Taken For a Ride

Here’s a strange one. It puts me in an unusual position, and could look as though I’m about to defend religious fundamentalism. That’s not what I’m trying to do.
I had a message from someone who was offended by an item featured in the BBC World Service series “Outlook”.
Before going any further, I ought to provide some context.
In Israel there is a problematic issue that we might recognise. It echoes something that is happening here, although our problem could almost be regarded as the inside-out version of theirs. On the surface ours looks like the negative to their positive – in a purely photographic sense. However, this is a matter of ‘two sides of the same coin’ in an entirely superficial way, which I won’t go into here.

Our problem concerns British Muslims who have annexed areas in the U.K. such as Tower Hamlets, within which they prefer to abide by their own laws rather than the law of the land. Israel’s problem involves extreme, ‘ultra’ orthodox Jews, some of whom have annexed certain areas…. within which they wish to abide by their own laws etc. etc.

These situations are part and parcel of difficulties thrown up in pursuing the liberal ideals of a civilized world. How to reconcile differences while embracing principles of diversity and so on. As a secular, non-believing infidel, I find religious dogma hard to understand, let alone defend, so I have to put my prejudices to one side when making this case against the BBC – seemingly on behalf of the ultra orthodox community in Jerusalem.

They have decided for religious reasons to have their own religious bus service, outwith the public bus service. In the religious buses, women are supposed to sit at the back of the bus, for reasons of modesty. This seems like something from a bygone age, and is a jarring, unattractive aspect of religious practice. However, some would say, it’s their own affair, and if they want it, it’s none of our business. It may be an affront to women’s lib, but it’s hardly a matter of life and death, unlike some of the murderous practices that affect women in Islam. I mean the criminal acts that blight the lives of families that observe a primitive version of the religion of peace.

Back to the BBC. The message I referred to earlier was from a listener who had heard a one-sided interview, and was sore affronted. The interview was with a young secular Israeli woman who got on a religious bus to Jerusalem, and refused to obey the rules. She wouldn’t go to the back of the bus, and a bit of a kerfuffle ensued.
The Israeli press got hold of the story and made a big fuss. She became a cause célèbre and turned herself into Israel’s Rosa Parks, and great fun was had by all apart from the Hareidim. (the religious Jews in question.)

Imagine if something similar happened here. Say, for example a blind man and his guide dog were turned away from a ‘Muslim‘ bus or a taxi, the BBC would be all over the story. Wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t they? I think not. The Daily Mail, maybe. But not the Beeb. They would ignore it or bury it in some regional sub division of the interweb, so as to preserve social cohesion.

However the BBC liked the sound of the bus story, and picked it up. The woman was portrayed as the voice of reason. And quite right too, I hear myself say. She was the voice of reason! But wait. Hang on a mo!
There’s something the press are being suspiciously shy about.
The innocent woman who made the unfortunate mistake of stumbling into a humiliating situation but bravely refused to be intimidated, was not being completely open. She was being economical with the truth. She and the media were concealing the fact that she was a well-known activist and anti-religion campaigner, whose bus journey was more of a publicity stunt. In other words, she got her knickers in a twist as agent provocateur, in what was in fact an act of incitement in pursuit of her political opposition to orthodox religious practices. The bus wasn’t a public bus, but a religious special, which she knew perfectly well when she got on board.

Remember Ken O’Keefe to whom a whole edition of Hardtalk was devoted, after he pretended to be an innocent member of the aid convoy peacefully floating to Gaza aboard the Mavi Marmara? Were his antisemitic ravings or his Israel-bashing history mentioned? Not really. Or Sarah Colborne, the not so innocent anti-Israel campaigner who was presented as Gaza’s fairy godmother by the BBC. A pattern emerges.

The Israeli press are notorious for shooting themselves in the foot. They mercilessly publicise awkward internal matters which damage and undermine Israel’s image with a degree of disloyalty that a country in a permanent state of war with its neighbours and increasingly isolated from the rest of the world can ill afford. Doing that is a luxury only the secure should risk. Extreme self examination and self-criticism is best kept within the family. It needs to be tempered with the kind of unconditional love that outsiders might not have.

The listener who wrote to me had a hard time convincing me to write this. I didn’t wanna do it. At first I decided not to, and I thought that a programme like “Outlook” was permitted to be one-sided, as its name implies. I thought of the reply that the BBC would trot out – ‘balance would be achieved over time’.
“In your dreams,” I replied, to myself, trying to imagine an “Outlook” interview sympathetic to a protagonist for the Hareidim.

