Tag Archives: BBC

Another low for the BBC News website

Since the beginning of the week dozens of rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel in a significant ramping up of the usual barely (if at all) reported regular barrage that penetrates southern Israeli cities towns and rural communities. On Tuesday an IDF officer was critically wounded in attack near the Gaza border.

On Twitter and in Israeli newspapers and other online media and websites this barrage was big news. Israel employed its Iron Dome defence system which is only partially effective in protecting large conurbations far enough away from launch sites. Typically Israelis have 15 seconds to get to shelters once the sirens sound.

Then two farm workers near Kissufim were badly injured by rocket fire.

On the BBC and its website what was the reaction for at least two days? We are talking about the world’s most respected news service, allegedly.

Nothing. Zip, Nada. Goor nisht.

I and friends online came to the conclusion that the BBC would not report this until Israel responded and that the headline would imply that Israel was the aggressor.

Sure enough, yesterday, Israel did respond and the BBC’s own response was immediate; there it was on the website’s World and Middle East pages with “Militants killed in Gaza strike’.

BBCWatch have been assiduously reporting this timeline and you can see their reports at BBCwatch.org

That report seems to have disappeared (actually buried and changed here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20054554) and been replaced with a more balanced one ‘Israel and Hamas ‘negotiate unofficial truce’ in Gaza’

I’m sure the original is somewhere in the BBC archive but I would hazard a guess they had several complaints about it and updated it. This is typical. A piece appears with a headline reversing cause and effect; the body of the piece often contradicts the headline and draws some moral equivalence between unprovoked attacks on civilian targets by Hamas or Gaza-based ‘militants’ and Israel’s response to prevent further attacks by targeting those about to fire or those who it knows have already done so.

Today we now have two very different pieces from the BBC. The one about the truce at last puts the horse before the cart:

Five have been injured in Israel since rocket attacks began on Monday.

Israel retaliated with air strikes on Gaza City, killing at least six militants.

…..

On Wednesday, more than 70 rockets were launched into southern Israel, injuring five people, two critically, according to the Israeli military.

In response, Israeli aircraft and tanks targeted rocket-launching sites in northern Gaza.

Hamas’s military wing, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, confirmed it had been involved in firing dozens of rockets and mortars into Israel.

In a statement, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades and a smaller Gaza-based militant group, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), said: “These holy missions come in response to the repeated, continuous crimes of the enemy against our people.”

But should we not have a headline at some point during this timeline which says ‘Five Israelis critically injured by rockets from Gaza‘ or ‘Israel responds to escalation of attacks in the South‘?

I’m sure we could all write a better, more balanced headline than the ones being spewed out from the BBC Mid-East  desk.

Now, if you have any doubts about the level of moral degradation that the BBC’s reporting of this conflict has now reached you only have to look at the report by Jon Donnison who appears to be following in the illustrious footsteps of Jeremy Bowen and Barbara Plett reaching new heights of ignorance and moral bankruptcy.

Please be careful. This reports contains graphic examples of the BBC’s egregious attempts at what it calls ‘balance’ but is simply either bias, stupidity or moral decrepitude. (There was, apparently, an even worse report by Donnison last night which I have not been able to source yet)

Here’s the link in all its emetic glory. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20073219

The text below the video:

Mourners in the Gaza Strip have buried four Palestinian militants killed in Israeli air strikes over the past two days.

Israel said the militants were hit as they prepared to fire rockets into southern Israel.

It says at least 60 rockets and mortar shells have landed on its territory, seriously injuring three people. Schools have been closed on both sides of the border for fear of more attacks. 

Ah – ‘Israel said’ – in other words we should not believe the Israelis but swallow whole anything emanating from terrorist-occupied Gaza.

And ‘schools have been closed both sides of the border‘ just to emphasise that same old moral equivalence. If schools have been closed in Gaza then it’s a precaution not normally offered to its children when rockets are launched from them.  Or maybe it’s a good idea to close these schools to demonstrate to the BBC in particular how they protect their children. Or maybe Eid has something to do with it?

In the report Donnison does not show us hundreds of thousands of Israelis cowering in bomb shelters but the funeral of ‘militants’ killed by Israeli air strikes, and quoties Hamas. He leaves out the fact that this was after dozens of rockets hit Israel. We see mourning relatives and Gazans taking cover but absolutely nothing about Israelis.

These reports do tell us what actually happened if you care to decipher the text and remove the veneer of ‘balance’ but it certainly takes a strong solvent and an even stronger stomach.

 

BBC, the provocatilla and the manipulation of the news

Yesterday the Israeli navy intercepted two yachts trying to break the naval blockade of Gaza.

This blockade has been declared legal by the Palmer Report into the Mavi Marmara incident last year when IDF soldiers killed 9 Turkish ‘activists’ leading a convoy to bring aid to the Gaza Strip.

