Monday 25 November 2013

Small mercies

Historic mistake

Yesterday’s treatment of ‘The Deal’ by BBC News 24 wasn’t too bad. 

That is, taking into consideration that the deal brokered by Kerry and Mother Theresa Ashton is perceived as a life-changing stride towards World Peace and Apple Pie, at least there was a lengthy interview with Daniel Taub on BBC News 24, which granted him ample space to put Israel’s case.  It’s true that despite Andrew Neil’s attempts to have Saudi Arabia added to the meagre list of party poopers, Israel is still seen, by the BBC at least, as the lone spoilsport.
“The western media concentrates on the fact that the Israelis and Mr Netanyau are not happy about this, an understatement; what they don’t often mention is that the Arab Gulf States are also very apprehensive about this deal.”
As it happens, I heard Mark Mardell this morning - or was it a dream? - setting out quite clearly some of the reasons why Israel was not nearly as euphoric over the deal as the rest of the world seems to be.
While I find it astonishing that the BBC and many politicians seem willing to overlook all the reasons not to be cheerful as set out so succinctly in Netanyahu’s wolf in sheep’s clothing speech   

I understand that there are many matters of global significance and ramifications over which I am unable to trouble my pretty little head to do with economics, balances of power and realpolitik, which are beyond my pay grade. 
However, and it’s a big however, who could argue with some glaringly obvious facts, such as:
It was the sanctions that brought Iran to the table, not ideological capitulation.
Sanctions were imposed for a reason, and ‘curbing’ their nuclear programme in - their own words - an ‘easily reversible’ fashion is hardly reassuring. Would supernanny give in at the first whimper from the naughty chair? (I hate supernanny)

Why would the West suddenly trust a regime that has a record of being wholly untrustworthy? Could wishful thinking really triumph over common sense under the gaze of a worldwide audience? King’s new clothes I suppose.

There are so many reasons why this deal is bad that one must hope there’s some mysterious ‘good’ in there that we’re not being told about.

But it’s early days. The BBC has been behaving oddly recently. After ignoring Israel’s humanitarian efforts in Haiti and the Philippines, and the ongoing medical treatment of Palestinians in Israeli hospitals, we’re suddenly given a generous report by Kevin Connolly of all people, on Israel’s compassionate response to sick and injured Syrians.
I nearly fell out of bed this morning when I heard it, and here is the web article to prove that I wasn’t dreaming.

I understand that some of Israel’s supporters will be expressing their gratitude to the BBC for this small mercy, but you can bet that masses of Israel’s detractors will be firing off furious letters about the Israel lobby and its hold over the Zionist BBC.


  1. What a Joke!-Small mercies!
    I have been a Palestine supporter since 1967...and I have never seen the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian on BBC!

    Netanyahu [or Bibi his BBC friends call him!]- Propaganda minister Regev- Dan Taub etc I've seen many times!

    What a Joke! -Is the BBC biased?
    Of course it is-Towards Israel! That is the reason that only Israeli is consulted after the news of the Iran deal!

    What a Joke! -Wolf in Sheep's clothing!
    Israel hides under the mantle of a Liberal Democratic Country, when in reality it is one of the most repressive countries in the world! its 46 year occupation and expansion of the Palestine areas has seen regular murder/injury/ethnic cleaning and human rights violations! Even Palestinian fishermen get fired upon by Israeli gunboats!

    If you were honest about the reason for this site, you would soon realize that the BBC is topped up with Zionists and their supporters!

    Yours sincerely
    Barry M Watson

    1. Dear Barry M Watson,
      Obviously you and I identify with opposing narratives; we must agree to differ over fundamental issues, but I do rather wonder why you feel that the BBC should have interviewed the Palestinian Ambassador on this occasion.

      Personally, I feel that the Palestinian position has been amply represented over the years by a variety of BBC reporters, journalists, Israel-bashers and ‘Middle East experts’ such as Martin Asser, Jeremy Bowen, Orla Geurin, Kim Ghattas, Alan Johnston, Barbara Plett, Jon Donnison, Paul Danahar, Yolande Knell, The entire BBC Arabic service, Abdel Bari Atwan, Ghada Karmi, Fergal Keane, Frances Harrison, Inayat Bunglawala, Jeremy Paxman, Sarah Montague, Kirsty Wark, Lys Doucet, the entire BBC posse of left-wing comedians, Mehdi Hasan, Mishal Husain, Owen Jones, George Galloway, Alistair Crooke, Peter Oborne, Rageh Omaar. Robin Lustig, Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, Tarik Kafala, Ed Stourton, Wyre Davies to name but a fraction.

      You will disagree, but you do validate the point I make in my last paragraph, many thanks.

    2. Dear Sue,

      The denigration of the EU head of External Services Baroness Ashton-as ‘Mother Theresa Ashton’ -as she tries to bring peace to the Middle East- proves that you are somewhat suited to take your place in the Zionist propaganda machine!

      But seriously do you care about the straightforward reporting of truth, or the manipulation or omission of reporting for propaganda purposes?

      For a supposedly Independent National broadcaster like the BBC, one could assume that the unbiased reporting of a foreign conflict like Israel/Palestine was simple.

      As a ‘watcher’ of the conflict, I even find the Israeli Press more fair and comprehensive in its reporting than the BBC!

      I remember an early report on the BBC ‘”Palestinians attack large vehicle and kill two Israelis"! Then I read an Israeli newspaper where I found that this was in fact two Israeli soldiers killed and their 65 ton Military Tank was destroyed during an attack! Just a slight difference in meaning disseminated by the BBC to the British public!

