Saturday 31 March 2018

March of Return

“I’m now convinced that there is something detestable about Corbyn’s politics which make it impossible to defend him any more.
changed my mind

Moving on, I certainly don’t think the socialist Portuguese political pundit with a secret message in her actual name “Eu-nice-Goes” ….should be no-platformed. No, certainly not. I don’t think silencing people you disagree with is the way to go. If I did I might not have to be blogging about BBC bias, know what I mean?

Eunice was given quite a platform on Dateline London, and she used it to unleash a no-holds-barred diatribe against Israel.

Shaun Ley brought up the topic of the “March for (the Right of) Return”, a Hamas orchestrated stunt to propel as many of Gaza’s martyrs to paradise as possible in order to gain a propaganda advantage over Israel. Which, judging by the tweets below this IDF video captioned: “Hamas has everything to gain and Palestinian civilians have everything to lose in riots like the one that happened yesterday,” went like a dream. The feeling that Israel acted disproportionately is overwhelming.

Love thy neighbour

Eunice Goes certainly did 'Go'. She went to town - with an undiluted, even dare I say, spittle-flecked anti-Israel rant, which was not nice at all. As if making an impassioned plea for the Palestinians’ Right of Return, and calling Gaza a prison wasn’t enough questionable anti-Israelism during the relevant discussion, she was also invited to give an Easter message in the concluding section of the show. “Although I was an atheist and am now an agnostic,” she said, “I think there’s a lot to be said for the Christian message  ‘love thy neighbour’ and justice for the Palestinians will only happen if Israel decides to make peace as the Middle east conflict is entirely Israel’s fault, Happy Easter. (not verbatim)

If you are wondering about the rights and wrongs of Right of Return, this video might be of interest.

While I agree that “Hamas has everything to gain and Palestinian civilians have everything to lose in riots like the one that happened yesterday,” I can see that it’s hard to argue in support of firing live ammunition at unarmed civilians while they’re on their own side of the fence. However, one does have to ask (well, I do, if no-one else does) how do they suggest Israel respond, assuming that there are indeed armed members of Hamas amongst the crowd (familiar tactics) and how exactly could the IDF react, should thousands of rioting protesters actually break through the fence and head towards Israeli towns, villages and kibbutzim? Hand out flowers?

Of course we don’t know how this will pan out. I’m talking on day two of the proposed activities, March 30 – the eve of Passover — through May 15. 

At the moment it looks like a propaganda victory for Hamas; a win-win situation for them. They gain martyrs, and Israel loses yet more respect from the rest of the world. If you’re a Corbynista, a friend of Hamas and Hezbollah, what’s not to like? And I do think the BBC shouldn’t be encouraging stunts like this. Send Yolande Knell back for that new-fangled anti-antisemitism training that the Labour Party is setting up. 

Friday 30 March 2018

The BBC's ongoing antisemitism problem

Okay, so I was wrong when I predicted that the BBC would tire of this antisemitism in the Labour Party malarky. The BBC hasn’t managed (yet) to move on because the ‘revelations’ about Christine Shawcroft have reignited the dying embers of the story. 

The scare marks around the word ‘revelations’ are there for a very good reason, which is that the pro-Israel blogosphere was well aware of the darkly comical fact that when they appointed Shawcroft as chair of their disputes panel, (created to tackle ‘alleged’ antisemitism in the Labour Party) the far left NEC ousted from the post the reputedly efficient and popular Ann Black.

This is genuine ‘you couldn’t make it up’ territory; pure farce. Even the Guardian reported
“another figure on the NEC said they believed the motivation for Tuesday’s vote had been to limit the number of Labour members kicked out of the party for antisemitic behaviour.” 
Hired to limit the number of Labour members kicked out? Hired to eliminate them, I think you’ll find. (The numbers, that is, not the offending members.)

Christine Shawcroft was already known to be - if not actually antisemitic herself, (who is, ever?) then in sympathy with those who are. Yet she was appointed to do something about the awkward antisemitism problem in the party, a big ask for (an allegedly inadvertent) member of Palestine Live. Like hiring a fox to guard the chicken coup. If it weren’t for that ludicrous fiasco, perhaps the whole thing would have gone away. 

So, where are we now? Even for people like Shawcroft and Jeremy Corbyn with his special anti-racist bones, barefaced Holocaust denial is beyond the pale. So, one might ask, if one were to acknowledge “the Holocaust”, refrain from using words like “Zio’ and rein in those innuendo-laden allusions to the Rothschilds, then you’re racist-proof enough to represent the Labour Party? 

The answer is, not completely. In the current furore, where everyone is weaponising everything for political expediency, merely holding back on insensitive gaffes is not sufficiently contrite. At least you can prove you’re not antisemitic because you have Jewish friends. At any rate, you’re kind of friends with the folks from Jewish Voice for Labour.

In order to exonerate yourself from racism you now have to explain exactly why anti-Zionism / criticism of Israel is not antisemitic.

I’m fascinated by the cliche “criticising Israel is not antisemitic.” What does it mean, criticising an actual country? Does it mean arguing about whether a country has the right to exist? I’ve heard a Guardian reading ex-friend say ‘Yes, perhaps Israel has a right to exist, but it would be helpful if it was just - not there’ (in someone else’s land). He actually said “helpful”. I suppose that’s the Naz Shah manoeuvre, though it pre-dated Naz Shah’s infamous retweet by several years.

The whole concept of ‘someone else’s land’ is bizarre. (Who ‘owns’ land other than landowners who possess title deeds and so on?) It’s only vaguely understandable if you go along with Dār al-Islam and Dār al-Ḥarb while ignoring the Jewish people’s 3000 year historic connection with the region. 
(You know, Judea…) Not only that, you have to have absorbed the hostile-to-Jews reinterpretation of the creation of Israel, easily done if you listen to the BBC. 

Like my ex-friend whom I had fondly believed to be an educated person, and who sees himself as something of an intellectual, you’ll view the creation of Israel as illegitimate and choose to see the Nakba as the catastrophe in which hundreds of thousands of innocent indigenous families were forced from their houses at gunpoint by greedy, swaggering, self-regarding, interloping Jews who marched in and made themselves  at home. Just like that. 