Then I suddenly thought of the hypocrisy of the BBC. Ready willing and able to promote an Israeli political activist and present her as an innocent bystander caught up in a human rights issue and heroically standing up against Jewish religious extremism, eager to conceal political activism on the part of vigorous pro Palestinian / anti Israel campaigners, yet afraid to stir up trouble and strife here for fear of upsetting devout members of the Muslim community on their own doorstep. That’s how I see it anyway.

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18 Responses to Taken For a Ride

  1. deegee says:

    Sue, this is standard BBC practise? Time and time again they present parties with clear interests as neutral analysts or even vox populi who by some randaom chance are being interviewed.

    At best this is poor journalist (as Pounce would say half-a-story) at worst deliberately slanting the viewers’ perception in a desired direction.


  2. cjhartnett says:

    Like your point comparing Tower Hamlets to the Orthodox enclaves.
    One -the one “over there” will be happily used by the Beeb to point out that Israel is “no better that she ought to be”.

    Meanwhile the one “over here”-through which many BBC staff MUST go through or even live in-well, who there would DARE raise this as a concern?

    Paedophile grooming gangs up north?…Parents killing daughters that don`t conform to family demands?…bearded young men not described as Muslim, but as only “being inspired by Al Queda”?

    Intellectual lockdown at the BBC-but we all know!

    Will have to get a list of decent publications and websites on all this Sue!…do let us know!


  3. Umbongo says:

    Granted the BBC is always going to go with the Narrative (horrible Jews, saintly Moslems) but, setting aside the Narrative for the moment, why shouldn’t nutters have their own bus service?  As long as they pay for it and as long as the rules are clear it’s nothing to do with me – or anyone else.  However, and back to the BBC, as deegee notes and as Peter Oborne in the Telegraph the morning also notes, the BBC is notorious for bringing in “impartial” commentators and omitting to tell the punters that these commentators might not be so disinterested after all.

    But that’s just the small change of BBC bias.  Anyone listening, viewing or reading any ostensibly disinterested report/comment/analysis transmitted under the BBC imprimatur should always assume that the item in question is slanted.  For example, as David Preiser reveals almost daily, the BBC’s US coverage is absurdly indulgent towards Obama and the Democrats.  If you’re really interested in what is happening in the US it’s always better to go to a variety of sources which, AFAIAC, would not include the BBC (unless you’re looking for a short sharp survey of what the PR guys at the White House want you to believe).


    • My Site (click to edit) says:

      as Peter Oborne in the Telegraph the morning also notes, the BBC is notorious for bringing in “impartial” commentators and omitting to tell the punters that these commentators might not be so disinterested after all. ‘

      ‘Time and time again they present parties with clear interests as neutral analysts or even vox populi who by some random chance are being interviewed.’

      Too often, too bent to be chance.

      And needs nailing, tricky though it is compared to flat out lies, even those quickly stealth editted and popped behind an FoI exemption before you can say newsniffer.


      • sue says:

        How impartial does one think Peter Oborne is?
        I realise he’s a respected journo, who speaks with the authority of one who ‘knows.’
        Since any mention of Israel, Jews and Lobbies makes his jowls shudder and tremble with such revulsion that they give the game away, he can hardly pretend to be entirely without an agenda.


        • Umbongo says:

          Agreed about Oborne and Israel, however Oborne does not, I believe, pretend to be impartial concerning Israel.  Moreover, were Oborne put forward by the Telegraph as its nominated Israel correspondent then we would know what the Telegraph’s desired slant on Middle East politics was.  Accordingly, we actually do know that the Telegraph is solidly in the warmist camp given that Geoffrey Lean is its environment correspondent with Louise Gray as his amateur reporterette assistant.  The problem with the BBC is that it pretends to impartiality as do its staff.  You only have to look at that staff’s tweets to know where their heart and beliefs lie, let alone read or listen to their mock-impartial output.

          Coming back to Oborne’s article today: he gave irrefutable evidence that the BBC (as well as acting as Putin’s lapdog)  misled its audience by not informing us of the political background of those it used as authoritative commentators (cf Angus Roxburgh).  This is not an oversight.  This is (as I wrote in my original comment) the small change of BBC bias.  Whatever Oborne’s views on Israel, he is right on the button on this one.


        • ian says:

          Oborne just lurves muslims –  
           It Shouldn’t Happen to a Muslim
          “On the third anniversary of the 7/7 London Bombings, Peter Oborne investigates whether these attacks and the fear of terrorism has fuelled the rise of violence, intolerance and hatred against British Muslims…”


    • RCE says:

      Umbongo – you are as wrong as wrong can be when you say “it’s got nothing to do with me.”

