Saturday 7 March 2015

Dateline Bari

For those wondering how Dateline London's bizarre obsession with Abdel Bari Atwan is going, well, he was on again today - for the fourth time this year (one more than Steve Richards of The Independent). 

His commanding lead as the programme's most-invited guest is still growing. The top of the Dateline leader board when we last looked at it (in August 2014) was as follows:

Atwan, Abdel Bari 45
Goldfarb, Michael 34
Kielinger, Thomas 34

Now it looks like this:

Atwan, Abdel Bari 53
Goldfarb, Michael 40
Kielinger, Thomas 38

For any passing Martians who may be unaware of Dateline's 'Bari', here's a sample of the kind of things he says (courtesy of The Times of Israel - which is unlikely to be among his favourite newspapers):
- In March 2008, he was quoted justifying a terrorist assault by a Palestinian gunman on Jerusalem’s Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in which eight students were killed, since the religious seminary was responsible for “hatching Israeli extremists and fundamentalists.” 
- During a TV interview in 2013, he said he considered Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden only “half a terrorist” due to his positive engagement with US forces in Afghanistan. 
- He was famously quoted as saying that he would dance in Trafalgar Square if Iranian missiles were to hit Israel.
- On the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, he wrote that the worst terrorist attacks in US history will be remembered as the end of the US empire, since “all empires collapse when they pursue the arrogance of power.”
Can you see why the the BBC News Channel/BBC World's flagship international discussion programme chooses to send far more invitations to Abdel Bari Atwan than to anyone else?

Just what is it about the Israel-hating, anti-American, Palestinian leftist that the makers of the BBC's Dateline London like so much? His fabulous Saddam-style moustache? The twinkle in his eye that wows the ladies? His friendship with Gavin Esler?

Still, at least today's Dateline included a strongly pro-Israeli guest, Jonathan Sacerdoti. He's made three appearances since first appearing in 2011, a round fifty less than Bari.

The BBC is a perverse organisation at times.

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