This scenario is a-historic and implausible, but it’s peddled by a whole lot of people who really should have more sense.  “We are all Hezbollah now!” they chanted, when Israel at last responded to years of rocket attacks from Gaza. “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free”. What can that mean?

Then there’s this: “Okay, Israel has the right to exist, but we oppose the policies of the Israeli government. Because of the way Israel treats the Palestinians.” 

There’s a theory that Jews try to ‘get away with’ bleating about antisemitism, while all along their loyalty is to the evil Zionist state. Viz: They ask for it. Therefore sympathising with Jewish persecution must be mitigated. The perceived crimes of the Jewish State must be borne in mind. Hence Jonathan Dimbleby’s crass remark as recounted by Maureen Lipman.
“ It must never happen again. On the other hand, legitimate criticism of Israel must not be regarded as antisemitism.” 
That, if you didn’t watch the video, was said by the BBC’s Jonathan Dimbleby at a Holocaust memorial event. 

All we ask of the BBC is a level playing field. If it weren’t for one-sided reporting by the left-wing media, the audience might come to understand that the Israeli policies they oppose so heartily are borne of necessity. They may be harsh, they may be uncompromising, but they are reactive and defensive and not, as they are made to appear by Jeremy Bowen’s underlings, aggressive and unwarranted.

As so many defenders of Israel repeatedly pleaded - to deaf ears - during the Gaza wars, “What would you do? If thousands of rockets rained down on civilians in your country, how would your leaders respond? 
(Of course, post terrorism, that question would hardly resonate. We’ve had a small taste of it and accordingly, the answer would probably be ‘with equivocation’) 

But listeners to the BBC are largely unaware of the retaliatory nature of Israel’s actions because the provocation, incitement, antisemitism and outright dishonesty of Israel’s enemies is kept from them. BBC audiences are shielded from reality. So much so that they think they occupy the moral high ground and they believe they can demand “two states side by side” and an “end to the occupation” without the need to acknowledge the unthinkable consequences of what they wish for. 

We have an example of this at this very moment. Hamas has orchestrated mass “peaceful’ demonstrations at the Gaza border, demanding  ‘the right of return’.  Israel has warned them that they will be treated harshly if they try to infiltrate  or break through the border fence.  in case you want to hear the other side of Yolande Knell’s story, here’s Caroline GlickMemri Israel Ministry of foreign Affairs and Times of Israel. For a level playing field.

To believe or not to believe, that is the question...

Ah! Israel was the second story on this evening's main BBC One bulletin, and it was classic BBC stuff.

I watched it with rolling eyes.

I drafted a post giving it a long-winded fisking but then decided against it. Something shorter will do it justice.

Yes, it began with the usual 'people are being killed by Israel' angle: 
The Health Ministry in Gaza says that at least 13 people have been killed by Israeli security forces along the Israel-Gaza border.
and cited as its source "the Health Ministry in Gaza" - which is, of course, Hamas-controlled (not mentioned by the BBC here).

Did the BBC fact-check their claims?

And, yes, Yolande Knell did much of the familiar BBC stuff in her commentary, with talk of "family entertainment" from those protesting Palestinians and cryptic language about "a call for peaceful marches" (somehow) turning to violence, accompanied by such turns of phrase as "A chaotic rush to the hospital, with hundreds of Palestinians injured in Gaza". 

And, yes, her report was 'BBC impartial' in featuring an Israeli military spokesman in a gently breezy cornfield alongside (1) a male Palestinian protestor and (2) a female Palestinian protestor. 

And, yes, of course, there were those old BBC favourite, "Israel's military says" and "But Israel says".

But the funny thing about this was that I first watched this BBC report without sound and just looked at the images broadcast by the BBC, and what I saw was the kind of thing often described as "Pallywood'.

It may have been real, but it looked unreal, and almost like propaganda.

Had the BBC checked its authenticity?

It started with three scenes of large number of Palestinian men rushing with men on stretchers. (Real? Fake?) The Israelis were shown as menacing military figures silhouetted in the distance with brave Palestinian figures standing alone against them. Crowd after crowd after crowd of (military-aged) men were shown ducking and running as they fled the Israeli response. Another man was shown on a stretcher.

And, seriously, straight after the calm-looking/complacent-looking Israeli soldier featured 'for balance', there was shown a young boy leading the crowd with a Palestinian flag (like Liberty leading the People)!

And then more Palestinian men were shown running from the Israeli response.

Who filmed these images? If it wasn't the BBC, where did the BBC get them from? Did the BBC verify them?

It's a terrible thing when you feel that you can't trust your nation's leading broadcaster, but I certainly didn't feel at all confident about the fairness or the honesty of this report.

And, as we know, such things seriously matter. 

Open Thread

Please find attached a brand new Open Thread (with a link back to the last one here if you're still catching up).

This week's Open Thread features a map of the rivers of Wales. 

Many thanks for your continued support, and (as my Google Translate says) cael penwythnos da!

Mel and Mo

JBW 2018 - Melanie Phillips and Maureen Lipman in conversation from Jewish Book Week on Vimeo.

I don't intend to resort to posting videos in this blog, but this I couldn't resist. If you are interested in the topic, please watch it on Vimeo.  If not, scroll past.

Comments could be going better

Sima Kotecha

The Telford grooming story actually made in onto BBC One's News at Six and News at Ten yesterday, and even onto the Home page of the BBC News website

Cynics are saying it's because they discovered a story allegedly involving an 'Asian' boy being abused and white child abusers being the perpetrators, thus enabling them to 'muddy the waters'. 

The response on Twitter has been overwhelming and one-sided. Sections of the public just don't seem to trust the BBC's reporting anymore. 