The two yachts were the rump of a second flotilla which tried unsuccessfully to sail from Greece earlier this year.

This time they decided to sail from Turkey.

As often happens with the BBC website, it is constantly updating its stories as events unfold.

The IDF spokesperson on Twitter Avital Leibovich created the hashtag #provocatilla and those who supported this flagrant attempt to break international law used the hashtag #freedomwaves.

Of course, those aboard the flotilla, mainly Americans and journalists, apparently, have a right to protest and even challenge international law. As long as they realise that they will have to take the consequences if they break it.

These same people are the first to condemn Israel if they are judged to have broken international law. So this was an exercise in hypocrisy. It was also a stunt which was dangerous as their boats struggled in rough seas.

There was a huge irony when the Israelis offered them medical assistance if required. I tweeted that the Israelis were “… offering humanitarian aid to those carrying ‘humanitarian aid’ ” in the full knowledge, unlike the BBC, that the boats carried no such thing.

In fact, when asked what they were carrying by the IDF, the activists told them that they were not carrying anything. So no aid. Yet this seems to have been lost on the BBC journos who characterised this as an aid flotilla thwarted by those dastardly Israelis who will stop at nothing to prevent the beleaguered Gazans from receiving that aid.

This is the first headline the BBC carried:

4 November 2011 Last updated at 14:23

Israel blocks protest boats trying to get to Gaza

Ok, so far not so bad. They were, indeed, protest boats.

The Israeli navy has intercepted and boarded two boats which were trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Exactly right.

The Irish Saoirse (Gaelic for freedom) and the Canadian Tahrir (Arabic for liberation) were travelling about 50 nautical miles from the shore when they were contacted by the Israeli navy and told to turn back, the flotilla organisers told the AFP news agency.

The navy said it “advised the vessels that they may turn back at any point, thereby not breaking the maritime security blockade” or could sail to Ashdod port in Israel or to Egypt.

“The activists refused to co-operate,” AFP quoted the navy as saying.

Nothing about the fact that the blockade is deemed legal by the UN Palmer report but illegal by other UN bodies who do not know or wish to understand international law.

There is also an interesting mention of Turkey not sending warships to accompany these boats. Could it be that the Turks were quietly taken to one side by the Americans? Or is it they already knew that no aid whatsoever was being carried on these boats?

No mention in this  article that hundreds of trucks pass everyday from Israel into Gaza (1500 this week, in fact) to feed their enemy and its captive population and to deliver medical supplies.

Then, a few hours later the headline changed to this:

Israel boards protest boats taking medical aid to Gaza

Wha!!? What ‘medical aid’? Did they not hear what I heard that there was nothing on these boats except some tins of tuna?

Immediately the headline conjures up an image of bad guys, the Israelis, stopping good guys, Gazans, from receiving medical aid – and it’s a complete lie which is still not corrected.

But it’s worse than that: the Israelis offered to escort the boats to Ashdod and, after inspection, take the aid through its regular crossing points.

Yet it still says in plain text:

They were carrying medical supplies for the coastal enclave.

Read it here.

And still no mention of the daily convoys crossing into Gaza.

You would never guess that Israel was supplying vast quantities of aid daily and that the activists had no intention of bringing anything to Gaza but themselves in an act of self-righteous self-promotion that brings peace not one iota closer.

So what image would you display to illustrate this article? A line of trucks entering Gaza from Israel? The flotilla boats? Their empty hulls? No, it was this:

People in the West Bank have staged protests in support of the Gaza flotilla

Again, the support for the flotilla is highlighted when there were apparently a mere handful of people there.

You would think that staging protests would mean a significant number. It’s another misrepresentation of facts.

So much for egregious reporting of the provocatilla.

A day earlier we were subjected to this headline:

Israeli troops ‘kill two in Gaza’

This is elaborated thus:

Israeli security forces have killed two people in a clash on the border of the Gaza Strip, local medics say.

Palestinian sources said Israeli troops had crossed over into northern Gaza.

The Israeli military said it had carried out a strike after a routine patrol came under attack. It said “hits” were confirmed, but said it had no information on casualties.

Why is the headline not:

Gaza militants attack Israeli border patrol

This would place cause and effect, attack and response in the correct chronological order. But no, the BBC always has to tell us what the Israelis did in their headlines regardless of who initiated the incident.

How about if two British soldiers were blown up by a landmine in Helmand and the perpetrators hunted down and killed; would the headline be:

Four Taliban militants killed by British troops in Helmand

I think not.

So what, then, would you expect the BBC to use by way of illustration of this incident? Maybe a picture of militants firing RPG’s? Or IDF troops firing tank rounds? Uh,uh. This is the image they used:

Thursday's clash interrupted a lull in recent cross-border violence

Huh? What the…?

What the heck has an apparently injured young Palestinian against a whitewashed wall with a motorbike nearby got to do with this story? Why is there a young boy looking on?

