BBC Eases Blockade on Balance

At the beginning of the year Jane Corbin made an appalling Panorama about Jerusalem called “A Walk in the Park” which was full of malicious innuendo.
However this time she must have done something right, because this one about the Mavi Marmara incident has antagonised Ken O’Keefe and at least one other Israel-hating blogger. They are convinced that the ‘pro Israel BBC is at it again’. You’d laugh, if it wasn’t so sad.

It was gratifying that this Panorama took Israeli testimony seriously at last, bearing in mind that as far as the BBC’s concerned we’ve been conditioned to be grateful for small mercies.
Jane Corbin’s whole programme lacked context, so you knew that despite being presented with an exceptionally generous airing of the Israeli perspective, most viewers would still be thinking uneasily about the ‘’humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the ‘illegal blockade’ and ‘the Israeli attack occurring in International Waters’.

Panorama could have been more forthcoming about the IHH, and about Ken O’Keefe’s dubious record. They could have said something about the reason for the blockade, and about Hamas’s genocidal ambitions.
But I realise that one programme can’t tackle everything, and learning that there was a pre-planned strategy of violent resistance from the activists, and that the ‘aid’ was symbolic rather than useful might have set some people thinking.

The programme would have been livelier if they’d taken a little look at the media’s response, notably the BBC’s instant reflexive condemnation of Israel. In view of all the emerging evidence, a hindsight examination of the rush to pass judgement would have made compelling viewing.

There was very little in the programme that wasn’t already in the public domain, should anyone have taken the trouble to find out, despite Jeremy Vine’s hyperbole about revelations.

Honest Reporting has linked to the Panorama message board. I haven’t looked at it since this morning, when many comments said it was outrageously biased in favour of the evil Zionist entity. They know it’s evil because the BBC has told them so.

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22 Responses to BBC Eases Blockade on Balance

  1. Wally Greeninker says:

    It never seemed to occur to Corbin that the Turkish ‘activists’ were an oddly motley-looking crew. If IHH had planned a simple strategy of resistance, they would have recruited fit,  burly types between 18 and 25 – in fact their people contained a lot of middle aged, physically non-descript men and even aged greybeards – I think they had scoured Turkey for people bent on suicide and paradise: these were instructed to use enough violence to make the Israelis have to kill them while refraing from killing the boarders themselves – or at least not many of them.
    She compounded this oversight at the end when she said that Turkey had obtained nine martyrs for the Palestinian cause – thus completely conflating the Christian idea of a martyr with the Muslim one of a jihadist, guaranteed a place in Paradise, by falling while trying to kill in the cause of Allah.


  2. dave s says:

    I was also surprised at the time given to the Israeli point of view. It may be dawning on the BBC that many of us have grown tired of the relentless anti Israel propaganda lately obligatory whever Gaza is mentioned. Perhaps they really fear expulsion from Israel if and when the situation should really deteriorate and the very existence of Israel is threatened. I would still throw them out as a wise precaution. The BBC cannot be trusted.


    • John Anderson says:

      dave s

      No, one half-swallow does not make a summer.  I doubt if there will be any change in the BBC’s endless diet of malevolent reporting about cruel Israel and their Palestinian victims.  Bowen will see to that – but he had no editorial control over Jane Corbin.


    • NotaSheep says:

      This one not too biased against Israel programme will allow the BBC to claim they are balanced in their reporting and so continue to spew out anti-Israel bias for another year.


  3. David Preiser (USA) says:

    If the sad painted clown Chuckles O’Keefe is unhappy, then I’d say the BBC did something right.  He made his agenda very clear when Sarah Montague (IIRC) had him on right after the Israelis let him go.  He was quite open about wanting Israel punished, and Isreali soldiers dead.  If he and the usual anti-Israel suspects are not pleased with the report, it’s not because the BBC was pro-Israel in any way.  These people are upset only because Corbin didn’t declare Israel a criminal terrorist state which wantonly kills innocents in cold blood, and should be dismantled at the earliest opportunity, with the Jews sent back to wherever Helen Thomas thought they were from.