Here's a very representative sample of the reaction:

  • response to the Muslim grooming gangs in the UK an Asian mother has said her son was abused by white men for 5 years...that's convenient...obviously the BBC are all over it but were slow to report when 1000 girls were raped by Muslims in Telford..agenda BBC News???
  • The irony is BBC reporting that Asian lady states white men abused her son in Telford states no issues with Asian men grooming white girls. And it now on BBC website front page. Unreal.
  • Just heard BBC evening news re Telford. They didn't even mention "Asian men" this time. Obviously all men are to blame. Evil reporters.
  • Congratulations BBC, a report on Telford without mentioning that majority of groomers are Muslim men. Your attempts to ignore the elephant in the room are impressive, but this one is hardly a typical case.
  • The BBC news in the evening led their Telford report with the grooming of young son of a lady dressed in Muslim clothing. No mention of the ethnicity of those in their cars who groomed the young girls.
  • The BBC have finally got the angle on Telford that makes it OK to report on Sima Kotecha ie: the abuse is exaggerated, but also, that there are some white abusers too. Phew! Everything is OK folks. Let's celebrate diversity. 
  • BBC news report on Telford by Sima Kotecha was shameful. She deliberately ignored fact that convictions for street grooming in Telford so far have been overwhelmingly men of Pakistani descent and their victims entirely white girls.
  • #BBC now feeling much more comfortable with Telford on main news page, now accusations including white men and black men. #relief 
  • BBC staff must have been high-fiving when they discovered a story involving white child abusers in Telford. Now they can break their awkward silence on the town's CSE crisis without upsetting "communities".
  • This is a new level. BBC interview on Telford abuse: "It was white men". "The girls are white, Indian, black, there's even Pakistani girls". Can you believe this? 
  • This evening the BBC done ten minutes on Telford grooming gangs without mentioning Islam ... Muslims ... or names is so obvious. BBC shamelessly trying to obfuscate the Muslim rape gang problem by talking about “white men”. I doubt this woman is even real tbh.
  • Sima Kotecha, you really should spellcheck your articles. You are supposed to be a BBC journalist after all. As for your shoddy piece from Telford today, a piece of red material with voice over trying to say it's whites abusing boys now with no evidence.
  • BBC News report saying Telford has been in the media a lot in the last fortnight erm.... nobody hasn’t and certainly not by you BBC.
  • Finally BBC run Telford at 22.22. Just abysmal. This is a major issue for many people in the U.K. and the report purported that smaller numbers of girls may be involved than currently touted. If one girl has suffered that is enough.
  • The BBC say there has been a “mediastorm” over Telford grooming — not on the BBC there hasn’t! Even tonight it’s 21 minutes into a 30 minute news programme!
  • Tonight's BBC 10pm news "discussed" Telford grooming, and did not once mention Muslim, or Asian men. Absolutely disgraceful.
  • While free speech is santioned on Twitter, the liberal MSM hacks do a hatchet job on the Telford story hiding the truth; after hundreds of white girls were abused by Muslim men, BBC shows woman in veil complaining about alleged abused by white men with no evidence/corroboration. 
  • Did I actually hear this on BBC News at Ten??  Telford: ‘it's not true how clear these claims are’, it was ‘child prostitution’ rather than abuse of victims, ‘it's not clear that Telford was any worse than elsewhere in the UK’. This offensive journalistic cowardice is nauseating.
  • Sick BBC go to Telford and show example of Asian boy being abused by unnamed predators (Could this be by white females?) Main Stream Media are dancing on a pinhead over rape and drug dealing gangs in our towns and cities up and down the UK.
  • WTF is going on at the BBC! This story, whilst shocking in its own right, is deliberately missing the point and deflecting from what's happening to large numbers of white working class girls.
  • Ha ha ....Every news channel has a hidden agenda......The BBC managed to do a 10 minute section on The Telford Grooming Gangs without mentioning the words Muslim ....Islam....or there names.
  • "Allegedly..." - The BBC takes us for fools.  Don't be a useful idiot and do your own research instead.
  • Thoughts on why the BBC, who have given barely any coverage to the Telford child rape scandal by predominantly ‘Asian’ men, have come two their senses and finally decided to expose this horror when one mum says ‘white men’ are also involved?

Andrew Neil on heroism and antisemitism

Welcome to This Week. I arrived in France last Friday afternoon just as the terrorist attack in the small south-western town of Trèbes was unfolding. It was over by bedtime. Three folks murdered, the Islamist terrorist killed, the policeman who had swapped himself for a hostage in hospital. We all awoke on Saturday morning to the heart-breaking news that Gendarme Arnaud Beltrame had died of his wounds. Shot and stabbed by the terrorist. Now I know in today's news cycle that Saturday is an age away and much has happened since. But I don't apologise for returning to it tonight because if this man's remarkable courage and self-sacrifice are not worth marking only a few days after his death, then nothing is. His mother said, "I knew he was the one who'd volunteered "before any name was released. "It's just the sort of thing he would do". The word "hero" is bandied about so loosely these days that it's become almost meaningless. Arnaud Beltrame was a hero, in every sense of the word, and he has restored its meaning. His example is a rare shaft of light in these dark, depressing days. An evil demon we thought had been slain, antisemitism, pollutes society on both sides of the Channel once more. I was told today that polls and focus groups show many Brits, and not just the young, don't know what antisemitism is. Well, gather round. Mireille Knoll was 85. In a wheelchair. Suffering from Parkinson's. She'd survived the Holocaust. But not an attack last Friday in her Paris council flat. Stabbed 11 times and burnt to death. Because she was Jewish. That, dear viewer, is antisemitism. At its deadliest and most depraved. Which is how it always ends up. Which is why it can't be tolerated. Those still in doubt need to educate themselves. Fast. 

Thursday 29 March 2018

Sky News 29th March 2018 about 4:30 pm

Unfortunately this is only the first half of this interview. I'm hoping someone will put up the rest of it soon.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

The BBC's antisemitism problem

The BBC isn’t the only channel that’s inviting members of Jewish Voice for Labour to derail genuine discussions about Labour’s antisemitism problem. Yesterday Channel 4 brought in an ill-prepared and inarticulate member of JVL named Ian Saville to debate Ruth Smeeth. Pointless, time-wasting and insulting to the people with genuine concerns about antisemitism in society as well as in Labour..