To me, this is a clear attempt to shift the balance of sympathy for this incident toward the Palestinians. Look, young innocents hurt by the the evil Israelis – again!

It’s a ludicrous photo to use.

The Guardian would be proud of this type of manipulation of news items under the cover of objective reporting. And that just about sums up the depths to which the BBC News website’s Middle East desk has sunk.

 

Rockets rain on Israel, BBC again inverts cause and response

Can you imagine this BBC headline in September WWII:

“100 German infantry killed by Polish bombers – SS vow revenge”

And then decide to report that the Wehrmacht have begun operations in Poland in retaliation for earlier Polish air attacks.

You will note that Basil Fawlty was more accurate when accused of ‘starting it’ and responded, “You invaded Poland”.

Oh for a latter-day Basil at Al Beeb! Or at least one sage!

Melanie Phillips has been closely following the BBC Middle East desk’s clear intention to blame Israel for escalation whilst posing as even-handed and objective. You can read her articles here and here.

As I followed the news via Twitter last night, I too was monitoring the BBC’s response and was appalled by what amounted to agitprop for the Islamic Jihad dressed up as journalism.

Whilst the country is obsessed with News Corp’s egregious behaviour at Parliamentary level surely it is time to look at the BBC – Guardian Axis when it comes to reporting the Middle East and in particular the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Within minutes of the death of Sir Jimmy Savile OBE the BBC had a potted obituary across its website but as Southern Israel cowered in bomb shelters, closed schools and listened to the wail of air-raid sirens, all the BBC could muster was to report on the death of five ‘militants’ who were were killed preparing to launch a rocket at Israel.

Even today’s Sunday Times has a tiny little paragraph headed “Gaza Strike” and continues:

Israel carried out an air strike against an Islamic Jihad training camp in the Gaza Strip yesterday, killing five men. It claimed the group was responsible for rocket attacks. (my emphasis)

Notice ‘claimed’ – apparently Israel is an unreliable source and maybe Israel had an ulterior motive. Add to this the vague ‘rocket attacks’ which context as to time and place you have a compete misrepresentation of events.

But the BBC plumbed even greater depths hinting at the often used trope that missiles from Gaza are hand-made and harm no-one so any response from Israel is disproportionate and ‘aggression’. They reported (now corrected) that rockets landed harmlessly. Why mention that? If not to provide a subtext of  ‘So, therefore, any Israeli response is disproportionate’.

This idea was soon scotched when these harmless rockets actually killed someone. Then, of course, the twitosphere which one minute is condemning Israel for disproportionate aggression now claims that the man’s death was a result of justified retaliation.

Am I reading in too much? I don’t think so. This is exactly the same mindset whenever Israel acts to defend its population, whether it be in Operation Cast Lead or the Mavi Marmara. When it reacts to the aggression of others, it is condemned even by those here in Britain who should know better and claim to be a friend of Israel (i.e Cameron and Hague as well as the Millipedes).

As I tweeted last night:

#Israel should not pre-emptively strike at rocket launchers like the British should not have attacked V1 and V2 sites until Germans launched

and

#BBC cheerleaders 4 #Hamas & pro-Pals believe/imply that if a rocket kills noone #Israel should just ignore it bbc.in/vthEoX

Then if a rocket DOES kill someone, it’s ‘retaliation’ = ‘justified’ 

which was the sandwich for Melanie’s

BBC ignores rocket attacks on Israel, presents defence strikes as aggression. MPs should question abuse of licence fee.

As Melanie points out, it was Islamic Jihad who fired into Gaza on Wednesday beginning the Cycle of Violence as a Twitter friend put it. In fact Twitter was alive with pro-Palestinians and Left wingers berating Israeli aggression and even postulating that it was a deliberate attempt to have an excuse for not releasing the remaining 550 criminals in the second tranche of the Shalit ‘deal’.

One reporter suggested this may an attempt by Assad of Syria to deflect from the horrors of the brutal repression of his people.

I have another idea: Islamic Jihad want to lure Israel into a ground operation and kidnap another soldier. On the other hand maybe they want to attract Israeli aircraft which they can attack with their newly-acquired Libyan ground-to-air missile.

Of course, if you go to the BBC site now,  as has often happened in the past, there is a more balanced report. The BBC prides itself for the speed of reporting. Maybe the night shift have one spin they wish to place on any Israeli defensive action and the day shift have another. Or maybe it’s more cynical than that: defame Israel first then cover your tracks with what passes for balanced, for which read ‘morally-relative-human-rights-speak’.

Whatever the case is, it’s very poor journalism and as one of the world’s leading news organisations it beggars belief.

 

 

 

 

 

BBC’s The Big Questions asks the wrong question

The BBC’s Sunday morning political programme, The Big Questions, is a sort of Question Time’s Little Brother of a programme.

The front man is Nicky Campbell who does a decent enough job of directing debates. That is until the subject of the debate is Israel/Palestine.

