BBC Hypocrisy: Context Edition

The BBC has figured out their Narrative on these leaked documents from the Israel/Palestinian peace process. Naturally, Israel gets the worst of it. But there is a moment of glaring hypocrisy.

Jerusalem’s troubled geography

Right from the start, we see the direction it’s headed.

The release of thousands of leaked documents apparently showing Palestinian willingness to compromise over Israeli settlements once again highlights Jerusalem’s troubled geography – and damages the credibility of both sides, writes the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus.

Both sides look bad? I suppose that’s why so many Palestinians have been complaining that Fatah is undermining their hopes and dreams, because the documents are equally damaging to Israel’s credibility? Color me skeptical. But first, we get the usual BBC agenda-driven historical moment in a vacuum.

As a main topic of the leaked documents concerns East Jerusalem, it’s only right that the BBC sets the scene. We’re told that Israel “captured” East Jerusalem in the Six Day War, but are provided zero context (remember that word for later) as to why they were in a position to do so. All we’re told is: “For the Palestinians and many in the Arab world this was a disaster.” Yes, it’s Arabist Gospel that Israel was an unprovoked aggressor in that war, but the BBC needs to be dealing in facts, not fiction. Israel’s move into East Jerusalem is presented in a vacuum, and the reader is left to assume whatever they like.

Of course, in 1967, there was no such thing as Palestinians, outside of Arafat’s little activist group. The people of East Jerusalem were Jordanians then. So the BBC creates a little alternate history. The propaganda is so deeply entrenched in their minds – and, most likely, in BBC editorial policy on the subject – that they write it as fact. But after being educated by the BBC, the average BBC audience member must find it very distasteful to learn that many Israelis viewed this “disaster” as a “miracle”. I think we can see the Narrative taking shape.

Now for the bit where Jonathan Marcus explains how these documents make Israel look bad. First, he carefully explains the Palestinian position on East Jerusalem, the Settlements, and some of the larger picture. There is no mention of any Israeli concerns, as if it’s unimportant, although there’s a lone subheading about ‘holy places’. We’ll get to that shortly. Then Marcus writes this:

While the main thrust of these documents is to show a Palestinian Authority far more willing to offer compromises than the Israelis have ever been willing to admit, the story is not entirely one of sharp divisions and unbridgeable gulfs.

Now we see how Israel is made to look the villain even here. Nasty old Israel has been dishonest and lying about Palestinian negotiations, right? Who’s really not the valid partner in the peace process, eh, BBC? Forget about all those people complaining that ceding a little territory is proof that Fatah is failing their people, etc. It’s really Israel who doesn’t want peace.

The leaked documents show that in August 2008 Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was willing to break with his hardliners, accepting that Jerusalem would in some way be partitioned, allowing both Israelis and the Palestinians to use it as their capital.

Yep, those nasty old hardliners, the real obstacle to peace, eh, BBC? A joint capital was always the only way, don’t you know. And what about those holy places?

This offer, made just a few months before US President Barack Obama took office, included provisions for the token return of some Palestinian refugees and on potentially the most contentious issue of all – access to the holy places at the heart of the city – interim arrangements involving Israel, the Palestinians, the Saudis and the Jordanians.

Indeed, the Palestinian side too seems to have been willing to envisage imaginative solutions to resolve the problems of access and control over the holy basin.

So you see, it’s….wait…the holy what now? Who has access to which holy places now, BBC? No context whatsoever. In fact, as those who look to the BBC for their information wouldn’t know, Jews are not allowed to pray at the only actual holy site in the entire religion: the Temple Mount. They are permitted to worship only at the base of a retaining wall around the perimeter of the compound. Jews are not permitted to worship or even dress too orthodox on the actual premises. Only Muslims are permitted. The fact is, this is tolerated by the Israeli government because all hell would break loose if they did anything about it. The BBC never honestly addresses this issue. No special segments on any religion programmes about how Judaism is the only major religion in the world not in control of its own holy site. (This always begs the question of how this situation could exist if Jews really had so much power over world affairs. They control everything except that? But that’s for another time.) But they are more concerned about Palestinian rights.

To which holy sites do Palestinians not currently have access, BBC? Which sites would be blocked if Israel controlled East Jerusalem? Are we supposed to seriously believe that Israel would prevent Muslims from worshiping at the site? Based on what evidence? Again, the reader is left in a vacuum, with details supporting only one side of the argument.

Now here it comes, the moment we all expected:

This of course was all more than two years ago. Since then a more right-wing Israeli government has come to power. It has set itself firmly against any division of Jerusalem. A US effort to freeze settlement building and to get substantive talks under way has also failed.

This is the context in which these leaked documents must be read.

BBC hypocrisy on display. After providing zero context about the key issues involved, the BBC’s middle east correspondent has the temerity to lecture you about context: the context which fits the Narrative, of course.

Israel = bad. It’s the fault of those nasty right-wingers. The Obamessiah’s efforts failed – oh, wait, sorry, He can’t fail, it’s the “US effort” which failed – due to nasty right-winger Israeli racists. Nothing to do with Palestinian intransigence or anything. The only correct solution is a partition of Jerusalem, with the Jews ceding the most important areas. Fatah is clearly a willing partner in peace. Only Israel is at fault.