This morning Tina Daleley had to deal with Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi. In the current, virulent anti-Blair climate, showing the clip from Tony Blair’s interview on last night’s Newsnight was not helpful, though he is quite right on this issue. 
With Tina Daheley in the studio and Ms Wimborne-Idrissi who thinks the whole thing is a “massive smear campaign against Jeremy”, were Wes Streeting MP and Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain. 
One has to wonder whose idea it was (j’accuse all our broadcasting organisations) to introduce spokespersons from Jewish Voice for Labour into the debate when they collectively deny the existence of antisemitism in Labour, even after it has been admitted, acknowledged and apologised for. To what end? Is it a kind of concerted effort of the “innocent face” variety on the part of the media to delegitimise the topic altogether? It’s like a bringing in a member of the flat earth society to debate Nasa on the ethics of space travel. (Or if you can think of a better analogy, please submit it.)
I wonder how Shami Chakrabarti is feeling these days.

If Wes Streeting sincerely believes that Jeremy Corbyn is a mere critic of Israel’s “policies” rather than an antisemite, and praises his record in ‘standing up to racism’, how does he explain Corbyn's rejection of that invitation from the Israeli Labour Party in the context of various invitations to his other 'friends'? 

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi’s histrionic behaviour (let’s call it “doing a Yasmin Alibhai Brown”) during a panel-like debate was disgraceful, even apart from the ridiculous allegations she made, which I’ll leave for another time. Andy McDonald has just been on the Daily Politics denouncing all those who insist it’s all a smear and an attempt to deny us a socialist PM.

Let’s look back a bit. David Collier exposed the antisemitism in that closed Facebook group of which Jeremy was a member.  The report made a minor splash in pro-Israel blogs and websites, but looked set to disappear from view. It wasn’t until muralgate raised its ugly head that the media stood up and took notice, and now it’s up in arms, all worked up and excited that there’s a fresh scandal to obsess about for a few days. Perhaps not quite so much ‘here today gone tomorrow’ as here for a couple of days or maybe a week, then on to the next new thing.

People are perplexed about the conflation with antisemitism and anti-Zionism. While they might accept that the word Zionism itself should not be used as a pejorative, they still think that Israel is so undeniably guilty of a special Jewish kind of monstrousness, therefore the only ‘good Jew’ is the anti-Zionist Jew.  

As the BBC has been demonising Israel for decades, this is hardly surprising, and the BBC should not even think about denouncing antisemitism before it gets its own house in order and pigs fly. 

Just look at the long and sad record of forensic deconstructions of the BBC’s anti-Israel reporting by BBC Watch, UK Media Watch, (ITBB,) Camera, Memri, Honest Reporting and countless individual journalists like Douglas Murray and even lefties like Rod Liddle and Dan Hodges. The BBC still has its own way of reporting every single Middle East related incident. Seen ‘through Palestinian eyes’, every story comes to us from a Palestinian ‘human interest’ perspective. Israelis are routinely dehumanised or selectively chosen for their anti-government or fanatical religious views.

The BBC’s chief Middle East editor has a personal grudge against Israel, Yolande Knell appears to have been a member of Palestine Live and her reports have always been problematic as far as impartiality is concerned.

Coupled with this, the BBC has air-brushed out all references to the antisemitism at the core of Islam and at the very heart of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, which means that Islamic antisemitism is barely acknowledged, particularly in connection with this latest crisis in the Labour party. 

Monday 26 March 2018

Enough is enough

I’ve been back and forth and in and out  all day, so my TV/radio time was minimal, but here’s what I did catch.

Victoria Derbyshire managed to squeeze an interview with John Mann MP between various other topics. For balance, she read out emails and statements defending Jeremy Corbyn and quoted his now infamous remark: 
“Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organizations.”
Surely Victoria Derbyshire is not so stupid that she thinks that exonerates Jeremy from antisemitism? It has quite the opposite effect, silly. Don’t you see? He equates Israel with Islamic State. Get it?

Next I caught Martin Bashir discussing the matter with … I think it was Joanna Gosling. He had brought a lot of statistics with him about the stark rise in antisemitic incidents, not just in the UK but in the US and Europe. They spoke for some time, puzzling over the possible cause of this. Baffled and flummoxed, they decided it’s something to do with global economic instability and / or societal insecurity.

I waited for The Daily Politics. 
Simon Johnson, Chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council spoke (on a screen) and one of the most unrepresentative specimens of Jewish opinion imaginable (bar Naomi Idrissi Wimborne) sat next to Jo Coburn in the studio. Yes, it was Jenny Manson, co-chair of Jewish Voice of Labour.

Her contribution diminished and derailed the whole debate - not that it was a debate in any real sense. In her mind, a way of establishing her credentials was to keep reminding us that she was speaking as a Jew. So out of touch with reality is this individual that she is unaware that the  term ‘asaJew’ will have the opposite effect to the one intended.

As I said in an earlier post - denying that there is antisemitism in: a.) the mural; b.) The Labour Party; c.) Jackie Walker; d.) Jeremy Corbyn’s bones …… is useless. The train has already left that station.

Even Jeremy Corbyn has admitted some of it and what’s more he has apologised, if not for the antisemitism itself, then at least for the hurt, which is weaselly, but it does rather negate Jewish Voice for labour’s point. If there is a point. Incidentally, she doesn’t wish to harm any Israeli Jews, just to end the occupation. 
" AsaJew I know Jeremy doesn't have a racist bone in his body"

Why couldn’t they have found someone from the actual Labour Party to defend Jeremy - if sanity is relative - someone sane. Then the item might have been worth watching.

Sunday 25 March 2018


Breaking news...

On the Sky website:

On the BBC News website:

Sky makes Mr. Corbyn's 'apology' sound less fulsome than the BBC does.

When you click into the respective reports you quickly find another interesting difference - their respective uses of qualifiers. 

While Sky uses "apparent"...