    Unfortunately, the BBC will use these complaints as proof that they’re always impartial.  “See, we get complaints from both sides, so we’re cool.”  This is a ‘Get Out of Bias Free’ card they can use for the next few months.


  4. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Come to think of it, is it just me, or has the BBC’s coverage of Israel improved since useful Jew Tim Franks left to achieve his dream of becoming a sports reporter?  And the other one, Katya Adler, has been keeping a very low profile since April.


  5. Rueful Red says:

    The sad thing is that the mere admission that the Israeli point of view might be worth an airing comes as such a surprise.  It just goes to show just how low the expectation of impartial reporting from the BBC has sunk.

    Who knows, next they’ll be saying that soe people think the public spending deficit has to be addressed. 


  6. Sammi says:

    A shockingly biased piece of Israeli propaganda paid for by BBC licence payers

    *why was only video vetted and approved by the Israeli authorities used in this programme?

    * why was no reference made to the fact that Israel had confiscated all video shot by independent journalists on board the Mavi Marmara (in contravention of international law)? (and consequently used stolen credit cards)

    * why was no reference made to the fact that a journalist was executed by Israeli commandos, with a bullet through his forehead, whilst carrying out his profession?

    * why was no reference made to the manner in which the aid workers were shot (e.g. a 19-year-old shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back).

    * why was highly disputed false audio used in this programme?

    * why was it necessary to have an Israeli producer?

    * why were none of the British nationals present on the Mavi Marmara interviewed for this programme?

    * presumably Israeli commandos only agreed to appear following guarantees that they would be portrayed by the BBC in a positive light?

    * why was no mention made of the fact that the Mavi Marmara was intercepted on the high seas, in international waters? (until the very end)

    * why was no mention made of the fact that, when organisers of previous aid convoys to Gaza have agreed to surrender the aid to Israel for safe conveyance to Gaza, most of that aid is never then subsequently permitted to transfer to Gaza (this alone would explain the ferocity of the resistance of some of those who spent months working hard to raise millions of dollars’ worth of aid)?

    * why wasn’t it made clear that the aid workers released the Israeli commandos?

    * why was reference made to Hamas rockets without any wider contextual reference to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory? *why did Jane Corbin say that the IDF boarded the boat with non lethal weapons, then go on to contradict that statement and say the IDF carried pistols?

    *why wasn’t it reported that the IDF admitted it doctored the tapes of alleged threats made by the IDF?

    *why was a photo used of an alleged ‘Muslim’ brandishing a dagger reported to be taken after the IDF boarded the ship, when it is clear to see the photo was taken in broad daylight? (the MM was boarded in darkness)

    *why was it alleged that some medicines on board were out of date? (any medicine in a war zone is better than none)


  7. Sammi says:

    “I am really quiet worried that the whole reasoning behind the fact that they think this ship wasn’t on a humanitarian mission is because half of the meds onboard were out of date!! For people that have nothing out of date means nothing.
    They tried to make people defending themselves out to be terrorists!!! Lets remember who got on the ship!! They were not attacked until they became the aggressors, I am not a terrorist, or radicalist, or militant but I like millions of others all over the world wonder why?? WHY is this being allowed to happen and why, if anyone dares to rebel they are gunned down and branded a terrorist.


  8. Sammi says:

    Attacking an unarmed ship (carrying peace activists or anyone else) in international waters is an Act of Piracy under international maritime law. Israel committed a serious crime from the outset, never mind the heinousmurder of activists that happened during the incident.

    There is ZERO justification for what has been done and what has been done was ordered by the top echelon of Israel.

    The only acceptable reponse from the international community is a court room in The Hague.

    Failing that, citizens will continue to support Universal Juristiction and one day, the criminals will be brought to book.

    This Panorama programme is not one of your finest moments. The UN even label Israel as a terrorist state. Personally, I blame the current regime. Netanyahoo is a nut job who should be put out to pasture.


