Big Cake

Further to my comment on the open thread about unintentional bias and moral superiority I just looked at Chas Newkey-Burden’s blog, and lo and behold, here’s an example.

Frankie Boyle has been mildly rebuked by the BBC Trust for a ‘joke’ he told a couple of years ago. It wasn’t even edgy and it wasn’t even funny; it was a cheap dig at Jews because of Israel, “an aggressive terrorist state with a nuclear arsenal.”
When he’s on the receiving end, Frankie Boyle, master of the nasty personal remark that passes for humour (as well as the occasional genuine humour,) he fails to take criticism on the chin.
His open letter is a blustering expression of pique with a saccharine topping. Attempting to justify his ‘joke’ he shows what an ignoramus he is, and too much of a smart arse to recognise his vast shortcomings.

The BBC Trust is a bit like a big cake; well, that cake’s being punched to pieces by a very angry very petulant very misguided Frankie Boyle.

Undecided and Uninvited

I may have been a bit slow to realise this, but as soon as one becomes associated with a particular cause, one alienates people.

It is a mistake to assume that reasoned argument will win anyone over. People make their minds up for all sorts of reasons – then say “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

The more rational you are, the more people use distancing strategies to avoid being seduced by your reasonableness. They marginalise you, label you, and grossly exaggerate your position to avoid accidentally considering any of your points.
This principle works both ways. I confess I’ve caught myself doing it, remonstrated with myself, and carried on regardless.

Questioning the wisdom of pandering to Muslims puts one into the dreaded position of Islamophobe.

On the Sunday programme R4 (31:06) I had to listen to Ed Stourton asking a group of Muslims about their voting habits. One was from the Muslim Council of Britain, an organisation I thought had been deemed unrepresentative of the ‘Muslim voice,’ but no matter. The MCB fella said their aim was fighting Islamophobia and mobilising the Muslim vote, though he was also anxious to point out that there is no such thing as a Muslim vote, apart from successfully ousting Oona King that time.

The conversation turned to ‘cavassing’ Muslims and encouraging them to get out and vote. There is a tickbox system to aid selection of your candidate. A helpful suggestion came from Ed Stourton.. ‘What,’ Muslims must ask, ‘are your views on foreign policy, and do you support Israel?’
‘Posh Ed’ presided benignly over a mutually assured consensus that no Muslim should entertain the idea of squandering their vote on anyone who supports the Zionist entity.

Fighting Islamophobia evidently entails embracing a little antisemitism. This reminds me of another incident that erupted on the internet that also revealed Muslim cognitive dissonance.

It involved the last minute withdrawal of an invitation to Douglas Murray to speak on a panel at the NUS conference at Gateshead.
Douglas Murray is an outspoken opponent of radical Islam, and an advocate of Jewish issues. Therefore, he has alienated quite a few.

The Federation of Islamic Student Societies (FOSIS) refused to participate in the conference unless Douglas Murray was disinvited.

Although Douglas Murray’s friendship is invaluable to supporters of Israel, especially when such eloquent champions are few and far between, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) felt, on balance, that the chance to expose the hypocrisy of FOSIS before an NUS audience was worth the regrettable loss of his participation.
So they withdrew the invitation, whereupon he publicly criticised the UJS for being cowed by the Islamic Students’ demands.

According to the UJS, in the event, the FOSIS rep was well and truly defeated and exposed as a fool and a hypocrite; not a terribly difficult a task given that they host extremist Islamist speakers such as Anwar al-Awlaki at universities, and justify it on the grounds of ‘free speech,’ an argument that self destructs as soon as FOSIS is seen refusing to appear near Douglas Murray.

The argument is about whether it was worth jeopardising the ongoing backing of Douglas Murray, and sacrificing the opportunity to have him speak at the conference, for the sole benefit of exposing FOSIS to a comparatively limited audience. Past performance indicates that FOSIS itself is unlikely to change, and the ephemeral UJS triumph at the NUS conference seems to have evaporated.

It’s unlikely that Douglas Murray would retaliate by withdrawing his backing, but those who appreciate Douglas Murray’s friendship and support, and see its value in the context of the bigger picture, are concerned that the UJS were rude, misguided and unappreciative.

