Tuesday 2 December 2014

Must Read

I’ve been “away from the office” recently, but I have to mention two outstanding ‘must-reads’.

The first has already been highlighted by Elder and BBC Watch, and has, no doubt, already been devoured by anyone who is concerned about the BBC’s damaging portrayal of Israel. It’s another media related tour de force by Matti Friedman, who pleased many frustrated BBC watchers with his earlier piece  An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth” August 2014, Tablet magazine. We wrote about it here.

In Friedman’s latest article, published in The Atlantic is titled “What the Media gets Wrong About Israel” he reiterates some of the points he made previously. The disproportionate media attention devoted to this conflict relative to other stories, the grossly oversimplified, distorted story it creates, and the telling lack of editorial interest in anything that would interfere with it.

He expands on what we might call ‘confirmation bias’. A toxic mix of assorted transient, ‘here today gone tomorrow’ reporters, all of whom are expected to assimilate or ‘acculturate’ instantly, from day one, when they arrive in an unfamiliar situation, falling straight into the arms of the welcoming, closed-world media social circle that has ties with pro Palestinian NGOs, humanitarian agencies, ‘numerous’ arms of the UN, left wing Israeli ‘peace‘ activists,  staffers and stringers from the PA. 
“This provides them not only with sources and friendships but with a ready-made framework for their reporting—the tools to distill and warp complex events into a simple narrative in which there is a bad guy who doesn’t want peace and a good guy who does. This is the “Israel story,” and it has the advantage of being an easy story to report.”
“In these circles, in my experience, a distaste for Israel has come to be something between an acceptable prejudice and a prerequisite for entry.”

Hamas’s understanding and manipulation of the press’s default narrative  -  Israel as the oppressor and the Palestinians as passive victims  - herds the media towards acting as an unwitting conduit for Hamas propaganda. Hamas will engineer faux ‘confessions’ of tolerance and soft-heartedness, which the press presents as a ‘scoop’. “The Muslim Brotherhood is Actually Liberal” and so on. Now, where have we heard that before, Mr. Bowen?

He explains how concealing the ubiquity of “other reporters” is necessary to maintain the illusion. The truth would reveal Hamas’s strategy of deliberately attacking from behind Palestinian civilians, drawing Israeli response and having the press on hand to film the resultant Palestinian casualties “with the understanding that the resulting outrage abroad will blunt Israel’s response.” 
Hamas’s ruthless M.O. is predicated on the cooperation of journalists.
“Hamas understood that journalists would not only accept as fact the Hamas-reported civilian death toll—relayed through the UN or through something called the “Gaza Health Ministry,” an office controlled by Hamas—but would make those numbers the center of coverage. Hamas understood that reporters could be intimidated when necessary and that they would not report the intimidation;”

It seems that the BBC insisted at the time that the UN figures were reliable; will the BBC acknowledge that this is not the case?

The btl comments at The Atlantic consist of bickering between pro and anti-Israel keyboard warriors. The fantasies used by the antis to defend the media and justify their impenetrable anti-Israel advocacy is based on a combo of staggering ignorance and uncritical and wholehearted acceptance of Palestinian Islamist rhetoric not to mention antisemitic propaganda.

To counter that, or some may say to stoop to their level, I’d venture to offer this somewhat extreme piece of prose by Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez, linked to by a defender of the article.  A bit racist, a bit bigoted, but with more than a grain of truth.

The second tour de force is Ambassador Ron Proser’s speech at the UN. Go to Daphne Anson to read the transcript, which is even better than the video, which you can also watch here!

Here are elementary truths that the Israel-bashing brigade find so unpalatable that they simply refuse to listen to them.


  1. Hi Sue,

    Welcome back, and many thanks for this vital entry - Ron Proser's speech was worth the price of admission on its own!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. The BBC's enabling of violent anti-semitic campaigns against legitimate Israel is an important issue. But in terms of BBC output across the piece, we are probably talking about - what? - less than 0.1% devoted to this issue. So, for a site asking "Is the BBC Biased?" it seems something that needs to be given proportionate attention.


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