We bloggers tend to become a little incestuous. We pat each other on the back, link to each other and I suppose we create our own little bubble. Some might say we regurgitate, plagiarise, gossip, and preach to the choir.
Perhaps we’re almost as biased against the BBC as the BBC is biased against our politically incorrect viewpoints. Perhaps we all try hard not to let our biases cloud our ability to see the bigger picture. But the BBC hardly ever entertains the possibility that it could be at fault, and it’s powerful enough not to care.
The area of biased broadcasting that interests me most, (anti-Israel / pro-Palestinian reporting, casual antisemitism and the BBC’s incessant and insidious efforts to normalise Islamic practices and customs) has ramifications as wide as anyone cares to make them.
One thing that has always troubled me is the way we allow people to get away with words and phrases that have become meaningless through over-use and laziness. I remember writing about this in July 2010. (updated)
“Constant repetition of a word or phrase can render it meaningless.Trotted out over and over again, words and phrases like illegal war, apartheid and human rights violations lose their impact; particularly when they’re bandied about thoughtlessly by ill-informed people who have no idea whether they are justified, appropriate or the truth.
We’re all trapped by words like peace, war, Zionist, Palestinian. Nazi. Fascist. Neocon.We say antisemitism, you say Islamophobia; we say terrorist, you say religion of peace; we say Islamic, you say unIslamic; we say legitimate, you say illegitimate; we say Israel, you say Zionist entity; we say biased, you say balanced. Tomato, potato, potahto, tomayto. Let’s call the whole Jeremy Bowen off.”
The BDS movement is gaining respectability with virtue-signalling student bodies and lefty ethical activists, and an atmosphere of antisemitism has gathered momentum to a terrifying degree. Even Oxford University, considered one of the top universities in the world, has succumbed.
Apartheid is a state-sanctioned discriminatory policy based on the obsolete principle of racial superiority / inferiority. Make no mistake, it has nothing to do with Israel or “What Israel is doing” to the Palestinians. Yet somehow, the apartheid state label has got itself attached to Israel in the minds of the anti-Israel activists who know no better.
Daphne Anson always manages to find disturbing videos of demos and protest marches that have taken place under our very noses here in the UK. She ferrets out some extraordinary film clips, and from Australia, is able to see our problem with antisemitism more clearly than we do.
She featured this video on her website recently (also on YouTube) It’s straight from a Channel Four News item addressing the governments latest guidelines on the BDS movement.
That’s Channel Four, with its distinctly lefty, anti-Israel agenda, apparently unconstrained by those infamous obligations that force the BBC to perform all manner of linguistic contortions in the name of their charter’s impartiality pledge.
Channel Four Newsroom’s figurehead’ is the unashamedly pro-Palestinian Jon Snow; Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Kathy Newman are his trusty sidekicks.
This particular exchange was chaired by Jon Snow, wearing one of his garish trademark ties (graphic image of rainbow vomit) It was an uncharacteristic challenge by Snow that rendered the BDS activist - not exactly speechless, but, it’s fair to say - incoherent.
Using the oft-posed, pertinent and potentially stymieing gotcha, namely “why aint you boycotting Saudi Arabia?” he demolished her credibility with ease.
In defence all she could offer was the well-worn retort: “ I. Aint. Interested. In. Saudi. Arabia.” (reworded by me)
In the spirit of regurgitate, plagiarise and gossip, I bring you this from UK Media Watch (formerly CifWatch.)
Malia Bouattia, NUS Black Students’ Officer, currently arguing the case for BDS against Israel, actually argued (in October 2014) against a student union motion to boycott Islamic State. Not only that, but she did so on the grounds that ---wait for it -- doing that would be Islamophobic.
No bloody wonder she was momentarily lost for words.
Here is a summary of the film clip Channel Four ran by way of an introduction, preceding the studio chat.
“I think this is an attack on freedom, like, if I don’t wanna buy Israeli goods, I don’t wanna buy Israeli goods” said one of the first students interviewed.
This demonstrates so much stupidity, ignorance and illogicality that I hardly know where to start. But let’s remind ourselves of the government’s actual statement as outlined on the BBC website (The Moral Maze)
“Now the government is planning a law to make it illegal for local councils, public bodies and even some university student unions to carry out boycotts. Under the plan all publicly funded institutions will lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services as part of a political campaign. It's said that any public bodies that continue to pursue boycotts will face "severe penalties." The government believes cracking down on town-hall boycotts is justified because they undermine good community relations, poison and polarise debate and fuel anti-Semitism.”
