Tuesday 21 July 2015

Panorama. The Train that Divides Jerusalem

Does anyone still  make a point of tuning in to Panorama as we used to in the past? I don’t think so. Last night, for want of anything better to do I switched on the telly just in time to catch someone, in their most doleful Will Self accent, regretfully decrying their sadness that  their grandparents’ dream of a utopian Israel was now kaput. 

As the closing credits rolled up the screen, with heavy heart I turned to iPlayer to see what I’d just missed. While I waited for it to be uploaded (or whatever was causing the delay) I turned to Twitter, as one does these days, to check out the craic.

Adam Wishart “I am a proud Jew” was magnanimously engaging with his critics. Seriously, he appeared genuinely willing to listen to their criticisms. Listen, but not hear, if you know what I mean.

The criticisms fell into several camps  - if that’s not too emotive a word. There were, of course one or two of the usual Israel-hating trolls who can’t bear to come across anything marginally less antisemitic than Electronic Intifada, but the messages that had substance cited some specific examples of Wishart’s ‘default BBC’ agenda.

One particular issue that kept cropping up was the portrayal of Mohammed Abu Khedir, the Palestinian youth who was brutally murdered by Israelis. The Palestinian Khedir family was portrayed sympathetically and at length, whereas there was but a fleeting reference to the three Israeli boys who were kidnapped and murdered, and seemingly no attempt to include their distressed families in the film, or to emphasise that the latter atrocity took place before the former. 

Other issues came up too. Selective use of Israeli voices - all those featured expressed stereotypical right-wing views of the kind that fuel a specific type of Israel-bashing that’s rife these days.
Lack of context, insufficient emphasis on the security reasons for the barrier - a mistranslation of ‘Yahud’ to ‘soldier’ - misleading allusions to a racist element that allegedly surrounds the the train’s existence.

Anyhow, by this time the iPlayer was fully functioning so with girded loins and gritted teeth I pressed play. 

The first thing I saw, (I would, wouldn’t I?) was Adam polishing his as-a-Jew credentials. That’s a bad sign. 
Actually, it wasn’t the very first thing. What struck me in the first instant was the way the narrator’s voice stretched the vowels. “and the train itself has become a ta-a-a-rget for vi-i-i-i-lence”  
“I’m Adam Wishart, a British Jew” he announced, just in case we thought the voice we were hearing belonged to Will Self. “And I’m going to ri-i-i-ide Jerusalem’s new train to the heart of a city which feels more divi-i-i-ded than ever.”

Accompanying - or immediately after - the Mayor’s assurance that the light railway was ‘open to all,’ there was a brief shot of passengers disembarking, and nary an Arab to be seen.

It’s the kind of thing that’s done in the editing suite; done to convey a quasi-subliminal message, while the filmmakers indignantly protest the opposite with their Sally Bercow-style innocent faces. 

The Temple Mount issue was clumsily handled. It was over-simplified to the extent that it was made to appear to be yet another dastardly Jewish plot to trample all over Arab holy places. 
When Yahuda Glick was shot I looked into the situation a little bit, and I’d say that Adam’s portrayal of the situation was very unfair. Obviously “it’s complicated”. 

“Rivka Shimon is part of the new Temple movement” droned ‘Will’. That is why we’ve decided to feature her in this unbiased documentary. Look at all those Jews stampeding into Arab holy places as if they hadn’t a care in the world! 

Rivka says they’ve a ‘right’ to be here!

At least Rivka has a sense of humour. She looked suitably amused at the ludicrous appearance of a heavily veiled Arab ‘Muslima’ violently using a plastic garden chair as a drum in protest at the impudent Jewish invasion.   “What are they like? her half smile quite rightly implied. 

“Within minutes of Rivka’s group arriving” narrated Mr. ‘Self’, "there are protests'. There certainly are. Great burly veiled figures in long black burkas (men, surely?) striding along shreiking “AllahuAckbar” and banging chairs on the ground.

“They do pray, in silence, which they shouldn’t be doin’ in there” asserts a devout Muslim woman indignantly. “Gosh. How awful” I’m thinkin’,  Islamophobically.

