Saturday 27 December 2014

From Their Own Correspondent

Please imagine for a minute that the BBC is biased, and biased in the way we and Sue believe it to be...

Then please imagine what kind of stories such a genuinely biased BBC would choose for its Christmas edition of the never-ending From Our Own Correspondent...

Were I to guess blind, I'd guess that it would have to include a report from Bethlehem which blames the numerical decline of Christians in Bethlehem purely, and without balance, on the adverse effects of "the Israeli occupation". 

My experience of past BBC behaviour leads me to expect that - Yolande Knell, for example, and her poor Palestinian shepherds, from a few years ago, abiding in the fields, watching the Israeli settlers by night.

This weekend's festive edition of From Our Own Correspondent duly led with that very thing, courtesy of, yes, Yolande Knell.

Her piece, all in all, had been full of festive cheer up till its mention of "the Israeli occupation" (even though Bethlehem is run by the Palestinian Authority and isn't occupied) - three Christmases (Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox), bagpipers (via British rule), jolly Palestinians being self-deprecating, etc...

...and then, wham!, came the attack on Israel. 

The other topics, if you're wondering, were.....inspiring, racist-stereotype-defying Roma/gypsies in Hungary; the Nazi underbelly of the Vienna Phil's much-loved New Year Day concerts; how the BBC's Trending editor hates New York's brash consumerism at Christmas; and something about French food.

That does sound very 'BBC', doesn't it? 

Actually, the gypsy story did seem like a genuine 'good news story', and the history of the New Year's Day concerts in Vienna, as reported by Radio 3's Squire Trelawny, is full of dark echoes (and Norman Lebrecht has been covering such things incisively for years); and...

...well, my enthusiasm runs out there. The BBC Trending guy sounded like an unfunny David Sedaris [whose Christmas piece for Radio 4 this year - his first published piece - was very, very funny], and I can't remember anything about the French food item. 

Despite the extraordinary, damning revelations that keep coming out of the archive about the Straussfest in Vienna over the festive period (did you know there are actually three such concerts each year?), I still love the thing, so, altogether now...

Darr darr deee darrrr (wait for it!)..DA!!....da Da...da Da/...dar dar dee da.DA..da Da..da Da...


  1. I met a Christian from Bethlehem at a conference. Even though he was a panellist at the conference he insisted I not use his name in the Five Minutes for Israel blog.

    Completely off the record, he told me most Christians would welcome the return of Israeli control of Bethlehem but were too scared to say that publicly. I didn’t ask him, although in hindsight I should have, about those Christian groups such as Saheel and Kairos working with the Muslim Arabs to destroy Israel.

    BTW the 85 per cent in 1948 to 12 per cent of its 60,000 inhabitants in 2006. statement is very misleading. In 1967 following the conquest of the area in the Six Day War the Israelis made a census. Muslims made up 53.9% of the town’s 14,439 inhabitants.

    Even allowing for some inaccuracy in the figures this indicates that the population of Christians, both in total and as a percentage of the total population, was dropping precipitously while the population of Muslims was rising (mostly due to an influx of refugees but also due to higher birthrates) before Israel had anything to do with it.

    I remember reading once an opinion that the Christians were leaving at a higher rate than the Muslim because they had the education and the family connections to do so. How many Muslims would leave if they could is an open question.

    1. Thanks for that, deegee.

      Christians in the countries surrounding Israel are going through such a nightmare at the moment it wouldn't be surprising if literally millions of them were secretly dreaming of living under Israeli control.

      Those not already on the run seem to have chosen to shut up or (as in Lebanon) make deals with the devil to keep themselves alive.


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