A Matter of Time

I want to mention Jeremy Bowen again, and the interviews with John Humphrys and Palestinian official Husam Zomlot and Mark Regev. While I’m at it I may as well bring in Mark Mardell’s BBC Obama fanzine blog too, for another example of the BBC’s approach. The comments illustrate my point. Go instead to Caroline Glick if you’re interested in Obama’s policy on Israel.
The following is not verbatim, but a rough transcript of Webb and Bowen.
Webb. “Were these concerted demonstrations part of the Arab Spring? […]Is that how Palestinians see them?”

Bowen: ”I think it is the way to see them as a madder of fact, and [….]it was organised by Facebook and other social media. Israel says it was inspired by Iran…I think it’s a….*….who knows …but Palestinians have many grievances of their own. I think that they have seen what other people in the Arab world have been doing and they’ve thought well hang on, why can’t we do something as well as… like that.. to get on the streets or on the roads.”
Webb: “Pretty worrying for Israel..”
Bowen: “That’s why the Israelis opened fire on them and killed quide a lot of people. It was the biggest loss of life in one incident in South Lebanon since the 2006 war and the Israelis have warned that this is just the beginning, that Barak the defence minister has said that in the future they might have to deal with similar and maybe more complex incidents.”
On to Syria.
Webb. “They got into Golan and occupied the Golan Heights as well.”
Bowen then proceeded to analyse the situation in Syria. The ‘trouble’ in Syria. The Assad regime wanted quiet borders. The Israelis want Assad to stay.
Jeremy Bowen is perfectly well aware that the similarity between Facebook-orchestrated plans for a third intefada and the Arab spring is that the planning was social-media inspired, which enabled large numbers of people to co-ordinate their activism. The comparison ends there.

Mark Mardell should know this too, but his infatuation with Obama clouds his thinking.
In BBC world, the Arabs are revolting, end of. They see it as a simple matter of ‘the oppressed’ trying to break free. The fact that one lot is targeting their own oppressive leaders and the other is targeting another sovereign state is of little consequence, because the BBC has spent the last 60 years presenting Israel as the great oppressor of the Palestinian people, interlopers and thieves of ‘Muslim lands.’
This was illustrated in the interview with John Humphrys I mentioned earlier. I won’t transcribe, but I will say this. John Humphrys began with a fairly robust line. “how did you expect the Israelis to react?” However, the Palestinian gentleman was arguing on an entirely different level. Kindergarten. “Keys.” “Deeds.”

You started a war Mr. Palestinian spokesman. You lost. Your Arab brothers have had 63 years to absorb the refugees from their own failed war of annihilation, something the Israelis did straight away with the refugees from their own “Nakba”, you know, the one nobody mentions, where 800,000 Jews were chucked out of the countries they lived in, with nothing.
That’s just a fraction of the sort of thing Mark Regev means when he talks about the Palestinians rewriting history; but, sorry, time is running out.
What was fairly obvious is that behind all this is the ever more visible feeling from the BBC that Israel’s legitimacy is in doubt.
‘we are just at the start of this matter and it could be that we’ll face far more complex challenges.’
Time is running out.

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37 Responses to A Matter of Time

  1. Grant says:

    Bowen’s comments are pure speculation.  The sort of unprofessional bias we have come to expect of this lowlife scumbag.  He is a disgrace.


  2. Umbongo says:


    One swallow certainly doesn’t make a summer but Humphrys’ interviews this morning – with both Zomlot and Regev – were more or less balanced.  Mind you, bringing in Bowen afterwards pressed the reset button to the BBC default configuration.


    • sue says:

      Yes, Humphrys’s interviews were reasonably balanced in some ways, but strict impartiality is not always desirable. As in when one side is perpetuating a ridiculous version of the situation.
      The Palestinian spokesperson did seem to be trying to interject – I thought I heard muffled noises in the background – and I was glad Regev was allowed to make his point, but what Zomlot did manage to say was extremely questionable. Then of course Humphrys said that the Israelis had ‘opened fire’ on the protesters, which for one thing hasn’t been verified (some of the firing may have been from Lebanese soldiers) and some of the deaths are said to have been due to mines – who knows.  This concerted demonstration was premeditated and aggressive, in a volatile place at a volatile time, don’t forget, and I would have expected Humph to press home just how impossible situation that Israel faces rreally is, with this sort of deliberate provocation.