Antisemitic radical Islam infiltrating Britain’s academia is of no interest to the BBC it seems. There was a programme on R4 about rehabilitating radicals, but they are invariably regarded as the exception, not representative of the real Islam, and as misfits and outsiders.
Events suggest otherwise. That they’re not an exception, that they are representative, and they’re gaining ground.
So if you haven’t already made up your mind, ask your prospective candidates whether they support Israel, and if not, don’t give them your vote.

Inconvenient Tale

Please put the pressing issue of UK politics to one side for a moment to read the latest post on Robin Shepherd’s blog. It’s aimed at the BBC because of something they’re currently ignoring.
Robin says he has reason to believe that BBC editors sometimes read his blog, and I sincerely hope they do. Whether they still read this one I know not. In case they do, I’ll reiterate here that Robin poses a challenge to the BBC. It’s a pigs will fly sort of a challenge, but never mind.

The story involves rape, a television series, Palestinian prisoners, and the IDF.
All subjects that would normally be of great interest to the BBC. So why isn’t this one? Read on….

Ooops. BBC Retracts Misleading Report

It seems some people DO have success when it comes to having their complaints upheld by the BBC. As long as they belong to the anti-Israel brigade.

Should a report that shows anti Israel campaigners in a poor light accidentally slip through the net, the BBC Editorial department will leap into action.

Nobody can interrupt a meeting or performance and come out smelling of roses.
Certainly Tony Greenstein and Deborah Fink’s display of exhibitionism that ruined the Jerusalem Quartet’s performance at the Wigmore Hall was counterproductive in the extreme. I hope their ‘cause’ suffered a setback of disproportionately greater magnitude than the distress their disruptive outbursts caused to the musicians and the audience that had hoped to enjoy the performance.

On the other hand, a meeting that took place at the School of Oriental and African Studies last year in which the guest speaker was Bongani Masuku, “a man condemned as an inciter of hatred against Jews by the South African Human Rights Commission,” was ‘disrupted’ by a question from Jonathan Hoffman about the morality of hosting such an event and inviting such a speaker, a hullaballoo ensued, which, unlike the one at the Wigmore Hall, was reported on the BBC website.

In the confusion it is alleged that racist taunts were hurled at Mr. Hoffman. “Jew-ish” and some such. Whatever they were, the threatening atmosphere that was engendered simply because of a question that went against the grain, was undeniable. If you can bear to look at the video, you’ll see that when Mr Hoffman asks “Why do you interrupt me?” The woman behind him can clearly be seen wagging a finger and saying “Because you’re a Jew!”

Some furious lobbying by organisations such as “JustPeaceUK” were instigated, in order to get the BBC report amended to what they considered was a TRUE representation of what had taken place, and to omit the bit about the racist taunts.

They succeeded; not only was the web report amended, but the original reporter was reprimanded, and the editor wrote:

“After publication it quickly became clear that there was more to what had happened in the meeting than was apparent from the video and Mr Hoffman’s allegations. As soon as that became clear the story was amended to reflect the differing views of those who had been at the meeting.
It is regrettable that the original story did not reflect a wider range of views and the journalist concerned has been made well aware of the requirement to do so in the future.
Yours Sincerely
Hugh Berlyn
News and Sport Interactive
BBC England “

Concert disrupter and anti-Zionist campaigner Tony Greenstein proudly declares the success of their lobbying on his website under the heading
“ BBC – Hoffman Lied When Claiming He was a Victim of anti-Semitism.”

Not only that, but the Head of editorial complaints, Fraser Steel has written apologising profusely and promising to take further action. We must wait with bated breath to see what that will be..

The Curious Incident of Joe Biden in the Daytime

The tidal wave of disapproval over Israel’s recent misadventures has taken on a life of its own.