And when that debate takes place in the Israel-hating heartland of Glasgow in Scotland you know Israel is in for a rough ride.

What annoyed me before the get-go (you see I can use right-on Americanisms with the best of them) was the motion in this debate, if I can grace it with that title. So here it is:

IS IT TIME TO FREE PALESTINE?

The ‘debate’ descended into the usual shouting match with Campbell barely able to keep control. Had it not been for the presence on the panel of ‘experts’ of Peter Hitchens and two particularly brave pro-Israel members of the audience, including Sam Westrop of the British Israel coalition, every lie, misrepresentation and fallacy trotted out by the pro-Palestinians, or more accurately, the anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist, rent-a-flotilla members of the audience, would have gone unchallenged.

Even the venerable Denis MacEoin, looking somewhat shell-shocked as if he were expecting a reasoned debate,  could hardly get in a complete sentence before he, like everyone expressing a more nuanced approach to the conflict, was shouted down. The Palestinian side was loud, vociferous, aggressive and hard to shut up; the pro-Israel side was calm and dignified.

The very motion of this debate is what I think (though somebody will no doubt correct me) is a ‘fallacy of many questions’. It is also a loaded question. This is the Wikipedia definition of such questions:

Such questions are used rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to be those that serve the questioner’s agenda. The traditional example is the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” Whether the respondent answers yes or no, he will admit to having a wife, and having beaten her at some time in the past. Thus, these facts are presupposed by the question, and in this case an entrapment, because it narrows the respondent to a single answer, and the fallacy of many questions has been committed. The fallacy relies upon context for its effect: the fact that a question presupposes something does not in itself make the question fallacious. Only when some of these presuppositions are not necessarily agreed to by the person who is asked the question does the argument containing them become fallacious. Hence the same question may be loaded in one context, but not in the other. For example the previous question would not be loaded if it was asked during a trial in which the defendant has already admitted to beating his wife.

In this case, Palestine cannot be ‘freed’ because Palestine does not exist. To answer the question one has first to admit that there is a country called Palestine and second, that it is not free. The second part of that proposition cannot be true because the first part is a fallacy, namely, Palestine exists.

All this is compounded by Campbell’s preamble which focused on the UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency) report which was damning of Israel’s policy toward Gaza:

It’s hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution.

As this is a UN Agency it must be right. Just like the UN Human Rights Council must be right? I think not.

Now, a proper debate would have been: “Is  it time for Israel to lift its maritime blockade and ease restrictions in and out of the Gaza Strip?”

I would have no problem with that debate. But Campbell seemed determined to set out an uneven playing field.

Or how about: “Are the reported conditions in Gaza solely due to the Israel maritime blockade and other restrictions?”

That would have been a more nuanced and reasonable debate. But the BBC producers, true to form, are obviously uncomfortable with the paucity of opportunities to attack Israel of late and seized upon what I deem to be a flawed UNRWA report coming from an Agency which helps perpetuate Palestinian victimhood and makes them dependent on aid.

Israel’s crossing points send in hundreds of trucks everyday with food and other necessities. There are large parts of Gaza which, as Peter Hitchens was trying to point out, are perfectly normal, have shopping malls, restaurants , newly built mosques and other amenities. The debate never questioned what was the effect on Gaza of an extreme Islamist Hamas government and aid-dependency.

Nor did the debate refer to this post in the Huffington Post Monitor which refers to an article in the Israeli left-wing newspaper, Haaretz:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is opposed to lifting the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip because this would bolster Hamas, according to what he told United States President Barack Obama during their meeting at the White House Wednesday. Egypt also supports this position….
European diplomats updated by the White House on the talks said that Abbas had stressed to Obama the need of opening the border crossings into the Gaza Strip and the easing of the siege, but only in ways that do not bolster Hamas.

One of the points that Abbas raised is that the naval blockade imposed by Israel on the Strip should not be lifted at this stage. The European diplomats said Egypt has made it clear to Israel, the U.S and the European Union that it is also opposes the lifting of the naval blockade because of the difficulty in inspecting the ships that would enter and leave the Gaza port.

Abbas told Obama that actions easing the blockage should be done with care and undertaken gradually so it will not be construed as a victory for Hamas. The Palestinian leader also stressed that the population in the Gaza Strip must be supported, and that pressure should be brought to bear on Israel to allow more goods, humanitarian assistance and building materials for reconstruction. Abbas, however, said this added aid can be done by opening land crossings and other steps that do not include the lifting of the naval blockade.

So the BBC and those members of the audience whose shrill voices attempted to drown out all dissenting argument are being more Palestinian than President Abbas.

At one point in the debate it seemed that Campbell was implying that Gaza was Palestine. He wondered what sort of state there would be with Hamas in control once Israel broke ranks with Abbas and the Egyptians and opened up its borders to suicide bombers and Iranian weapons.