  9. Sammi says:

     ‎”Badly made. Poorly argued and totally unconvincing pap. A complete failure to address the Israeli’s agressive and unjustified blockade. A sad day for Panorama. How it has declined. The desperate attempts to to prop up the flimsy propaganda inspired argument that the ship was a terrorist plot did not stand up at all. Out of date drugs are better than no drugs as doctors will tell you. The death count wrought by the armed troops speaks for itself.”


  10. Sammi says:

    ‎”This was an absolutely disgracefully biased documentary – from the very first minute it was obvious this was going to be a pro-Israeli piece of propaganda. Shame on you BBC!! And not a solitary mention of the circumstances pertaining to the nine deaths despite strong evidence in other media of execution-style killings. Was the remit of the Panorama team to exclude any investigation and analysis of the actual killings!!!”


  11. Sammi says:

    ‎”I have been a huge fan of Panorama for many years but tonight’s edition was shocking. Jane Corbin, in the face of countless reports from the UN co-ordinator John Ging and numerous, very well respected NGOs as to the true situation in Gaza has decided that there are no shortages of food and medicine and that none of the aid the Free Gaza movement is attempting to bring in is at all necessary. Tell that to the 1000s deprived of clean water; to the children suffering chronic malnutrition; to the 49% of patients denied exit in the last year for medical care not available in a situation where 48% of the 122 health facilities were damaged or destroyed in ‘Operation Cast lead’; tell that to the families of those who have died due to lack of medical care; to the 20,000 plus still displaced following the war due to lack of equipment to repair or rebuild their homes. Tell that to the children, who if they have a school to go to, have to take turns in 3 shifts and above all tell that to the approximately 80% of the population who are reliant for handouts from the UN, the very UN that constantly complains Israel does not allow sufficient supplies into Gaza. But then the Israelis themselves have said they just want to put the Palestinians on a diet – so obviously they too know not enough food is being provided!
    It just beggers belief that Jane should be so taken in by the Israelis as to be the only person to go to Gaza (or did she really go?) not to see what Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Tutu and Mary Robinson saw for themselves and reported respectively ‘Tragically, the international community largely ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are treated more like animals than human beings” (Carter). ” My message to the international community is that our silence and complicity, especially on the situation in Gaza, shames us all (Tutu). ” Their whole civilisation has been destroyed, I’m not exaggeratiing….its almost unbelievable that the world doesn’t care what is happening ( Robinson).
    In the face of such statements how can Jane Corbin effectively dismiss the idea that there is a need for a flotilla to highlight to the world what is happening and to try and focus the world’s attention on the inhumane and totally illegal behaviour of Israel.
    As for the rest of the documentary – unlike Jane I will wait for the UN enquiry to make its report before I come to a judgement of what happened that night. However, by her comments on the situation in Gaza and her belief there is no rationale for the flotilla she effectively de-legitimises the activities of those many brave and principled people who have refused over the years to turn their backs on the people of Gaza. They are our conscience and if it turns out some of them had their own agenda that does not change the essential facts of the case that Israel is maintaining an illegal and inhumane siege of Gaza and that the work of the Free Gaza Flotilla is the only thing keeping the spotlight on Israel’s horrific human rights abuses in Gaza.”


  12. Sammi says:

    ‎”The camera doesn’t lie?? Did the IDF not confiscate all camera’s and footage aboard the Mavi Marmara? So was all the footage released to the BBC to make this program or just what the IDF deemed suitable – this might give some indication as to the neutrality of the program. In my opinion this came across as the most one sided documentary I have ever seen on the BBC.”


  13. Sammi says:

    ‎”Well done BBC, I expect the IDF & the Isreali Govt Propoganda Dept were beside themselves with joy after seeing the transcripts of Panorama put out tonight. 

    Gave you unique access to Isreal’s Naval Commando? You bet they did!