The Joe Biden incident was interpreted as an insult, both to him personally and to the whole United States. People have noticed that the language used by the Obama administration inflates the degree of offence taken, mimicking Arab-style rhetoric where pride and honour take precedence over common sense. The unfortunate timing of what was primarily a formality over an internal matter was blown up out of all proportion so it could be misrepresented as Israel’s deliberately planned symbol of defiance, and exploited to camouflage / justify Obama’s emerging strategy of siding with Israel’s enemies.

If the BBC was interested in reporting the full story they would have explained that Obama has reneged on previous agreements between Israel and the US over Jerusalem and ‘houses for Jews’ and is making new demands for concessions from Israel while letting the Palestinians off the hook altogether. He has not asked them for any concessions at all and it is feared that they are thinking up new preconditions for talks about talks while the going is good.

The BBC’S expansionist attitude to the concept of ‘illegally occupied territory’ means it now encompasses everything captured in Israel’s 1967 defensive war, and they’ve got their beady colonialist eye on Israel as a whole. All’s fair in love and war, and in the BBC’s eyes, in war, the winner loses all. (this concept is exclusive to Israel)

While the press made an almighty fuss about the height of the Turkish Ambassador’s seat, the BBC is less keen to trumpet the snubs that Obama dishes out so rudely to those he regards as unworthy, like our own dear leader, and of course Binyamin Netanyahu, who seems to have been left alone in the White House to mull over a list of new demands from Obama while he went off to dine with Michelle and the girls. And would only come back if Israel’s prime minister said sorry for being a naughty boy.

David Miliband’s speech about the expulsion of the Israeli diplomat received a chorus of approval from MPs of all shades, and though he stressed that the issue in question was the cloning of passports rather than the assassination, the BBC doesn’t make that distinction.

Time after time people have been allowed to assert, unchallenged on the BBC, that the ‘victims’ of the cloning, the ‘British’ citizens who have been so wronged, risked being mistaken for terrorists. The final question on Thursdays QT was phrased strangely. Something like: “Is expulsion the appropriate penalty for an act of terrorism?” Dimbleby seemed happy enough with that.

In the eyes of the BBC and consequently, the public, Israel is a terrorist state, therefore Mossad, the IDF and whoever assassinated a ‘senior Hamas Commander’ are terrorists. Unless it transpires that it wasn’t Israel, in which case they’d be militants or freedom fighters.

David Miliband said the victims of the cloning woke up to find themselves ‘wanted terrorists.’ Denis MacShane on the Today programme bemoaned the fact that they had had their pictures splashed all over the papers.

Well, a) I thought the passport pictures were of the actual assassins, not the genuine passport holders, and, b) when the word terrorist is avoided like the plague by the BBC, why is it suddenly applied with gay abandon to assassins who targeted a scoundrel, doing what many other countries, including Great Britain, allegedly get away with all the time without a ripple. Is it coz they is (possibly) Joos?

See Robin Shepherd on the odious Richard Ingrams who has written more bile on this topic. Famous for:
“I have developed a habit, when confronted by letters to the editor in support of the Israeli government, to look at the signature to see if the writer has a Jewish name. If so, I tend not to read it.

I have developed a habit, when confronted by articles in the Guardian or the Independent, to look at the signature to see if the writer is Richard Ingrams. If so, I tend not to read them.”

Hopin’ For Change

On BBC Radio world service yesterday Jon Donnison reported Ban Ki-moon’s depressing reaction to his Gaza visit. Somewhere along the line someone has used the word ‘medieval’ in connection with Gaza, language modelled on Michael Buerk’s iconic ‘Scene of Biblical Proportions’ speech.
This emotive word must have appealed to the BBC; it appeared again and again in various news bulletins.

Jon Donnison’s report contained the parts of Mr. Ban’s statement that were critical of Israel with particular emphasis on Israel’s denial of permission to import concrete and the continuing state of disrepair of Palestinian houses.

A news bulletin that was broadcast immediately afterwards included the bit in Mr. Ban’s speech about recognising Israel’s need for security.

The juxtaposition of these two reports delivered a perfect example of bias by omission. The exclusion from Jon Donnison’s report of the only bit in Mr. Ban’s statement that was vaguely supportive of Israel was highlighted by its inclusion in the news bulletin that came next.