In fact, the debate, as was predictable from its premise, soon accused Israel of being an illegitimate, ‘artifical’ state  founded on murder and stolen land, the most corrupt regime in the Middle East (why not the world?) etc.

If only Israel were to let in all the ‘refugees’ everyone would get on just fine. They don’t hate Jews, just Zionists (as if Israeli Jews are somehow not committed to the idea of self-determination for Jews in their homeland). The Hamas Charter, apparently, which Campbell and others mentioned, does not call for killing of all Jews (like, yeah, that bit was written in invisible ink), Palestine would be a multi-ethnic democracy observing human rights for all and all this would be bestowed by the tooth-fairy. (I made up that last bit but it’s just as credible as the nonsense in the debate).

Some Scottish comedian woman who I have never seen before but wasn’t funny at all, poo-poohed a suggestion that the security wall had prevented suicide bombers and could only see it as ‘an Apartheid Wall’. Obviously Israeli lives are not important to her. She only saw Arabs being evicted and their houses being turned over to Jews. Well that’s a good reason for Israel to be dismantled, now, isn’t it.

The BBC showed that a perfectly respectable and often interesting programme hosted by a likable and usually balanced, though sometimes provocative presenter, can introduce a debating motion so skewed and so fallacious that it is no debate at all, but a forum to trot out the usual slogans and lies of the left and their Hamas-hugging affiliates.

Every vacuous trope was expressed including one of my favourites: “The Palestinians should not suffer because of what Hitler did to the Jews”. Setting aside the Mufti of Jerusalem’s role in the Holocaust and 4000 years of continuous Jewish presence in Israel, those uttering these fallacies support groups who express a wish to finish Hitler’s work in no uncertain terms.

I loved this quote of JE Dyer cited at CiFWatch.com today:

the withdrawal last week of the Mavi Marmara from the so-called ‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ means that we are left with a largely North American and European project: a collection of far-Left Westerners volunteering their services to Hamas and its support network in order to try to enable unfettered access to Gaza for weapons sent by a totalitarian, theocratic state with the aim of destroying a liberal, democratic one by means of one of its religiously fanatical proxies. One might think that it doesn’t get much more surreal than that, but it does

This sums up the position of the debaters. As one of them said, why do we have to worry about the security of the oppressors (Israel) we should care about the security of the oppressed (Palestinians).

So the Israelis, and especially the Jewish Israelis, have nothing to worry about then.

It’s truly awful the level to which proper debate on Israel has sunk in this country.

UPDATE H/T CifWatch

Kaz Hafeez responds to Margo MacDonald’s accusation that Israel is an ‘artifical’ state. http://cifwatch.com/2011/06/22/letter-from-a-muslim-zionist-to-margo-macdonald-on-her-accusation-that-israel-is-an-artificial-state/

Biased BBC has another take and introduces the main players in ths farce: http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/2011/06/what-time-is-it.html

Let’s see the difference between how the BBC reports Tripoli and Gaza

I’ve just seen a very carefully balanced piece of reporting from Wyre Davis on the BBC news.

Reporting from Tripoli in Libya, he and other reporters were taken to a hospital where they were presented with the sight of a baby girl in a serious condition.

The ‘uncle’ of the girl told reporters, with some clumsy prompting, that the girl’s injuries were as a result of enemy bombing and this was an example of how Nato protects civilians.

Wyre produced a scrap of paper from a hospital employee telling them that the girl was the victim of a road traffic accident.

Davis then continued with a report from the scene from the alleged bombing where the only visible ‘casualties’ were a dead dog and some domestic animals.

Then the girl’s uncle turned up and under pressure from reporters revealed he was a government employee.

So the whole sorry story was an amateurish attempt to lie about the effect of Nato bombing. Wyre Davis told us that this was a trumped up attempt at propaganda.

Now compare to the never-ending pictures from Gaza, in 2009, of the dead bodies of children, the reports from hospitals, the ‘eye-witness accounts’ the escorting of western journalists by Hamas through rubble, the stories of deliberate targeting of civilians, UN sites, schools, hospitals, mosques.

Do you remember how the likes of Jeremy Bowen believed everything that Hamas and Hamas-controlled citizens said to him. Do you ever recall a scintilla of scepticism about reports from a terrorist organisation and a terrorist-controlled entity?

Yet, in Libya, because the UK and its allies are involved, scepticism and journalistic instinct suddenly are to the fore. When Israel is involved, and we just saw this in reports from the Syrian border, dictaorships, terrorists and shadowy individuals are believed, and it is up to Israel to try to rebut lies and baseless accusations and blatant propaganda.

The BBC suggests Gaddafi behaving like Israel

You can’t keep Israel out of any conflict in the Middle East.

Yesterday on  The Big Questions on BBC 1 and this evening on Newsnight on BBC 2, Nicky Campbell and Jeremy Paxman, the two BBC frontmen for these programmes asked more or less the question, and I paraphrase:

‘why are the western nations so keen to protect Libyan citizens from a monster like Gaddafi when they sat on their hands when Israel was bombing Gaza?’

