No Gasping Matter

I was listening to Today this morning when someone said:
“Watch this – Louis Theroux is coming on BBC 1 to plug his Ultra Zionist programme, you’ve just missed the trail, and after it Bill Turnbull said “These people are unbelievable, they make you gasp!”
So I switched off the radio and watched. I sat through inane chatter, sport, stale news about Egypt, just waiting for Louis.

He looked a bit dejected, like a dog that knows he’s just snaffled the Sunday joint. Guilty. Contrite. He seemed to be trying to take back the opportunistic antisemitism that he suddenly realised his programme would unleash. But too late. Not much good now saying: ‘I didn’t mean it in an antisemitic way, ‘ ‘there are two sides to every story,’ ‘these were ultra ULTRA Zionist settlers.’ ‘ Ultra. Very very ultra. ‘

Too late Louis. the damage has been done. Damage limitation is futile already.

I thought I’d leave it at that, but then decided to add this.

When the BBC decides to show ‘exceptional’ Israelis, and don’t forget that’s the only kind we get to see on the BBC, and when it gives people like Bill Turnbull cause to sigh at their outrageousness, and when it sets everyone off thinking the same bad thoughts about Jews, doesn’t it make you wonder where, on the BBC, are their counterparts?
How many Islamic ‘exceptions’ do we see Louis Theroux making documentaries about?

If – should such a miracle occur – he were to make one about fanatical, antisemitic, Islamic extremists, what pains would be taken to explain that they were exceptions, that Islam was the religion of peace, that their Islam was unIslamic, Islam-gone-wrong Islam?

The media would be occupying themselves with the topic for weeks. Probably the police would arrest Louis for incitement. Keith Vaz would have an apoplectic fit and Baroness Warsi would have to cancel all her dinner engagements for ever and ever.

“Don’t judge it before you see it” I hear you say. I’m not judging the programme, I’m questioning the wisdom of making it.

“But you’re always saying we should expose fanaticism when it applies to Islam. Now you’re saying we should hide fanaticism when it applies to Jews.” I thought I heard you say.

“Then expose them both, in strict proportion to the numbers that exist!” I reply. “Keep your Louis Theroux, but let’s also have Undercover Mosque, Horrible Hamas Histories, Muslim Brotherhood Unwrapped, Hassan Nasrallah’s Best Bits, Ayaan Hirsi Ali giving Zeinab Badawi a Hardtime, Anjem Choudary’s Rant for the Day, a CBeebies edition of the Hamas Bunny and Forfar the Jew-eating Wabbit.

Then trail them a hundred times per day, and really give Bill Turnbull something to gasp at.

A Smirk Too Far

I’m sure B-BBC regulars trawl roughly the same blogs, and I often recognise familiar monikers on comments pages.
Grant wonders about the BBC’s lack of interest in Tunisia now that their uprising is old hat. I’d say it was a bit premature to hold it up as some sort of role model for the rest of the Arab World, though. Elder of Ziyoners will know what I mean.
Hat Tip to Hippiepooter for linking to this interesting thread from Harry’s Place.
I actually saw Jeremy Bowen say those words, and he had a distinct smirk on his face as he said them.
The Muslim Brotherhood is certainly not moderate, and as we already know, the BBC interprets *conservative* in its own unique way, but non violent? Pull the other one.

“A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt told the Arabic-language Iranian news network Al-Alam on Monday that he would like to see the Egyptian people prepare for war against Israel.”

All BBC reporters seem to have taken to referring to Hezbollah and Hamas as “Regarded by Israel as a terrorist organisation.” (But not by anyone else, impliedly.) Soon they’ll be applying it to Al Qaeda. I think they would like to see the British people prepare, not only for a war against Israel, but also for a losing battle against Islam.

Toppling Tyrants

Throughout the uprisings in Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, and of course Egypt, the BBC has avoided raising the alarm over the danger, some say inevitability, that when repressive dictatorships topple, there’s a vacuum, and in Muslim lands, Islamists are waiting in the wings, poised and raring to go. The BBC aint bovvered.
Political turmoil in Lebanon poses a serious threat to the stability of the region, but in an erratic tribute to impartiality, the BBC reports the utterances of Hassan Nasrallah, being scrupulously careful to avoid taking sides.
Kevin Connolly thinks the appointment of a pro-Hezbollah PM is a way out of Lebanon’s immediate political crisis, with the caveat:

“It is an uncomfortable outcome for the US, which denounces Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and reflects the growing regional influence of the movement’s sponsors, Iran and Syria.”

