Tuesday 18 November 2014

Intolerable Bias

The BBC’s conduct over the recent outbreak of violence in Israel has been worse than ever. Today a parade of commentators, one after another, have reacted to the synagogue murders 
with a begrudging half-hearted condemnation swiftly followed by the kind of justification that they know the public will swallow, namely that violence is understandable because of Netanyahu, ‘the occupation’ and the settlements. 

We even  had to watch Ben Brown interviewing an individual named Ismail Patel from Leeds ‘Friends of Al Aqsa’ who couldn’t even bring himself to condemn the murders, and Rachel Shabi of the Guardian who attributed all the violence to provocation  by belligerent, far-right Jewish activists who demand the right to pray at ‘Al Aqsa’  and of course the occupation.

Sabri Saidam from Fatah condemned Israel on Al Jazeera and on the BBC, Mustafa Barghouti  was able to make outrageous accusations including blaming Israel for the murder of a Palestinian who was thought to have committed suicide. 

Ever since Rabbi Glick was shot because he had been campaigning for Jews to be allowed to pray at their holiest site, the BBC’s reporting has been wracked with omissions and bias.

The BBC and the British press are not the only ones who use the term ‘right-wing’ pejoratively, and they’re not the only ones who applied it to Rabbi Glick. 
What’s the definition, though? Some use it as shorthand for ‘intolerant racist’.
Anyone with the slightest interest in the topic could easily find videos of Rabbi Glick praying, in Arabic, alongside a group of Muslims. 

They appeared to be positively pally with each other. Yes, that was a pun. So he wasn’t a Muslim-hating racist but a friendly, rather gentle, respectful individual who’s ‘right-wingery’ was merely in his religiosity and his desire to pray at the Jews’ holiest site.
Why, one might wonder, should Jews not be allowed to do that? I understand that it was part of a deal by a former Israeli government who handed control of Al Aqsa  back to the PA. It was an   an act of ‘reaching out’, a gesture, which in hindsight looks futile to say the least.

Astonishingly, though the BBC’s initial reporting would describe the Al Aqsa / Temple Mopunt compound as the third holiest in Islam and the holiest in Judaism, no-one batted an eyelid at the obvious imbalance of the situation.   

“Mr Abbas's office issued a statement saying: "The presidency condemns the attack on Jewish worshippers in their place of prayer and condemns the killing of civilians no matter who is doing it."

So why didn’t the BBC report the incitement that all the other non-anti-Israel media is full of? Mahmoud Abbas’s blatant incitement, calling for days of rage, asking Palestinians to defend Al Aqsa by whatever means; the handing out of sweets, praising and glorifying Palestinian terrorists who succeeded in murdering Jews and martyred themselves in the process.

At the moment The BBC is appallingly biased. It really is intolerable.


  1. Yes, the BBC coverage - but also coverage elsewhere - seems predicated on this notion of balance. Once you go down that road, you can easily justify IS beheading hundreds of poor Syrian soldiers, can't you... they were provoked, innit?

    Actually it's interesting now how the BBC and other media use the word "murder". They've become less picky about using it. One time it was reserved for fellow journalists. But reality has dripped in and they use the word more freely now. It's applied to people beheaded by IS and it was applied to the people murdered in the synagogue in Jerusalem I'm pleased to say, even though Hamas will treat it as a military operation.

    Personally I've always liked the modern secular Jews of Tel Aviv Israel - the Nobel Prize winning, culturally interesting people. No time at all for the backward looking, religous nutjobs that increasingly seem to dominate Israel and who seem determined to expand Israel on to the West Bank.

    That said, I think BBC journalists should certainly challenge Muslims as to why they think they should have exclusive prayer rights to particular sites of religious veneration. I doubt many are brave enough to ask the question!

    Dan Read

    1. Well, I’m a bit of a Richard Dawkins myself, and I suspect many BBC staff are that way inclined too. So the BBC’s unquestioning acceptance of demands made by Islamic religious fanatics is all the more inexplicable and abhorrent, especially alongside the hostility and suspicion with which they view Christianity and Judaism.

    2. Yes, I think you're right about what BBC journos really believe. They tend to be left-liberal-secularist (LLS). Part of the problem is that on the LLS view religion should be a kind of harmless, eccentric pursuit, with religious spokespeople spouting LLS nostrums thinly cloaked in religion (like on Thought for the Day) - that's why they never have a proper Mullah on TFTD. Of Islam doesn't follow the LLS template for religion, but LLS types seem unable to operate in the world without such templates.

      Dan Read

    3. BBC journalists see no need to ask such a question of Muslims. They see Jews as usurpers, occupiers (not the good kind), whose historical ties are so distant as to be irrelevant. After all, we're reminded as often as possible that it's the third-most holy site in all of Islam, and almost never informed that it's the only truly holy site in all of Judaism. They can moan about the all-powerful Jewish Lobby, even while ignoring the fact that Jews aren't allowed to pray at their own holy site. In fact, they see it as a provocation rather than an understandable religious wish.

      Even though the majority of Beeboids are Dawkins-leaning atheists and haters of all religion, that aspect is dwarfed by their reflexive, emotion-based rooting for what they perceive to be the oppressed. It's a rather juvenile, black-and-white, David vs. Goliath view of the world. Emotion trumps all, so no regardless of the historical facts or the realities of who actually wants genocide and who is willing to live in peace, the David vs. Goliath perspective wins every time. After all, admitting that both sides have done wrong and Israel is neither genocidal nor the real obstacle to peace doesn't exactly release much of that lovely self-righteous dopamine.

      Nothing else can explain BBC reporting on the region.

    4. I don't know, they don't seem very well disposed to the "Christian" David against the Muslim "Goliath" in the region. There has been a catastrophic decline in the Christian population in many parts of the Middle East. The BBC does v. little to expose the daily persecution suffered by Christian communities in the region - and also in countries like P.Akist'an.

      Things have changed over the years. Back in the 50s and 60s Israel was quite popular with the BBC, but back then it was seen as a much more progressive and left wing society with its socialist kibbutzes, strong trade union movement etc.

    5. In the Christians' case, the Beeboids have a higher enemy to focus on. They blame the conflict on outside forces (George Bush, US foreign policy in general with the exception of the current President, Israel), and not Goliath.

      Also, they can't appear to give too much sympathy to Christians lest they be accused of anti-Muslim bias. They get complaints from both sides, you know.

  2. Bad news - in the news reports on BBC radio this morning, they were back to the murders in the synagogue being "killings".

    So - we have the odd situation where beheading a charity worker is "murder" but decapitating someone in a synagogue in Jerusalem is a "killing".

    I'd love to see the reporting guidelines!

    Dan Read


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