Saturday 3 January 2015

Reflective observations

Right on cue PMW and BBC Watch published Fatah’s 50th anniversary graphics, which shed new light on Jeremy Bowen’s statement that Abbas’s party has renounced violence, which looks ever more  fanciful to say the least.

"If the ground of Mecca is for worship, the ground of Jerusalem is for Martyrdom-death (Shahada)."
 “O young [Palestinians], Fatah is calling you”
 "Take up your arms again, so that your enemy won't find rest"
 "We were created to resist - the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (Fatah's military wing) - Al-Asifa Army"
 "Fatah will carry on the struggle in all its forms until the liberation of the land and the man."
 "Load the machine gun with bullets - the machine gun is the path to my salvation."
Do any of the above slogans indicate that Fatah has given up the armed struggle? 

 Bowen in a bandage

I read BBC Watch’s article about Caroline Wyatt with interest. I have no evidence to support my instinctive feeling, which is that Caroline Wyatt’s outlook is not, how shall I put it, run of the mill BBC  - as far as Israel is concerned at any rate.

She had considerable credibility as the BBC’s defence correspondent, with the relevant facts and figures always (it seemed to me) at her fingertips, and I was surprised to find that her talents were suddenly diverted away from defence to religious affairs. She seems more suited to temporal than spiritual matters, if you ask me. (You didn’t, I know)

What did strike me was that by acknowledging that Bowen and co. have ‘improved’, she was at the same time recognising their previous 'guilt'. 

I completely agree with BBC Watch that Bowen has no business whatsoever quantifying amounts of suffering and worse still comparing one with another and thereby insinuating that Israel hasn’t suffered enough to justify retaliating. It’s way above his pay grade, in poor taste, motivated by bias and inappropriate for all kinds of other reasons. 

But if he is going to go down that road he's opening a Pandora’s box and asking for much harsher criticism for not making similar, broader comparisons, and not quantifying all suffering, everywhere. In particular for not comparing I/P related suffering, now and from all time, with suffering the world over caused by Islamic or religiously based wars. 
While we’re on the subject of the Limmud 2014 conference - not being part of any community, Jewish or otherwise, I didn’t know anything about this - never even heard of it - I immediately assumed Caroline Wyatt’s presence was a token gesture, like when politicians make sycophantic speeches at Friends of Israel conventions.
But Mr Google tells me that it’s not quite like that. Then I noticed this . What is going on here? 

Back to the JC online. The BBC ‘agonises’ so it does. Good. Jolly good. To the BBC we wish the same amount of agony as the BBC hath bestowed upon others amen. Equal quantities of course.
 “There’s a genuine attempt to get it right” she said. I believe her. I actually believe there is a genuine attempt in many cases to get it right. But how can you get something right without intelligent understanding of the basics?

My own cracked record is nearly worn to a stump, but I’ll say it once more. There is no moral equivalence here. Giving equal credence to all views regardless of merit is not a very desirable kind of impartiality. Oh dear. 


No-one is likely to be persuaded by a polemic, diatribe, rant, written or verbal onslaught. Many people, including Johann Hari have realised this.

“It’s struck me that, actually, polemic very rarely changes people’s minds about anything.”

It’s particularly relevant with regard to the Israel Palestine situation, which invariably affects people’s reasoning.  

“The word of reason is not going to be listened to on this issue” says Kevin Myers in an interesting conversation on the Melanie Phillips Show. Voice of Israel is a valuable discovery by the way. 

Maybe we should rename this blog ‘Pointless.’ God bless her and all who sail in her and smash a bottle of champagne against our hull.

A requisite attribute of a reliable blog is longevity. We’re in reflective mode. 
Better crack on.........


  1. Your blog is never less than compellingly interesting, but until reading it today I had no idea that Melanie Phillips presented a VoI programme - very many thanks for the "heads up".

    All best wishes to you both for 2015.

  2. I'd never heard about this Limmud conference before. It doesn't sound like a good idea to me and I don't see why the BBC need to engage with it. UK Muslims could organise a much bigger conference, and push their cultural interests. Is that what we want?

    The emphasis now need to be on building a common culture. End state funding for all religious based schools that can't recruit 35% of pupils from outside their religion would be a good place to start.

  3. The question is, what does Wyatt actually mean? If there's a full transcript of her speech, maybe she explains which way the BBC failed. For all we know, she could be in the Paul Mason camp. Although granted, the line about emotive language does imply an acknowledgement of previous shroud-waving and taking an emotional side.

    The thing is, it's when they don't use the emotive language when reporting on the Palestinians and when they don't use openly condemning language when reporting on anything Israel does, or fail to include a laundry list of grievances against Israel in every report, that the BBC gets those other "complaints from both sides". We know this from reading missives from that other side.


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