The Syria/Iran infiltration of Lebanon may not worry the BBC, but then they wouldn’t be worried by the content of this article by Michael J Totten.

“Hezbollah had 10,000 rockets before the war in 2006. Now it has between 40,000 and 50,000. Some are stored in warehouses. Others are hidden away a few at a time in private homes.”

Hezbollah positions itself amongst houses and mosques because they know the Israelis cannot retaliate without killing civilians.

“Its fighters and officers wear no uniforms. Only rarely do they carry guns out in the open.”

The BBC should be very alarmed at what is happening in Lebanon, not complacently telling us that the political crisis is over.

The Foreign Office is reported as stating that they have no objection to dictators being overthrown, but they’d prefer it if they were replaced by secular rather than religious governments. For example, “democratically,” as in Lebanon. What? Are my ears deceiving me?

Does this mean that the Foreign Office thinks that Hezbollah, having murdered the Lebanese Prime Minister, refused to accept responsibility for the murder, promised to cut off the hand of any accuser, embedded a massive stockpile of arms within civilian areas and in mosques, not to mention being dedicated to the destruction of Israel – does the foreign office or a spokesperson thereof, really hold Hezbollah’s roughshod trampling over the Lebanese government as an example of democracy, desirable for Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen et al ? And to add insult to that salty wound William Hague has gone off to suck up to Syria.
I wrote here about the BBC’s decisive action over a film produced by Christopher Mitchell. They abandoned it.

Professor Paul Rogers, author of “Why We’re Losing the War on Terror” has been on BBC discussing Rachid Ghannouchi’s return to Tunisia. “He’s anti American, but a moderate.” he reassures us casually.
Rachid Ghannouchi a moderate?
Christopher Hitchins begs to differ. He visited Tunis University:

“to talk to a female professor of theology named Mongia Souahi. She is the author of a serious scholarly work explaining why the veil has no authority in the Quran. One response had come from an exiled Tunisian Islamist named Rachid al-Ghannouchi, who declared her to be a kuffar, or unbeliever. This, as everybody knows, is the prelude to declaring her life to be forfeit as an apostate. I was slightly alarmed to see Ghannouchi and his organization, Hizb al-Nahda, described in Sunday’s New York Times as “progressive,” and to learn that he is on his way home from London.”

The BBC may be hoping Rachid Ghannouchi is a moderate, but didn’t blink an eye at his being “anti American.” To them that’s a trivial detail. The Ghannouchi daughter, or is that daughters, contribute to the Guardian and the BBC. Yusra Khreeji was on Broadcasting House a week ago, and Soumaya Ghannouchi is a regular contributor to the Guardian, and attends anti-Israel rallies, unleashing a mean impersonation of Lauren Booth.
Paul Rogers thinks we mishandle Islamists, driving them towards likes of Al Qaeda. Terrorism is our fault, we’re too hard line.

This morning we were treated to the oily reassurances of the odious Tariq Ramadan, another professor who has insinuated himself into the BBC’s speed dial directory.
We’ve seen John Kerry, he of the cylindrical head and massive chin, evidently fresh from overdosing on PaliLeaks, advising Israel to make concessions and stop oppressing the Palestinians.
“Israel is worried”, someone is saying now, on the BBC.
Abdul Bari Atwan, another speed dial buddy: “Illegal set-telments under internationallaw” he screeched, his eyes nearly popping out of his head. “Yes” said Polly Toynbee, also high on the Guardian’s deceitful spin on the PaliLeaks.“It’s all Israel’s fault.”

Everyone is rooting for the Egyptian protesters. “Look at the chaos! Whatever next?”
Whatever next indeed.

Suicidal Tactic

Having read as much about the PalPapers as I can stomach, the only thing I can be sure of is that instead of trying to opine sagely over the authenticity or the significance of the revelations, I should merely be asking why did the BBC pick up and run with the most unlikely conclusion.

We know all about the Guardian’s pathological hatred of Israel. We’ve seen that Israel-bashing enthuses readers. There was a time when slapping a picture of Princess Diana on the cover would boost the circulation of any flagging old rag. In a similar way the Guardian exploits Israel-related topics as a fail-safe remedy for dwindling sales and advertising. They needn’t even stick with purely anti Israel material, because their well trained readership will soon fill the below the line comments with vitriolic regurgitations of the in-house philosophy gleaned from the wisdoms of Seaumas Milne.

