Saturday 1 November 2014

Random observations

A couple of days ago I read an article on one of the inside pages of the Times, headed “Doctors tell of chaos in Gaza’s hospitals.” It was written by Gregg Carlstrom and it looked as though he had been influenced by Julia Mc Farlane’s graphic BBC piece about doctors’ hardships in Gaza during Operation Protective edge because it appeared soon after McFarlane’s report had been fairly heavily promoted by the BBC.

Here’s a short excerpt:
“Even before this summer’s six week war, which killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and injured 12,000, Gaza’s health service had been crippled by an eight year Israeli siege.”

Unlike McFarlane’s article, which featured UK doctors whose trip to Gaza had been funded by certain charities with questionable political affiliations, Carlstrom’s piece contained statements and anecdotes from doctors and staff of the Shifa hospital.

Having read the above quoted excerpt, which appeared near the beginning of the article, Carlstrom’s casual readers may have missed the latter part in which a slight between-the-lines hint that the Palestinians themselves bore the best part of the blame for the situation could just about be detected.

However, a significant little phrase in there leapt out, as significant little phrases are apt to do.
“.........Gaza’s health service had been crippled by an eight year Israeli siege.”

What’s wrong with that? Firstly, if Gaza’s health service has been crippled by anything, it hasn’t been crippled by Israel; and secondly Israel’s import restrictions are a necessity and not a siege. 

This widely held, health service related misconception  is one of Yolande Knell’s party pieces.
 from the very first day of the seven-week conflict the BBC misled its audiences by stating or implying that shortages of medical equipment in the Gaza Strip are a consequence of border restrictions imposed by Israel. On no occasion has any effort been made to clarify to BBC audiences that the permanent shortage of drugs and medical supplies in the Gaza Strip is the result of ongoing disputes between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and that Israel does not place any restrictions whatsoever on the entry of such items into the Strip.”

Having seen Carlstrom’s article I Googled around a bit, as you do, and I found a few other questionable things that seem to keep slipping into his pieces. For instance:  
“All this has been triggered by an act that even Israeli security officials believe was probably not approved by top members of Hamas in Gaza or Qatar but was more likely the work of a rogue Hamas branch in Hebron: the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.”
Can you tell what it is yet? It’s one of Jon Donnison’s pet theories, that Hamas was unfairly blamed for the murder of the three Israeli teenagers.  I understand he’s still sticking to it.

On CIF Watch they’ve been highlighting another of Carlstrom’s pieces for the Times, 
the one about the apartheid bus.  It had to be corrected because the strapline “Bus ban on Palestinians ‘reeks of apartheid state’ and the caption: 
“Palestinians are to be banned from all Israeli buses in the occupied West bank for security reasons, in a move that critics say “reeks of apartheid.”  ” 
was misleading ( and incorrect). 

I must say the sleight of hand trick of headlining an article with a wildly emotive quote from  “critics” is  shared by many *innocent face* impartial journo-magicians these days. Recently Robert Tait, another habitual between the lines Israel-basher, used an inflammatory quote from Mahmoud Abbas in a Telegraph piece. 
“Israel accused of 'act of war’ after closing religious site”  Yes, but by whom? By someone who accuses Israel of committing an act of war merely by its very existence, that’s who.

We all know how fond Mahmoud Abbas is of making inflammatory accusations. He does so  in a devil-may-care manner, casting them wide in the hope that some will fall upon fertile ground, which they usually do,  and exploiting them as a click bait headline is naughty.

Incidentally, doesn’t it strike anyone else as completely preposterous that the latest contrived Palestinian victimhood spat is reported sympathetically (to Abbas) by the media? I mean, a Palestinian shot a Jew who had the audacity to campaign for the Jews’ right to pray near the  “third holiest” site for Muslims and the most holy site for Jews.    
All we’ve heard for the last couple of days is how crucial it is that the  Al-Aqsa mosque is open for business in time for Friday prayers.  Remind me, which religion’s ability to pray in a specific location is deemed “essential”, and which is forbidden altogether - and who is it that is  saying :
"This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation," said Nabil Abu Redeineh, Mr Abbas's spokesman. "Harming the places sacred to Muslims and Christians is a red line. The state of Palestine will take all legal measures to hold Israel accountable and to stop these ongoing attacks."
I can’t understand how anyone can’t be incredulous at that. It’s reminiscent of the accusation that Israel (with a substantial Israeli-Arab population) is an apartheid state, from the mouths of anyone who blithely accepts the Jew-free policy that Abbas freely boasts he intends to implement in his future Palestinian state. 

I see Maureen Lipman has made a few headlines this week. She’s fallen out of love with the current Labour party. I’m not sure I agree with the way she has gone about explaining why she’s taken this stand. Many of the below the line comments were depressing,   not just below the Standpoint article, but some of the comments under several mainstream press reports that decided to covered the story were blatantly antisemitic. Quite surprising that some weren’t moderated. I was surprised to see that Guido’s Maureen Lipman article had fewer antisemitic BTL comments than normal for that site, unlike the Jenny Tonge piece, which takes Order-Order’s commentariat back to its familiar kindergarten level. 

The Guardian’s comment section is full of ignorant anti-Jewish remarks as is the Mail’s. Divided in politics, united in antisemitism.

I didn’t think much of this week’s Apprentice. It’s being strangulated to death by its own format. The next task should be to put it out of its misery, I’d volunteer to project manage it humanely. 

Oh well, just a few observations. 
Some reviewers thought Lordy fired the most interesting candidates last week; premature ejectulation. But not for me. I was glad to see the back of them. Sarah seemed to have those plastic red-lips clenched between her teeth all the time. I had a pair once and they’re no fun. You can’t speak or smile in case they fall off. 
Anyway, she and the Alvin Hall impersonator were as dull on Dara’s aftermath show as they were on the show proper. 
The project manager was surely Jessica Hynes. Was it Jessica Hynes? I won’t tell anyone.

As for the tasks. How bad can ‘tasks’ be? Very. And how dull?  The superimposed deadlines make the tasks in the Apprentice and all ‘task’ based programmes virtually impossible to complete; successfully or at all. 

That was good. And it was on the BBC. 


  1. Any mention of Egypt's blocked border with Gaza during that "eight year siege"? Has anyone wondered at the incompetence of a supposedly all-powerful Jewish Lobby who can't even get control of their own holy site?

  2. Yep...never hear about the Egyptians role in stifling those vulnerable young persons of Gaza do we?
    Only the bloodijooz, as ever.
    Egypt isn`t daft...the MB hate Hamas once the Jews are out of earshot...and Hamas are loathed by all right-thinking Muslims.
    Only the BBC and Guardian seem to like them-but funnily enough tend to send their pro-Hamas slurry from nice hotels on the Israeli side of the border...


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