In the last couple of days there has been an extraordinary mish-mash of television on the subject of Islam and Israel. All but one sanitising Islam and denigrating Israel.
For example, yesterday’s hostile portrait of Geert Wilders BBC2 seen through thick-lensed left-wing specs. The filmmaker’s agenda was showing – almost embarrassingly – so hopefully no-one will have been persuaded to change their minds on the issue from watching it. One thing that stood out was the way the filmmaker saw Israel. He assumed that just a slight association with it was enough to turn Wilders into a villain. And the bit where he approached Wilders with his furry microphone, feebly bleating something unintelligible while Wilders and entourage swept past, then “See! He wouldn’t speak to me!” I found that hilarious.
Straight away, most people will have switched on to Dispatches Channel 4 for the Islamic Schools programme. I thought they were trying to stretch a tiny bit of material too far – they kept repeating bits of it – they should have concentrated more on the Ofsted inspectors, and asked why nobody seemed to suspect anything or care. Melanie Phillips has this.
Nevertheless, these contrasting items provide a good example of the art of television, showing how it can make you think one thing one minute, and another, the next.
Which brings me to the major four-parter on Channel 4, The Promise. The director has a left wing agenda, and he tries to pretend he hasn’t. Take a look at the website, see Lindsay Hilsum’s potted history which leaves out the important bits, read some of the tweets and comments, and weep. The audience thinks they’re being educated.
Then for desert, last night’s Newsnight with Michael Morpurgo. He’s been to Gaza, and he’s got it into his head that Israelis target children. It’s so firmly embedded in his brain that even though Paxman says “the Israelis don’t go in to deliberately target children” , and he admits that “It’s not that they they’re targeted”, it still pops back in a few seconds later, when he says “You can’t achieve peace by targeting children.”
Call me cynical, but I think I know whose side he’s on. Even Paxo had a tiny go at him, reminding him of the traumas suffered by Sderot children. Louise Ellman did well, but she missed a few opportunities. Of the malnutrition he witnessed – not caused by the blockade of course – she should have pointed out the lorryloads of goods that go into Gaza every day, not to mention the international aid that pours in. Where is it all? She should have mentioned the hate that is taught to the children, not in Israel, but in Gaza.
I wondered why the donkey cart with the allegedly injured child rushed past at the exact moment they were filming. But Pallywood makes you cynical. I’d also like to know exactly what the Israelis had to say about targeting children. Of course, as Jeremy Bowen would say, they’d be partial, so we shouldn’t believe them, which makes rather a mockery out of all reporting. The BBC could just get ‘impartial’ people to speculate, and stop bothering to verify or investigate anything. That’s what they already do on the telly, some broadcasters more than others.