      I swear I hadn’t seen this before I wrote my post.

      “With the exception of Syria, he also made no mention that these ‘concerted demonstrations’, as the Today presenter put it, were in fact a concerted attempt to storm Israel’s borders; they were presented instead as ‘protests’ on the borders.  A casual and uninformed listener might well have got the impression therefore that Israel had fired upon crowds merely demonstrating for democracy within Lebanon and Gaza, with a bit of funny business on the Golan caused by President Assad playing ‘Arab Spring’-style politics.

      Once again — can anyone explain why the British licence-fee payer is having to subsidise this atrocious misreporting?”


      • NotaSheep says:

        Don’t expect any complaints or protests from palestinian supporting Chris Patten


      • Umbongo says:


        I did write “more or less balanced”.  As a journalist Humphys is up there with weather girl Ulrika.  Accordingly, I don’t expect any startling revelations or grilling of spokesmen invited on to feed into the BBC narrative.  However, it seemed this morning that some of Humphrys’ reasonable observations had Zomlot (literally) squeaking with indignation.  And was it just last Friday that a Syrian spokeswoman put the phone down on Humphrys’ when he implied that Assad’s treatment of demonstrators was “uncivilised”?

        No, not a summer but let’s acknowledge the very occasional (and possibly accidental) occurrence of a BBC jourrnalist asking a few direct questions of Palestinian propagandists or making an observation contrary to the narrative.


        • sue says:

          Yes I know. I did acknowledge that. In fact a commenter on the Melanie P blog has complimented JH for making the Palestinian look like ‘a total arse’
          Not sure I’d go that far, but as you say, one swallow.


        • hippiepooter says:

          Are we talking of a ‘BBC Spring’ here? 🙂

          In the last few months when I’ve checked some of Humphrys interviews out I’ve been suprised by the level of objectivity in them (others not!).

          However, when it comes to Israel, in one form or other, James Naughtie is a guaranteed slimeball.


      • Grant says:

        If Hamas are happy to use Palestinian children as human shields , I wouldn’t put it past them to shoot Palestinians.


  3. john in cheshire says:

    So, if the barbarians were at the UKs borders trying to invade, we would be wrong to repel them? Is that what the bbc are saying?


  4. magiclantern1 says:

    Time running out?

    More for the BBC than for Israel. I was in Israel just last month, and my God, what a country! It is thriving in every way. It really does not matter what the BBC think. NOt at all.

    But how galling that we, the British public, should be FORCED to pay for their pathetic little on-going pogrom against the Jews and Israel.


  5. Cassandra King says:

    In other words…if the BBCs political enemies look like they are getting the better of the beeboids and are looking lke they are winning the debate then suddenly for some strange reason time always seems to run out.

    Funny thing is that BBC allies and axis partners can drone on as long as they please, I have yet to hear a BBC ecofascist being told the time is running out. As for the deaths of the terrorists at the border of Israel, we simply do not know how they died and which side shot with live rounds or if mines killed them.

    Yet here we have the BBC who knows the border is the most heavily protected zone in the world and they know that it was the IDF who killed the terrorist invaders. No hesitation no caution no gathering the facts just GUIILTY GUILTY THE JEWS ARE SAVAGE KILLERS.


    • sue says:

      The Today programme did find the time, however, for an inordinately long, and creepily flirtatious interview with Tracey Emin.
      Who cares if she’s lost her edge?
      Looks like four minutes for the I/P conflict, ten for the exhibitionists.


      • Cassandra King says:

        They always have time to spare Sue, they keep some minutes in reserve for just such occasions and it wasnt as if they didnt have some really crappy unimportant non stories they could have easily cut down on.

        Emin? Heard the beeboid neealy out himself, when he said “we are worlds apart in terms of our positions in…art…”ooops nearly said politics there did he not?


      • My Site (click to edit) says:

        Who cares if she’s lost her edge?’

        Without feeling the urge to listen, how can anyone tell what her ‘edge’ is?

        Failure to fold hospital* corners on her latest ‘creation’.

        *Though from what one reads of today’s NHS, inclusive stains are a given.


