Saturday 7 September 2013

Making the moral case for Israel

I am sorry to say I missed the first episode of Simon Schama’s five-part series “The story of the Jews” when it was aired last Sunday but I caught up with it via the link on BBC Watch and Craig’s impressive gesticulation-free summary.

Because of the BBC’s well documented antipathy towards present-day ‘Jewishness’ and its Arab-centric views about the legitimacy of Israel, pro-Israel bloggers have been holding their breath till Schama gets to the period of his ‘story’, circa 1948, to see whether they’re in for a feast or a fight; relief or despair.

Naturally, whether or not Shama’s ‘story’ is compromised by the need to  pander to his partisan BBC hosts, he’ll be treading carefully. Whatever he says will be scrutinised, and bits will be snatched out of context and used as evidence for (or against) someone’s cause. 

No wonder impartial reporting on the I/P situation is a rare thing. It’s virtually a ‘no-win’ situation. If anti-Israel fanatics detect material that they judge to be pro-Israel, and let’s face it, they instinctively perceive everything not wholly condemnatory of Israel and/or Israelis to be so, expect an outpouring of outrage and accusations about lobbies and Zionist tentacles.

If, on the other hand, Schama modifies ‘history’ to suit the Arab-centric BBC, the sinister sounding body that certain Israel/Jew-bashers refer to as “The Jewish Chronicle’s famous letter writers from Golders Green” will exert the customary and allegedly terrifying pressure on the BBC.  

It seems, however that the usual suspects couldn’t wait and see. They’ve made a preemptive strike. BBC Watch links to the PSC, where :
"Sarah Colborne, Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Daud Abdullah, Middle East Monitor;
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine;
Abe Hayeem, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine; Ismail Patel, Friends of Al Aqsa; Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians" have handed in their objections early.
In their view this programme shouldn’t have even been made, let alone broadcast because Schama is a Jew, and a describes himself as “a historian-Zionist”, which they deem sufficient grounds to silence him because they are afraid he will succeed in making a moral case for Israel.

A Jewish movement that arose in the late 19th century in response to growing anti-Semitism and sought to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. 

If those who can’t or won’t countenance the existence of Israel have any substantive objections to what Schama has to say, let them say so - as they will undoubtedly do in due course. If their objections are substantive, they will be listened to and debated. 
By the same token, if Schama takes the official  BBC line and comes over all ‘revisionist’, those who support the existence of a Jewish homeland in Palestine are at liberty to, and no doubt will make their objections known.  But will they be listened to and debated?
Listening and debating are not the pro-Palestinians strongest suit. In fact they’d rather not. They’d much prefer to silence the opposition -   “end of.” What a shame that would be.

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