One of the problems with Rivka, apart from the fact that she probably represents a minority, albeit a vocal minority, of religious Israeli activists, is that her use of the English language lacks nuance. When she says: 
”And when we are sure what we are doing is right, no-one can be against us, and God will ‘elp us, and it will come, and it will be good for the Muslim world not to be against us - because if they will be against us - they will suffer” 
it sounds a bit sinister, but it is open to interpretation in so many ways. It could sound like a threat. It could indicate exactly the opposite, but because of her lack of vocabulary and her demeanour, it had an unfortunate effect. Just what doctor BBC ordered. 

‘’...........then in 1967 Israel occupied the eastern areas” Adam was suddenly saying, as if that had happened by supernatural means. Well, Rivka did say Israel winning that war was a miracle.
“Every day the train passes, they are butchering me” worded the subtitles, to the spoken Arabic from an aggrieved Palestinian man. “every day they are killing me” repeated Adam “this is what the train means to us” he continued.
Waled Abu Khedir is showing me what used to be his land until it was taken to build this train station”
Where have I heard that name before - hmm. 
“He refused compensation because the seizure of land fits into a wider picture”. Hmm. A good reason to refuse compensation? Or not.
Arieh King is an evil Jewish property developer, buying up Palestinian land for Jews. He’ll go down well in my documentary, thinks Adam. Arieh King is a one-man, Arab-hating Israeli expansionist explosion. 
The Palestinian refugee camp is grim. It’s a slum. “In my teenage Zionist education course” intones Adam “They didn’t introduce us to any Palestinians”. Oh dear. That’s Jewish brainwashing for you.

“Israel says the barrier that surrounds this part of the city was built to protect Israelis from attack” he says. “But it seems to me that it serves another purpose as well. To cordon off the squalor and deprivation.”

Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem has a lot to answer for. Adam confronts him: “In the Shuafat refugee camp, it’s part of the municipality, there’s rubbish all over the street, sporadic water.”

Barkat attempts to make a profound point.:
“There are no Jewish refugees. Not one. We take them home and help them. It’s very unfortunate that there are Arab refugees. That with all the wealth of the Arab world, they haven’t found the time and the capital to help the refugees out.”
The point is lost on Adam as well as the film’s editors, who have superimposed footage of the aforementioned deprivation over the Mayor’s voice. 
“They may be refugees” says Adam, “but they’re residents of Jerusalem, aren’t they?” 
He puts that to the Mayor. 
“I agree, and I do everything I can, however its a problem that the municipality cannot solve on its own”
Adam voices the rest of the interview with Nir Barkat on the his behalf:
 “The municipality spends a lot, but would like to provide more services, he says, but its staff are subjected to physical and verbal abuse.” 
he recounts, adding:
” I can’t help feeling that the state of this place and the lawlessness  and the barrier make this part of Jerusalem a tinderbox waiting to ignite.”
Back to the tubby Palestinian man who says:
 “it’s difficult to be a child born into an environment of occupation and racism. Nobody’s born a violent person, but the segregation and disparities lead to war and violence.” 
He spoke in Arabic, so this was a translation. There are so many holes in that statement that I feel would have been countered if Adam had been treating both sides equally. He might have started “I can’t help feeling...” and continued to point out that the racism is far more prevalent on the Arab side, that children are born into a culture of antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and that these are the prime factors that ‘lead to’ occupation, segregation, disparities and violence. 
But Adam didn’t say that, or probably even think that.

Then the little boy whose words were mistranslated. Yahud to ‘soldiers’. “God bless them” he said of the stone-throwers.
“Most of the firing was from fireworks” says Adam “The ammunition of the powerless.” 

A brief shot - ‘that shot’ - of a Palestinian car driving along the platform, ploughing into waiting passengers. 
“Palestinians have targeted the rail line, driving ca-a-a-ars into waiting passengers, killing three adults and a baby” 
narrated Adam. A statement that took as long to state as it took to read that sentence. 
This was the content that Adam was Tweeting in answer to Tweeted accusations that he didn’t focus on Palestinian-on-Israeli violence. Three nameless adults and a nameless baby.  
Immediately the subject is changed:
“16 year old Mohammed Abu Khedir was also waiting by the train line a year ago when he was kidnapped by a group of Israelis” 
A close up photo of a pensive looking Mohammad filled the screen. 

“As tension grew in the run-up to last summer’s Ga-a-aza war” continued Adam, sounding particularly Selfish “three Israeli teenagers had also been abducted and murdered.” That’s all. Nameless boys, abducted and murdered by persons unnamed.

 “Hussain is Mohammed’s father.”