But the BBC? They’ve got their charter obligations. They think, probably correctly, that the majority of their audience will be bored by the nitty gritty of the peace process. Few will bother to read Robin Shepherd, Melanie Phillips, Barry Rubin, Noah Pollak, Emanuele Ottolnghi, Stephen Pollard or the blogs of Elder of Ziyon and CiFWatch, so they will swallow the face value version – the perversion; that the Palestinians were offering everything for peace, and the Israelis nothing.

The theories on the authenticity and significance of the leaks are many and varied. Some feel that they are so out of kilter with the known positions of all parties that they must surely be fabrications, some suspect that the translations somehow transposed the Israeli and Palestinian statements, attributing Israel’s concessions to Erekat, on behalf of the Palestinians. Elder of Ziyon has shown that an unlikely statement allegedly made by Tzipi Livni was lifted completely out of context and given a whole new meaning. But everyone agrees that the negotiations in question touched on settlements, land swaps, compensation, and borders as well as security and the ‘right of return.’

The material I’ve read tells me loud and clear that the BBC’s and the Guardian’s spin is outrageously misguided. One thing is sure. Making the settlement freeze a prerequisite for talks was a huge blunder by President Obama. He forced himself into a corner, backtracking on what had already been all but agreed, which made him, and his fans at the BBC/ Guardian ‘more Palestinian than the Palestinians.’

But the most important thing about all this is that, as Elder says, whatever Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat said or did not say in their role as ‘partners for peace’, they cannot sell anything less than everything-under-the-sun to their people. Like Nick Clegg making undeliverable promises to his voters, then being unexpectedly elevated to a position of accountability, the PA have promised the earth to people who now won’t accept anything less.
And the verdict is that the leaks have harmed the peace process, given false ammunition to opponents of the only democracy in the Middle East, and boosted the left’s suicidal support of the Islamist upsurge throughout the whole world.

BBC Hypocrisy: Context Edition

The BBC has figured out their Narrative on these leaked documents from the Israel/Palestinian peace process. Naturally, Israel gets the worst of it. But there is a moment of glaring hypocrisy.

Jerusalem’s troubled geography

Right from the start, we see the direction it’s headed.

The release of thousands of leaked documents apparently showing Palestinian willingness to compromise over Israeli settlements once again highlights Jerusalem’s troubled geography – and damages the credibility of both sides, writes the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus.

Both sides look bad? I suppose that’s why so many Palestinians have been complaining that Fatah is undermining their hopes and dreams, because the documents are equally damaging to Israel’s credibility? Color me skeptical. But first, we get the usual BBC agenda-driven historical moment in a vacuum.

As a main topic of the leaked documents concerns East Jerusalem, it’s only right that the BBC sets the scene. We’re told that Israel “captured” East Jerusalem in the Six Day War, but are provided zero context (remember that word for later) as to why they were in a position to do so. All we’re told is: “For the Palestinians and many in the Arab world this was a disaster.” Yes, it’s Arabist Gospel that Israel was an unprovoked aggressor in that war, but the BBC needs to be dealing in facts, not fiction. Israel’s move into East Jerusalem is presented in a vacuum, and the reader is left to assume whatever they like.

Of course, in 1967, there was no such thing as Palestinians, outside of Arafat’s little activist group. The people of East Jerusalem were Jordanians then. So the BBC creates a little alternate history. The propaganda is so deeply entrenched in their minds – and, most likely, in BBC editorial policy on the subject – that they write it as fact. But after being educated by the BBC, the average BBC audience member must find it very distasteful to learn that many Israelis viewed this “disaster” as a “miracle”. I think we can see the Narrative taking shape.

Now for the bit where Jonathan Marcus explains how these documents make Israel look bad. First, he carefully explains the Palestinian position on East Jerusalem, the Settlements, and some of the larger picture. There is no mention of any Israeli concerns, as if it’s unimportant, although there’s a lone subheading about ‘holy places’. We’ll get to that shortly. Then Marcus writes this:

While the main thrust of these documents is to show a Palestinian Authority far more willing to offer compromises than the Israelis have ever been willing to admit, the story is not entirely one of sharp divisions and unbridgeable gulfs.

Now we see how Israel is made to look the villain even here. Nasty old Israel has been dishonest and lying about Palestinian negotiations, right? Who’s really not the valid partner in the peace process, eh, BBC? Forget about all those people complaining that ceding a little territory is proof that Fatah is failing their people, etc. It’s really Israel who doesn’t want peace.

The leaked documents show that in August 2008 Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was willing to break with his hardliners, accepting that Jerusalem would in some way be partitioned, allowing both Israelis and the Palestinians to use it as their capital.