...the BBC uses "allegedly":

So Sky says "an anti-Semitic mural" and the BBC says "an allegedly anti-Semitic mural".


Growing into it

Sarah Smith was far more persistent on The Sunday Politics than Andrew Marr was this morning. This clip and the one in my earlier post are from Twitter and only show excerpts from the interviews with Tom Watson on the Marr show, and Corbyn supporter Andy McDonald MP on the Sunday Politics; you can see the whole of the 'antisemitism' part of the latter interview here. 

Andy McDonald took the same approach to defending the Labour leader as Tom Watson did with Andrew Marr. Jeremy didn’t inhale, but whatever he did was in the context of supporting freedom of expression.

Everyone now acknowledges the mural was ‘obviously’ vile. Vile at first glance, even. But Jeremy’s record is of opposing antisemitism and “all forms of discrimination” so there.

Andy has got it into his head that he’s talking to someone called Laura and is obviously quite rattled, and so he should be.  Sarah Smith was rather good. She’s growing into it. 

Tom Watson on the Marr Show

They used to say “It takes all sorts” and here’s where Craig and I see things a bit differently. I didn’t find Andrew Marr’s interview with Tom Watson satisfactory at all. I was glad that Marr brought the subject up, but hey, I don’t regard being grateful for small mercies especially pleasing. 

After the recent hooha about Jeremy’s memberships of not one but two antisemitic Facebook groups, to ignore the matter of the mural in a ‘flagship’ politics show would have made the BBC look positively complicit. 

Andrew Marr did indeed quiz Watson on the mural debacle, but treating each example of  antisemitism in the Labour Party as a separate incident minimises the gravity of the case. Jeremy Corbyn’s record in particular in that regard needs to be seen as a whole.  

“It is not only women whom Momentum doesn’t seem to like very much, of course. There are also Jews. Jeremy Corbyn resists the charge of anti-semitism, as you might well expect — heaven forfend, Jews are absolutely bloody marvellous, he will announce when challenged on this issue — but his other utterances, and indeed actions, tend to give the game away.[…] 
He has called the genocidal racists of Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends”, for example. He could not bring himself even to meet the Israeli prime minister last year (which must have really disappointed Benjamin Netanyahu), and a recent Labour Party fact-finding tour to Israel disdained to meet any Israeli politicians who don’t want to give their country over to the Palestinians first thing Monday morning.[…] 
Then there’s the other stuff. The extraordinary tolerance shown by the party leadership to people who have said the most outrageously anti-semitic remarks. The whitewashed report into anti-semitism within the party. Jezza is also a member of a virulently anti-semitic Facebook group that accuses Jews of controlling the media, of wishing to establish a New World Order and of harvesting organs from Syrian prisoners. 
Corbyn latterly claimed he’d been added to this forum without his knowledge. How’d that happen, Jezza? Most recently there’s the mural, a ghastly painting, titled Freedom for Humanity, by a talentless American graffiti artist called Mear One. It was commissioned in 2012 for a wall in east London (presumably at your expense somewhere down the line), then swiftly removed because of its quite astonishing anti-semitism. A cabal of hook-nosed money men playing Monopoly, the table resting on the backs of naked workers.

That was an excerpt from Rod Liddle’s piece in today’s Sunday Times (£). I deliberately left out the paragraph about Israel because that throws up another aspect of the situation, which should be addressed all by itself. 

The BBC-educated (un)intelligentsia see Israel as a racist project, which vindicates the Labour Party’s anti-Zionism and enables them to say with a ‘clear conscience’ that they’re against racism  in all its forms when and wherever they find it. Which is what they do, over and over again. They are able to get away with it because, through ignorance and bigotry, the consensus is largely with them.

Back to Andrew Marr. If you look at the show’s Twitter - many of the comments below the clip that actually try to defend Jeremy Corbyn do so by saying that they don’t see anything antisemitic in the mural. Too late! He’s admitted it, folks! He even said he regretted making that error-strewn comment on Facebook. That’s a rerun of Ken Livingstone denying the antisemitic nature of Naz Shah’s offensive retweet even after she had admitted  it was antisemitic and apologised most sincerely, folks.

This is not a matter of people making moronic comments about people’s noses. It’s about scurrilous antisemitic tropes as per The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, an early example of FAKE News from 1920. Unbelievably, it’s actually available from Amazon for as little as £3.29. The blurb says:
“The Protocols has been proven to be a forgery.The forgery contains numerous elements typical of what is known in literature as a "False Document" a document that is deliberately written to fool the reader into believing that what is written is truthful and accurate even though, in actuality, it is not.”
I wonder how many people who purchase this item keep that in mind.

Andrew Marr didn’t even flinch at the mention of the Chakrabarti whitewash. The reward bestowed upon her for that was a scandal that the BBC barely batted an eyelid at. Tom Watson mentioned measures that have been ‘put in place’ to tackle antisemitism in the party. What are they? I didn’t hear Andrew Marr press him on that.

No, I don’t feel pleased about that interview at all.


Thank goodness for social media - and The Sun

I've just spotted a tweet that told me something I didn't know about the Parsons Green terrorist Ahmed Hassan. Having never heard it before, I have to say I doubted it, but I Googled around and found an article in The Sun that confirmed it. 

What that tweet said was that the judge had expressed doubts about his age and that the BBC was "not reporting facts again".

The judge said:
I'm satisfied that you lied about your date of birth on your arrival to glean the special privileges accorded to children entering the UK. 
I'm satisfied that you're older than 18 but sentence you on the basis you are no older than 21. 
You cynically exploited to the full the generosity and naivety of the system and those looking after and helping you.
The BBC has long reported the 'fact' that Hassan was 16 when he claimed asylum in the UK and their report on his sentencing last week still boldly asserts that he's an "18-year-old" and a "teenager" ("from Surrey"). That same report quotes from the judge but does not quote anything to do with his doubts about his age. 

This question about the Calais migrants claiming to be children but not being children is something the BBC has shown itself to be sensitive to in the past - in the sense that they've 'sensitively' played down its importance - and here they seem to have done so again, even to the point of possibly deliberately not reporting this aspect of Ahmed Hassan's sentencing. 

