Mad World

I’ve been reading Melanie Phillips’s address to Ariel Conference on Law and mass Media, 30 December 2010.
I find long articles more user-friendly read straight from the page like in the olden days, so I printed this one off. Whichever way floats your boat, do read it.

The commonplace dismissal of her as Mad Mel had me stumped. How could such an eloquent, logical thinker be considered mad?
I now see this ill-chosen soubriquet as the contemporary equivalent of mankind’s reception to the proposition that the world’s a sphere. An insight likely dismissed as bonkers by those who clung obstinately to the notion that the earth was flat. Now we know it’s round, it seems we are still looking for ways to fall off it. I’m saying Mel is right, and the naysayers just don’t get it.

If you follow the saga of Middle East, and you know something of the complex political and religious situation, you’ll understand Melanie Phillips’s words of wisdom; to you, her language will sparkle and resonate.
But many will be mystified, because the selective reporting dished up by the monolithic organisation that is obliged to ‘inform, educate and entertain’, has left an uninterested, misled, misinformed audience out in the cold, and they’re the ones who dismiss her words as inflammatory, scaremongering hyperbole.

Many well-intentioned people say Israel has a right to exist, but not to defend herself, or that things would be easier if Israel was ‘not there’, or that Moslems are the new Jews. I don’t know if the eradication of Israel, or the extinction of Jews would bother them much, but I do know that being thought antisemitic bothers them a great deal.

People often question the Arabs’ contribution to mankind’s development, and accuse them of stagnating, from the 6th century to the present day. But there is one area where their creativity and innovation is unsurpassed, an area as contemporary as could be; by deft management of public relations and presentation they have turned everything upside down, and seduced the world into doing the same. “The Arabs brilliantly reconfigured the Arab war of extermination against Israel as the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel.”

As the process of appeasement and whitewashing of Islamism gets more and more indefensible, and as the demonisation of Israel gets more and more incompatible with the evidence, the truth must surely dawn, the penny must surely drop, and things must surely right themselves. But is there time to sit back and wait?
Society currently finds itself “immersed in a total inversion of truth evidence and reason,” Melanie says. Israel has allowed itself to be pushed into a defensive position, and she urges it instead to bolster the efficacy of its strikers. (The football terminology is mine.)
The media must be recaptured and put to work for the home team. It must inform the misinformed, re-educate the ill-educated, and somehow scoop up the bigots and ineducable and carry them along with the tide.

There is a long way to go. This morning Jeremy Bowen and Wyre Davies did their bit towards putting the case for the opposition. Wyre regurgitated the misconception that settlement building in ‘illegally occupied Palestinian land’ is the obstacle to peace, and Jeremy announced triumphantly “There’s been a steady toll of Palestinian deaths in Gaza at the hands of Israelis since the January 2009 war…..… and rocket fire into Israel has been increasing recently.” Someone from the LSE, professor Fawaz Gereges completed the anti Israel triumvirate. This is not balance. At least the people who object to Israel’s point of view being aired, in any shape or form, will be happy.

By drawing attention to the reporting omissions and bias of the BBC, we endeavour to redistribute the imbalance, and turn its far-reaching influence over the worldwide audience from negative to positive. Some hopes.

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29 Responses to Mad World

  1. Umbongo says:


    This is not balance as you say but, according to John Pilger (asserted while being interviewed concerning his support of WikiLeaks “martyr” Assange) this kind of thing is actually bias in favour of Israel.  Go figga – as they say

    The ridiculous thing about all this is that the Palestinians have a case: not a good case, I grant you, but a case.  However, by constantly demonising Israel, apologising for Moslem terrorism and presenting a completely black and white reportage, the BBC not only betrays its supposed dedication to impartiality but the constant anti-Israel screaming gets in the way of a solution rather than otherwise.  There again, the BBC no more wants a solution which involves the continuation of Israel as a Jewish state (or at all) than it wants the continuation of Britain as, basically, a Christian one.

    Mind you, at least the BBC is consistent.  Accordingly, those of us who bother to consult other sources of information and opinion can treat the BBC’s blatherings as the tendentious crap they are.  Unfortunately, the fag-end of the BBC’s reputation for journalistic excellence plus taxpayers’ money are (mis)used to convey the BBC’s prejudices to the remaining majority of consumers of the BBC’s output.


    • sue says:

      Umbongo, thanks for the comment. (I went, but couldn’t figga)

      I agree with you, but would point out that whatever case the Palestinians have, it’s against the Arabs, not Israel.


      • Umbongo says:


        Oh yes.  Whatever case the Palestinians might have against Israel – which basically boils down to world-class resentment of Israel’s success in nation building and hatred of Jews in general – is dwarfed by their betrayal by their Arab and Moslem brothers.