Yep, those nasty old hardliners, the real obstacle to peace, eh, BBC? A joint capital was always the only way, don’t you know. And what about those holy places?

This offer, made just a few months before US President Barack Obama took office, included provisions for the token return of some Palestinian refugees and on potentially the most contentious issue of all – access to the holy places at the heart of the city – interim arrangements involving Israel, the Palestinians, the Saudis and the Jordanians.

Indeed, the Palestinian side too seems to have been willing to envisage imaginative solutions to resolve the problems of access and control over the holy basin.

So you see, it’s….wait…the holy what now? Who has access to which holy places now, BBC? No context whatsoever. In fact, as those who look to the BBC for their information wouldn’t know, Jews are not allowed to pray at the only actual holy site in the entire religion: the Temple Mount. They are permitted to worship only at the base of a retaining wall around the perimeter of the compound. Jews are not permitted to worship or even dress too orthodox on the actual premises. Only Muslims are permitted. The fact is, this is tolerated by the Israeli government because all hell would break loose if they did anything about it. The BBC never honestly addresses this issue. No special segments on any religion programmes about how Judaism is the only major religion in the world not in control of its own holy site. (This always begs the question of how this situation could exist if Jews really had so much power over world affairs. They control everything except that? But that’s for another time.) But they are more concerned about Palestinian rights.

To which holy sites do Palestinians not currently have access, BBC? Which sites would be blocked if Israel controlled East Jerusalem? Are we supposed to seriously believe that Israel would prevent Muslims from worshiping at the site? Based on what evidence? Again, the reader is left in a vacuum, with details supporting only one side of the argument.

Now here it comes, the moment we all expected:

This of course was all more than two years ago. Since then a more right-wing Israeli government has come to power. It has set itself firmly against any division of Jerusalem. A US effort to freeze settlement building and to get substantive talks under way has also failed.

This is the context in which these leaked documents must be read.

BBC hypocrisy on display. After providing zero context about the key issues involved, the BBC’s middle east correspondent has the temerity to lecture you about context: the context which fits the Narrative, of course.

Israel = bad. It’s the fault of those nasty right-wingers. The Obamessiah’s efforts failed – oh, wait, sorry, He can’t fail, it’s the “US effort” which failed – due to nasty right-winger Israeli racists. Nothing to do with Palestinian intransigence or anything. The only correct solution is a partition of Jerusalem, with the Jews ceding the most important areas. Fatah is clearly a willing partner in peace. Only Israel is at fault.

The peace process is damaged now, frets Marcus. Fatah leadership looks weak now because – this must come as a shock as it’s contrary to what the BBC often tries to tell us – the Palestinians actually don’t want any compromise at all. Israel looks bad because, well, the only thing one can draw from this article is that we’re supposed to come in with the perspective that they’ve always been bad, except for that brief moment of unicorns and rainbows under Olmert. There really isn’t any evidence provided as to how much from the leaked documents make Israel look bad, which is why Marcus needs to actually come right out and tell you how to interpret the story. The change in government isn’t new information, Israel’s various offers haven’t been kept secret, so what’s so damaging here? Instead, the revelations are spun to make Israel appear to be dishonest. There’s nothing of substance.

It seems that, in the alternate history in which the BBC lives, Israel is already the bad guy before we even begin. And don’t bother looking to them for any context worth trusting.

Guardian Angel

Breaking News. Al Jazeera and Alan Rusbridger-Assange of the UK’s leading liberal arm of the Goebbels Reich Ministry of propaganda have Wikileaked thousands of protocol documents, which appear to show that the Palestinians have offered to concede even more than absolutely everything to the swaggering intransigent illegal Israelis.

The Guardian is quoted as saying ”This selfless Palestinian generosity demonstrates the weakness of their leadership and has nothing to do with making Israel appear intransigent, swaggering and illegitimate.”

Loveable rogue and chief negotiator of what appears to be the Middle East ‘peace process,’ Saeb Erekat says: “It’s a pack of lies.”

Warning: The above is facetious. Read a sensible analysis on CiFWatch.

“Standing in stark contrast to the Guardian’s Palestine Papers narrative – of Israeli intransigence and Palestinian weakness and humiliation – their own documents corroborate the widely reported Israeli offer, during the 2008 negotiations, which Mahmoud Abbas rejected: a contiguous Palestinian state representing roughly 94% of the West Bank with land swaps (part of Israel which would become part of the new Palestinian state) making up for the remaining 6%. The offer also included a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.”

