to Israel or America, and got on with their lives. It was politically expedient for  Arab countries to keep their fellow Arabs in refugee camps and not absorb them into bordering countries, better use them as continuing thorn in the side of Israel. How cruel.

       0 likes

  4. Grant says:

    I caught some of the trailers of “The Promise” , but just assumed that it would be an anti-semitic “drama” .

    I have posted this before here.  I am not Jewish , but have the greatest admiration for a people who have contributed almost as much to civilisation as we Scots  ;)   ( Where is Martin when we need him ? ).

    I really almost despair at the relentless anti-Israel propaganda on the BBC and other media, including Channel 4,  cloaking a much more sinister anti-Semitism.

    I am too angry to write more.

       0 likes

    • Marky says:

      Yes it’s like having a sixth sense in regards to Israel and British telly as with many other things. You don’t have to watch programs to know which way they are going to go, over and over and over again.

      contributed almost as much to civilisation as we Scots” Well I do try to be civilised when eating me porridge, not always successfully.

         0 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      In Martin’s absence, Grant, I’ll take up the slack.  You’re right about that comparison of the Scots and the Jews: the Jocks have contributed nearly as many Socialists to the world as the Jews have. :-P

         0 likes

  5. dave s says:

    I fear it is too late now. The ” liberal ” westerners are beyond all reason and can no longer understand any reality. They are quite literally in the grip of a virulent new anti Semitism which has destroyed their reason.
    If ,God forbid, Israel was over run I suspect they would blame the Jews for this and close their eyes to a new holocaust.
    Israel must now begin to understand this and look to their soldiers and to their young men and women to defend their country and also take the hardest of lines with those members of the liberal western media who threaten their survival by these vile attempts to deligitimise a whole people and nation.

       0 likes

  6. David Preiser (USA) says:

    I’d be just as interested in seeing the BBC finally address the problem of the collective punishment of Jews worldwide over anger at Israel. Why are Jews singled out amongst all other people on the planet to accept punishment due to perceptions about their brethren in another country?  The BBC has told us time and again that it’s wrong to think unapproved thoughts about all Mohammedans for something a few of them get up to, yet they have never once said the same about Jews, never done a single programme addressing the issue of, for example, Malmö, Sweden.  
     
    If the BBC has a duty to confront people with “the other” as part of their educational remit, then they should be equally compelled to discuss this.

       0 likes

    • Andrew says:

      Good point David.  One of the things the so called clever people try to do is seperate the argument of Israel and treatment of Jews.  They try to maintain the line that their beef is with Israel and not the jews.  That way they can seeimingly hold two opposing views at the same time. 

      But we have a small problem that very rarely gets tackled.  Those that try and do it, try to say the Jews should leave Palestine.  What they can’t really explain though are the attacks on Jewish structures in Europe & elsewhere that increase in line with Israeli ‘incidents’.  Nor can they really rationalise those that say the jews should leave Palestine with those who say the jews should leave Germany, Sweden or wherever.  In other words there is a hardcore that just wants them gone wherever they may be.

      Many of those people support the likes of Hezbollah & Hamas and are in rapture with the image of glorious resistance fighters against the Israeli oppressor.  They want them out of Palestine.  Again waht they cannot reconcile (and so ignore) are the likes of Hasan Nasrallah’s comments that he wants the Jews all in Israel so they don’t have to pursue them across the whole world to kill them.

      What will our so called glorious elite do when they can hide from these inconvenient truths no longer.  When they cannot pretend any longer that they knew all about this situation.  Shrugging their shoulders and saying it was nothing to do with them will not be an option.

         0 likes

      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        That’s the thing, isn’t it?  We always hear how criticism of Israel is never the same thing as anti-semitism, and get severe criticism if anyone dares say that a given criticism of Israel is influenced by anti-Semitism.  Yet it’s totally acceptable to blame the “Jewish Lobby” for everything, which by definition ties all Jews everywhere to everything Israel does.  This isn’t anti-Semitism in and of itself, but it does encourage what I call “anti-Jewish sentiment”.  The result is inevitably the same.