      It’s got everything to do with you.

      In fact, it is about you. And what you are willing to do to defend your way of life. The Haredim and ‘British Muslims’ both want to know.


      • Umbongo says:

        Call me old fashioned but “my way of life” includes the notion that as long as people don’t ask me to pay for their delusional way of life within the law (that’s the law of England & Wales BTW) I’m (more or less) happy.  However, if a nutters’ bus service was given a monopoly of bus transport in a defined area and/or given a handout from the taxpayer then I would be very unhappy.  Also – and I think this partially accepts your point – I would get – do get – most unhappy when nutters (religious or secular) seek to impose their notions of right and wrong on me and mine by changing the secular law to my obvious disadvantage.  Accordingly, as a consumer of gas and electricity, I am forced to subsidise so-called “green” energy consumers (and, more to the point, green energy providers) in the certain knowledge that the technical and scientific justifications for this are crocks.  Nevertheless, running a bus service which is kosher or halal does not make such a service prima facie objectionable.

        Also, and back to the purpose of this website, my objections to the BBC quasi-monopoly follow the reasoning above.  As I’ve commented before, were the BBC not funded by a compulsory tax then my objection to BBC bias would be substantially muted.  However, not only is the BBC funded in this way, it has an effective monopoly (as defined under the Competion Commission rules of controlling more than 25% of a local or national market) in the provision of news services.  I believe that were the BBC’s finances divorced from a compulsory licence fee then that quasi-monopoly might either dissolve of its own accord or (less likely) the BBC might start to deliver a substantially unbiased product.


        • RCE says:

          Umbongo; don’t disagree with your points at all, I was (perhaps badly) making the point that these little actions are in fact metonymic of one ideology asserting itself over another. When it comes to incompatible beliefs, there will ultimately be one winner.


        • sue says:

          Hi Umbongo,
          Just a quick quibble concerning the ‘live and let live’ philosophy you describe.

          “As I’ve commented before, were the BBC not funded by a compulsory tax then my objection to BBC bias would be substantially muted.”

          I think the crucial point here it “substantially’. How muted?

          I quite agree with the principle that others can do whatever floats their boat as long as it doesn’t  a) make me subsidise it or b) impinge upon my freedom to do my own thing.

          If I feel that I might suffer because of hostile influences emanating from the BBC, whether or not I have to confront them directly or personally on a daily basis, don’t you think I ought to care, never mind whether I’m forced to pay or not?

          As far as the BBC is concerned, their influence undoubtedly has a long-term and disproportionate effect, causing hostility towards me and interfering with my freedom to do my own thing or ‘speak my own brane’. They still have residual credibility from days of yore, which is a separate issue from the license tax.

          It’s the reputation stupid. 😀


          • Umbongo says:

            You make a good point: actually, as long as the BBC is in a monopoly position (which – on the Competition Commission definition –  it is) then my “substantially” should, perhaps, be replaced by “slightly”.  However, my point is that, absent the licence fee, the BBC would go into financial freefall.  This might not result in less bias but it would certainly mean the BBC rethinking its policies eg of covering – and dominating – every field of national broadcasting endeavour.    
            Why, for instance, does the BBC have any interest in local broadcasting?  Its offering is dire and, as far as I can see (in London anyway) generally tends to repeat any national news which can be squeezed into a “local” straitjacket.  However, it also has the effect of crowding out any competition which might provide a genuinely local product.  Hunt recently commented on the lack of variety in local broadcasting but, CINO and idiot that he is, failed to say that it is the BBC spreading like a rash everywhere which damages genuinely diverse local broadcasting. The BBC also offers specialist ethnic broadcasting (eg Asian Network) which IMHO is designed to further the muli-culti element of the Narrative.    
            The key here is to get rid of the licence fee.  Once that is done, although the BBC would still exist and, for a few years, it would have to rely on its financial and reputational “savings” to keep it going.  However, you can’t maintain your standard of living – or lying – indefinitely by living on capital.  It would have to reassess its priorities.  My fear would be that it would retreat even further into propagandising the beliefs dear to the political class (although not at my expense)    
            Meanwhile, we could do worse than copy Victor Klemperer by constantly (maybe annoyingly!) “bearing witness” to the insidious (and not so insidious) poison injected by the BBC into the national “debate”.  I don’t kid myself that this requires the bravery of Klemperer but it requires a certain thick skin to keep on keeping on about the vilemess of the BBC with your relatives, friends and neighbours.    
            If I understand you correctly, I agree that we (ie you and I) could never “negotiate” a harmonised worldview with the nutters.  However, AFAIAC, even nutters should have a place in the sun as long as their shadow is not cast over me.