Mad World

I’ve been reading Melanie Phillips’s address to Ariel Conference on Law and mass Media, 30 December 2010.
I find long articles more user-friendly read straight from the page like in the olden days, so I printed this one off. Whichever way floats your boat, do read it.

The commonplace dismissal of her as Mad Mel had me stumped. How could such an eloquent, logical thinker be considered mad?
I now see this ill-chosen soubriquet as the contemporary equivalent of mankind’s reception to the proposition that the world’s a sphere. An insight likely dismissed as bonkers by those who clung obstinately to the notion that the earth was flat. Now we know it’s round, it seems we are still looking for ways to fall off it. I’m saying Mel is right, and the naysayers just don’t get it.

If you follow the saga of Middle East, and you know something of the complex political and religious situation, you’ll understand Melanie Phillips’s words of wisdom; to you, her language will sparkle and resonate.
But many will be mystified, because the selective reporting dished up by the monolithic organisation that is obliged to ‘inform, educate and entertain’, has left an uninterested, misled, misinformed audience out in the cold, and they’re the ones who dismiss her words as inflammatory, scaremongering hyperbole.

Many well-intentioned people say Israel has a right to exist, but not to defend herself, or that things would be easier if Israel was ‘not there’, or that Moslems are the new Jews. I don’t know if the eradication of Israel, or the extinction of Jews would bother them much, but I do know that being thought antisemitic bothers them a great deal.

People often question the Arabs’ contribution to mankind’s development, and accuse them of stagnating, from the 6th century to the present day. But there is one area where their creativity and innovation is unsurpassed, an area as contemporary as could be; by deft management of public relations and presentation they have turned everything upside down, and seduced the world into doing the same. “The Arabs brilliantly reconfigured the Arab war of extermination against Israel as the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel.”

As the process of appeasement and whitewashing of Islamism gets more and more indefensible, and as the demonisation of Israel gets more and more incompatible with the evidence, the truth must surely dawn, the penny must surely drop, and things must surely right themselves. But is there time to sit back and wait?
Society currently finds itself “immersed in a total inversion of truth evidence and reason,” Melanie says. Israel has allowed itself to be pushed into a defensive position, and she urges it instead to bolster the efficacy of its strikers. (The football terminology is mine.)
The media must be recaptured and put to work for the home team. It must inform the misinformed, re-educate the ill-educated, and somehow scoop up the bigots and ineducable and carry them along with the tide.

There is a long way to go. This morning Jeremy Bowen and Wyre Davies did their bit towards putting the case for the opposition. Wyre regurgitated the misconception that settlement building in ‘illegally occupied Palestinian land’ is the obstacle to peace, and Jeremy announced triumphantly “There’s been a steady toll of Palestinian deaths in Gaza at the hands of Israelis since the January 2009 war…..… and rocket fire into Israel has been increasing recently.” Someone from the LSE, professor Fawaz Gereges completed the anti Israel triumvirate. This is not balance. At least the people who object to Israel’s point of view being aired, in any shape or form, will be happy.

By drawing attention to the reporting omissions and bias of the BBC, we endeavour to redistribute the imbalance, and turn its far-reaching influence over the worldwide audience from negative to positive. Some hopes.

Topsy Turvy Tale

A reader has asked me to draw your attention to something that the BBC is unlikely to explain.

A Qassam rocket has landed perilously close to a nursery school in a Kibbutz in the Hof Ashkelon area north of Gaza Strip, injuring a girl and an adult.

Squabbles amongst the leadership of the BBC’s favourite terrorist organisation have led to a new wave of provocative acts against Israel. I refer to escalating missile, mortar and raiding attacks, and what DEBKAfile calls “murderous kidnapping operations inside Israel”.
That, of course, was the widely reported incident in which an American woman was murdered and her companion was injured. Incidentally, on a previous thread, I commented:
“On BBC News 24, the anchor woman was interviewing the Jerusalem correspondent. (I think it was Jon Donnison) She kept on asking if he would agree that the woman’s injuries were surprisingly trivial under the circumstances. I have no idea what she was getting at. Surely she wasn’t implying that the victim was exaggerating, or hiding something?
A most peculiar line of questioning I thought.”
Having read the report on DEBKAfile, which describes the incident as a botched attempted at a kidnapping, I think I see what she was getting at after all. Of a policy eerily reminiscent of the way our own police play down certain sensitive issues, I quote: “Israeli police officers spoke vaguely about exploring different paths of inquiry and cast implicit aspersions on her testimony.”
Casting implicit aspersions. That’s what the BBC did too, but why? Does Jon Donnison know more than he’s letting on, or what? Where’s Julian Assange when you need him.