        Jews everywhere are made to suffer every time Israel raises an eyebrow. What’s really annoying is how the same people who scold us about always demanding that Mohammedans distance themselves from Islamist violence will just as easily say that Jews must denounce Israel or suffer the consequences.  Again: Malmö is prima face evidence of this, yet the BBC has censored all news of it, and any discussion of the phenomenon.  This does not help Social Cohesion.

        The BBC made “Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic”, and “Muslim Driving School”, and attacked Charles Moore’s and Policy Exchange’s feature about Islamic extremism hijacking the Mohammedans of Britain, but have never done anything of the sort to rehabilitate (shows how low society has sunk that I have to even use that term) Jews in the minds of the public. The BBC fails miserably here, and it’s an intellectual failure from the top down.

           0 likes

        • Grant says:

          David P,
          Posted my comment on Andrew’s post before I read yours. That is what happens when I get angry !
          Are there any people in the World who get treated the same way as Israelis/Jews  ? I don’t think so.

             0 likes

      • Grant says:

        Andrew,
        Well said !
        Can anyone believe that if the Israelis were anything other than Jews they would be vilified like this ?
        It doesn’t matter how the Left-liberal elites try and dress it up, it is anti-Semitism pure and simple and it stinks.

           0 likes

  7. Fran at AFI says:

    Thanks for this, Sue

       0 likes

  8. Fran at AFI says:

    I have reported the following comment to Channel 4 as racist. 

    “It great to see something on television that is allowed by the jewish censors to get through and tell a reall balanced story of the way all thses supposed europeanshowed no gratitude to the British for saving their arse and then go on to murder them .Thanks to the Americans setting them up to steal Palisten we all have to suffer to this day. As an Englishman they annoy me.”

    It can be found here

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-promise/articles/interview-christian-cooke

       0 likes

  9. deegee says:

    Jews have always been the other. Israelis: the other other.

    Somewhat at a tangent. One of the greatest populizers of the concept of other was the late unlamented Edward Said in his well-known book OrientalismSaid writes that “Orientalism” is a constellation of false assumptions underlying Western attitudes toward the Middle East. This body of scholarship is marked by a “subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture.

    Perhaps we should call the false assumptions and persistent prejudice against Israel BBCism?

       0 likes

    • Grant says:

      Deegee,
      Edward Said.  My late father used to describe him as a ” fake and a pseud”.
      I rather feel he was the “academic” version of Yasser Arafat !

         0 likes

  10. dong dong says:

    The supposedly well-researched film when showing Jews in Hebron ‘forgot’ to mention one tiny detail. They are actuallly living in Jewish properties from which Jews who lived there for centuries were driven out during a pogrom in the 1930s, a period that Kosminski did his Promise about and that he so well ‘researched’.  Or was it deliberate? Perish the thought.

       0 likes

    • uncle joe mccarthy says:

      kominsky’s research started and ended with interviews of former brit soldiers who served during the brit occupation

      his research regarding 2005 israel, is culled from youtube vids posted by the ism and btsellem

      kominsky is a fraud

         0 likes

  11. La Cumparsita says:

    If Lord Patten is appointed Chairman of the BBC Trust, it’ll get even worse. He has been a longstanding outspoken critic of  Israel and is currently President of Medical Aid for Palestinians, an organisation, by its own admission, engaged in political “advocacy work” in support of the Palestinian cause. http://www.map-uk.org/regions/uk/

     

    During his time as EU Commissioner for External Affairs, Patten lobbied against an investigation into claims by the US, German, Israeli and other governments, as well as Human Rights Watch, that EU funding was being stolen and/or misused to fund terrorist activities by the Palestinian Authority, during the worst period of Palestinian terrorist violence in 2002/3 2-4. http://www.hrw.org/node/77214/section/7

     

    More recently Lord Patten demonstrated his clear ideological slant in a Financial Times op-ed, 29 July, 2010.Using pejorative language, he described all Israeli (including historic Jewish) areas east of the 1949 Armistice Line as “colonies”. He stated that Palestinians are being “squeezed out of Jerusalem” despite authoritative evidence to the contrary (Kimhi I., Arab Building in Jerusalem 1967 – 1997. Camera Monograph Series, Boston 1997.). He expressed outrage over Israel’s security barrier, which he described as a “wall” (95% of the barrier is a 3m high fence). However, he omitted any mention of the terrorism which led to the barrier’s construction, and which the barrier has been largely successful in preventing.

