Thursday, 31 July 2014

What Israel is doing.

One of the cliched phrases that has worked its way into the psyche of anti-Israel zealots (it’s a favourite of Baroness Tonge) as well as many at the BBC (Sarah Montague likes it a lot) is “What Israel is doing”.
It’s the shorthand for, well, whatever you like. 
The implications contained in those four little words range from the well-worn “disproportionate response”, through ethnic cleansing, apartheid, siege on Gaza, war crimes, baby-killing and genocide, all the way to a final destination; committing a holocaust on the Palestinian people.

All those incendiary, hyperbolic accusations are frequently fired at Israel by people who claim they’re only supporting the Palestinians, but false allegations like these merely show that their hatred for Israel is greater than their admiration for the Palestinians. 
If they wish the Palestinians well, they should simply seek from them recognition of Israel and rejection of violence. Then the Palestinians could return to the open borders, trade, medical treatment, education and employment in Israel they enjoyed before Hamas took hold, and which the Palestinians claim is something they still want. 
If the outrageous incitement that runs through their education system (Including UNWRA schools) was abolished the next generation might have a future, assuming there are enough of the next generation left at the end of the glorious human shield experiment. Instead, with its “three noes” Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are ensuring three more;  No open borders. No end to the blockade. No future.

While the case hinges on the interpretation of “proportionate” and the discrepancy between the number of deaths on each side remains the primary, if not the sole justification for universal condemnation of “What Israel is doing”, does anyone at the BBC  wonder how proportionate is the number of reporters dispatched to Gaza? Do they consider the media’s obsessional focus on this one conflict in comparison to places where much greater violence with far higher numbers of casualties occur on a daily basis, proportionate? 
Where are the pictures of corpses from Iraq, Syria, Africa  Libya?
 Do children not die in these places? Where are the headlines? The hourly news bulletins? 

The battalion of BBC journalists and reporters in Gaza (Does anyone know how many are in Gaza, and how many in Israel?) all seem at present to be vying with each other in trying to emulate, if not outdo Michael Buerk.
Admittedly  I haven’t heard anyone using the term ‘biblical’ so far, but it’s getting close. 
“His cool, dispassionate style was later to be praised by his BBC colleague, John Humphrys."Would Michael Buerk's reports have been more effective if he had been holding back the tears as he delivered the commentary?" he asked the Guardian newspaper in a recent interview. "No... He wrote a spare and powerful commentary and left it to us to form our own judgement."
Not much chance of being left to follow our own judgement over this situation. The BBC’s massive number of staff in Gaza serve mainly to embellish and further  the ‘disproportionate’ argument, the only one they seem able to confidently push. Does anyone consider the effect this is having? Isn’t it time to get a sense of proportion?

The conflict is certainly worthy of scrutiny and analysis, as long as the experts and analysts they bring in are properly introduced so that the audience knows where their loyalties lie.   It certainly deserves reporters on the ground. We need to know what’s happening and why. But not this mawkish, inflammatory, propagandistic, unhelpful meddling with its half-truths, emoting and omissions.
The rise in antisemitic incidents is testament to the atmosphere whipped up by the media. Let’s think this through. What is the good of this disproportionate focus on the civilian deaths in Gaza?

Who benefits?
If international pressure results in the Israelis being forced to “stop” before they’ve “finished”, it certainly might save a few innocent Palestinian lives in the short term. But who would win? Only Hamas. And Hamas knows that all it need ever do in the future is place civilians between its brave fighters and its foe and bingo. Out comes the press. A few months down the line and it starts all over again.
Let’s look back at the zeitgeist. 
At first, when there were far fewer, say, up to three hundred Palestinian deaths, the press began its ‘disproportionate‘ campaign. Many people supported that view, but a substantial number weren’t wholly convinced. The bigger picture was creeping in to the collective consciousness.The worldwide turmoil that Islam (or Islamism, or the perversion of the religion of peace) was being seen to engender finally registered. People began to join the dots.   
Tales of Hamas personnel hiding and rockets and being stashed and/or fired from schools, hospitals and mosques began to filter through. Fighters were using ambulances, Hamas was preventing civilians from leaving target areas when they knew Israeli retaliation was imminent.
It seemed to the world that Israel did have a case, that there was a threat, that Israeli children were traumatised, that ordinary life in Israel had been disrupted for months. People saw that Hamas continually broke “humanitarian” ceasefires, misappropriated vast amounts of concrete to make terror-tunnels instead of constructing homes for the people, used UNWRA schools to store rockets, intimidated journalists who broke ranks, and, as they say in the ads, much much more.

But none of this made much difference to the reporting until several young conscripted Israeli solders were killed. As soon as Israel looked vulnerable the BBC began to show less hostility. Their indignation and the ‘disproportionate’ riff palpably subsided, though it was still very much smouldering in the background and quickly reignited when it appeared that an Israeli rocket had hit a hospital. Tellingly, the fuss died down again equally quickly when it began to look as though it wasn’t Israel after all, but one of Hamas’s misfires (10%) that neither interest nor anger the BBC.
For a while it looked almost as though the requisite number of Israel casualties had been reached. Perhaps Israel was no longer decisively ‘winning’ and a little empathy for Israel could be retrieved from the bottom of some barrel.  But no. As soon another crowd of innocent civilians were killed by an air strike that appeared to have come from Israel, back came the disproportionate argument with a vengeance. It never really went away and it never will. Unless Hamas wins. Then where will we be?

Whenever we hear someone say “What Israel is doing”  we might remember what the BBC is doing. That is helping to make it absolutely clear that every time Hamas or any other fanatical unprincipled group feels like it, all they need do is gather a few handfuls of babies in one hand and some missiles in the other and all retaliatrory options are off the table. Forget ‘might is right’ Now it’s ‘Human Shields reign supreme.’


Look at what happened in that London tunnel. Doesn’t that ring those proverbial alarm bells? How about sending a few reporters down there in case someone gets hurt.
Who’s at risk? A few Jews or a few million infidels. That was just an opinion piece on behalf of myself. I haven’t caught out a specific example of hypocrisy, duplicity, or criminality on the part of the BBC. The views are my own and so what. 

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