According to DEBKAfile, Israelis are acutely aware of, and constrained by, the international outcry – “disproportionate force!” This now affects their response to provocation. At one end of the scale Israeli police play down the severity of incidents. At the other, it was these concerns that led to a policy of deliberately sending their precious soldiers into a war zone on foot rather than striking from the air, something that Col. Kemp pointed out repeatedly after Operation Cast Lead.

From DEBKAfile, another example:

“Monday, Dec. 20, saw not only a 10-mortar barrage from the Gaza Strip, but three Palestinians armed with long knives trying to assault an Israeli soldier at Givat Zeev. They fled when he cocked his sidearm.
The soldier took care not to shoot and injure any of his assailants – and so bring Israeli anti-terrorist authorities a valuable asset for interrogation – because he was afraid of sharing the fate faced by some of his comrades – trial by the military prosecutor and the media for responding with “disproportionate force.”

However, take a look at how the BBC reports this escalation of “tensions”. In an article by Jon Donnison headed Israeli air strike on Gaza as tensions rise” he concentrates on Israel’s retaliation, and plays down the incidents that provoked it. For example:

“The rockets fired by Palestinian militant groups into Israel rarely cause injury or damage, but they do cause widespread fear.”

The rockets certainly cause widespread fear, but they do cause injury and damage, and I’m sure the militant groups would be delighted if they caused more. They rarely do only because the Israelis have taken the trouble to protect people. The kindergarten is a bomb shelter.

“They are not fired by Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza, but by smaller militant groups. Nevertheless Israel says Hamas is responsible because it controls the territory.”

“Israel says?” I think most people would say that Hamas does bear responsibility, unless they were trying to defend Hamas. And why “nevertheless?” Is Jon Donnison saying that he doesn’t think Hamas is responsible? By Jove, I think he is!

“The Israeli military says the air strikes were in retaliation for the firing of 13 rockets and mortars at Israel this week.
Israel Radio says the rocket fired by Gaza militants on Tuesday landed near a nursery school. No serious injuries were reported.”

No serious injuries, so that’s okay then.

The article concludes with the return, after a short absence from every single Israel-related BBC web article, of the death toll from Operation Cast Lead, and another statistical comparison of “Palestinian” and Israeli deaths and injuries, courtesy of the UN.

I do realise that the intricacies of power struggles within the Hamas hierarchy are of little interest to the BBC audience, but surely turning the incident upside down in your impartial report is going a bit too far.

Making History

It seems like only yesterday that we were lamenting the BBC’s distorted history lessons designed to beguile children with short attention spans.

Horrible Histories I believe their child-friendly series is called. I think they intended the title as an anarchic, anti-authoritarian way of ingratiating themselves with the kiddies in a ‘Roald Dahl / we hate adults’ kinda way.
But the title makes more sense as a straightforward description of their version of history, which is horrible in a ‘blame-our-ancestors for everything bad-that-ever-happened’ kinda way.

Now, on a website from down-under called J-Wire, the BBC and the History Channel have been taken apart by David Singer for gross misrepresentation of the history of you-know-where. Major omissions abound. You can read about it here, here and learn something relevant here.

Is it really surprising that we are where we are?

Daily Dose

It occurred to me that we could have a permanent thread called `Israel-Bashing for the day.’ But it would soon fill up and cause congestion.

You know the one about paranoia? “Just because I’m paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me” That one. Well it must go down well in Israel, because everyone will be aware that Israelis have good reason to always be on their mettle. They’re in a state of war with some very hostile neighbours don’t you know.

Some people don’t seem able to understand that. They think any signs of suspicion or discrimination against the Arab population in Israel is racist, while similar behaviour the other way round is understandable and legitimate.

On the Sunday Programme this morning an English lady reform rabbi was given a slot to complain about a controversial demand that some of her Israeli counterparts have made recently. Their idea is that Israelis must not rent properties to Arabs. Many Israelis including PM Netanyahu have denounced this idea, but our rabbi still needed to air the view, apparently shared by many diaspora Jews, that such racism reflects badly on themselves. She managed to include comparisons with apartheid, and 1930s Germany, and neither she nor her interviewer mentioned the openly and proudly proclaimed announcement by Arab leaders to the effect that no Jew will ever be allowed to set foot in the new Palestinian state.

There are quite a few ‘AsaJews’ around these days who have the knack of publicising their criticisms and denouncements of Israel, seemingly having swallowed the BBC’s version of the situation hook line and sinker.
One of the things this English lady rabbi was bothered about was that because of Israel her Muslim neighbours might hate her for being a Jew. Lady, many of them would hate you for that no matter what Israel decided to do, and if this is indeed anything like the 1930s, let’s hope you never have good reason to call on Israel, if it still exists, as a safe haven.

