The BBC is fond of the familiar. It favours the tried and tested, nay, the formulaic, all year round. But tradition and ritual are an extra special feature at Christmas. It’s what the audience wants, is it not? , “Give them more of what they liked last time round!” those innovative creative commissioning editors must have squealed as they sat round the table in the BBC’s department of inspiration and left of centre thinking.
“Eureka!” They might have cried, “Here’s what we’ll do for Christmas!” “Morecambe and Wise!” “Shrek!” “And don’t forget to go up to the attic and see if you can find the one about the shepherds. I know we put it somewhere. They love that one. What we need is another good old ‘fings aint wot they used to be’ special.”
Israel-bashers unite, far and wide, and the BBC is not averse to a bit of sentimentality at Christmas time, even if it means following the herd. Literally.
“Ring up Carlos Sarras, our go-to Palestinian shepherd, and if he’s available again get Jon Donnison on the case. Yolande Knell can find another old geezer wistfully reminiscing about his goat, his olive tree and his donkey and she can finish with an interview with George Saadah, deputy mayor of Bethlehem, whose message of peace and goodwill to all men we’ll put under the heading “The Wise Man.” Jon Donnison gave him a lengthy spot on BBC News 24 the other day, so the audience will be liking him already.”
“Bring the story up to date with some fresh 2011 references to the apartheid wall, and round it up thus: “Forty years ago, there were just a few thousand settlers living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory Israel captured and occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.“
(That would be the1967 war of intended annihilation against Israel instigated by her surrounding neighbours, I think you’ll find, Mr D., a simple fact that might have significant bearing on the situation.)
“Put it in context,” they’ll be reminding each other.“Now there are around 500,000 settlers.”
“and finish, as ever, with the perennial: “Settlements are illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.” and Bob’s yer uncle!”
Same old addendum each time, but hardly innovative. Here’s an idea for the creatives at the BBC Left Field Think Tank. Think outside the box! Why stick to that tired old taint as your sole contribution to what you scurrilously call ‘context?’
For a change, why not put some different context, for example: “Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip receive one of the highest levels of aid in the world.” That’s context, is it not? How about a straightforward: “Palestinians receive more aid per capita than any other people on the planet.” Or why not inform the public thusly: “Hamas, who rule Gaza have Israel’s destruction immutably written within their charter!” Or, from the charter itself: “[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”
Well, why not? It’s context. It would make a change. Make progress. You love complaining that fings aint wot they used to be, but it’s no use complaining. Fings just aint.
Or, why not go for refreshing honesty? Come out! No more closet. Why not just put “The BBC pledges everlasting allegiance with the Palestinians, and will continue to act as their mouthpiece while promising never to waste an opportunity to denigrate Israel.”