Except that....

....breaking news....breaking news....

....using TV Eyes to track every mention of it on BBC TV, it turns out that BBC One's News at Six did report it. June Kelly's report included the fact that the judge "said that Hassan had lied he was 16 when he arrived in the UK so he could be classed as a child migrant". And that report was rebroadcast on the BBC News Channel twice more that evening...though it wasn't included and the judge's comments about the terrorist's age weren't mentioned on BBC One's News at Ten. Nor did Richard Lister, the BBC News Channel reporter who covered the sentencing, mention anything about it during his various appearances on the News Channel after the sentencing that afternoon. 

So that's the main point of this post derailed somewhat. It turns out that it wasn't completely censored by the BBC after all. 

That interview

Here's part of The Andrew Marr Show's own transcript of that interview with Tom Watson:

AM: Some people suggest that the Owen Smith sacking was an attempt to deflect public attention. Can I ask you to look at this?

What is your reaction when you see that image?
TW: My reaction is that is a horrible anti-Semitic mural that was rightly taken down.
AM: And how long did it take you to glance at that and to make that judgement?
TW: Well, look, you’re showing it me on a 32-inch screen on national television and I’ve seen it about a hundred times on social media. Very different to seeing it on Facebook when you’re on the move.
AM: Because your leader, who apparently glanced at it, didn’t look at it properly and suggested to the guy who written in that it shouldn’t be taken down. He said, I quote, ‘some of the older, white Jewish folk in the local community had an issue with me portraying their beloved #Rothschild or #Warburg as the demons they are.’ And he said it was being whitewashed and taken down, and Jeremy Corbyn said, ‘why? You’re in good company, Rockefeller destroyed Diego Rivera’s mural because it includes a picture of Lenin.’ Which seems a remarkable thing to say. You’ve only to glance at that to see what it’s about. It’s Third Reich propaganda anti-Semitism.
TW: Well, look, that is why Jeremy has expressed deep regret and apologised for that, and has actually said that it’s right that the mural was taken down.
AM: And yet, you know, it’s taken years for some of your colleagues to get him to respond to this. Luciana Berger, who’s a Jewish Labour MP, has been trying to get a response out of Jeremy Corbyn for a long, long time and she’s still very, very upset that he has not completely, fully apologised for this.
TW: Well, I’m very, very sorry that people feel hurt by this, and that’s why I think it’s right that Jeremy has expressed regret for it. He said that he didn’t see the mural, he was talking about free
expression, and I think you know, now that he has seen the mural he’s right to say that it was right not just to be removed but that he expresses deep regret for the offence caused by the mural.
AM: He regrets not looking more closely at it. Can I suggest to you that if this was a mural attacking black people or any other ethnic group then nobody in the Labour Party would have the slightest hesitation about condemning it.
TW: Well, nobody in the Labour Party should have the slightest hesitation in condemning this mural. It’s anti-Semitic, it’s horrible, and I want Jewish members as well as every other member of the Labour Party to feel welcome in our party. I think it’s time we said that enough is enough on these anti-Semitic stories, and we are taking measures to do that. You know, we’ve increased our staff that do these investigations. We’ve had the Chakrabarti Report. We worked with our affiliated organisation, the Jewish Labour Movement, to redefine anti-Semitism at our conference last year.
I understand the concern out there.
AM: Do you agree with Chris Williamson that what’s going on is the weaponising of anti-Semitism?
TW: No. No, I don’t agree with that at all. But what I do think is we’ve got to work harder to stamp out anti-Semitism, and that requires our own internal procedures to be faster in the way they
operate and deeper. But all I can say -
AM: These allegations carry on. Every few weeks there’s another anti-Semitic row involving the Labour Party. It seems to be something that you can’t shrug off or slough off. Is this not the moment for you and for Jeremy Corbyn to go and meet the Chief Rabbi and talk it through and explain your position and start to try and get this behind you? Because if it goes on till the election you’re in dead trouble with Jewish voters.
TW: Well, I’m very honoured to have already me the Chief Rabbi and discussed this. I’ve spoken at our Labour Friends of Israel lunch, I talk to the Jewish community regularly. I talk to colleagues who are concerned about this.
AM: What about Jeremy Corbyn?
TW: So let me say it’s time we stamped out anti-Semitism and we’re doing so. We’ve increased our resources to investigate these individual cases. But you know, we’re a member-led party, we need to make sure that we investigate these things thoroughly to make sure justice is done.

(doubtless after someone shouted down his earpiece)

AM: Okay, before I finish I should say that that quote I read out from the artist about his mural was not the one that Jeremy Corbyn saw, he just saw the image.

Safe and Secure

The Muslim Council of Britain-backed "alternative to Prevent", Safe and Securewas launched on Thursday at the controversial East London Mosque and Radio 4's Sunday gave it some free publicity this morning. The programme interviewed one of its founders, former Chief Superintendent with the Met Police Dal Babu - a prominent critic of Prevent. Except for reading out a Home Office statement defending Prevent, presenter Emily Buchanan gave Mr. Babu a free ride. 

"Clumsily worded"

Watching The Sunday Politics, something struck me as I noticed Sarah Smith asking much the same question to her Labour guest as Andrew Marr had asked earlier, namely that they both got similarly-worded reply each time:
Andrew Marr: What is the difference between this situation and Diane Abbott, who was also calling for a second referendum, and Keir Starmer? 
Tom Watson MP: There was a difference between a letter that goes to a constituent which was clumsily worded, as was the case with Diane Abbott, and do an interview in the Guardian.
Sarah Smith: But the other thing which is not a first is a member of Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet saying that we should have a second referendum, Diane Abbott had sent a letter around her constituents in Hackney where she said she would argue for the right of the electorate to vote on any deal which is finally agreed?
Andy McDonald MP: And I think the difference is that Diane Abbott has said that that was clumsily worded, that is not her position.
Both Sarah and Andrew left it there, but if you see the letter...'ll see that it's not "clumsily worded" at all. It couldn't actually be any clearer. Those Labour shadow ministers are telling an untruth. (Yes, I know! Shocking, isn't it?)