I digress. There’s nothing wrong with these views being aired on the radio. I welcome them in fact. But please, let’s have some counterbalance. If the presenters of these programmes don’t know how to do it, and they obviously don’t, they must know a man (or a lady) who can.

That was Israel-Bashing for The Day.

Happy Birthday!

Over at CiFWatch they’ve been comparing two reports about Hamas’s 23rd Birthday celebrations and wondering why there was nothing in the Guardian to mark the happy event.

Al-Jazeera, not particularly known for its pro-Israel bias, generously shares the information that “the tight Israeli siege has made Hamas increasingly unpopular.” Yes, unpopular.

The BBC, on the other hand, hasn’t noticed this at all.

CiFWatch has:

“But the BBC? Hamas is unpopular? Perish the thought. Dear old Auntie instead stresses the “tens of thousands”, the “throngs” of supporters who – of their own free will of course – “filled the streets of Gaza” to watch the festive green balloons and listen to the tinny martial music and hear how, “Hamas leader Ismail Haniya says the Islamist movement is committed to Palestinian national reconciliation in order to fight the Israeli occupation”. How noble! But, any thoughts instead of making peace with Israel for the good of all? Thought not.”

Back at the BBC website, Jon Donnison describes the scene.

“But on the whole, the atmosphere was festive – a day out or a big picnic, participants said. Many were bussed in by Hamas organisers from across the Gaza Strip. Occasionally, I saw an Israeli flag being burned.

He probably supplied the matches.

Size Matters

Even those amongst us who staunchly defend the theory that size doesn’t matter would agree that there are limits to the number of immigrants a geographically challenged country such as Great Britain can absorb.
You’d think, therefore, that the chaps and chapesses from the British Broadcasting Corps would be ideally placed to sympathise with the problems facing a country the size of Wales that has been taking in around 700 African refugees per week, and treating them as humanely as it can. But not if that country is Israel.

The story behind this tale is tragic, with many ramifications (human rights abuses, people-trafficking, desperate asylum seekers, rape, murder, immigration, and the Pope) but the aspect that seems to interest the BBC is Israel’s attempt to curb unlimited unsustainable immigration.

I’ve received a message from a viewer who was so distressed by a broadcast aired on BBC World News that he made a transcript to compare it with two articles covering the story. The Guardian’s article by Khataza Gondwe explores the story fully, with the emphasis where it should be. The other, which is on the BBC website, is relatively neutral.

My correspondent says: ”The harrowing story is of sub-Saharan migrants who, fleeing poverty, violence and persecution, make their way north towards Israel […] partly for the economic opportunities but largely because the Arabs at best move them on, at worst shoot them on sight or allow then to be captured by people-traffickers.

The transcript of the broadcast spotlights the way the tone and emphasis have been shifted in the editing. By leaving certain key phrases and paragraphs on the cutting room floor they alter the balance, throwing Israel’s attempts to ‘keep them out’ into sharp focus while relegating the plight of the victims and the criminality of the perpetrators to second place.

I didn’t see the broadcast myself, but my informant recounts that the ‘redacted passages’ are as follows:

“Even though they had been caught by an Israeli border patrol and were not really sure what to expect next, they said they now felt relatively safe.
That’s because many migrants are fleeing persecution and poverty in their own countries, and even travelling across Egypt and the Sinai is fraught with danger.
Human rights groups accuse Egyptian border guards of shooting indiscriminately at them. Although officials insist they only fire at those who ignore repeated orders to stop, since July 2007, at least 85 people have been shot and killed trying to cross into Israel.
Many are also abused by the networks of trafficking gangs, who charge huge fees to transport them across the desert.”

“Coming here is a dream for me. I love Israel and I want to stay here.”

“It is thought that as many as 700 African migrants are crossing into Israel from Egypt every week.”

In case anyone should think that these passages are dispensable and that they ‘just happened’ to be the ones that got the chop, here’s Kirsty Lang’s introduction which sets the tone, ahead of Wyre Davies’s report:

”Israel has started building a huge wall around its SOUTHERN border … with Egypt. The controversial project which is costing hundreds of MILLIONS of dollars is designed to KEEP OUT thousands of African migrants who try to cross into Israel every year.”

Oh yes, and the title? “The Great Wall…of Israel.” I rest my case.

The Flaw Pilger Doesn’t See.