Do students really believe individuals are going to be made into criminals if they decide to personally avoid buying Israeli goods?
Another student, waving his arms around in lieu of articulacy asks “If I don’t go into a shop to buy Israeli goods, is that violent?
“Others agree with the government’s stance that boycotts undermine community relations and fuel antisemitism” said Assed Baig sounding very like Ali G, before approaching Jonathan Sacerdoti who said:
“........ 84 percent of British Jewish people believed that boycotting Israeli produce constituted intimidation of Jewish people..
That was the gist of Sacerdoti’s contribution, and one does wonder how much material was edited out of the film, which abruptly cut to footage of one of the historic demonstrations against South African apartheid.
Current thinking seems to credit “us” with bringing about the end of South Africa’s apartheid system, solely or primarily because of “us” boycotting South African produce. I just wonder if world-wide anti-racist zeitgeist didn’t have just as much to do with that timely policy change. We never boycotted American produce, did we? I don’t think so. Yet cruel and shocking racism was once rife in the US, and state sanctioned, to boot.
“Actions like this are a vital tool,” say students. Rafeef Zidah (Palestinian society SOAS) says it’s disgraceful that government is attacking local democracy and stopping councils making ‘ethical decisions around investments’....... ‘we have the right to have an impact on corporations that we disagree with’....’and for Palestinian rights as well.’
Hang on. We have a democracy, which means we vote for our representatives. We don’t (yet) have anarchy, where we all take direct action against whatever we disagree with.
Here comes another bit of incestuous borrowing, this one is from Hadar at BBC Watch:
“Interestingly, that same spurious linkage was made in a statement put out by the BDS campaign’s Rafeef Ziadah (also an employee of ‘War on Want’) several hours before this programme went on air.”
I thought Ms Ziadah didn’t look like your average student. More about War on Want later.
“So what would you say to those who say that boycotting Israeli goods is antisemitic?” asks Baig, in his best Ali G patois, addressing another student who said he was Jewish. His BDS advocacy (asaJew) is worth several bonus points “Human rights violations”, he says, and “Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.” “We shouldn’t confuse BDS with antisemitism” was his message, which is one way of putting Sacerdoti’s statement into PC perspective; you could almost hear the film editors crowing.
“The guidance comes when cabinet minister Matthew Hancock is visiting Israel and the government says that locally imposed boycotts can hinder Britain’s export trade” says Baig, to end the film.
The implication of that narrative is crystal clear. The government’s guidance on BDS is purely a matter of self-interest, i.e., it’s cynical and mercenary.
Cut to Jon Snow in the Channel Four News studio. Seated in the pro-Pali / BDS corner, Malia Bouattia representing the NUS, and in the Zio corner, James Sorene from BICOM. Both are extraordinary looking individuals. (Malia Bouattia has masses of hair, James Sorene has huge eyes.)
“There’s no criminal consequence to having a boycott” begins Jon Snow, addressing James Sorene.
“I think some of your reporting was a bit overblown” explains James. In respect of procurement - “they can’t discriminate on the basis of nationality.” [..] “Most British people do not want a boycott - they believe it will hurt Israelis and Palestinians and only 12% believe a boycott will do anything at all.”
Perhaps they will remember the SodaStream fiasco, when anti-Israel pressure resulted in Palestinians having to forfeit secure and well-paid employment, all for “the cause”.
“People want non-violent options in relation to facilitating, you know, solutions” says Malia Bouattia.
How boycotts actually effect ‘solutions’, and what those ‘solutions’ would involve in the wildest imagination of the BDS movement remains to be explored.
Do boycotts hurt? asks Jon.
“The economic effect may be minimal,” says James, “but those who are close to what is a tragic, complex conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, which we all want resolved, is that this armchair activism will do nothing. Interfaith dialogue is needed, whereas boycotts just put up barriers and people stop talking.”
Not that talking to Hamas and /or Fatah seems even possible, let alone likely to bring about peace. Even less so in the current incendiary climate. Never mind, let wishful thinking prevail.
“We should look at history. Look at apartheid in South Africa.” says Malia.