     

    Regarding Gaza, Patten described Israeli sanctions against the Hamas enclave as a “blockade” and,  “collective punishment… simply because they [Palestinians] have a Hamas administration.”  In fact the sanctions were not placed following the election of Hamas but a year later, in 2007, following Hamas’ violent coup, rocket fire on Israeli towns and the killing and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in a cross border attack. According to him Israel alone, is to blame for the conflict and the impasse in finding a just solution.

    Patten’s actions reflect a partisan political position which should preclude him from the office of Chairman of the BBC Trust – but it won’t.

       0 likes

    • Grant says:

      God forbid that Patten should bring his unique style of utter and total prattishness to the BBC.
      People like him are dangerous idiots.

         0 likes

    • dave s says:

      Patten is the new queen ( I know not quite accurate)  the BBC hive have been longing for.

         0 likes

    • NotaSheep says:

      Views like that will help him gain support at the BBC, he’s obviously one of them,

         0 likes

  12. Michael G says:

    Israel will survive, because we are a nation bound by love and a shared identity. And because we are Jews we will ensure that the strangers in our midst (Christian, Muslim and others) will be looked after.

    It is the UK I fear for. As the mirage of multiculturalism fails, what precisely will keep this country together?

    This is the dreadful legacy of the BBC.

       0 likes

    • Grant says:

      Michael G,
      You are right.  I believe the Israelis still have the guts to fight for their country and I salute them.
      I don’t think the Brits would fight for their country. I certainly wouldn’t, as there isn’t much worth fighting for any more.
      That is the legacy of the BBC and their fellow travellers. I hope they are proud of themselves.

         0 likes

  13. Charlie says:

    Christina Patterson: Israel needs its friends more than ever:

    Christina thinks “The Promise” was balanced.

    http://tinyurl.com/6aq2s2q

       0 likes

    • sue says:

      There’s another reference to that review in the comments here.
      I haven’t seen the article, but I understand AA Gill gave it the thumbs down. The Telegraph review praised it though. (Some of these reviews were made after the first episode.)

         0 likes

  14. Phil says:

    I don’t want any BBC programmes showing Israel in a fairer and truer light.

    Unfortunately anti-Israel sentiment (not antisemitism of course!) is one of the obsessional mainstays of the lefty ‘liberal’ outlook on life, just like climate hysteria and anti-Americanism.

    That’s why we will continue to see many programmes on these three topics on the BBC. The sensible solution would be to reduce the amount of these programmes on these subjects, not expect extra programmes to balance the corporation’s obsessional behaviour.

    Anyway, asking the BBC to make some balancing programmes on these topics would be the height of naivety. It’d be as ridiculous as asking Nick Griffin to produce a balanced view of immigration. You don’t ask obsessives for balance, you ask them to stop their one-sided rants on their pet topics.

       0 likes

  15. George R says:

    INBBC joins the political elite of European Uniuon and Britain on how best to give Arabs (i.e. Muslims) of North Africa and Middle East OUR MONEY!

    INBBC Gavin Hewitt’s compliant take:
    “Europe’s historic moment”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2011/02/europes_historic_moment.html

    No thanks: NO Western funding (jizyah) of Islamic countries. Given the sky-high oil prices, the House of Saud, etc can do that.

    “Why The Jizyah To Egypt?”



    http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/32798


       0 likes

  16. uncle joe mccarthy says:

    this program is not balanced…it was never meant to be.

       0 likes

  17. Andrew says:

    For me there is a simple litmus test about intolerance and oppression in Israel against Palestinians. 

    Within Jerusalem on one of Judaisms holiest sites is a mosque.  The Al Aqsa mosque.  If the shoe were on the other foot, would the be a synagogue permitted there and the indigenous people only permitted to visit a wall of where their holy building once stood?

