Saturday 5 October 2013

Schama and the BBC

Further to my observations about Simon Schama’s final episode of The Story of the Jews, I would just like to add a couple of excerpts from Haaretz, the left-leaning Israeli newspaper the BBC prefers to go to for their negative Israel-related news and stories.

“Schama relishes the thought that his high-profile series, which has received a huge deal of attention and healthy viewing ratings, has done something to improve the BBC’s image among his fellow-Jews. “They have been very good to me,” he says of the network that made him a household name in Britain, beginning in 1995, when it broadcast its first series based on a Schama book, “Landscape and Memory,” “and besides, this was their idea. They came to me with it and I realized it was really the time to do it. I hadn’t worked on Jewish history for decades, since my book on the Rothschilds [published in 1978]. I had that sense that I’m an old geezer and I had to give it a go. Jewish history is just so out there in front of the world and full of anxieties of anti-Semitism and the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict.”

This says to me that Schama sees himself as a BBC insider, and as such he wishes his fellow Jews to be more sympathetic to the BBC. “Look,” he’s saying, “It was their idea!”  

“You speak with American Jews and they all think it’s 1930s Berlin here, but it’s not true at all,” says Schama who lives and lectures most of the year in New York, but shares the view that British Jews have rarely, if ever, had it better. “Sure, there are sometimes raw sparks when it comes to Palestinian issues. You still have the old Arabists in the Foreign Office, and the ultra-left, but the default mode in the big center of Britain is not Judeophobic at all. In fact it’s quite Jew-friendly.”

That says to me that he may be a BBC insider, but he’s not really a UK insider. He’s forgotten what the BBC is really like vis-à-vis Israel and the Jews, he doesn’t really know what impression the BBC has been giving the UK audience over recent years; he’s missed all those slanted news stories and is unaware of the way the BBC has been desperately appeasing the ever growing demands of the Israel-bashers, anti-Zionists and Jew-haters.

I have met a number of individuals who have visited Israel on work related missions. A potter who had been on a course there said he disliked Israel as it was “too militarised.” He was not familiar with the politics and had been ‘educated and informed’ by the BBC. I thought that was a bit like saying they didn’t like seeing the lions at the zoo because they were too caged. He didn’t realise that if it wasn’t for said ‘militarisation’ he wouldn’t have been able to go about his course in relative safely.
Simon Schama did acknowledge the ‘needs must’ aspect of Israel’s security measures, but he seemed to play down the reasons behind them. It’s as if his idealism had blinkered him, willfully.  

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