  4. Wayne Xenocrates says:

    The fact is that the BBC should not be airing any opinions, not religious, not political, not social opinions, especially not socialist’s opinions, and not the opinions of commentators who have their own private agendas to fulfil.  Worst of all are the overpaid and over promoted reporters who love to grandstand their opinions at the camera and into our homes.  The most notorious being that Nick Robinson fellow who always ends his piece with a pernicious grin and a negative sarcastic remark about any attempt by the government to stand up for this country and get it out of the mire. 


    I just do not wish to hear their summary opinions and their snide comments; I want to hear from the people who are running the country and doing things, not the faultfinders with nothing to contribute.  Why do we only get a five second clip of the Prime Minister making a point, if that, followed by three minutes of a reporter’s interpretation then followed by the inevitable, it won’t work waffle  from ‘A Shadow Minister’?  It is infuriating and wrong but like most fair and right things in this country they are have disappeared in smoke and the BBC, who are so smug about  ‘pushing the boundaries’ over the years and have proudly led this decline in standards and honesty.


    The BBC should concentrate on the facts and yes that it is possible if all sides of a story are examined and published without fear or prejudice, which it seems, in this case as in so many others, they obviously were not. 


    The BBC should be able to be relied upon to be honest and tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help them God, (or Allah or whatever Deity they pray to).   They must however firstly understand that Ed Miliband, the Labour Party, the Unions and or any celebrity that leans a bit left and believes in global warming and is oh so PC, are not gods of any description.  This I fear might be a tad difficult without the help of some serious de-programming by the few of us left with an half an ounce of common sense.   As always I have my trusty pitchfork ready.


    • wild says:

      The danger which accompanies “just giving the facts” is that people might make up their own minds.  
      The function of the BBC is to “help” people make up their minds.  
      If people arrive at the “wrong” decision, they carry on “helping them” to make up their minds” until they arrive at a correct decision.  
      If not giving any facts helps them achieve this goal, it is a small price to pay for correct thinking.


  5. john in cheshire says:

    Apologies for repetition, but I have a bee in my bonnet at the moment and it’s all about Saul Alinsky. I think that many socialists have read his ‘Rules for Radicals’ book and are busily applying his techniques. As does Mr Obama, a disciple of Mr Alinsky. The key issue that I have understood is that for all socialists, they will support anything that furthers their aims. And if something which latterly was one of their pet subjects, now turns into something that undermines their true goals, then they will abandon it like rats from a sinking ship. So, for example, as the earth begins to confirm that it is cooling, rather than heating us into extinction, the socialists will change their narrative to reinforce the cooling disaster and how we must now forfeit our liberties, and our money, in support of measures to prevent catastrophic global cooling. That’s one example, which I suspect is about to hit us – and the bbc will soon jump on the bandwagon. But for socialists, it is every subject no matter how important, no matter how insignificant. If the socialists can further their aim by giving it publicity, funding and demonstration, then they will do so; regardless of how wrong, deceitful or wicked might be the outcome. We need to educate our children to warn them of what to expect from the socialist tsunami that will other wise engulf them.


    • jarwill101 says:

        And one of these days, perhaps sooner than later, after an atrocity on their own doorstep, the well-heeled, ‘progressive’, Quisling beeboids, might find themselves dropping the wonder of Islam like a red-hot potato, & the great love affair with the Religion of Body Pieces will be over. Then they might be wishing they were standing next to something more substantial than the Quilliam Foundation: something like the Air Assault Brigade. Sow the jihadist wind, reap the bloody hurricane. The BBC & its self-indulgent little dance around the ablution fountain? Game over.


  6. Ron Todd says:

    I understand the liberal inclination to let them live as they please. The problem is how do we know that is how their women want to live.

    And even if the women have been brain washed into wanting to be second class citizens taken out of school at a young age so they are not contaminated by western ideas, and married off to cousins back home , and subject to the threat of honour murder if they do not obey can we stand by and let the next generation of their women suffer by making no attemp to apply the laws of thie lamnd that at least nominaly give women equality.

    I could make the same argumant for staying in Afghanistan.


  7. DP111 says:

    These Isreali media Leftists, are like spoilt children rebelling against their parents, but knowing, that no matter how badly they behave, their parents love them, and will never make them pay for their foolishness.

    But even the most spoilt of children realize when the family is under threat, and rally to the side of the family. Family is family.

    Its time these Israeli Leftists realize that they are not children, and their only home is under a grave threat.