Saturday 13 April 2013

Miscellany for the weekend.

Some tales that demonstrate the BBC’s confused approach to Jews and Israel.

They didn’t make much of Yom Hashoah, but a few new holocaust stories have appeared on the BBC, so perhaps this is their way of commemorating. 
There was Dorit Oliver-Wolff on Saturday Live, and  Anne Frank's stepsister Eva Schloss on the website talking to Stephen Sackur about her war-time experiences.

 But heartrending/heartwarming holocaust stories are nothing new for the BBC. It’s the Jews that defend themselves the BBC is less keen on.

 Another Donnison Tweet leads us to Lyse Doucet’s interview with Daniel Levy, the director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations, Paul Charney, the chairman of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and by Dror Moreh, the director of 'The Gatekeepers'.
It’s obvious that the BBC will like this documentary for the very reasons Paul Charney warned against, i.e. that criticisms of Israel’s political policies  expressed by the six former heads of Shin Bet in the film would be used as a tool by Israel’s detractors to further their ongoing delegitimization of Israel.

Donnison’s Twitter page also contained a Tweet by his colleague and award nominator Paul Danahar, which led to this interesting article by HRW on a topic also covered, in a weirdly sanitised form, by the BBC.
Interestingly, no details are spared in the HRW piece, and I well remember Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah Whitson, causing concern amongst many people by ingratiating herself and her organisation with the Saudis during a fund-raising mission,  by highlighting  HRW’s  battles with "pro-Israel pressure groups in the US, the European Union and the United Nations." yet having nothing to say about Saudi Arabia’s own human rights abuses.

Here’s another thing that caught my eyebecause it was written by Raffi Berg who once left a comment on Biased BBC asking for guidance on some phrasing. (November 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm)
“ The way we have been wording our paragraph on when the fighting started is causing endless complaints. It’s the specific reference in time which is upsetting people.We have been saying:The conflict began last Wednesday when Israel killed a Hamas military leader, saying it wanted an end to rocket attacks from Gaza. More than 110 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed.To a lot of people, the conflict was already raging, and they interpret that as blaming or putting undue emphasis on Israel.Can we please use the following form of words which gets round that:Israel launched its offensive, which it says is aimed at ending rocket fire from Gaza, with the killing on Wednesday of a Hamas military leader. More than 110 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since then.ThanksRaffi Berg Middle East desk BBC News website +44 203 614
and another:
November 22, 2012 at 6:48 pmPlease remember, Israel doesn’t maintain a blockade around Gaza. Egypt controls the southern border. Israel maintains a blockade around its borders with Gaza, as well as a naval blockade. It also controls Gaza’s airspace.We’ve mistakenly said “around Gaza” in a number of recent stories, which has generated complaints.Raffi Berg Middle East desk BBC News website +44 203 614
These rather odd comments indicate at least that Raffi Berg is willing to listen to his critics. He also wrote this, which didn’t go down very well with BBCWatch

His article about Israeli ‘Frankness’ is quite nice as it happens, and most likely well-intentioned, but it also plays into the hands of people who consider superficialities to be the most significant pointers to ‘a peoples’ fundamental character.  How many times have I heard people praising the inhabitants of various Islamic states, poverty-stricken and wealthy alike, for their tradition of hospitality and generosity to strangers, and extrapolating from this that as a people they must be blameless for everything else. 
How many times have I heard tales of the rudeness of Israelis, whether at home or abroad, from people who extrapolate from this that Israelis must be solely to blame for the tribulations of the Middle East. They don’t get it, and the little bit at the end of the piece about “Sabra”, which comes from the name of a cactus fruit - prickly on the outside but tender within - characteristics which arguably best define Israelis, will probably be lost in the rush to condemn Israel yet again. For that reason, i.e., the likelihood that such things will only be half understood, and as such used as tools by Israel’s detractors,  articles like this are risky. In the current climate these things need to be strongly counter-balanced with an equal amount of positive stories. We’ve a long way to go....

Update.  See this post for  a full explanation.
The post I referred to above that appeared on Biased-BBC was not put there by Raffi Berg. It was posted by "Soothsayer" in order to make a point. I assume it was an internal memo.


  1. 'The Guardian' and 'Ha'aretz' have been plugging 'The Gatekeepers' for weeks. I wondered when the BBC were going to join them. It had to come.

  2. You got it in one Sue, and I have been saying it for a very long time that there is a creeping Zionist agenda at BBC R4 and all the rest of it, but R4' being what it is, ie' the voice of the BBC, and taking a trawl through the R4.
    I am sick and tired hearing another add for the Holocaust industry coming out of my radio on a daily basis, and absolutely nothing about their behaviour in Palestine, not to mention... ABROMSKY' filling up so many post's at R4 with so many of her Jewish friends,(she moved on, but R4 has many many of her placement post's, still there) and in the big post's at the new's dept, the last being Nick Robinson from ITV' to the top spot at the BBC. I want to say there is nothing wrong having a healthy equality policy but the BBC' has become cowed by the bombarding of the BBC by the Jewish Chronicle's famous letter writers from Golders Green and Finchley, so much so that there is a dept (i'm sure) at the BBC just to answer all of the accusing letters by this said group who act in unison


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