Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Britain's Promise to the Holy Land

Given the climate of low expectations in which Israel-related programmes poise precariously in BBC world, Stephen Pollard’s positive review of Jane Corbin’s Balfour programme was par for the course. 

If that’s too convoluted, to put it another way, anything less than the default Israel-bashing to which we’ve become accustomed is a small mercy for which we should be truly grateful.

Still a bit obscure? 
(Last attempt) It makes a change to see a smidgeon of balance on an Israel-related programme on the BBC and, arguably, that absolves Stephen Pollard from some of the harsh criticism he’s getting for his Tweet. 
However, as some of his critics have pointed out, the programme was littered with omissions. But of course you can’t fit everything into a one-hour documentary that attempts to cover one hundred years of conflict about such a complex issue. 

What might illustrate the situation equally sharply is that the leftie press has seized upon one segment that implies that the intractable religious zealotry comes solely from the Israeli side:
“In the garden of his home in the Orthodox Jewish Israeli West Bank settlement of Tappuah, Lenny Goldberg rubbished the idea that it was us Brits who made modern Israel possible. “The only reason we have a country here,” he told Jane Corbin, “is not because of the Balfour Declaration. It’s because Jews sacrificed themselves with blood and fire and bullets.” 
Goldberg, a tough New York Jew turned tough West Bank settler, is among half a million Israelis living in 140 towns and villages that have sprung up on the ostensibly Arab West Bank in the past 30 years. When Corbin told him that these settlements were illegal according to international law, Goldberg replied that he didn’t care about mere secular laws. He was interested in the word of God as expressed in the Bible and that, according to that higher authority, there is no Palestine and so there can be no question of Arabs having a claim to live there. “This is where Abraham walked. Why should we give it up for a bunch of murderers?” he asked rhetorically.”
However, neither the Guardian nor the Indy reviews mention the part when Corbin speaks to Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, in which  the real and insoluble sticking point to a peaceful outcome is revealed in all its malevolence. 

"Quran tells us to drive Jews out of Palestine's entirety"

Since the programme was created to commemorate the Balfour declaration its focus was, quite rightly, on Britain’s part in the creation of the Jewish State, and Corbin didn’t shirk from recounting the cruelty of the British in imposing strict limits on Jewish immigration in what is recognised as the Jews’ darkest hour of need. This was a welcome contrast to the BBC's customary portrayal of the British military in Palestine as victims of Jewish terrorism, wherein the bombing of the King David Hotel is presented as an unprovoked atrocity against innocent civilianrs rather than a targeted attack on a British military headquarters. 

You can read about Orde Wingate here.  The Palestine Arab revolt occurred in the late 1930s, well before Israel's declaration of Independence, and  the Arabs’ hostility to the Jews is longstanding, religiously based, and demonstrably not a result of “What Israel is Doing” a commonly held belief encouraged by ill-informed broadcasting.  


  1. In the final para, think you meant well AFTER the Balfour declaration Sue...

    Some points I would make:

    1.The Balfour declaration only offered the Jews a "national home" in Palestine. Does not and did not imply statehood. Probably envisaged at the time as something along the lines of the Boer regions in South Africa.

    2. Yes, the religious hostility to the Jewish presence is at the root of the intractable nature of the problem...And let's not forget the Kashmir dispute has been running for a similar length of time.

    3. It was the Arabs who rejected the UN backed partition proposal. That is why we haven't had peace since the late 40s.

    4. The UN plan,rejected by the Arabs, included a sensible proposal for internationalisation of Jerusalem (note - at the time Vienna had an international zone).

  2. Yes, wrong declaration of course - duly amended. Thanks.

    1. Oh yes, and another thing I forgot to mention in the above piece was the infamous Al Dura image that flashed up momentarily mid programme. One would have thought that incident had been well and truly discredited if not debunked altogether. Jane Corbin should have steered clear if she intended to appear impartial.