The peace process is damaged now, frets Marcus. Fatah leadership looks weak now because – this must come as a shock as it’s contrary to what the BBC often tries to tell us – the Palestinians actually don’t want any compromise at all. Israel looks bad because, well, the only thing one can draw from this article is that we’re supposed to come in with the perspective that they’ve always been bad, except for that brief moment of unicorns and rainbows under Olmert. There really isn’t any evidence provided as to how much from the leaked documents make Israel look bad, which is why Marcus needs to actually come right out and tell you how to interpret the story. The change in government isn’t new information, Israel’s various offers haven’t been kept secret, so what’s so damaging here? Instead, the revelations are spun to make Israel appear to be dishonest. There’s nothing of substance.

It seems that, in the alternate history in which the BBC lives, Israel is already the bad guy before we even begin. And don’t bother looking to them for any context worth trusting.

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12 Responses to BBC Hypocrisy: Context Edition

  1. Biodegradable says:

    Yes, Israel “captured” (read liberated) Jerusalem in 1967 after Jordan illegally occupied it in 1948.

    Who recognised Jordan’s illegal occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank from 1948 to 1967?

    Only Pakistan and guess who?

    The United Kingdom!

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  2. Cassandra King says:

    What a brilliant post David!

    This is the kind of articulate and searching article that the BBC should be producing instead of its biased facile and lazy rubbish.
    Context? No context is needed when the BBC have a narrative to pimp, context only confuses the narrative.

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  3. fred bloggs says:

    Using the label of bBC hypocracy here goes.

    This is an interview with halfwit Harriet:



    On the bBC news the only bit shown is an except of her trashing Coulson.  The section where she fluffs and has her lack of intellect exposed; is not shown.

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  4. NotaSheep says:

    Do remember that back on March 31, 1977, the Dutch newspaper Trouw published an interview with Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Zahir Muhsein. Here’s what he said:

    “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.

    For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.”

    Remember also that on the same day Yasser Arafat signed the Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn in 1993, he explained his actions on Jordan TV thus
    “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.”

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    • Cassandra King says:

      That is the context that the BBC will not give us, that is the tragedy that the BBC seems intent on assisting.

      The BBC and the islamists working in perfect unison and harmony to aheive a common goal. But I hope the BBC has gone off half cocked with this latest smear attempt against Israel, as usual it sees a story that supports its narrative and jumps in gleefully and without due consideration like excited kiddies.

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    • pounce_uk says:

      Not asheep problem for the Pals was the Jordanians understand the mindset of the arab, so sent in the troops and kicked out the Pals in 1970 killing around 25000 of their fellow religious cohorts. (something the bBC never seems to mention) Of course Syria was jsut as bad then as it is now and invaded Jordan in which to teach them a lesson, but the Jordanians beat them back, rumour has it King Hussien asked Israel for help and they flew a few planes over the tanks battalions rolling into Jordan and being Arabs they turned tail. The Pals then went onto ruin Lebanon. (Just like they ruin any country they come into contact with) and again the bBC remains silent.

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      • NotaSheep says:

        The Jordanian massacres of the Palestinians was especially harsh since Jordan was in effect setup as the Palestinian homeland.

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  5. mike_s says:

    The only benefactor of this leak is the hamas.

    But the Guardian and  the BBC wil support the islamist out of hatred of western civilatzation. Just like the communist sabotaged the war effort against nazi germany until the nazis invaded the soviet union.

    Useless idiots.

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  6. Sir Alastair 2Mac says:

    Just back from the BBC complaints page. I fear some soft wee politically correct middle class lefty islamist fanboy will be learning some new Scottish swear words tomorrow morning.

    I was utterly raging at the BBC anti Israel bias this month but todays reporting pushed me over the edge. I kicked politeness into touch and let rip.

    Imagine Rab C Nesbit having a bout of Tourettes and you will be half way there.

    Not productive I know, but rather therapeutic.

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  7. pounce_uk says:

    One thing we have all noticed is that converts to Islam are much more pious than born Muslims.(Reid/Booth and Ridley) And so it is with the bBC who unable to accept that real Muslims can actually deal with Jews. (Just have a look at how many rich Arabs shop at Marks on Ken High street) foam at the mouth and try to patch up the holes in their biased stance against Israel. I mean Palestinians doign a deal with Israel unthinkable and thus they must be damned for the apostates they really are. If the subject wasn’t so serious I’d laugh. My only wish is that the next bBC reporter kidnapped is beheaded by Allah’s little helpers. Of course the bBC will find a way to blame; The US,UK,Israel. English dinner conversations.

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  8. George R says:

    Will INBBC now switch its political opposition away from Israel, and towards Hezbollah in Lebanon, and towards its backers, the Islamic Republic of Iran?

    “Fresh protests in Lebanon at Hezbollah move”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12273178

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  9. joseph sanderson says:

    Hezbollah seem to be following the IRA tactic of the Ballot box and the Armalite.  It seems that Hezbollah know that keeping possesion of its weapons gives them additional leverage during the negotiations for who fills what position in the political arena in the Lebanon.

    I can also see many similarities between the Hezbollah stance into the investigation into the assasination of Rafik Hariri and 20 other innocent people and the IRAs stance before the Good Friday agreement was reached.

    The hope is that Hezbollah will face the same fate as the IRA and become a minor irritant to the day to day lives of the Lebanese population.

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