  2. Pounce says:

    Interesting how the bBC is currently playing the McCarthyism card over how the Israeli government has voted to look into how so called human rights groups based in Israel are funded. 
    At first glance you have to agree that what Israel is doing is wrong, but when you look and see how nearly every so called group display and express an anti-Israeli message you can see where the Israeli government is coming from. While the bBC is shedding tears over this abuse of human rights in Turkey the female head of religious -affairs directive has been sacked some say because she wasn’t pious enough.  This in turn prompted all 28 women working at the center to resign and yet the bBC remains silent on the subject.

    Meanwhile the Turkish press is blaming Israel over how 800 turks are going to get kicked out of Turkey. However again when looked at in full you find the problem lies entirely with the Turkish government and not Israel. If the bBC dies bring up this story it will be nice to see which version they promote.


    • sue says:

      Did you see this interview on channel 4 yesterday about Pakistan’s response to the murder of Salman Taseer? Kamila Shamsie with Jon Snow. I don’t know if the link will work.


    • Grant says:

      Don’t get me started on Turkey, but one of the things I hate about the BBC is their knee-jerk support for the disgusting Islamo-fascist government of Turkey .  The BBC should be exposing these frauds at every opportunity and supporting the brave secular Turks, many of whom are giving their lives for freedom and democracy.
      Mind you, to be fair to the thickos at the BBC, they probably don’t have a clue what is really going on in that country.


  3. George R says:

    “The BBC’s fantasy extremists”

    (by Stephen Pollard)


    • sue says:

      I can see why Stephen Pollard said what he said, he was obviously miffed and insulted by Ed Stourton’s snubs and cornered by Kevin Bocquet’s ridiculously overblown characterisation of the Rev Terry Jones, who’s neither a certifiable loony nor the equivalent of a radical extremist.

      I think it’s a pity that both sides of the divide have been forced into labelling him as either of those. I’d say he’s just a nondescript pastor who opened his mouth and put his foot in it at the wrong time, and when Kevin Bocquet says “some in the west felt personally threatened by Muslims.” “”They believed that Muslims had nothing but hatred for America and its allies” he’s just trying to ridicule by exaggeration.

      Then Stephen Pollard says he should have confined his remarks to Radical Muslims:
      “So Mr Bouquet himself has to lump all Muslims together, and so fail to distinguish between peaceable and radical Muslims.”

      That’s perpetuating the theory that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ muslims, which in my opinion is a misguided attempt to avoid being thought Islamophobic.

      Surely “Good Muslims” are non-practising, non-devout, moderate, and tolerant? In other words, they’re “Bad” Muslims. IMHO.


  4. Davieboy says:

    Like you Sue, I simply had to print out Melanie’s superb article – it is a wonderful summary of the position Israel is in.
    Ms. Phillips has no peers, but I would like to say that I think the articles you write here are just as worthy of attention and are doing a fine job in highlighting the injustices Israel constantly has heaped upon her by the bBC.


    • sue says:

      Thank you! You’re too kind – made my day.


    • Craig says:

      Very true, in all respects, Davieboy.

      Melanie’s article only takes about twenty minutes to read, and the time flies by.


  5. hippiepooter says:

    “There’s been a steady toll of Palestinian deaths in Gaza at the hands of Israelis since the January 2009 war…..… and rocket fire into Israel has been increasing recently.”

    I listened to the audio of Mr Bowen saying this.  He said it as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, imbuing the unsuspecting and uninformed listener with the (not so) subliminal message that as a consequence of the Jews gratuitously killing Palestinians in Gaza the Palestinians have responded with rocket fire into Israel.

    Of course, any half informed person of good-will knows this is an utter perversion of the truth and anyone with any sense of moral reason knows what a moral abomination it makes Mr Bowen.

    BBC staff like Mr Bowen excel in the black arts of deceit and manipulation.  The perverse thrill they derive from practicing them are tangible to the seasoned observer.  They are indeed the true heirs of Herr Goebbels.  Any self-respecting British Government would ensure that such genocidal bigots sully the national broadcaster’s airwaves no longer.  Till then, Holocaust memorials attended by our ‘great and good’ where they intone ‘Never Again’ will continue to resound with the hollow clangs of their abject humbug.





    • Grant says:

      I can never understand why the Israeli government doesn’t ban that scumbag Bowen from Israel.  Apart from anything else we would see whether the BBC had the guts to remove all its other reporters.
      After all, there are hundreds of media outlets reporting from Israel.
      Who needs the BBC ?


      • hippiepooter says:

        I can see the merits in this, but they will really need to get things down tight as to their reasons for doing so.  The above obscene comment is a good starting point.