    Come on, admit you have been totally duped. The Isrealis have fed you their carefully edited, altered, one sided, untruthful story and you have put it out. They got you hook, line and sinker.

    Marc Regev would be proud.

    As far as I am concerned Panorama doesn’t have a shred of credibility left.”


  14. Sammi says:

    ‎”The BBC should be utterly ashamed of this poor excuse for journalism, this report was a disgusting and a blatant abuse of the BBC’s position of trust.

    This ‘report’ was fundamentally biased towards, and unquestioning of, the Israeli version of events. 

    The footage used was released (read selectively approved) by the Israeli state/military, the context of the flotilla let alone the blockade of Gaza was barely mentioned and the fact that the ships were in international waters was all but forgotten. The Israeli military’s intention and actions were completely down played – ‘the commandos board the ship with non-lethal weapons’ oh…and hand guns… which would seem quite lethal to the 9 dead activists. What about the widely reported gun fire from Israeli aircraft? If you can use a web search engine you can find reports from independent and mainstream news agencies of gun fire by the Israeli’s from aircraft. Surely in the interests of (some) balance this warranted a mention to counter the Israeli claim that the commando’s were very surprised that people on the boat where worked up enough to resist (despite the odds)… 

    What has happened to all the film footage gathered by activists on the boat(s) that was confiscated by the Israeli’s? The report’s pro-Israeli line seemed to be nearly entirely based on video evidence (selectively) released by the Israeli state and a few interviews of serving Israeli soldiers! 

    Much was made of the fact that some activists had gas masks (against tear gas) and protection vests (against bullets and other projectiles) and these were paraded at the end of the report as (unquestioned) evidence that weapons where used by the activists. These are NOT weapons and why weren’t the array of weapons used the Israeli commandos (and their fleet of boats and aircraft) displayed? In the interest of balanced reporting that might have been a good reasonable thing to expect…

    The ship was attacked far in to international waters and little attention was paid to the widely accepted (even by the conservative UN reports) catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza at the hands of Israel. At worst the activist on-board defended themselves from an act of piracy.”


  15. Sammi says:

    ‎”As someone who likes to see arguments and evidence from both sides presented in a factual way, which puts the viewer in a position to make an impartial informed judgement, I found the programme entirely biased to the point where it was no more than an Israeli propaganda event.

    Whilst the programme focussed on the action of activists on the Mavi Marmara no mention whatsoever was made that the Israeli boarding of a ship in International waters was in any circumstances a contravention of International Law and an act of piracy.

    Similarly, no mention was made of the illegal Israeli blockage of Gaza in contravention of various UN Resolutions and the enormous amount of deprivation and human suffering to the innocent civulians of Gaza. Neither was any mention made that the collective punishment of civilians is contrary to International Law and UN Resolutions.

    The progamme suggested that “Activists” on the Mavi Marmars were terrorist allthough the only “evidence” was video footage showing activists cutting metal railings for the purpose of makeshift weapons. The suggestion that people armed with metal rods were in any way a serious threat for the elite Israeli Marine Commando 13 armed with automatic weapons was in my view entirely ridiculous.

    The proportinality of the actions of the activists and the Israeli’s was not questioned in any independent meaningful way.

    Video footage shown appeared to be carefully selected in order to support the Israeli version of events whilst there was no footage whatsoever of what the Israeli Commando’s action that culminated in the loss of life. Indeed there was no evidence presented to show that those individuals that were killed had even been resisting the 

    The programme started by recounting by way of an introduction the usual Israeli propaganda line that Hamas refuses to accept Israels right to exist. This is factually incorrect, indeed in 2006 when elected to power Hamas offered Israel a 10 – year peace deal, Israel refused it.

    Similarly reference was made to the thousands of rockets fired by Palestinian extremists, whilst this is correct, no mention was made of the fact that the Palestinians and Israeli’s signed a 6 month Peace deal in 2008 and the rocket attacks ceased and only resumed when Israel broke the terms of the ceasefire. Israel then retaliated by invading Gaza with brutal and totally disproportionate force. The Golstone report for the UN is a damning indictment on Israeli actions in the invasion including detailing numerous breaches of International Hamanitarian Law and a lengthy list of docomented War Crimes.