“If people didn’t take to the streets, if people didn’t campaign and enforce the implementation of a boycott as we did as the NUS, where did those conversations that went on for hundreds of years, go?We’ve seen continued expansion of settlements, we’ve seen continued abuses of human rights, of international law totally thrown in our faces and we have no trust in the processes that exist”
James Sorene says:
“People who know the facts know that it is nothing like apartheid, a criminal regime running a racist policy; this is completely different. Both parties are trying to reach a solution. They’ve been talking on and off for many years - they became very close to a solution - we need to keep working at that - government realises that boycotts in local communities are incredibly divisive, they whip up all sorts of ill-feeling and fear and the same thing happens in student unions. The Jewish students....
“That’s about Israel, but what about other countries, I mean do you boycott Saudi Arabia, for example, for the human rights violations there, do you boycott Russia, for example, for human rights violations there?”
“Um. I’m feeling slightly on trial as the leader of all boycotts worldwide. What we’re talking about here is the right to boycott, based on the fact that we feel there is a violation of human rights, of ethics, and we want to implement them and enforce them and some people will use words, like the non-violent solutions as the case of BDSing Israel. We have to come back to that question itself, that if people feel that this is in violation of those rights, then by all means implement those solutions and, you know, these guidelines that are coming out will not just affect Palestinian activism or BDS for that matter, it expands to those campaigning on fossil-free, those campaigning on divesting on trade.....
Jon, turning to James:
I’m bound to come back to...aside of the inter-communal tensions, which you’ve described - on the ground, it doesn’t have any impact does it? There is no effect in Israel at the moment.”
“There is a minimal effect,” says James,
“ but let’s be honest. What Matthew Hancock was doing there - Britain needs Israel. We need Israeli hi-tech, we need Israeli scientific cooperation, one is (indecipherable) on the NHS from Israel .. we need Israel,. But the silence on the issue of other boycotts speaks volumes to those people who will say that (unintelligible)
"We have to leave it. We’ve run out of time."
What I intended to highlight when I started this post, was the meaninglessness of phrases like “Human rights violations” when they are uttered in respect of Israel and the Palestinians. Another one is “What Israel is doing to the Palestinians” and “Palestinian rights”
“Human rights violations” sound like very terrible things, but what actually are they? Denying Palestinians the right of return? Denying Palestinians the right to eradicate Jews from “Muslim lands?” Violating their rights to stab a Jew because of the occupation?
What terrible thing IS Israel ‘doing to the Palestinians?’ Trying to stop them from attacking Israeli civilians ? Taking measures so that Israelis can live their lives without being stabbed, bombed or run down?
Palestinians do deserve human rights. That is they deserve to be divested from the hatred and lies they’re indoctrinated with from birth by believers of their own unnatural, self-loathing, Jew-hating religion. Palestinians should start boycotting Islam.
Pro Palestinian students and left-wing parrot-like ignoramuses get away with perpetuating all that lazy, historically illiterate nonsense because of biased, distorted, historically inaccurate reporting.
Tonight there’s a Moral Maze episode on this topic. Let’s see what they have to say on the matter. Melanie Phillips is on the panel, with Matthew Taylor, Claire Fox and Jill Kirby.
Okay. We listened to the Moral Maze. Michael Buerk kept trying to broaden out the debate. He didn’t want it to be specific, lest it get bogged down in the Israel/Palestine question. But that’s precisely what it should have been about. The more bogged the better, in my opinion.
It emerged from the guy from War on Want, that one of the reasons they defended BDS was that the Palestinians requested it. Yup. The Palestinians requested it.
Jonathan Sacerdoti was one of the witnesses. He tried to bring the topic back to the core issue - antisemitism and intimidation of Jews, but Michael Buerk wasn’t happy with that. He steered the conversation away each time, which was irritating.
Jill Kirby seemed to think they (Jews) should suck it up because she believes the principal of ethical boycotting is sound.
I think I need to listen again in order to to absorb the whole thing properly. It wasn’t an entirely bad debate apart from Matthew Taylor’s constant interruptions and his habit of rudely talking over others.
(Why do lefties and Muslims always do that? Have they no manners?)
I’d like to thank my co-bloggers and the entire “BBC-bias” family; my parents - if it weren't for them I might not be here - and Mr Google for facilitating my research. Most of all, thanks to Israeli technology, without which none of this would be possible. Thank you thank you.
To the rest of you, go on, boycott Israel produce, all of it, and don’t forget to wipe your hard-drives before you destroy your equipment or donate it to a good cause. The Palestinians, maybe?
Israeli technology? Yes please. The Palestinians can’t get enough of it.