By ignoring the matter of security for Israel, Jon Donnison’s report exaggerated Mr. Ban’s already biased condemnation of Israel and provided a fairly typical example of the way the BBC’s reporting meddles with public opinion.
Another small but subliminally emotive trick was the ambiguous sentence “Israel only allows in limited humanitarian aid.”

That could either mean Israel cruelly deprives Palestinians of sustenance by only letting in some of the vital humanitarian aid, or, with the addition of a comma or two, it could mean that it lets in vital humanitarian aid but nothing more; nearer to the truth I think.

Robin Shepherd invites readers to suggest a way forward.
Most contributors realise that unless Israel is confident of going it entirely alone, without outside support of any description, they need urgently to address ‘getting the message across.’
That would necessitate a massive change of direction from the BBC.
Firstly to allow the public access to full and fair information.
Secondly, to put a stop to interviewers behaving like adversarial inquisitors when they’re trying to bring forth vital and illuminating information from someone like the mayor of Jerusalem. Justin Webb was positively discourteous this morning. Who does he think he is? Jeremy Paxman?

I would have no objection to Justin Webb putting the other side of the argument to Nir Barkat, but first he must fully comprehend the background, get the facts straight and allow the discussion the breathing space it needed.

Robin Shepherd’s newest post links to Charles Krauthammer’s JPost article. If Justin Webb were to read that article before jumping in with his inquisitorial attacks, he might be equipped to conduct an interview with an Israeli spokesperson.

The power of telly is such that Delia Smith only needed to make a passing reference to some ingredient or other to start a stampede at the supermarket. If the BBC were to give more air time to people like Douglas Murray, and commission Robin Shepherd to make a documentary or two it might go some way to undo what has been done.
But people are being kept ignorant, and the puzzle is whether it’s through malevolence or stupidity.

On and On

The fractured relationship between Israel and the US was the second item on news headlines this morning, but by the next bulletin it had been demoted it to the tail end. Because of Hillary’s concessionary language it was downgraded from sensational “rift,” announced with relish,
( Paxman called it a ‘Crisis of Historic Proportions) to a grudging admission that both parties were making conciliatory noises.

Too bad for the Beeb, slightly less ammunition to chuck at Israel.

Today R4 promised an interview with Ron Proser ‘before eight o’clock’ but we had to make do with Jeremy Bowen speculating over the implications of settlement building, snubbing the US, and General Petreaus’s ominous warning that Israel’s provocative act is endangering US soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Not forgetting another insurmountable obstacle, the impossibility of expecting the Palestinians to lose face. The BBC accepts unquestioningly that this immovable impediment to resuming talks trumps all others. So the more demands the Palestinians make, the more impossible it becomes to resume talks.

The actual granting of planning permission for the new house-building is more complex than it appears. It has been made to look as though it violates previous agreements as a defiant and deliberately provocative move by Israel. But my understanding is that this isn’t the case.

“The key point is that there was actually nothing to apologise for, since it was explicitly agreed between America and Israel that, as a concession to kick-start peace negotiations, Israel would stop building in the West Bank although it would continue to build in east Jerusalem. Indeed, Hillary Clinton herself, no less, praised Israel for this agreement.”

“America has thus effectively unilaterally repudiated that agreement. In other words, this whole uproar has been artificially manufactured by America to produce a crisis with Israel – while refusing, astonishingly, to condemn the Palestinians at all for their refusal to enter peace talks, their honouring of one of their worst terrorists by naming a square after her, their violent attacks on the Temple Mount in recent days, and so on.”

Defenders of Israel always view these actions with dismay because on a superficial level they look bad. So it would have been better for ‘apologists’ like myself if this had not happened. Nevertheless, why should we just accept that reporting of everything complicated will be dumbed down by the BBC so that Israel looks utterly evil.

If Paxman knows anything of the subtleties of this topic he’s not letting on. He gave the US Assistant Secretary of State Philip J Crowley a Paxman grilling. Rude and ill-tempered. “What’s America gonna do if they build them?” “Why don’t you just say ‘build these houses and we’ll cut off your
aid?’ “ On and on and on. “Occupied lands.” “ Endangering lives of soldiers.”