      Your listing [outing] of the supposedly pro Palestine, so presumably anti-Israel journalists, is vacuous without proof! We will never know what their personal opinions are…..until they retire!
      However, it matters not what they report back to the BBC, it is more important to see what parts of these dispatches the BBC in London actually uses!

      One ex BBC man-Tim Llewellyn, now able to talk, has given ample evidence in his writings of the problems he encountered at the BBC trying to tell the truth about the conflict!
      Since retiring he is free to give a true opinion that-“The BBC is very sparing in the amount of delegations or visitors it allows from the Palestinian side. Whereas from remarks that have been heard from the head of BBC News, Helen Boaden, the British Board of Deputies (of British Jews), for example, practically lives at the BBC. They’re there all the time.” Tim Llewellyn

      My point about the BBC not interviewing Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Ambassador, was not specifically regarding Iran-but about any issue whatsoever about the Palestine or the Middle East! Whereas I am fully familiar with Mr Mark Regev who is given ample time by the BBC to spread the word of the Israeli regime in the UK!

      If a member of the public complains to the BBC, this goes through a long complaints procedure before any action is taken. However if one is Baroness Deech, a well-known supporter of Israel [And an ex BBC Trust member!] who did not like Nigel Kennedy's comment at the Proms -where he referred to the Israeli occupation in Palestine- she contacted the BBC and Kennedy’s comment was swiftly removed from the broadcast!

      Finally-I am not anti-Jewish! Or anti-Israel per se! Israel is here to stay.
      However the disregard of the Palestinian people by the Zionists, the British and the Americans in establishment of the ‘Jewish Dream’ is sickening!
      No decent person would condone the oppression of this occupied people! No honest person could ignore the human rights record against these people by the Israeli Government!
      Even Jewish people in the West can see the continued expansion of Israel into the West Bank!

      Barry M Watson

    3. Dear Barry,
      I am happy to be called a Zionist, so thank you.

      I rather thought my sarky reference to ‘Mother Theresa Ashton’ was more of a dig at the way the press has suddenly sanctified the good Baroness than denigration of her personally; though if pushed, I would add that she seems even further out of her depth in brokering this asymmetric deal than she was beforehand.

      For every quote you care to mention from the violently anti-Zionist Tim Llewellyn or the batshit crazy Alan Hart - I could cite, say, Melanie Phillips or Douglas Murray. We could go on endlessly pitting opposing views against one another to no effect.

      I could give examples of unfairly weighted pro-Palestinian reporting from each of the individuals I listed. You could easily check these if you cared to delve into the archives of this site and @ Biased-BBC 2009-2012, but I daresay you would find my writings as unpalatable as I find those at, say, Stormfront or the Electronic Intifada, and I don’t expect either of us to punish ourselves so.

      You can find my views on the Nigel Kennedy incident here and here

      “No honest person could ignore the human rights record against these people by the Israeli Government!”
      This is one of the most confused notions I’ve yet to hear. Are you quite sure you don’t mean the human rights record of Hamas and the PA?

      You may not think of yourself as anti-Jewish - I mean that would be racist. However you are undoubtedly spouting the rhetoric of those that are.

    4. Dear Sue,
      You are right, we could go on batting the 'facts' of both sides back and forward to no end.

      However you must avoid grouping all of the people who campaign for the Palestinians as anti-Jewish!

      From 'our' side I can tell you that many of these people, including myself, are the same people who would, if necessary, campaign for suffering Jewish people!
      You must also realise that most of us in the West would have more in common with Jews than Arabs-Our support is based on Justice and Peace for both sides!

      However while I fully understand your support for Israel, is there to be no end to the oppressive occupation?

      The early Zionist knew they would have problems with the indigenous Palestinians, therefore, unless they were all completely corrupt, they had quite some time to come up with an ethical solution.
      Since the establishment of the Israeli state, many Israeli Governments have come and gone-What solutions have they come up with?
      It is 46 years since the Israeli occupation of the rest of Palestine in 1967- What solution has the Governments since then come up with to live in peace with their neighbours?

      What is your solution to the problem?


    5. My solution? The first step would be to persuade the Arabs to stop attacking Israelis. It might take some time.

      You know the adage “If the Arabs laid down their weapons there would be no more war. If the Israelis did so there would be no more Israel.”
      It’s glib, I know, but it’s more or less true.

      Are you not aware that the ‘resistance’ began as soon as the Jewish state of Israel was conceived? It was rejected by rulers whose hatred for Jews emanates from the Islamic holy scriptures. The ‘indigenous’ Palestinian Arabs did as they were told. Do you not agree that the Arabs’ rejectionist attitude, which is at the heart of the conflict, stems from religion-based hatred of Jews?

      The six-day war began in the spring of 1967, when minor border incidents grew into an ill-advised and reckless gamble by Israel’s enemies to go for all-out war. It was an attempt at a ‘once-and-for-all’ annihilation of Israel, which didn’t pay off; the Arabs lost and paid the price. Their loss was their own doing. Their misery is of their own making.

      The ethical solution, which you imply is the sole responsibility of the Israelis, is in fact in the hands of the Palestinian Arabs who only need to revise their hateful education system and embrace all the fantastic opportunities that Israel could offer them.

      I am aware of the futility of talking to someone who finds the acrimonious and hate-filled Tim Llewellyn credible. For reasons only you can know, you have allowed yourself to be sucked into unpleasant and malign politics, just like the good Germans of the 1930s.


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