Sunday 11 March 2018

Working with the enemy

I first started blogging almost a decade ago, when the BBC’s anti-Israel bias seemed to be getting more and more entrenched. I thought my arguments would have less chance of being dismissed outright as pro-Israel propaganda, 'hasbara' if you like, if they cropped up in a general BBC bias blog rather than a dedicated pro-Zionist platform. 

Who wants to be sidelined before they’ve even started?

Biased BBC has been described as the blog with the best domain name ever, and I was flattered at the invitation to contribute. (I subsequently found out that the offer  had already been turned down by a couple of others, but hey ho).

For me (not a proper writer) it was tough. The aim was to be witty, concise, persuasive and topical. So, quite hard. Someone told me that brevity is the thing. When I look back at the stuff I wrote,  I think some of it holds up pretty well.  

Then something went wrong. Biased BBC morphed, somehow, from broadsheet to tabloid, which made it easy for its critics to dismiss it altogether as a hate site. Below the line, people were linking to all sorts of unpleasant websites and the level of unwarranted vitriol against the BBC crossed a line. (to coin a phrase) I do realise that our current readers might disagree, by the way, and I imagine quite a few people think of us as a hate site too.

The main reason that the media has shown such indifference to the antisemitism in the Labour Party, in the Left, or, if you like, in society in general, is that the trusted BBC has kept us staggeringly ignorant of the full facts about Israel. So much so that the default position of the man in the Clapham omnibus (statistically bound to be be BAME) is anti-Israeli  and pro-Palestinian.  And that goes for your average middle-class leftie, your media types, your “anywheres” as well as your “somewheres”;  also, legions of respectable middle-class, middle-England ladies and gents in Barbour jackets and pseudo intellectual, kaffiyeh-wearing middle-aged adolescents. The whole lot. They don’t care about antisemitism because they fundamentally agree with it.  And why do they agree with it? Because they’ve been told,  that … well, I hardly need tell you what they’ve been told. 

They’re the Caryl (creator of  that hideous diatribe “Seven Jewish Children”) Churchill, they’re the author of that fanciful and ill-conceived play called “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” who happens to be the oh so nice Guardian chief Katherine Viner, they’re people who indignantly cite human rights violations, baby-murdering,  illegal settlements, the siege of Gaza, “the biggest open-air prison in the world”. That’s who we’re dealing with. 

They're also  the sort of people who run the BBC. You’d think they’d at least have the intelligence  and curiosity to step back and take a look at the situation, and take a look at themselves too. But no. They lack the appetite. 

A programme that has been trailed a lot on the BBC News channel is called Our World.

The latest episode comes from BBC Arabic.  Describing itself as an extraordinary film, it’s by a person called Murad Batal Shishani, and titled “Working for the Enemy”. It’s been, and is being shown on the News Channel at various intervals over the last few days.

You should really watch this film; watch and wonder. Its anecdotal content and complete absence of context renders the whole thing no more than a political broadcast on behalf of the anti-Israel party. 
Lip service was paid to balance with footage of an Israeli official stating that that 900 Israelis have been killed by suicide bombings, then speculating that 9,000 more lives have probably been saved through Israel’s practice of recruiting vulnerable Palestinians as spies.  

It is a valid subject, of that I have no doubt. But only so if one was not starting from the position of extreme anti-Israel propaganda.

“It’s been called the world’s largest open prison. The Gaza Strip. Penned in by walls, barbed wire and gun turrets…. (ominous music) “the one point eight million people living here can only get into Israel with special permission” intones Murad Batal Shisani  “And even if their lives depend on it, they have to enter through here, the Eretz Crossing, the main gateway into Israel”. That’s just the opening ten seconds. 

I’ve asked Craig to look at it just to see if I’m being OTT.  If I am, he’ll tell me nicely.

Why would people who voted for Hamas, a terrorist organisation dedicated to Israel’s destruction, an organisation constantly inciting its citizens to enact extreme violence against Israeli civilians feel entitled to come and go, in and out of Israel whenever they so wish? I mean, that question evidently hasn’t even occurred to Murad Batal Shishani. 

