Friday, 14 August 2015

More from the archives but with telling relevance today-

The BBC and Israel

Media Bias
Conservatives have often been in conflict with the BBC editors, humorously labelling it the “Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation. The Today programme and Newsnight have come in for particular criticism. But it is the BBC’s news policy which is most seriously at fault, leading the way in ignoring anti-semitism, labelling extremists such as Al Qaradawi as moderates and ignoring the record of Sudayyis and others (with the honourable exception of Panorama in its exposure of the MCB).

Perhaps the most serious media failing concerning Palestine is the Jenin scandal. At the time, the BBC and newspapers uncritically accepted and reported Palestinian propaganda that there had been an Israeli massacre, echoing Yassir Arafat’s use of the term “Jeningrad.” 1 million Russians died in the sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad, less than 100 from both sides at Jenin. If such an inappropriate comparison had been made in any other circumstances, the originator of the phrase would have been widely condemned.
  • Evening Standard: “We are talking here of massacre, and a cover-up and genocide.”
  • Independent headline-“Amid the ruins, the grisly evidence of a war crime.” “A monstrous war crime that Israel has tried to cover up for a fortnight has finally been exposed. The sweet and ghastly reek of rotting bodies is everywhere, evidence that this is a human tomb. The people say that there are hundreds of corpses, entombed beneath the dust.”
  • The Guardian-comparing Jenin to 9/11; Jenin was every bit as repellent in its particulars, no less distressing and every bit as man-made. Jenin looks like the scene of a crime….Jenin already has that aura of infamy that attaches to a crime of especial notoriety.”
  • The Times-“Kamal Anis says the Israelis levelled the place; he saw them pile bodies into a mass grave, dump earth on top, then ran over it to flatten it.”
US newspapers found no evidence for a massacre or mass graves, only fighting between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters. Indeed, one of the Islamic Jihad fighters was quoted as saying by the Boston Globe, “This was a massacre of the Jews, not of us.” Against claims of civilian deaths of from 3,000 to 500, a UN report concluded that there were no more than 56 Palestinian deaths, all but three fighters, and the PA admitted that one of these was killed by a booby-trap after the Israelis left. Even the PA has been forced to change its tune from a massacre to a tremendous victory, since 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in taking action against a militant centre from which the PA admitted 28 suicide bombers had been despatched.  

The BBC consistently refuses to use the “T” word (although it did when one of its Saudi correspondents was shot). It has headlines such as “Hamas has been blamed for suicide bombing,” which suggests someone else may be to blame. Hamas boasts about its operations. There is also the statement that an attack is in retaliation for an Israeli security action, whereas the BBC should know very well that Hamas is dedicated to Israel’s destruction. It needs no excuse to attack. Every mention of Hamas should be followed by the phrase, “which is dedicated to Israel’s destruction” in the interest of accuracy.

The Israeli’s Security Fence and wall should be shown to be what it is, mainly fence, not mainly wall as in BBC News. The reasons for the barrier should be properly explained. In his letter to the Jerusalem Post, Gaza doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish denounced a woman attempted suicide bomber to blow up a hospital, where she said she wanted to kill as many Israeli children as possible. She admitted she had been recruited by the PA official Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. The doctor expressed his revulsion that she targeted a hospital where the Israelis had treated many Palestinians, describing it as an act of evil. He said, “What are we going to say if Israel now clamps down on Palestinian patients seeking medical treatment inside Israel?” The woman’s family condemned the attack and her use as a bomber. The BBC rarely shows families who utter such condemnations, preferring to show the ones who support the cult of death. The media consistently fails to properly explore the motivation of suicide bombers-that they act out of aspiration for paradise and victory over the Jews, not desperation. Little attempt has been made to publicise the peer pressure, totalitarian politics and religious motives. Moreover, rather than adopting a positive or neutral attitude to suicide attacks which deliberately target  Israeli women and children, promoting the doctor’s views could be part of an endeavour to show revulsion at such acts. This could show the terrorists that they are losing international support and help bring these attacks to an end. The BBC reported the PA claim that Bethlehem is a prison surrounded by a wall. This is false. No wall surrounds Bethlehem. On the Israeli side there is a high wall outside the town in one place to stop Palestinian sniper fire. There have been over 20,000 terrorist attacks on Israel since the deliberate launch of the Second Intifada by Arafat, admitted now by PA spokesmen. This is equal to 200,000 attacks in this country.

The BBC also continues to employ the poet Tom Paulin who said that West Bank Jewish settlers should be shot. Jenny Tonge, the suicide bomber justifier, is still welcome on the BBC. Neither of them have apologised for their statements. Kilroy-Silk did apologise and has never appeared on the BBC again. When Mary Robinson’s car was shot at in Hebron, Israel was blamed. A Danish police report concluded later that Palestinians were responsible, but the BBC did nothing to try to make up for its previous incorrect and inflammatory reporting. It has issued no apology about Jenin. There is a huge disparity in the number of critical programmes made about Israel, compared with the lack of programmes made about the very poor human rights situation in many Muslim Arab countries. No action has been taken against any journalist or programme maker. These occurrences, if they took place in the context of community issues in this country, would be described as institutional racism and condemned as such.

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