Tuesday 2 April 2013

Tipping the balance part 2


This is an example of a complaint from the PSC which in my opinion has little substance.

It concerned Martha Kearney’s interview with Mark Regev, which took place around  the time of the death of Rachel Corrie.
Rachel Corrie was allegedly mown down by an IDF bulldozer as she was protecting a Palestinian home. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it. 
Much doubt has been cast on the veracity of that tale, but suffice it to say that the late Rachel Corrie’s so-called heroism is legendary in the world of anti-Israel activism. A play has been written about her, and pages and pages of material in honor of her bravery are featured online. Her anti-Americanism and virulent hatred for Israel are less well-publicised. 

The complaint is about Kearney’s awkward attempt at balance, in particular in the wording at the end of this phrase: “Clearly Rachel Corrie was one of the casualties of what happened that day – and I know Israeli soldiers died too”.
The objection, as far as I can tell, was that Israeli soldiers did not die on that day, though if that sentence was correctly reproduced here it doesn’t even state that they did, (die on that day) and the complainant seemed also to believe that Kearney’s question carried the implication that Rachel Corrie’s death could be morally counterbalanced by soldiers’ deaths. Or something like that. The BBC Trust’s review doesn’t touch upon the fundamental questions surrounding the incident, so the fact that the Trust came down on the right side, ruling that “there had been no breach of the guidelines” was probably a matter of luck rather than judgement. Furthermore, the Tust’s acknowledgment that “the question was poorly phrased and therefore gave a false impression” was enough of a concession to the PSC for them to claim a victory, which in many ways it was, as the Trust, impliedly, accepted the anti-Israel version of the Rachel Corrie incident in toto. If that is indeed the case it rather undermines the PSC’s allegation that the BBC is biased against the Palestinians. But they wouldn’t see it that way. 

Corrie’s posthumous deification looks like a bit of a travestyFirstly, when Corrie was run over she was crouching below the cab, out of the cab driver’s eye-line, where he couldn’t possibly have seen her. It is claimed that she wasn’t defending a Palestinian home, but, probably unknowingly, the entrance to an arms dump. There were discrepancies regarding the home, which was said to be still standing long after it had allegedly been bulldozed, and various additional circumstances involving Corrie herself as well as other Western activists. They were ultimately pawns in the propaganda war, which exploits foreign useful idiots because the martyrdom of a Westerner is more valuable to the cause than your common or garden martyr.

Another complaint, which belatedly succeeded in persuading the BBC to scrap some inflammatory material in an online description of a programme entitled “Gaza Surf Club” aired on 5th November 2012.

The people of Gaza are hemmed in by checkpoints and walls, fences and watchtowers and few are able to leave the territory or to import and export goods.”
has been deleted altogether, as has: “defy both the Israeli blockade and a sea that's often polluted with raw sewage”. 
Were these sentences ever relevant or accurate?  Or were they simply symptoms of the Tourette’s anti-Israel tic that the BBC just can’t help.
A small victory, too little too late, but a victory nonetheless.

Here’s another weird complaint, which got nowhere. It wasn’t made to the BBC, but it was indirectly related by way of  the BDS movement, which is a typical manifestation of anti-Israel advocacy in the guise of pro-Palestinian advocacy.  Anti-Israel activism usually masquerades as Pro Palestinian advocacy, in that people who profess to support the Palestinians invariably prove to be far more interested in attacking Israel, almost forgetting the poor Palestinians in the process. Being honest about this would look like racism. Not would. Does.
 The Clackmannanshire Boycott Fiasco. 
Exposing council members to too much BBC and too little intellectual curiosity is the likely cause. It inspired council members make a sadly misconceived gesture, the exact nature of which is unclear, both to them and everyone else.  The complaint, which was made to the council and of course not the BBC, proved ineffective. Amusing banter (Modernity Blog Harry’s Place and more recently again, here) alleviated the gravity of the situation by making the council look a bit foolish.
Clackmannanshire Council said it would resist all economic and political support for Israel in order to “end suffering in Palestine” 
says the JC article. This might possibly ease, if not end, the suffering of the Palestinians, by cheering them up. Resist! Resist! Go Clackmannanshire!
The boycott was implemented by 11 councillors after lobbying by anti-Israel activists from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.” 
 Note the overt reference to “anti-Israel” activists. The councillor who entertained with his witty defense of their boycott-that-isn’t-a-boycott does appear a little confused. Asked why the council were being somewhat selective with their boycotting, specifically, avoiding anything that would inconvenience them, he declared:

“ The Council is not implementing a boycott of Israel. Council has though, agreed to resist, insofar as legislative considerations permit, any action that provides political or economic support to the state of Israel.” 
Resist! Resist! etc.
Not cutting off your nose to spite your face-ism is a wise kind of ism. Clackmannanshire council’s metaphysical resistance goes to show  that a complaint may be futile, yet usefully illustrate the ramifications of contagious anti-Israel-itis.

And now for something completely the same.  Mehdi’s weird interview with Lord Ahmed was mentioned on the Clackmannanshire thread by the way. That’s where I first saw it.

This time I don’t think Lord Ahmed’s, or for that matter Mehdi Hasan’s feelings about the Jews and/or Israel emanate from the BBC. They are more of an ingredient of the Muslim anti-Israel-ism that Mehdi had recently spotted.  But really, these two back-slapping co-religionists, aren’t they a hoot? Mehdi, with his cattle on the one hand, and his “Oh, look!  Antisemitism in the Muslim world!” shock horror on the other, and Lordy Ahmed with his Vicky Pollard impersonation “It weren’t me anyway, anyway; because I would never do that”  He couldn’t believe some ‘twisted mind’ said something he didn’t remember saying because there’s ”no word for Zionist in Urdu.” Which apparently isn’t even true, but yer but no and anyway truth has abandoned the good ship Ahmed.


Who still thinks Glastonbury is cool? John Humphrys seems to. Him and Farmer Eavis. Oh, and the producers of radio 4’s Today. That’s how dumb radio 4 is these days. What are radios 1,2,5 and 6 for? Keep Glastonbury away from radio 4.  

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