 “They tied him to a tree, they poured petrol on him and burned him alive.” says Hussain. Hmm. Is that exactly what happened? I’m not so sure, but in any case it was bad enough without embellishing it. Embellishing it makes it worse in its own special way. “it was the ugliest crime in history” he said then. 
Mohammed’s tearful mother is shown. “Even now I think he will be back” that close-up again, and footage of an open coffin being carried aloft, paraded in the street, by a crowd of men. Was that Mohammed? 
The Palestinians destroyed the station. “This was a racist train to keep Jerusalem for the Jews only” attests Hussain.

Cut to ‘the other side of the story’. A terrorist attack on a synagogue. A brutal knife attack on Chaim Rothman, who has been in a coma ever since. His American-sounding wife reads a prayer to his comatose form. As she is filmed on the train home, a fleeting image of what looked like Hussain Khedir standing in front of his son’s headstone flashed onto the screen. Sad music. Lest we forget.

Cut to some joyful Israelis celebrating Jerusalem day. A protest. Violence.
“When I was here 30 years ago even my most fervent Zionist friends weren’t rushing to build a temple on this site” 
says Adam. 
“now this idea is gathering support from within the mainstream. Even a new member of the cabinet supports the idea. I can’t help but think, if some Jews push much further, this would surely be the last stand for the Palestinians.”

Too many “I can’t help but thinks” in this film, is what I can’t help but think. 
“I’m left wondering, what is the purpose of the train. Does its destination hold a clue?” said Adam.

And I’m left wondering, what is the purpose of this film? Does its destination (the BBC ) hold a clue? Says me.
Adam continues:
“It travels north, through the Palestinian neighbourhoods and snakes round the refugee camp. What’s so controversial is that the ultimate destination is an Israeli settlement. 1000 acres, taken by Israel to build a beautiful suburb. Like all settlements in the occupied territories most of the international community considers them to be illegal.” 

The mayor of Jerusalem again.
“In all those places there was never a Palestinian state”, he says. 
“put a shovel in the ground, and you’ll find Jewish roots; so when people talk about occupied land - occupied from whom? It’s all Jewish!”

Back to Adam. 
“This train makes permanent the expansion of Israel. This settlement is like a fortress, perhaps not surprising when so many Israelis feel a constant threat from their Arab neighbours and it’s Rivka Shimon’s home.” 
says Adam. Rivka likes the view. 

“What’s surprising” says Adam “is that you can see the deprivation including the Shuafat refugee camp the other side of the barrier.” 
"Have you ever been over there?” he asks Rivka, meaningfully. “No, of course not” she answers “even the police don’t go there”

“The Israelis and the Palestinians should be neighbours but they’re separated by an ever-widening gulf of distrust.” 
states Adam.
Back to the tubby Palestinian man:
“There will never be peace between us and the Israelis, the Jews of the municipality. How could they be human, they live opposite us and can see with their own eyes the conditions of the camp. It is in no way humane or normal.”

Back to the beginning. I think this is where I came in. Adam alone on a deserted train. “My journey has been heartbreaking” says Will Self.
“When my grandparents campaigned for the state of Israel they hoped for a place of refuge, tolerance and equal rights for all.”

(Obviously they didn’t take into account the religion of Islam and its antisemitism, intolerance, inequality and the Arab world’s determination to make permanent refugees out of the Palestinian Arabs they encouraged to move out of the way whilst they made their failed attempt to destroy the newly formed Jewish state)

“I can’t believe that this could be the place that they dreamed of, all those years ago” he finishes.
Little did they know that their grandson would be working for Panorama, making a selectively edited documentary in the years to come.

Incidentally, I can’t help but wonder what has happened to all the footage that was rejected? The footage that remains on today’s equivalent of the cutting room floor? Were the only Jews that Adam encountered ruthless, entitled, ‘chosen’ and religious?  Were the only Palestinians he spoke to sad, bereft of land, full of hopelessness, despair and anger and decidedly economical with the actualité?  

I don’t think Twitter is the ideal way of communicating on complex matters like this, but someone did raise another question. Is this the time to put out another documentary that’s bound to inflame yet more antisemitic sentiment than is already rife in the hostile, anti-Israel atmosphere that exists in present day Britain?  