Ellie Price's Sunday Politics report on the allegedly unethical practices of the precursor company to Cambridge Analytica, SLC Elections, is worth watching.

A leaked document sent to the BBC showed the company boasting of exploiting ethnic tensions in Latvia, encouraging voter apathy in Nigeria and spreading fake political graffiti in Trinidad and Tobago. They also boasted about their ease of access to the British government and, via Lord Hain (the report's only interviewee), the British government's links to SLC Elections will now be discussed in Parliament.

All I'd say in criticism of the report is that all its talk of "the British government" might have made viewers think that it's the present (Conservative) government who first employed Cambridge Analytica - a perception that Peter Hain's presence and demand for answers won't have dispelled. But I spotted the date 2008-9 on a statement from the government and then Googled...

The programme said that there have been at least six SCL contracts with the British government. I've found details of three of them: a communications project with the Foreign Office in 2008-9; a training project with the Home Office in 2009; and a data project with the Ministry of Defence in 2014-15. As you'll note, the first two took place when Labour were in office (and Gordon Brown as PM).

I think that should have been made clearer by the Sunday Politics.

It's that time again!

Marine le Pen and Isabel Oakeshott

This morning's The Andrew Marr Show was thoroughly enjoyable. 

The paper review was feisty. One of the reviewers was the brave investigative journalist/partisan conspiracy theorist/Marine le Pen-lookalike Carole Cadwalladr. That, of course, could be seen as the BBC helping to push her Cambridge Analytica/anti-Brexit agenda were it not for the fact that Isabel Oakeshott was chosen as the other reviewer and took her to task with considerable vigour. Andrew Marr himself also put some good counter-points to Ms. Cadwalladr. 

Naturally, this didn't go down too well with some:

The fact that Carole Cadwalladr was followed by Caroline Lucas of the Greens could also be seen as the BBC helping to push the same Cambridge Analytica/anti-Brexit agenda but, fair play to Andrew again, as he very persistently pointed out the holes in her case and mocked her claim that her 'people's poll' wouldn't be a 'second referendum'. Indeed, I was struck by just how sceptical Andrew Marr sounded about the value of the Cambridge Analytica story per se. (If he was just playing devil's advocate, he was playing it very well).

The Tom Watson interview was particularly pleasing. Andrew was splendidly persistent on the issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party, especially over Jeremy Corbyn and that mural. According to Mr. Watson Jeremy Corbyn can be excused over the mural because he didn't see it on a large enough screen! I also had to smile because my timeline had a couple of of my favourite Twitter people harrumphing in advance that Andrew Marr wouldn't ask Mr. Watson about Max Mosley and whether he'd be handing back the dosh that Mr. Mosley gave him, but Andrew did ask Tom Watson about that and gave him a pretty decent grilling over it too. Mr. Watson's ingenious defence line for why he won't be giving Max Mosley's £500,000 donation back was because it's already been spent!  

As for the interview with the ill-looking David Davis ('ill-looking' because he was actually ill), well, that was a interesting, probing interview too. 

And there was The League of Gentleman too. 

No music again though.

As you can see, Rob Burley has been busy. Here's a little more Rob action:

Saturday 24 March 2018

Do You Hear the People Sing?

Kate Hoey Leading the People

I was curious, in the light of what we've been saying here over the last couple of days, to check out tonight's main BBC One evening new bulletin.

How would they report the latest Labour goings-on? 

Well, predictably, they ignored anything to do with antisemitism (still raging elsewhere).

And, just as predictably, they put the Brexit issue first and made the sacked, pro-EU Labour Owen Smith's opinions their main angle, quoting him first, as if it was their take.

And then - Iain Watson's report beginning - they initially focused their reporting on the fact that Diane Abbott had said much the same as Owen Smith about a second EU referendum and had not been sacked by Jeremy Corbyn...

....(yes, that's the BBC singling out and being mean to poor Diane Abbott!!)...

....and the BBC's Iain even used the word 'curiously' here to go on to hint to BBC viewers that there's something rum going on as regards Mr. Corbyn and his clique here: 
Curiously, last November the Shadow Cabinet member Diane Abbott told her constituents she'd argue for the right of the electorate to vote on a final deal...But she stayed at Labour's top table. 
And, to back up Owen Smith's 'insistence' that he's in tune with his predominantly anti-Brexit party, Iain used the word "certainly" and then cited a survey:
And certainly a survey of more than 4000 Labour Party members last year suggested that three-quarters of them wanted a second referendum on the final deal with the EU.
Forget that flipping hat, O Corbynista hordes, and focus on this instead!: Your Dear Leader has been dumped upon by the BBC for sacking a pro-EU, pro-second referendum shadow minister, and the BBC's intent seems pretty clear, doesn't it?

Shall we stand together and man/woman/transgender the barricades together (after you've firmly and unequivocally distanced yourselves from any suggestion of antisemitism and put into practice your intention to hold Mr Corbyn to account for every past, present and future comment he's mad (and not made) on the antisemitism front)?

Breaking news...

Looking at my Twitter feed just now and seeing a tweet from our old friend (and blogging associate) DB....

...led me to look for a BBC News website report, published within the last hour, headlined Oxford men guilty of sexual exploitation 'on a massive scale'

Thanks to Google, I found it.

Those "Oxford men", it turns out, are called Khalid Hussain, Alladitta Yousaf, Kameer Iqbal, Assad Hussain, Raheem Ahmed, Moinul Islam and Kamran Khan. 

As so often, Islamic names are the common factor in such paedophile gangs (and, yes, the girls were aged 13-15 when the abuse started).

Following an all-too-familiar pattern, however, this story isn't presently on the BBC News website's front page, despite being first published nearly an hour ago.

You will find it on the BBC's UK page though: 

...though for how long only time will tell.