The people he interviews are full of tales of woe. Their testimony is unverified and unadulterated. No background. No mention of the way Hamas treats collaborators. In fact it’s a wonder so many of them are still around to appear in the film.

That’s about it. Why would the BBC even air such a film? Why? We know why. Because it can.


  1. "Witty, concise, persuasive and topical" - you're guilty on all counts! Please keep it up.

  2. I won't be telling you off, Sue. I was replying to you (and calling it "horribly biased") just as you were posting this piece and ended up saying much the same thing about this BBC World programme.

    The faux balance was so clearly 'faux' that it only made the bias worse.

    That said, I'm inclined to see through such BBC reporting. What those BBC News Channel viewers who keep getting this programme pushed at them make of it, who knows? Especially Murah BS (if I may call him that) has a charming TV persona.

    The first bit was based around a Hamas propaganda video topped off by a brief 'The BBC can't verify this' and an implied 'but....'. And other woe-filled bits ended with short 'But Israel denies this and says such and such'. Then there was a 'collaborator' who was on anti-stress medication because of the Israelis, a weeping daughter whose mother died of cancer after the Israelis refused to let her in for treatment after her daughter refused to collaborate them (did the BBC verify THAT?) and a mysterious Israeli 'whistle-blower'.

    The closing lines of the programme were:

    "Normality, more than anything, is what people in Gaza crave. But, for most here, it is out of reach. Constant scrutiny, suspicion and human need mean collaboration will keep shaping and poisoning lives, and some will continue to work for the enemy."

  3. Is the eight million figure a misprint? I thought the population of Gaza was claimed to be (a disputed) two million??

    1. Ah, Sue wrote "the one point eight million people living here" (i.e. 1.8 million people). So, yes, it is about two million.

    2. Argh! Me auld eyes ain't what they used to be!!!

  4. You wouldn't mind so much if they ever mentioned just once that Jews are legally banned from living in Saudi Arabia and a de facto ban exists in almost the Arab world (so why would Arabs expect to be able to waltz into Israel any time they fancied?).

  5. Do many people actually watch the BBC news output anymore though? Beyond the headlines? I’m willing to bet it’s an ever decreasing number. More and more are streaming TV watching only what they want to watch, when they want to watch it.


    65+ year olds watch it the most. So when all the old leave voters die off (if that’s even true) the young won’t be watching much of the BBC, lol that’s some awesome irony!

    1. That's a very interesting point.

      I've seen opinion polls that found that most people get the bulk of their news from the BBC. 70% is a commonly-cited figure for those who say they head first to the BBC for news (when interviewed by pollsters).

      But are those figures, perhaps because of the options provided (all MSM?), disguising the shift towards online sources and the growing disenchantment towards/indifference to traditional outlets like the BBC?

    2. A good proportion of those going online could be going to the BBC news website and any other outlets it has online, presumably twitter and whatever else is current - I don't keep up with all these new apps or what you may call them.

    3. My two are at Uni and never watch TV.

      Currently spitting bullets that for Year 2 their digs are all-inclusive, which means licence fee rolled in too.

  7. I am aware of some history between these two august sites.
    Doubtless, you continue to check back-most of BB is pretty good in an old man kind of way. Some exceptions, but these are rare.
    My guess is that they`d find you a bit academic, well meaning but cautious. Maybe Migration Watch more than Britain First-but both strings get plaited for the bow.
    The BBC are a total menace, irredeemable now. The cool head of yours allied to the hot headed outrage of some BB posters makes for a winning combination...a balanced diet maybe? keep up the good work! God Bless and keep Israel forever.

  8. I’m intrigued what is meant by unpleasant websites linked to at Biased BBC. Some which I might once have thought were covered by that description seem now simply to be talking of things the authorities would prefer we didn’t.

    1. Me too.

      There are a few folk there who only seem to dip in with an umbrella full of Ricin trying to get it banned, but that's it.

      A very good way to spike any forum, especially with politicians the like of Amber Alert and Treezer in charge of such things.


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