Update: More here


  1. Regarding the “illegal settlement” on “occupied territory” please see this article for more information: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/keeping-jerusalem/jerusalems-neve-yaakov-90-year-old-settlement/2014/02/20/

  2. What exactly has the BBC got against a safe and secure homeland for the Jewish people? Why, even when they try to be unbiased, do they send a reporter, Adam Wishart, to Israel who is clearly a self hating Jew in the Ed Milliband camp who believes we should only ever be victims, not nation builders.

  3. If Wishart claims to be a proud Jew but doesn't discuss the massive vandalism of Jewish historical artifacts beneath the Al Aqsa mosque, he is a liar and propagandist.

    Mistranslating "Jew" again, are they? With this and sue's earlier post where they translated "Jews" as "Israelis" because the BBC claims that's what their Palestinian advisers told them was best, we know there is an editorial directive. Despite any BBC claims that they don't have them.

    Excellent work, Craig.

    1. My apologies, sue. I thought for sure I had checked the author on this post before commenting. Must have been a different post and then I came back here to comment.

      In any case, 'self-hating' or 'self-loathing' can be interpreted as hating one's own tribe or family, and feeling shame at having that as part of one's own identity. From that perspective, Wishart is clearly self-loathing. He basically states it from the outset. He's proud of something, but it's not being a Jew. And he can't possibly be religious on any level other than the annual High Holiday attendance if he doesn't spend time talking about what the Muslims have done to the only real holy spot for Jews on the planet, never mind the priceless history that's been destroyed forever to prevent Jews from having a connection to the place.

      Unless, that is, he did but an editor made him remove it because that would be considered supporting the Zionists.

  4. Good analysis.

    My view is it is sad the way Israel appears to be becoming less and less secular and more and more influenced by religious nutjobs.

    However, why is the BBC giving a platform for a conflicted Jew to magnify Israel's minor faults, while refusing to analyse such matters as the gross anti-Jewish statements in Arab media, Hamas's racist charter, Pakistan's horrendous sectarianism (reflected in the UK) or the Palestinian President's holocaust denying past.

    1. This can partially be explained as an unsurprising reaction to mounting pressure from around the world - especially from the US - to surrender the country's safety. Also, pretty much only religious fundamentalists move to the settlements, and until recently a significant portion of immigrants have been doing it for fundamentalist religious reasons. Demographics can be affected by the political situation. This may change now and in the near future as more secular Jews escape Europe and Britain.

    2. I think there's a lot of truth in what you say. But ultimately, should the Arabs ever come to their senses - i.e. abandon fundamentalist Islam and Sharia, and be prepared to treat Jews as equals - then I would like to think that Israel is there, ready and waiting to meet them half way (as happened when Sadat extended the hand of friendship and co-operation).

  5. How telling it is that you oppose these biases in such an overwhelmingly one-sided way. If you'd have credited the programme for anything at all it got right, or that you agreed with, then maybe it would be possible to take you seriously. As it stands, this article simply adds to, and epitomises, the Israeli–Palestinian problem.

    1. Of course I oppose bias! How can one oppose bias without putting the other side?
      Adam claimed the film was even-handed. Much of the bias was subtle and not particularly easy to pinpoint. I felt the individual Israelis featured were not representative. They were cartoon figures that encapsulated everything the Israel-bashing community loves to hate.

      The even-handedness was superficial and tokenistic and some of the editing was blatantly emotive.

      I focused on the biased bits to show why I thought that.
      Now, why don’t you set out which points in my article you disagreed with so we could discuss?

    2. It seems that only the most blog-savvy types use comment sections effectively. You seem to be using it to extend your article, rather than converse with your readers. Again, what part of the programme, or facts mentioned in the programme, did you agree with?


    3. What do you want to converse about? The programme or my criticism of it?

      I don’t recall disputing any facts in the programme. Here’s the gist of my objections:

      Film was deliberately used to contradict the Israeli point of view several times.
      1. A shot of alighting passengers seemed to belie the mayor’s claim that the train was ‘open to all’.

      2. Film of the squalor on the ‘wrong side’ of the barrier was replayed whilst the mayor was speaking, which was tantamount to dismissing the Israeli position out of hand. The filmmakers clearly thought it was indefensible and didn’t give the viewer a chance to hear the case for the defence as it were.

      3. The Israel woman was filmed returning from her hospital visit. Why was film of Hassan Khedir at his son’s grave inserted over that? I would call that a Tim Wilcox moment.