The top-rated comment at Mail Online, which reported this story a good hour or so before the BBC, seems to reflect an increasingly widespread cynicism about the BBC when it comes to their reporting of these kinds of story:

So will it be a main story on the BBC's main TV and radio bulletins this evening? Or will the BBC's James Stephenson get spooked into defending the indefensible on both Newswatch and Feedback again next Friday after yet another public outcry?#

Update: BBC One's main evening news bulletin didn't report it. 

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings


There was a spot of controversy this week over a feature on Monday's The World at One where a BBC reporter went to a Welsh primary school and invited the children there to give their views on Brexit. All of them were very negative about Brexit. 

Here's a flavour of some of the criticism:
A news item including children in Wales being questioned about their views on Brexit. Three were interviewed. After two offered their reasons for being against ‘leaving Brexit’, I awaited at least a third one to balance the item with a view reflecting the Welsh vote , if not the entire nation’s. But this is radio 4 . All three , aged 7-11, were against Brexit. As a remain voter, I see every attempt by BBC radio 4 to re-present the vote as an insult to democracy and, in this instance, an embarrassment. I don’t need to resort to presenting the uninformed views of children to reinforce an argument. I would add that I support Wales asking children and young people their opinions.
The World At One broadcast today a specific item introduced by statement along the lines of “The majority of over 18 year olds in Wales voted to leave the EU, but what do the children think?”. The article then broadcast the opinions of four 11-year olds, in succession, from a school in Wales. All 4 opinions were anti-Brexit. No pro-Brexit opinion was mentioned. Indeed, the interviewer asked if any other child wanted to say something, but there was no response. I have to ask, what on Earth do the BBC think they are doing interviewing 11-year old children, in a school group environment, as part of a serious news programme?! Does the BBC not understand child psychology, or child peer pressure in a group environment? Does the BBC really think that 11-year olds are capable of expressing independent thought or opinions with no influence from parents or teachers? Did their parents approve of their children being broadcast? Were their parents and teachers pro- or ante-Brexit? – that would have been relevant. Such exploitation of children in furtherance of an anti-Brexit agenda is intolerable.
Well, I must admit I'm not sure about this. I feel uneasy about the feature too, but: If the Welsh government is proposing asking children as young as seven for their views on Brexit then I don't blame the BBC for staging such a stunt, just to try it out and see what could happen. And if all of the children expressed a single (anti-Brexit) point of view - doubtless filtered through their parents and, possibly, their teachers too  - then there's really nothing much the BBC reporter could do about that here. And I don't think it's for a BBC reporter to challenge and correct children and, thus, make them look silly on national radio. 

However, I would point out that Tomos Morgan revealed his own bias by wrongly saying "Europe":
SOPHIE:....we’ve left breakfast . . . breakfa— sorry . . .
TOMOS MORGAN: Europe. (laughter from adults)
No, Sophie, please be reassured: We are not 'leaving Europe'.

And Tomos's Twitter feed is 'very BBC'. Read his tweets about Brexit, for example, and you'll see that they are wholly one-sided. He doesn't appear to be a fan of Brexit at all - to put it mildly - and I suspect the unanimity of anti-Brexit sentiment he heard from those four young children will have been music to his ears. 

Anyhow, are you more worried than I am about this The World at One feature? 

Here's a transcript of the whole thing, so please make up your own minds about it:

Transcript of BBC Radio 4, ‘The World at One Weekend’, 19 March 2018, Welsh Children and Brexit, 1.26pm (courtesy of Andrew)

MARTHA KEARNEY: Despite Adam Fleming’s concise explanation earlier on in the programme, you may feel still somewhat a bit confused about the Brexit process. But what about children? Kids in Wales, aged as young as seven, will get the chance to have their say on the UK leaving the EU, because the Welsh government is launching a consultation to help ministers understand the views of the younger generation. People aged over 18 in Wales voted in favour of leaving the EU, so what do children think about Brexit? Our Wales correspondent, Tomas Morgan, has been to Pontybrenin School in Gorseinon near Swansea.

MAISY: I’m Maisy Thornhill and I am eleven years old.

TOMOS MORGAN: Maisy, just tell me what you think about Brexit.

MAISY: I know that there’s a lot of people who have friends who are in Europe, and if we were to leave, they might not have been able to get in. I am aware that the people that can come into the country who may, who may not always do good things, and they can do bad things, but on the other hand you do have relatives and friends, it’s better to see them in real life than just, like, Skype-ing all the time and stuff.

TOMOS MORGAN: Brilliant, that’s brilliant Maisy, and just yes or no, do you think it’s the right thing to do?

MAISY THORNHILL: Erm . . . no.

REESE: My name’s Reese (?) Smith and I’m ten years old. I don’t want to leave Brexit, because even though we have to give money they give us money to improve our schools and our community.

TOMOS MORGAN: Brilliant. Who’s next?

SOPHIE: My name’s Sophie Brewer and I’m nine years old.

TOMOS MORGAN: And what are your views on Brexit, do you think it’s a good idea or not?

SOPHIE: I think it’s a bad idea because one of my friends in Year 3/4 she’s called Neve, and erm, she wants, she says she wanted to be a sing— well, a music teacher, and when erm . . . someone asks her, she says, ‘Well, if I want to go around the world to see different music, like, and see how it is’, she won’t be able to, because like, we’ve left breakfast . . . breakfa— sorry . . .

TOMOS MORGAN: Europe. (laughter from adults)

SOPHIE: And erm, well she, if she wants to go somewhere, well, she can’t now because of . . .

TOMOS MORGAN(speaking over) The travelling, worried about the travelling as well, yeah.

SOPHIE: So . . . it’s . . . and I think it’s a bad idea.

TOMOS MORGAN: Brilliant. Anything else from anyone?

FOURTH CHILD: There are better colleges in other countries than here, and if we can’t go there, then we won’t get (fragment of word, or word unclear due to speaking over)

TOMOS MORGAN: Be careful, the Welsh government are here, so if you say anything about education they’re going to get very angry (laughter from adults) 

FOURTH CHILD: We won’t get the level of education that we need.

MARTHA KEARNEY: Some pupils there from the Pontybrenin School in Gorseinon.