  6. deegee says:

    The BBC and a very misleading story.
    The modern trials of the ancient Samaritans
    Essential information that just happened to slip Helena Merriman’s notice.
    1) Samaritans live almost exclusively on Mt. Gerizim near Nablus and in Holon, Israel. President of Israel, Yitschak Ben Zvi was largely responsible for providing the Samaritans with housing so the community could stay together.
    2) The Israeli Samaritans are full citizens of Israel and serve in the IDF under the same conscription rules as Jews, Druze and Circassians. The implication that they are under equal attack from both Israel and the Palestinians is simply false.
    3) The years of persecution and forced conversions came historically from the Byzantines and the early Muslim invaders not as implied (by failing to identify the guilty)  from the Jews. Similarly the modern threat comes entirely from the Arabs.
    4) She fails to mention that the entire Samaritan community of Nablus/Shechem relocated to the mountain itself near the Israeli settlement neighborhood of Har Brakha as a result of violence during the First Intifada (1987–1990). Consequently, all that is left of the Samaritan community in Nablus/Shechem itself is an abandoned synagogue.

    FYI Photographs I have taken of the Samaritan community of Israel can be seen here


  7. NotaSheep says:

    This BBC article – – has been open on my browser all day but I just couldn’t bring myself to FISK it. Does anybody else fancy a go?

    Israel kills two Palestinian men near Gaza Strip border

    Israeli troops have shot dead two Palestinian men they say were trying to cross the border fence separating the northern Gaza Strip from Israel.
    The deaths come after a month of increased tension along the border with frequent exchanges of fire.
    Israel has carried out regular air strikes and there has been an increase in rocket fire from Palestinian militants.
    Palestinian doctors retrieved the bodies of the men on Thursday morning.
    The Israeli army says the men were targeted as they tried to climb the security fence in northern Gaza. This could not be independently confirmed.
    Israel regularly fires on Palestinians close to the border. It says this is necessary to enforce what it calls a buffer or security zone.
    In the past year, the United Nations says more than 70 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli action in Gaza.
    During the same period, one Thai farm worker in Israel has been killed by rocket fire from Palestinian militants.’

    From the questioning of every Israeli statement, something that the BBC do not do to Palestinian statements, via the placing of Israeli attacks before Palestinian, to the adding up of fatalities, this piece stinks.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      I see the ghoulish Body Count Narrative has made a full recovery in BBC editorial policy.


    • Grant says:


      Wouldn’t know where to start.
      “they say”
      “the Israeli Army says”
      “could not be independently confirmed ”
      “it says”

      How many Hamas claims “could not be independently confirmed” in the eyes of the BBC ?

      Seriously, the BBC makes me want to vomit.


    • hippiepooter says:

      “The Israeli army says the men were targeted as they tried to climb the security fence in northern Gaza. This could not be independently confirmed” [my emphasis]

      If anyone has ever seen this line in a reference to Palestinian claims I would be amazed.

      The usual ‘look, no hands’ ‘aren’t yids murdering bloodsuckers’ presentation of casualty figures.  The informed reader knows that 70 Palestinians have died in Israeli strikes against rocket launchers, mainly the terrorists concerned.  The anti-Semitic blood libel in the way this BBC bigot has chosen to present this figure is clear to anyone with a shred of decency.


    • pounce_uk says:

      And here’s mine:
      1) Use of the detracting noun ‘Men’ instead of militants, who happened to be shot during the middle of night something the bBC doesn’t bother mentioning

      2) The bBC write up that the rocket attacks are because of the air attacks. Yet the fact remains in the past 24 hours 7 rockets have been fired into Israel with 3 of them launched at 0730 in the morning. (what time do children go to school over there?) 

      3) The bBC gives the impression that the Israeli are gun happy idiots who just happen to shoot at anything that moves. Yet as mentioned earlier by myself and never at all by the bBC the border fence between Northern Gaza and Israel is approx 100 metres inside Israel territory. Google shows this to a tee.

      4) Use by the bBC of distraction information by comparing the combined death toll of militants caught up to no good with those innocent civilians they happen to carry around with them in which to try and stave off air attacks with single death caused by Palestinian rocket fire. While omitting the fact that over 200 missiles were launched into Israel last year. With around another 200 actually landing in Gaza. In other words that disparity in deaths isn’t because Hamas isn’t trying hard. Its just that the Israeli who live near the border are dug in like ticks on my cat by living in bunkers and protecting their homes/schools/work places.


      • deegee says:

        Israeli statistic.
        235 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel by Hamas from the Gaza Strip during 2010.
        Reminder: There was no open conflict between Israel and Palestinians during 2010.
        Question: How many rockets fired into your country would you tolerate before demanding that your Government take action to prevent this assault?


  8. sue says:

    Here’s my little Fisk:

    “Israeli troops have shot dead two Palestinian men they say were trying to cross the border fence separating the northern Gaza Strip from Israel.