      The Israeli victims were never named - just referred to as “three adults and a baby”, and “three Israeli teenagers” yet Mohammed Abu Khedir was named, pictured and mourned - and the chronology of his murder was muddled.

      These are not facts. They are filmic tricks. I’ve already summarised some of my other criticisms, in particular the fact that the individuals selected to represent 'the Israeli' were not representative, but picked because they were caricatures of the ‘bad’ Israeli. But you don’t want to hear that. You accuse me of extending my article rather than engaging.

      You insist I tell you what parts of the programme I agree with. I thought the ludicrous pantomime that goes on every time Jews step inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound was illuminating, so I was pleased to see that, but I was much less pleased to hear Adam’s superficial interpretation of the Al-Aqsa /Temple Mount scenario, which is deeply a complex and sensitive subject.

      Now. Your turn to express your thoughts on the film, rather than on my personal shortcomings.

  6. I don’t exactly see Wishart as self-hating. Many people self-identify as the proud Jew but, through a kind of inbuilt magnanimity, they underestimate the malevolence of Islam.
    A lot of British Jews still see their, let’s call it ‘ethnicity’, as something they can whip it out and say “ as-a-Jew” when it suits.
    I could be a bit like that, come to think of it.

    I keep checking Adam Wishart’s responses to his critics on Twitter. Only the most Twitter-savvy types use it effectively. Tweets are usually like sledgehammers cracking nuts.

    The most tangible complaint within the limited vehicle of Twitter is the imbalance between the film’s treatment of victims of violence. Wishart doesn’t seem to get it at all. He says “but I mentioned three adults and a baby....”

    Is he being sincere? I can’t accept that an experienced filmmaker doesn’t understand (and utilise) imagery, and isn’t fully aware that subliminal empathy, emoting and omission will affect the viewer.

    There is a huge problem with the BBC. Somehow they won’t accept the psychological dichotomy between, let’s call it Western thinking - and those who’ve been damaged and permanently infantilised by the cult and culture of a macabre religion.
    The boy who says he longs to be a martyr, for example, “That’s the best thing”. He means it.

    BBC people (if you’ll forgive the generalisation) stubbornly believe that everyone is “just like me”. They come to the party with the conviction that logic and reason will ultimately prevail; nothing seems to persuade them that logic and reason does not guide those who’ve been indoctrinated - imprinted - from birth.

    Adam Wishart’s outbursts of “HOW DARE YOU!” spoiled the “I’m all ears” position he took up at the outset. When aimed at someone who Tweeted about his grandparents, you have to ask - Well, Adam, who drew them into the picture in the first place?

  7. It's not a question of right and wrong. The outcome will be based on strength. I'm not sure why someone supporting the Jewish view would worry.

    1. That’s the sort of comment we don’t encourage on this blog - full of insinuation without actually saying anything. Explain yourself properly or go away. In other words, shit or get off the pot.

  8. Well done for your racist account. Maybe some of your points would be well taken if your discriminatory views didn't come through so clearly. 'Tubby Palestinian' how is this relevant? Consider using names rather than descriptions, alternatively describe the other (Jewish) people mentioned by their comedic physical features.

    1. But you must admit he had a big fat bottom

  9. I have complained about this programme to the anonymous BBC complaint machine, to add one more voice at least. The BBC seems to have cast aside all the recent years of reform, looked for an anti-Zionist Jew, and made a film that says what the BBC management really feel but can't normally say. It will have done a lot of damage, and I hold the BBC management responsible. A disgrace.

  10. Zionism is not Judaism - so your claims of "racism" are ridiculous. In contrast, Zionism is a movement to enable racism, no different from the Nazis with their Polish slums, apartheid in South Africa and racial segregation in the Southern States of America. It does not belong in a civilised society, and Israeli Jews ought to be thoroughly ashamed that they continue to defend it despite overwhelming evidence against it. Younger, enlightened, Israelis already are, and they deserve credit for their humility, their humanity and their desire for equality. Most others, unfortunately, sill believe the lies told to them by their Government and educational system. Try asking the oldest Israelis to describe what happened when they moved to Israel. Also, get your facts straight before writing this type of drivel.


    1. Zionism is part of Judaism. It's intrinsic to it. It's been mentioned in prayers for centuries and during the Passover Seder. "Enlightened" clearly means people you agree with, nothing more.