       0 likes

    • NotaSheep says:

      ‘Ain’t that the truth’ – As I blogged recently ‘The Temple Mount is indeed ‘Islam’s third holiest site’ as the BBC love to remind us. It is also Judaism’s holiest site but the BBC prefer to keep that quiet. Whilst Jordan occupied Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967 Israelis were no allowed into the Jewish holy sites, Jews were restricted and Jewish religious sites were treated with a lack of respect and in at least one case as an army latrine. By way of contrast Israel has not restricted access for Muslims to the Dome of the Rock & the Al-Aqsa Mosque despite them being partly built on top of the site of ‘the Temple’; what would be the holiest site in Judaism had it not been destroyed. Indeed the Western (‘Wailing’) Wall is all that remains of the Second Temple.

      It is interesting that Israel, the only Jewish state and one often derided as an ‘apartheid state’, has left Islamic holy sites even those that sit on top of Jewish ones alone. Of the Islamic states that surround Israel, how many have done the same for their sites of Jewish religious or historical importance?’

      http://notasheepmaybeagoat.blogspot.com/2011/01/bbc-palestinians-and-israel.html

         0 likes

      • deegee says:

        Ranking holy sites is nonsensical. When anyone describes Jerusalem as the third holiest site of Islam I reply, “That’s interesting, which one is the fourth”? Up to now that has left them all speechless.

           0 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Andrew, it’s THE holiest site for Jews.  In fact, it’s really the only one, full stop.  The other places are venerated by a certain segment of the faithful, considered “sacred” in a way, but are not actual holy sites in the manner of the Al Aqsa Mosque or the Holy Temple.  The BBC never mentions that, but ALWAYS points out that it’s Islam’s third-holiest spot.  BBC editorial policy deliberately favors Islam here.

         0 likes

  18. George R says:

    INBBC loves ‘Yemini-British’; would hate ‘Israeli-British’.

    It is impossible to imagine that such an Islamophilic and pro-Yemen account as the following could be transposed to describe an Israeli who was Jewish; imagine the words ‘Muslim’,’Yemen’ and ‘Yemenis’ here being changed to ‘Jew’, ‘Israel’, ‘Israelis’.

    “I am 21 and live in Sheffield with my mum and dad. My mum is from Yemen and I would call myself a British Muslim, a “steel city Yemeni” as we like to call ourselves nowadays. We are Yemenis with a Yorkshire accent – simple as that. ”

    “Young UK man seeks roots amid the terror risks of Yemen”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12492615

       0 likes

  19. Fran at AFI says:

    I’m glad to say that the anti-semitic comment I highlighted above has been removed by C4 moderators.

       0 likes

    • Grant says:

      Fran,
      It probably got removed because of the four-lettered word  !
      I wonder if a similar comment would be removed from a
      BBC website ?

         0 likes

  20. sue says:

    Too many people sit through this without realising they’re being cunningly seduced. People without ‘media intelligence’ are lulled in the same way that we fall for sophisticated advertising, even though we insist we don’t.  Factual errors and reverse projections in the plot have been itemised in comments on CiFWatch, but even people who are aware of these inaccuracies can still miss how negative the film’s message is, and how easily it’s being absorbed by viewers who come to the subject unencumbered by any knowledge of the history. And that’s quite a few.
    I disagree with criticisms of the acting. I think  Claire Foy is being wooden for a reason. She reminds me of girls I’ve known, who speak and behave exactly like that. I thought the modern segments were well acted, photographed and directed. It’s just the script that was biased and erroneous.
    What about that bit of dialogue when ‘Omar’ asked the Israeli couple at the dinner table where they were from? “Manchester “ said the father, meaningfully. (Omar, of course, being a Palestinian, was indiginous, and people from Manchester, heaven forbid, were being allowed to steal poor Omar’s “lands?”) Clunking or what? How could anyone not notice things like that?

    In the historical segment there were the same old inaccuracies and reverse projections, but the third episode was so muddled that most people lost track of the plot.  Hardly any of the tweeters understood what was meant to be happening. (Funny how hardly any of them have progressed beyond text-speak – that’s educashun 4 U.)

    However, this is your chance to ask Peter Kosminsky a question.
    My question would be: The tweets and comments either praise this film and express extreme anti-Israel sentiment, or point out that the story glosses over British and Arab aggression and violence against the Jews. Does this surprise you, or was it your intention to  paint a  negative portrait of Israel?

    I think I know the answer already. He’ll say he “tells it like it is.”

       0 likes