Newsnight continued with a prurient film about a “child sex abuser,” in which it emerged, at the very end, that the seven year old abuser had been abused herself, yet until that was revealed they implied that she was a kind of freak who had become sexualised through original sin.

Disgraceful sensationalised treatment of both subjects, even more disgusting than usual. The BBC is rotten.

So it Goes Again

“The BBC is currently much more interested in the untimely granting of planning permission for a few houses for Jews. Joe Biden’s visit was just in time for that, but, dammit, just too late for the ceremonial dedication of a public square to Dalal Mughrabi.”

Forgive me for re-posting a snippet of my own copy. I’ve been away from a computer, and now I see that Robin Shepherd has written another cracking article about the BBC’s treatment of these events and the BBC’s attitude to Israel in general.

“What in fact is the BBC line against Israel, as evidenced by the thrust of its writing and reporting?”

He cites five examples of certain stories the BBC has chosen to ignore or downplay. Had the BBC given them the prominence they actually merit, a different light would have been cast on the situation. One that would render the BBC’s entire narrative on Israel incoherent.

“That is why the Dalal Mughrabi story was ignored. That is why the BBC continues to censor all reference to Hamas’s anti-Semitism from their profile of the group on their website. That is why terrorists are referred to as “militants”. And what applies to the BBC applies in Europe more broadly.

By leaving the general population in a state of near total unawareness about the realities that Israel confronts in its dealings with the Palestinians, even neutral and unbiased observers are bound to come away with the impression that Israel is the guilty party in this conflict.

This is real censorship. And it works.”

Writers that understand the case for Israel and have a grasp of the I/P conflict invariably mention the BBC’ s slanted coverage. The biased reporting that has gone on for the last forty years has a helluva lot to answer for.
Robin Shepherd is one of the more eloquent supporters of Israel, and he is by no means alone in regarding the BBC’s deficiencies over this matter with deep despair.

So it Goes.

Two untypical BBC items to report.

The Culture Show BBC2 featured the Jewish Museum, soon to reopen after a £10 m refurbishment. Sharfraz Mazoor chatted to some well-known Jewish TV faces, and took us through various bits of British Jewish history. Which was nice.

Item two, Radicalization in Prison
BBC News 24 has been featuring Daniel Sandford’s report about this topic as ‘news.’ It even appeared slightly critical, and perhaps a tiny bit judgmental.
Which is – not nice, but comparatively frank for the Beeb.
Of course it’s not new, surely it’s been common knowledge for ages; and it goes without saying that they’re referring to ‘a distorted version of Islam,’ not the real version, which is peaceful.
There’s an upcoming documentary on R5 Sunday by Donal MacIntyre.

Back to abnormal with something more typical.

Melanie Phillips reveals how the PA, led by so-called moderate Mahmoud Abbas, really feels about ‘the liberation of their own land.’ They still regard a mass murdering suicide bomber as a heroine. This might be hard to reconcile with their so-called desire for peace. But not to worry. Jeremy Bowen had this sorted in 2003:

“these people are seen by Palestinians as heroes of their would-be independence movement, and it’s important for them to be mentioned [by Yasser Arafat] and it fulfils their ritualistic sloganising function”. [bless]
“Let’s not forget that before Israeli independence Messrs Shamir and Begin were regarded by the British as terrorists. They went on – in the case of Begin – to win the Nobel Prize for Peace.”

The BBC is currently much more interested in the untimely granting of planning permission for a few houses for Jews. Joe Biden’s visit was just in time for that, but, dammit, just too late for the ceremonial dedication of a public square to Dalal Mughrabi. Which was a shame.

It seems that many posters and bloggers assume that it goes without saying that the BBC is terminally biased against Israel and in favour of Muslims. So much so that many of them do literally allow it to go without saying, unless something exceptional comes up and prompts them to mention it in passing. If people are so resigned to the BBC’s bias that they just sigh and roll their eyes at it, it makes B-BBC, including myself, look a bit futile and old hat. Which is annoying.