I know it’s no good getting nostalgic, but in the olden days, when BBC spokespersons such as “John Reith” called in occasionally to remind us of our stupidity, they would cite a survey which concluded that the BBC was indeed biased in its Middle East reporting. In favour of Israel.

Anyway, the other day when ace reporter John Pilger was holding forth to Justin Webb about his new film, aired last night on ITV, it reminded me of those times.
“When we’re embedded,” he bleated, “we distort the news by peddling the government line.” Justin Webb, remembering that his job is to probe, ventured chummily: “You’re a bit of a polemicist yourself, my old matey”.
“I was waiting for that” Pilger countered, chuckling with feigned good humour, and with that unequivocal put-down Justin surrendered.

Anyway, the survey that showed that the BBC was biased towards Israel was something to do with this: “Bad News From Israel”. Here are some eager BBC converts:

“I wasn’t under the impression that Israeli borders had changed or that they had taken land from other people – I thought it was more a Palestinian aggression than it was Israeli aggression.”

But now, thanks to the BBC, I think the opposite of the truth is the truth! Hooray!

“The impression I got (from news) was that the Palestinians had lived around about that area and now they were trying to come back and get some more land for themselves – I didn’t realise they had been driven out of places in wars previously.”

Thank goodness for the BBC!! Thank goodness for misinformed journalists who are keen to pass on all they don’t know. Yippee!

“You always think of the Palestinians as being really aggressive because of the stories you hear on the news. I always think the Israelis are fighting back against the bombings that have been done to them.”

Until now I haven’t hated the Israelis properly. Thank you BBC.

There. Conclusive proof that the BBC is biased in favour of Israel.
The Pilger programme is on ITV iPlayer. One of Pilger’s theories seems to be: if only people knew that war is a nasty business there wouldn’t be any more wars.
Pilger is no peacemaker however. He is full of hate and malice.
The Palestinian section demonstrates why this filmette is so hypocritical. Pilger detests Israel so much that he has overlooked the fact that the thesis underpinning the whole thing doesn’t hold up when applied to what he calls ‘Palestine’. He promises to show that ‘embedding’ influences reporting. Which reporters does he think are embedded with the IDF?

Never mind though, in the exceptional case of Israel, or should I say Palestine, embedding isn’t necessary because mere phone calls from Israeli government propagandists are so terrifying that BBC broadcasters crumple up and obey.

What incenses Pilger more than anything is the hateful propagandist Mark Regev. Even the oddly dull Fran Unsworth wouldn’t swallow that. “He’s a government spokesman.” she replies bravely.
“Where’s the Palestinian equivalent to Mark Regev?” he asks her. She didn’t mention that the Palestinian viewpoint permeates every report that is ever put out on the BBC because she hasn’t noticed that.
Pilger even brings in the incontrovertible Bad News From Israel I mentioned earlier.

“Never believe anything” he says, towards the end. Wise words from Mr. Pilger, which rather encapsulate the elephantine flaw in the whole programme.

I do realise by the way, that this film wasn’t shown on the BBC, so please don’t bother pointing that out.

Serious or Satire?

Which producer had the idea of bringing Rupert Wingfield- Hays’s outrageous report about a five month old story to us today? I thought I was hearing a skit from Caroline Glick’s satirical show Latma.
He even managed to include a donkey in his pathetic report.
Wingfield- Hays resurrected the incident which has been spinned every which way to show either a) the brutality of Israeli
settlersillegalunderinternationallawthoughIsraeldisputesthis, or b) the deliberate and callous exploitation of Palestinian children and a prearranged, orchestrated publicity stunt.
If anyone doesn’t know what happened in Silwan, it’s here.
Rupert set out the incident in the emotive partisan way we’ve learned to expect, then turns to a child for pathos, to Micky Rosenfield for balance, and for the last word, to a spokeswoman from the generation of antiestablishment human rights activists who take for granted their freedom to criticise their country, having forgotten altogether the struggle that their forebears endured, the very thing that enables them to express it.

The War You Wish You Didn’t Have to See

Oh the irony. John Pilger getting a spot on Today to promote his new film about distorted reporting. Justin venturing the suggestion that Pilger himself wasn’t exactly known for impartiality, Pilger retorting “I was waiting for that”, then citing, with a flourish, former £172,800 p.a. (+ £6,907 expenses) BBC news gatherer Fran Unsworth who “admits, for the first time”, the pressure put on the BBC by Israel. That would be the terrifying Israel lobby that controls the media, causing that sinister, abrupt ending to the interview.