    • hippiepooter says:

      15 genocidal Arabs shot dead.  A good day’s work.  If the Lebanese Army had a hand in this as well, let’s not spare them the congratulations they deserve.  The less genocidal maniacs in the world, the better the place is.


      • Demon1001 says:

        Hippie, has someone got hold of your account? 


        • hippiepooter says:

          Why should that be??!!

          Genocidal Arabs launched a violent assault invading Israeli territory and – just like the Hate Flotilla – 15 of them got whacked before they bogged off back behind the border.  A good day for democracy, which I’ve always been in favour of.


  6. Daphne Anson says:

    Excellent piece, as usual, Sue.
    I can’t help feeling that even some of old Jezza’s colleagues might wonder whether he’s worth an “editor”‘s title and salary.
    He so often seems to have a “room temperature IQ” …


    • sue says:

      Thank you, very kind of you to say so.

      Bowen‘s Wiki entry is interesting. To read it you’d think he was a literary legend, not the colloquially-speakin’  gossip-monger we know and love.


  7. ltwf1964 says:

    ahmed Ali Bowen

    for “editor” read “bald faced lying propagandist”


  8. cjhartnett says:

    As a student, I knew that I could not visit all manner of Arab countries if I chose to go to Israel.
    I can visir anywhere in Israel but there is one place on earth I cannot vist-that is Mecca!
    Yet we assume some sense of parity between the(albeit imperfect!) democratic and life-affirming Israel, and a culture/country that will never let the outsider in-let alone dare to read a bible,have a drink or (at risk of a beheading in chop chop square) establish a church!
    The BBC would consider Saudi Arabia to be the equal of Israel.
    Yet they don`t seem to have been reprting on what goes on in Jeddah or Bahrain-let alone Mecca or Medina! Nothing on Womans Hour about how the sisters are faring under the Wahhabis,

    I need no lessons of the BBC. It`s clear to me who is worth backing-and the BBC will be backing the loser in the end!


    • Millie Tant says:

      There was something on recently about women in Saudi Arabia. I am sure it was commented on here.  It’s a brotherhood kind of place, you know. 


  9. Biodegradable says:

    What do BBC Middle East correspondents do when they leave the Corporation?

    The Wisdom of Tim Llewellyn


  10. hippiepooter says:

    I dont think there is an ounce of sincerity to the line being pumped by the BBC’s usual suspects that this action is an extension of the Arab Spring.  It’s just propanda on behalf of the genocidal evil they’re so enamored with.  You’ll see that Jim Muir (scroll down to the side piece) has an entirely more plausible – dare we say ‘objective’ – appraisal of where the trouble is coming from.

    Personally, I haven’t heard one Arab talking head talking about social media/Arab Spring – and if they have they’ve picked up what’s been pumped by their friends in the media a la Der Sturmer Donnison and Al Bowen.

    In 1945 BBC journalists came across the concentration camps of Nazi Germany and echoed the horror that all civilised people felt around the world.

    Today, were the Arabs to overrun Israel and the inevitable slaughter ensued, you’d have BBC journalists nodding sagely and understandingly as Arab spokesmen explain how the Jews brought it upon themselves.

    From the voice of civilisation to the harbinger of Hell in 60 years, what an obscene aberration the BBC, on the whole, now is.

    On R5L Breakfast Nicky Campbell conducted his usual impeccable impartial interview with a Pally spokesman and Mark Regev, but in the news reports thereafter they just ran with the inflammatory comments of the Pally rewriting history and disdained the Israeli version of events.  Not the first time I’ve noticed that the ‘news values’ of R5L bulletins and what comes inbetween are wholly different.

    The evidence for the next Nuremburg continues to accrue.


  11. deegee says:

    To be fair:
    Palestinian protests: Arab spring or foreign manipulation?
    By Jim MuirBBC News, Beirut
    Who knows, the BBC might even begin speculating that the deaths on the Lebanese border may even be Lebanese army shooting Palestinians?

    One interesting possibility that no one has considered. If the Palestinians get their state in September, might the Lebanese and/or Syrians expel ‘their’ Palestinians to Palestine as they are no longer refugees? 