On the Big Questions, Campbell clearly asked it to draw out a distinction without endorsing the moral equivalence, nevertheless, the fact the question was asked at all is significant in that not everyone would see it that way, and would be nodding sagely that Livni was somehow like Gaddafi.

On Newsnight, Paxaman had Bernard-Henri Lévy, a renowned French journalist and philosopher, born in Algeria and a Jew. He had been to Benghazi and as a result had called President Sarkozy to encourage him to endorse and support the no-fly zone and stop a massacre.

In the studio was Abd al-Bari Atwan, a rabidly anti-Zionist Palestinian journalist and editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi in London who has said “If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square and dance with delight.”

So we know where Atwan is coming from.

Henri-Lévy argued that hundreds of thousands of people were at risk. His mission was humanitarian. Atwan’s mission, as ever, was political.

However, it was Paxman, who, before asking Atwan for a response, posed the same question Campbell had done, albeit, with more conviction on the moral equivalence front.

Atwan needed no encouragement. He accused the UN and the West of being selective – well I agree as I wrote yesterday.  But rather than laying into Bahrain or Yemen, instead, having had the proverbial red-rag waved by Paxman, he had his horns well and truly sharpened and gored Israel.

He compared Israel’s bombing and ‘massacre’ of 1400 Palestinians in Gaza and Israel’s bombing of Lebanon with Gaddafi. Why did the West not intervene then, he asked.

I’ll not go into the charming way Henri-Lévy stepped aside as Atwan’s horns approached his crotch and how he administered the coup-de-grâce with a well-placed rapier thrust.

The important thing is that Israel’s retaliation against two murderous opponents bent on Israel’s destruction are seen as aggression and deliberately targetting civilians.

Instead, the fact that Hizbollah and Hamas had been firing rockets and abducting Israeli soldiers and were being armed by Atwan’s beloved Iran and that both Hamas and Hizbollah were implacably committed to the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews, was turned into an aggression equivalent to a tyrant targetting his own people in an attempt to hold on to power.

Surely the real equivalence here is that the UN should have seen Israel as the force for democracy fighting a maniacal fascist enemy and the UN should have been protecting and should now be protecting Israel from assault by Hamas and Hizbollah.

BBC presenters do not view Israel as a beleaguered democracy fighting for its existence against murderous tyrannical regimes which surround it. Instead it is Israel who is at least worthy to be considered seriously as part of the tyrant versus freedom-fighter paradigm.

It takes the Jewish North African  Henri-Lévy to put the case for the defence and support of Muslim Arabs whilst all Atwan can do is attack Israel and say the West should tell the Arabs to defend their own people.

In some part, I agree with Atwan: the Arab League should be sorting this out, not the former colonial nations.

So if I agree with Atwan, maybe there’s something wrong with my analysis!

Israel Diary – Jeremy Bowen in Wonderland

I had to laugh at BBC Middle East reporter Jeremy Bowen’s take on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt on the BBC News website:

Unlike the jihadis, it does not believe it is at war with the West. It is conservative, relatively moderate and non-violent. But it is highly critical of Western policy in the Middle East.

Bowen completely ignores the fact that Mubarak has been suppressing any whiff of Islamism, fearing just the sort of uprising from the extremists that the pro-democracy activists are now engaged in. He misses the point that the Brotherhood is patient and lies low, even now, to later pounce and develop a new highly dangerous, anti-Western, anti=Israel and anti-Christian policy when it can wield power and influence over the people.

The contrast between Bowen’s apparent laid back attitude to the threat of the Brotherhood and his views on the Netanyahu government in Israel as ‘right-leaning’ is marked.

Bowen ignores the effect on Israel of a Hizbullah/Iranian proxy in Lebanon, Iranian-backed Hamas in Gaza, Al Qaeda linked Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and, no doubt, a terrified King Abdullah in Jordan who, at least, can flee to Britain should the worse come to the worse.

Will the Palestinians in the West Bank then be emboldened to raise a third intifada and oust Palestinian Authority President Mohmoud Abbas, replace him with Hamas and bring more international outrage on Israel’s head for defending itself?

Meanwhile, in Damascus, President Assad lies waiting for his big chance to seize back the Golan.

Bowen seems somewhat sanguine about the Domesday scenario since he ignores it completely.

Maybe he is easily fooled by the term ‘Brotherhood’,

One thing is almost for certain; the Muslim Brotherhood will have some place in the Egyptian government.

Will the Brotherhood be to the new Egyptian government as the Nazis were to Weimar Repuplic in the 1930’s?

Palestinian National Orchestra and BBC’s historical illiteracy

I had to read a BBC News article twice recently; not something I would recommend.

The subject was ‘Palestinian orchestra to hold debut concert in Ramallah’.