      Presumably you support either the elimination of Jews from Palestine (either forcing them to move elsewhere or a less congenial method), or condone the creation of a racist Palestinian State, with a human rights violation written into its constitution. Which is it? Which kind of racism do you support while you claim to condemn racism?

    2. Zionist are so ignorant of any other way forward. You obviously didn't watch the videos, making your comments and question very stupid.

      And, "for centuries" means it's a modern phenomenon, and not intrinsic to the religion. As I said, there is no place for racism (against Arabs OR Jews) in a modern, civilised society.

    3. “your claims of "racism" are ridiculous.”

      Too many Palestinians are immersed in racism from cradle to grave, from the ‘Kill the Jews’ philosophy of the Hamas Bunny to the salaries paid (by the P.A.) to families of the fools who’ve blown themselves to smithereens taking bystanders along to paradise with them. All in the name of pure hatred of Jews.

      The South African analogy is false, as any South African who experienced apartheid will attest, and the Nazi comparison is even more mistaken than that.
      In your opinion “racist” Israel does not belong in a civilized society. Civilized society as in the chaotic countries surrounding Israel, or in a future Palestinian state in which Mahmoud Abbas vows no Jew will be permitted to set foot?

      Yes there are young left-wing Jews and Israelis who criticise and even oppose the Israeli government, just as there are opponents of the government here in the UK, where rebels abound; anarchists, extreme socialists, activists and protesters against everything under the sun. Sadly they’ll be less free to express themselves the more that Islamic terrorism forces restrictions upon us.

      There are also Jewish anti-Israel activists like Atzmon and Peled, and there is Neturei Karta who oppose Zionism altogether. There are one-staters (you?) who consider the whole concept of a Jewish State obnoxious, pretending that Arab antisemitism will all melt away as soon as they “tear down that wall.”

      Rebellious thinkers in Israel aren’t hanged, shot, dragged behind motorbikes, which is the fate of rebels, gays and ‘collaborators’ in the civilized society you appear to be defending.

      By the way, the tone of both your comments is rude and offensive.

    4. "Too many Palestinians are immersed in racism from cradle to grave...ll in the name of pure hatred of Jews"

      Is this surprising, when around 80% of the Arab inhabitants were driven out of their homes in 1948?



      "Sadly they’ll be less free to express themselves the more that Islamic terrorism forces restrictions upon us"

      This is false, as Israel would develop secular laws like any other mature, modern society. Christians, Jews, Muslims, agnostics and atheists all co-exist without problems in many Western countries, including, of course, the UK.

      "pretending that Arab antisemitism will all melt away as soon as they “tear down that wall"

      It is likely to be a long and difficult process, just as it was in Northern Ireland. However, the sooner that talks begin, the better. Israel's Government must be the one to extend the olive branch, and make concessions, because it holds all the power.

      "in the civilized society you appear to be defending"

      I've explicitly explained that a "civilised society" is one that enforces equal rights and does not permit racism. I wouldn't describe Israelis or Palestinian societies as civilised as they stand. However, I can certainly sympathise with the Palestinians' mistrust of Israelis, considering what has been done to them within living memory.

    5. Zionism is nationalism, not racism. You are using a warped meaning of the word.

    6. Anon 7:20
      I wouldn’t to do you the discourtesy of ignoring your YouTube link, but basing your views on such a singularly partisan testimony shows we have little to discuss.
      It would be more informative to hear why you are a devotee of Peled.
      Arab antisemitism long pre-dates the establishment of Israel, hence the rejectionist attitude which fuels the conflict, and if more Palestinian Arabs had chosen to defy their leaders and remain in Israel in 1948 as many Israeli-Arabs did, they would have enjoyed prosperous and fruitful lives.

      We’re far off topic now, as well as off the page, but thank you for your interest.

    7. What does it matter if a testimony is "singularly partisan", as long as it's truthful? I notice that you've not disputed any of the information presented in the BBC programme or Peled's talk.

      Unfortunately, most journalism is biased (even your piece, if you call it journalism). Most people are well aware of this. For instance, don't you naturally seek out different sources on topics that interest you, in order to form a balanced opinion? Do you believe that you're the only one?

      Dubious claims of entitlement, Old Testament quotes, prejudiced views of Palestinians and hypothetical discussions of what a Palestinian State would be like aren't helpful if you actually want peace. That IS what you want, isn't it?