  12. hippiepooter says:

    In the Mel P piece Sue quoted from above Mel is also on the button with this:-

    See also, for example, this tendentious headline on the BBC News website:
    Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian protesters.
    Don’t you just marvel at that word ‘protesters’, which conjures up the image of a kind of re-run of Tiananmen Square where innocent and heroic individuals are mown down by brutal and repressive tyrants.


    • deegee says:

      Also it ignores the strict procedure of of shouted warning followed by warning shots followed by shots at the legs and only then aim to kill. It ignores the use of tear gas and rubber bullets before live ammunition. It ignores that the Israelis were outnumbered by at leat 1000 to one.


      It is however a classic use of the BBC Israel says meme.In one incident, thousands of Palestinian supporters from Syria entered the Golan Heights, Israel says. Note in the video he forgets the Israel says. Subeditor cut & paste?



  13. George R says:

    INBBC, including its Arabic TV service, and Bowen, to go beserek over this?:

    GLENN BECK (of Fox News) gets organised for ISRAEL, and asks us to do the same –

    Glenn Beck on ISRAEL, 16 May:

    1.) his radio show

         inc 13 min video-


    2.) his FOX NEWS TV show

    (10 pm weekdays in UK on SKY channel 509)

     inc 40 min video-



  14. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Mardell either has a unique insight into the mind of the President’s speechwriter, or gets insider info about the White House message because Katty Kay’s friend is feeding them huge amounts of talking points.  How else does he know that:  
    With language that recalls the civil rights movement, he will back peaceful demonstrations for democracy and contrast them with violent actions for autocracy.  
    Note the use of “will”, no qualifiers.  Mardell already knows what the talking points will be.  He hasn’t seen the full speech the President will give on Thursday only because it hasn’t been written yet.  Mardell is disappointed that his beloved Obamessiah hasn’t threatened Israel or the Saudis yet, but he realizes that the tangled web of “realpolitik” is too much even for Him to solve with a wave of His hand.  Maybe next term, right Mark?
    Worse, Mardell makes the same biased error that Bowen and the rest of the BBC keep making:  the Palestinians aren’t protesting against Israeli oppression only.  They are protesting, in the end, about its very existence.  The rest of the Arab Spring is about getting rid of the autocrats in their own countries.  The people “protesting” at the Syrian border aren’t angry about the autocratic rule of Hamas.  Nor is the “right of return” their ultimate goal.  They don’t want to live in their ancestral homes within the State of Israel.  They want Israel destroyed.  The BBC sweeps this under the rug as usual.

    The actions against Israel are not the same thing as the actions against Mubarak or Ghaddafi or Assad or anyone else.  A democratically elected leader of a Palestinian State (no Jews allowed to live within its borders, but that equals freedom in the minds of Beeboids) will have been elected not to give freedom to his own people but to destroy Israel.  Big difference.  
    The BBC is creating a lie, and encouraging the hatred of a people in the minds of the public.


  15. David Preiser (USA) says:

    So was this border conflict part of the same Arab Spring Bowen and Co. are talking about?

    Turkish security forces kill 12 PKK rebels in southeastern Turkey

    Turkish security forces killed 12 militants of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) during two operations conducted in southeastern Turkey, a military statement said on the website of Turkish General Staff on Saturday.

    The statement said that the security forces wiped out the 12 PKK members, who were trying to sneak into Turkey along Iraqi border, during two separate operations staged in Uludere town of the southeastern province of Sirnak between May 12 and 14.

    Oh, wait, the Kurds aren’t Arabs.  Silly me.  Their fight is meaningless.

    Bonus delicious irony:  This was reported by China’s People’s Daily, but not by the BBC.


    • Grant says:

      Actually, over the years the BBC have been strong supporters of the PKK and baby-killer Ocalan. I suspect they are just too busy with other things right now.
      But, congratulations to the excellent Turkish security services for their continuing successes against one of the most brutal terrorist organisations in history.


  16. AndyUk06 says:

    It’s often only “a matter of time” before the BBC’s pronouncements get proved wrong. Time and time again.

    It was straight after Bin Laden’s death that the BBC had a number of talking heads on to claim that his role when in hiding was mainly symbolic.

    The veritable treasure chest of intelligence since unearthed by the Yanks has proved that his role up until the time he died continued to be very much proactive.

    So much for balanced, thoughtful analysis.


    • Grant says:

      The BBC never let the facts get in the way of their narrative !