Great. I’m all for culture and it’s good to see what must be essentially a Muslim orchestra playing western music.

The article shows us orchestra members including a woman in a hijab. So far so good.

Then the jaw-dropping bit:

The first Palestinian orchestra of professional classical musicians since 1948 is due to perform its debut concert in Ramallah in the West Bank.

BBC’s emphasis.

Hang on a minute. When did the Palestinians ever have an orchestra before? The idea of a separate Palestinian state only took off with the creation of the PLO in 1964. Between 1948 and 1967 the West Bank and Gaza were occuped by Jordan and Egypt.

What’s this ‘1948’ business?

Then it dawned on me. 1948 was the year that the State of Israel was declared. It was the year the British Mandate for Palestine ended. Palestine ceased to exist as a political entity. It had never been a country. Ever.

The Palestinians the writer of the article refers to were the Jews of Mandate Palestine who formed the Palestine Orchestra in 1936. In Hebrew it wasn’t even called that, it was the Symphony Orchestra of the Land of Israel. In 1948 it became the Israeli Philharmonic.

So let’s see what the article is saying. It is saying that those who call themselves Palestinians today are somehow connected with the Palestinians of 1948 and before. It suggests that this orchestra is a reincarnation of that pre-1948 Jewish orchestra. Of course, it is not. It is a new thing. The old Palestine Orchestra still exists, it was just renamed.

Does the writer know this? Surely he/she must. Does the editor who let it be published know all this? Surely he/she does.

It’s as if Israel has been airbrushed out. It’s as if in the minds of the BBC news editors this version of Palestine, the one that wishes to destroy Israel, is somehow a legitimate heir to the one which ‘disappeared’ in 1948. It’s as if this new orchestra replaces that old one.

This whole article is a subtle example of the way Israel is delegitimised and how the putative ‘Palestine’ is legitimised.

It’s a kind of coup de theatre. It’s historical illiteracy.

But that’s not all. There is a nice piece of editorialising thrown in for good measure.

The programme also consists of a piece by the modern Hungarian Jewish composer, Gyorgy Ligeti, both of whose parents were sent to Auschwitz.

And the point is? Surely, it’s to show what a peace-loving lot the orchestra is and how they are so open-minded that they will play Jewish music. I’m sure that’s true.

It also tries to tell us that the Palestinians who are represented by this orchestra have deliberately chosen Ligeti because his parents died at Auschwitz.

Yet this orchestra grew from the Edward Said Conservatory. Said was well known for his work with Israeli musician Daniel Barenboim in creating an orchestra of Israelis and Palestinians to promote the noble cause of peace through music.

What the article fails to tell us, of course, is that this wonderfully tolerant group of Palestinians are completely atypical of the usual anti-Semitic filth vented by the Palestinian media daily.

The article doesn’t tell us about the Palestinian Youth orchestra that was closed down in 2009 because it dared play in front of Holocaust victims, thereby accepting that there are Holocaust victims and, therefore, a Holocaust.

I wrote about this here.

Here’s a snippet:

Fatah-linked community leaders in the PA-controlled city of Jenin slammed the participation of 13 young local musicians aged 11 to 18 in a “Good Deeds Day,” held at the Holocaust Survivor’s Center in Holon.
The PA politicians made a point of using the issue of the young musicians’ performance as a platform upon which to launch a diatribe against participation in any integrative activity with Jewish Israelis.

Any decent and knowledgeable journalist would know this and would have pointed it out.

The whole BBC article is typical of the way inaccurate and decontextualised reporting serves Israel’s enemies, even if this is not the intent of the journalist.

It’s simply shameful.

Update from muqata.blogspot.com..

IDF reporters uniform were ‘ejected’ from a concert in Haifa where this orchestra were performing.

Let me reiterate that: Israeli soldiers in an Israeli city were ejected because they were wearing uniform.

Can you imagine that happening in the UK? British soldiers thrown out of a BBC Prom because it might upset someone who doesn’t like the UK’s Afghanistan policy?

We find in this story that the organisers were the Mossawa Center for Arab Civil Rights who are supported by the New Israel Fund.

40 Palestinian National Orchestra musicians arrived at the Kreiger Hall in Haifa before an Israeli audience, but when posed questions by the IDF Radio reporters, they refused the uniformed IDF soldiers, even though they were simply reporters for IDF radio.

… the director of the Mossawa Center for Arab Civil Rights in Israel, [that] tried to explain the incident in the name of the orchestra. “The musicians are used to IDF uniforms interrogating them at checkpoints, but it was strange for them at a cultural event. You [IDF Radio] arrived to interview them wearing the uniforms of the occupying army.”

So much for the orchestra promoting peaceful co-existence.

It appears it’s just another tool of  Palestinian propaganda which has a Palestine orchestra performing in what the Palestinians regard as Palestine, namely Israel, so that their media can spout something like: ‘Today the Palestine Orchestra performed in the Palestinian town of Haifa’.
Wake up Israel!