    In addition no attempt was made to look at the proportionality of the actions of either side.

    As an example the number of Israelis killed by Hamas rockets is reported to be in the order of 13, in roughly the same time period September 2000 to November 2008 it is reported that the Israeli’s killed 5000 Palestinians many, if not the majority, being innocent civilians and children.

    I have to conclude by saying that I was absolutely appalled by the shockingly biased nature of the Panorama report, I expected better standards of inpartiality and factual researched journalism from the BBC. It is a sad day when the BBC is reduced to a mouthpiece for Israeli propaganda.”


  16. Sammi says:

    “‘Overall we dismiss claims that this programme showed bias in favour of Israel. The programme’s aim was to try to uncover what really happened on the Mavi Marmara.’ 

    Much time and space was given to a senior Israeli commander and the Hamas spokesman. Neither were on the boat at the time, apparently. How did this uncover what really happened on the boat?

    9 activists on the boat were SHOT DEAD by the IDF commandos. Despite this, there was endless reference to and images of activists preparing to defend themselves. How can the Panorama team fail to see that this showed bias in favour of Israel?

    There was much ridiculing of the attempt to bring aid to Gaza and innuendo that it was not needed. The Panorama team still cannot see that this showed bias in favour of Israel?

    BBC Panorama’s myopia and defence of the balance in this programme beggars belief.”


  17. Sammi says:

    ‎”Can you please tell me why ‘Death in the Med’ did not give details of the injuries suffered by those on the ship. It was widely reported that a number those who died were repeatedly shot in the head (including at close range). Were these details deemed extraneous or just unreliable? We were, after all, informed that an interviewee was ‘paint-balled’ in the chest and shot in the arm. 

    Another missing detail was the number of people injured. Did the programme makers consider including this detail — perhaps to allow viewers assess the scale of the operation? 

    Regarding the commandos who jumped into the sea, did the programme makers consider reporting the fact that they were brought to an exposed lower deck of the ship at a point when the IDF was in control of the deck above?

    All this information is readily available.

    I am a journalist with 15 years’ experience and have conducted many hours of study into the ‘Mavi Marmara’ killings — for an academic paper on news coverage of the events. The sample I examined rarely rose above the ‘he said, she said’ formula so beloved of us hacks in a hurry. Surely, you’ll agree that the key to presenting contested versions of events is giving people the relevant facts. 

    I didn’t expect to find out anything new from watching ‘Death in the Med’. Nevertheless, the programme was still a disappointment. The only thing your reporter appears to have ‘uncovered’ is some out-of-date medicine, which allowed her to throw in an unsupported one-liner regarding the totality of medical aid on the flotilla. 

    Surely we deserve better?”


  18. Sammi says:

    ‎”I would suggest that anyone who still naively believes the story put out by the Israelis through the Panorama programme on Monday needs to ask themselves 2 simple questions.

    [1] Why would the Israelis confiscate all the photographic & video evidence of what happened that night. Surely, anyone with nothing to hide would want all the evidence out in the open as much as possible. They would want to shine a light and show the world. Ask yourself why they would want to edit it and selectively use it to try and show a particular angle. 

    [2] Why would the Israelis refuse to fully cooperate with the international enquiry if they had nothing to hide. Why would they refuse to allow their soldiers to be interviewed? An innocent party would want full disclosure of everything to show the world, not to skulk and hide.

    The evidence we do know seems totally at odds with the version that Panorama put out on Monday. Most of the dead were shot in the back for example, not really consistent with the Israeli soldiers shooting in self defence, is it?”


  19. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Yep, that about proves my point.  Shot in the back, even!  Funny.


  20. ltwf1964 says:


    you’re an idiot with too much time on your hands

    it’s official 🙂