Monday 14 March 2016

Devil in the detail

I switched on the radio halfway through a FOOC about the Golan Heights. The speaker was obviously coming from the ‘Arabist’ perspective, and when she said:
It [Israel] has recently completed a big barrier along its border with Syria – similar to that on the West Bank – citing security concerns and the need to bring stability to the region.” my hackles rose. Citing security concerns”?

Why would one use the word “citing”? Is it hyper sensitive to suspect that ‘citing’ was a little gratuitous; a little emotive?  I looked up the definition of *‘cite’

*refer to (a passage, book, or author) as evidence for or justification of an argument or statement, especially in a scholarly work.

What do you think?  I don’t think there could be the slightest doubt that there are security concerns there. No argument about the veracity of that, therefore no real need for 'justification.'

In fact those concerns preceded the six-day war (with very good reason, believe me) - and considering the recent situation in Syria there are undoubtedly very serious security concerns now. 

Well, it may be petty to quibble over a little word, but here it was being used to imply that Israel’s security concerns are disingenuous. Hinting at ‘stolen land’. Land-grab. That’s what I thought. It’s one of those **tropes that has caught on, so it’s easily slipped in, and no-one would bat an eyelid. 

**Trope: a motif.

Kate Adie’s intro was dodgy even before Diana Darke got going. She describes the Golan Heights as “an area that was part of Syria before Israel ***seized it in the 1967 war.” 

***Seize: take hold of suddenly and forcibly.

Yup. so it was part of Syria then; but before the six-day war the Syrians had been sporadically and provocatively bombarding the kibbutzim in the foothills below, from the vantage point of the ‘Heights’.  No wonder the Israelis turned their victory (in a war that they didn’t instigate) to their advantage, protecting their citizens against further aggression. I dislike the word ‘seized’ in this context as much as the word ‘cited’.

I thought it would be worth looking up Diana Darke on the internet. Who is she? Well, she writes for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and is associated with CAABU. 

She came to fame through writing a book about restoring a property in Damascus. Property porn, spiced up with a pinch of exotic Middle Eastern mystery. To be fair, her house looks very attractive. (But who would want to live there?) Well, she doesn’t, for one. Apparently her friend the Syrian lawyer misappropriated it. Buyer beware -  there’s a possible lesson there.

BBC Watch provides us with an extensive debunking of the ahistorical non-facts and Israel-bashing fantasies in Diana Darke’s FOOC. Hadar goes into a great deal more detail than I am able to, showing where Diana Darke has manipulated the facts to fit her particular fantasy.

A more fundamental question concerns the BBC exposing the audience to politicised diatribes, unprotected by disclaimers, and with ‘origin of product’ unlabelled.


  1. No telling the audience about Darke's activism and advocacy of one side? Rule #1 in effect, and in sinister fashion.

  2. That programme is becoming a FOOCing disgrace. So now anyone can walk in off the street and record a piece to mike? Or just selected voices - just like the 100% left-liberals who get selected to write Fact to Fiction.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.