Saturday 26 July 2014

BBC reporter says Gaza is "a giant prison" and Palestinians are subject to "collective punishment" from Israel

Following on from the previous post, there was a From Our Own Correspondent report today from Paul Adams, leaving Gaza after a week's reporting there on the present conflict. 

Though a radio piece, it contained just the kind of imagery that Brendan O'Neill and Hadar Sela were talking about - graphic descriptions of the dead in Gaza - that will have left quite a few listeners Radio 4 listeners gasping (or retching). 

Now, Paul Adams is a very experienced BBC reporter. He added some careful nods towards the Israeli perspective, but he buried them up to their necks in imagery of death, dirt, depression, and Israeli unkindness, giving precisely the kind of one-sided, loaded potted history (as 'context') that those pro-Palestinian, anti-BBC protestors have been demanding [and that Jeremy Bowen & Co. have been giving them for years].

Of course, you could say that Paul Adams was only reporting what he sees - if he sees dirt and dismembered corpses, he sees dirt and dismembered corpses - but he was not only doing that. He was also guiding his listeners towards a point a view - and doing so with a breathtaking disregard for neutrality.

What follows may be the sort of thing you would expect to hear from deeply biased people like Jenny Tonge or Ben White (or someone at Electronic Intifada) - i.e. the sort of people who say that Gaza is "a giant prison" or that Palestinians are "being collectively punished" - but these are actual quotes from the BBC's Paul Adams today on FOOC
Generations [of Gazans] have experienced nothing but occupation, embargo, blockade, war and death. It's had a slow brutalising effect. Perhaps that's why some of them are seized by such a furious desire to tunnel out and seek revenge. For Gaza is a giant prison, surrounding by a wall, watchtowers and the most sophisticated military in the Middle East. 
But when so many of those dismembered and burned by Israeli rockets and shells are not the fighters but women, old people and, especially, children, then it's really, really hard not to conclude that the Palestinians are being collectively punished. 
Entirely from the heart it may be, but if that's impartial reporting then I'm Jeremy Bowen.


  1. Whether or not you agree with Adams, you have to admit that describing Gaza as a "giant prison" is a staggeringly original idea (it must have taken _hours_ round the editorial table to come up with the concept), and shows the BBC reporter at his insightful, poetic best. It also clearly demonstrates why the BBC is rightly regarded as the envy of the world, and we should count ourselves damn' lucky to have them.

  2. Palestine is a giant prison. You turned it into a ghetto. Just like the Germans did with Jewish ghettos in occupied Eastern Europe...


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