    Men? Can’t be too sure; might have been ‘militants’..

     “The deaths come after a month of increased tension along the border with frequent exchanges of fire.”

    Which just ‘happened’ randomly.

    Israel has carried out regular air strikes and there has been an increase in rocket fire from Palestinian militants.”

    Or the other way round; and they are militants!

    “Palestinian doctors retrieved the bodies of the men on Thursday morning.”

    As you were. Men again.

    “The Israeli army says the men were targeted as they tried to climb the security fence in northern Gaza. This could not be independently confirmed.”

    Anything the Israelis say must be independently confirmed.

    “Israel regularly fires on Palestinians close to the border.”

    Has this regularity been independently confirmed?

     “It says this is necessary to enforce what it calls a buffer or security zone.”

    Better get that independently confirmed, and what do you call a buffer or security zone? An area for targeting innocent fence-climbers?

    “In the past year, the United Nations says more than 70 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli action in Gaza.”

    Independently confirmed, I presume?

    “During the same period, one Thai farm worker in Israel has been killed by rocket fire from Palestinian militants.”

    Only one, and he wasn’t even an Israeli.

    “Yesterday an IDF force identified a number of suspects tinkering with the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement, adding that the soldiers had shot and killed the possible infiltrators.
    Terror agents take advantage of their presence near the border fence to lay explosive devices and plan attacks and kidnappings of IDF soldiers, and this endangers the citizens of Israel as well as security forces operating in the
    area,” the statement said.”
    Suspects. Tinkering. Infiltrators. Terror agents. Explosive devices. Kidnappings. Never mind all that. It’s just some unverifiable statements from the IDF.


    • Grant says:

      Sorry, Sue, totally disagree with you. It is outrageous that the IDF should “target” Palestinian “men”  who are simply innocently engaging in the ancient Palestinian sport of fence-climbing. I hope to see it at the London Olympics.


      • Demon1001 says:

        Unfortunately they made it an Olympic event once before and that’s what caused Israel to finally snap and hit the scum harder.  That’s why Israel are still hitting the terrorists hard.


  9. La Cumparsita says:

    I received this e mail from a friend who lives in Israel:

    Another example of the BBC’s continual biased support of Palestinian Arab terrorism and attacks against Israel for defending itself.


    A friend of ours spotted this as an example of where the BBC describes Israeli air strikes on Gaza as if they are unjustified – i.e. nothing to do with the real reason – to destroy tunnels used to smuggle weapons or to eliminate factories where Palestinian Arabs are building the rockets used to terrorise hundreds of thousands of Israelis.  By mentioning Israel’s actions before those of the Arabs, it almost seems as if it is justifying the Arab rockets as a response to the Israeli strikes instead of vice-versa.


    Whilst congratulating my friend for his alertness, I also picked out (from the same report) five other examples of the BBC’s biased reporting techniques that it employs continually against Israel.


    (a) Using the active tense to describe Israeli action whilst referring to Palestinian Arab attacks in the passive tense.  “Israel kills…”; “Israeli troops have shot dead …”; “Israel has carried out regular air strikes”. However “there has been an increase in rocket fire from Palestinian …..”.  This makes Israel to be aggressive attackers whilst softening the actions of the Arabs.


    (b) Using the phrase “this could not be independently confirmed” to cast doubt on the IDF statement.  To my knowledge, the BBC has never used that phrase when reporting Palestinian Arab claims.


    (c) Using the “numbers game” when reporting casulties from both sides.  It never takes account of the purpose of Arab rocket and mortar attacks which is to terrorise the Israeli population.

     (to be continued)


  10. La Cumparsita says:

    continuation of previous post:

    (d) By stating that Israel “regularly fires on Palestinian Arabs” implies it does this just to scare innocent people.  It fails to mention that Arabs regularly place explosive devices against the security barrier or (in some cases) armed Arabs have actually penetrated the barrier and have been apprehended on the Israeli side and admited their intention to carry out terror attacks.  (You can search the MFA or IDF web pages to identify instances of these attacks.)


    (e) By stating Israel says “it is necessary to enforce what it calls a buffer or security zone” implies that no other country considers it a buffer or security zone and that Israel is therefore not justified to have built it.  Evidence easily confirms, however, how effective these security barriers are in preventing terror attacks.  Also, by using the term “buffer” implies that the barrier is some kind of apartheid system for keeping Palestinian Arabs and Israelis apart.  I doubt if the IDF or government have called the barrier a “buffer” zone – but would not wish to challenge the BBC on that one as they can usually find some useful Israeli idiot (probably from B’Tselem) who has called it such!

    The BBC is not going to change unless good people like yourselves take action by complaining against this kind of incitement.