New Year, new lies about Israel

I have been following the strange case of the Palestinian woman who the Palestinian Authority claim died of tear gas inhalation as a result of its use by Israeli police in Bil’in.

Now Bil’in is the scene of frequent protests against Israel’ security wall. It not only draws Palestinian protestors but also Israeli left-wing organisations and NGOs and people from all over the world who want Israel to take down the wall to allow terrorists and suicide bombers free passage into Israel. They value the comfort of West Bank Palestinians above the lives of Israelis.

But when I saw the BBC article reporting this death I was puzzled. I could not remember anyone previously dying anywhere in the world from tear gas inhalation.

I googled death from tear gas and the only reported death I could find were pages and pages of reports from various sources about this alleged death, that of Jawaher Abu Rahma.

I  noted that Israel said they would investigate this puzzling and, apparently, unique case. I even wondered whether Israeli tear gas had some especially lethal ingredient.

I could see that all the news agencies were reporting this death by tear gas as if it were a proven fact. No-one seemed to have done my simple research and mentioned that it was unusual.

I was hoping to give you a link to the BBC report.

But I can’t.

Because it appears to have disappeared.

If you can find it, I’d like to hear from you.

And then, thanks to the Elder of Ziyon, the scales were lifted from mine eyes.

The Elder reported “Tear gas death” was a hoax.

The Elder had it first hand from very simple initial Israeli security force investigations. You know, the kind of thing that good journalists should do before releasing stories that are clearly suspicious.

This is the basic story:

All evidence points to the fact that Jawaher Abu Rahma was not killed by tear gas.

The number of inconsistencies and the amount of evidence of lies by Palestinian Arab spokespeople is incontrovertible. Here are some of the facts that the security sources mentioned:

* Abu Rahma arrived at the hospital at 15:20 on Friday – but her lab report is dated/timed 14:45, 35 minutes earlier!

* There is no emergency room report for her arrival.

* The reason for death given was “Inhaling gas from Israeli soldiers according to family.”

10 days prior to her death she was in that hospital, taking medication for leukemia. There is evidence that she was in the hospital in the weeks prior as well, which indicates that she had a chronic disease.

Never has anyone died from tear gas in five years of riots in Bil’in.

There is no evidence that Abu Rahma even attended the riot. Her brother is the ringleader of the weekly Bil’in riots and yet there are no photos of her next to him, or anywhere else, on Friday (and possibly ever.)

The tear gas that the IDF used on Friday is exactly the same concentration and type that they have always used, and the same as used by Western countries for years.

Yet the PA had already called it a “war crime”. The entire world had accepted at face value the blatant lies of the PA>

This is not the first nor will it be the last in a long succession of fake incidents designed to demonise Israel.

Two things strike me:

1. the callousness of the Palestinians in using the tragic death from natural causes of a woman related to an ‘activist’ to promulgate a lie to further their political ends

2. the gullibility of the world’s press to accept the story at face value and their willingness, nay, eagerness to vilify and embarrass Israel

I do not see on the BBC News website any report that this was a lie and they fell for it. I do not see an apology.

Meanwhile, all the usual suspects in the Arab and Muslim world and their constituency will see it as another example of Israeli murderous callousness.

The Elder also links to other Israeli sources on this story:

You can read more coverage from other bloggers on the same call, Israel Matzavand The Muqata, and My Right Word had the initial Israeli news reports.

Update: I found a BBC article here which is not the original one and is full of Palestinian propaganda and not one Israeli representative.

The throw-away nature of the commentators reference to the reason for the barrier as being for security purposes and the tone in which this is said is not exactly impartial. It’s as if he has to say this for the sake of impatiality but we all know that this is not the real reason, nudge nudge.

BBC: Sharm – offensive

Fire rages in Northern Israel for 3 days with more than 40 people killed and involving a massive international effort and the BBC reported about 10 seconds of it over the weekend, and nothing this morning. Nothing to tell us the fire was more or less out.

Instead, it was Egypt and the resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh that was given 5 minutes of air time with British divers telling us very uneventful stories about how they weren’t attacked by the shark that killed a German tourist.

So, no Palestinians killed in Israel, only 38 prison service staff going to rescue Palestinian terrorists held in an Israeli prison and dying as a result. BBC not interested in that.

Nor were they concerned about the ironies of the Turks flying with the Greeks or the mixed reactions of the Islamic world.

There may have been more on BBC’s News 24 channel, I don’t know, but on the BBC website, a brief mention and then the story became unimportant and the home page link disappeared.

It seems the story was beyond boring as there was nothing in it that could be used to show Israel in any negative light. Giving too much attention would surely risk some actual sympathy. Whoa!! None of that, please.

No conflict, no news. The significance of the international assistance given to Israel soon disappears from the radar like the Turkish fire-fighters returning to base.