  11. Anonymous, I see you are unable to address my points and have instead decided to claim I didn't watch the video. It is historical fact that Jews have been saying "Next year in Jerusalem" and "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand wither," since before the fall of the Roman Empire. That's not a "modern phenomenon" by any stretch of the imagination. It's in Psalm 137, not the NY Times. That was written during the exile to Babylon, after which the Jews got Israel back, yes, but the sentiment returned after the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and expelled Jews from Jerusalem. Jews have been saying "Next year in Jerusalem" during the Passover Seder since the early Middle Ages. Not a modern phenomenon.

    The ability of Jews to achieve this dream is a modern phenomenon, yes, but not the desire itself. You are either uninformed or a liar. Which is it?

    What is your "another way forward", pray tell? Do you have anything of substance to offer? You also are unable to admit that a Palestinian State will be by definition as racist as what you claim Israel is. In fact, it will be more racist because no Jews will be allowed to live within its border - quite the contrast with Israel having non-Jewish Arabs in government and the military. You are either uninformed, or being dishonest for some unfathomable reason. Which is it?

    1. None of the "historic" quotes mention anything about controlling the region. The problem is, you want it to the exclusion of everyone else. It's fundamental to other religions just as much as it is to yours, including Christians and Muslims. Again, all your questions are answered in the videos I mentioned. Please watch this before you respond.


    2. You use scare quotes for "historic". Are you denying they are real, or trying to redefine the term? It's silly for you to claim that Jews would be dreaming of moving back to Jerusalem under somebody else's rule. That doesn't make sense, and you are really struggling to deny reality here. Your statement that it's equally fundamental to other religions is also false. It's important in different ways, and only the Jewish religion has it in such a place of primacy. It's more important to Christianity than Islam.

      Your declaration that I want a State of Israel for the Jews to the exclusion of everyone else is false. It's a straw man, and anti-Jewish propaganda. Christians and Muslims should live there side by side, at peace with the Jews. Christians and Muslims have many countries where their religion is primary. Neither Christianity nor Islam has the same ethnic correlation as Judaism, so neither has the same need or dream of a homeland. To claim otherwise is false. Your statement couldn't be more false. In fact, just about everything you've said so far has been false. At least you didn't accuse me of wanting genocide.

      Your video of a similarly self-loathing Jew does not answer a single one of my questions. In fact, you're using it to hide behind so you don't have to admit what you really want. You are still unable to deny that a Palestinian State will be racist.

    3. "You use scare quotes for 'historic'"

      They were your quotes!

      Who has said anything about a Palestinian State?

  12. very good critique of the propaganda video by wishart on bbc. But your critic missed one gross error which may have been more obvious to me since I live in Jerusalem over the Green Line. Wishart said the "the Wall" surrounds the Shu`afat neighborhood. That is a lie. There is a security barrier or wall that goes along one side of the Shu`afat refugee camp which is about 2 kilometers east of the Shu`afat neighborhood. The Wall does not "surround" the camp --really an urban neighborhood-- but separates the camp from Pisgat Ze'ev--East. It does not prevent residents of the camp from traveling throughout the city. There were no doubt several reasons for building the barrier between the two areas, the camp and Pisgat Ze'ev East. One of them was to prevent youths from the camp from crossing the narrow valley into PZ-East and stealing or harassing people or doing vandalism. Which was happening before the Wall was put up there.

    Another falsehood in the wishart propaganda film was the claim that the land of Pisgat Ze'ev [which has five parts, north, east, west, central, etc] was confiscated from Arabs. Much or most of the land for PZ belonged before 1948 to the Neveh Ya`aqov farming cooperative [moshav]. The Jewish farmers in Neveh Ya`aqov fled early in 1948, as did many other Jews in the first months of the war. When Israel took back the land of Neveh Ya`aqov in 1967 the land was made into urban neighborhoods. Before 1948 some of the land of PZ also belonged to other private Jewish owners who had not developed it before 1948.

  13. Probably the most ridiculous claim made by wishart was that the tram line "divides" Jews from Arabs. Actually, since both Jews and Arabs rode the same tram line and tram cars, the tram brought them together rather than dividing them. The film inadvertently confirmed this since I saw Arabs get off the tram with Jews. When I say Arabs, I refer who were wearing the Arab costume since otherwise they would not be very obvious. Wishart tried to make the tram line the villain of the piece.

  14. Another tit for tat argument in the name of a fictitious and non existent entity . god


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