Sunday 20 May 2018

Views my own

Caroline Wyatt

The World This Weekendpresented this week by Caroline Wyatt, ran a long segment today on antisemitism in the UK (now and then) with a particular focus on antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Furious Corbynista activists immediately took to social media to accuse the BBC of "propaganda not news," of "making it all about Labour", of "weaponising" antisemitism against Labour, of "having an agenda", and of "despising Corbyn".

But elsewhere I've read an equally furious comment from 'the opposite side' (and from someone I like) saying that this was a "hit piece" against Jews and Israel and is that blamed Israel for causing antisemitism and gave Corbyn's Labour a clean bill of health.

The former used such words as "disgraceful" to describe the piece; the latter called it "appalling".

So was this report a partisan hatchet job on Corbyn's Labour or a defence of it? And did it "weaponise" antisemitism spuriously or did the report actually come close to being antisemitic itself? And is this 'complaints from both sides' proof that the BBC must be getting it about right?

Well, I think this time the 'complaints from both sides' argument actually holds water (for once). And, putting on my oh-so-impartial blogger's hat, I believe from the evidence before me that Caroline Wyatt actually made a valiant attempt here to be both thoughtful and fair, and that she succeeded.

We heard from David Feldman of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (and vice-chair of Shami Chakrabarti's much-criticised review into Labour Party antisemitism), three worried Jewish shoppers in Barnet, Dave Rich of the Community Security Trust, Tanya Sakhnovich and Sajid Mohammed from a Nottingham food bank, Angie Mindel of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the outgoing resident of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Jonathan Arkush and the national secretary of the Jewish Labour Movement Peter Mason

If we were to draw up a 'balance sheet' (so to speak), in one column (the anti-Corbyn column you might call it) I suppose we would have to put those three worried Jewish shoppers, Dave Rich, Jonathan Arkush and Peter Mason and in the other column (the pro-Corbyn column you might call it) would be Angie Mindel and David Feldman. Tanya and Sajid might arguably also go into the second column as they equated antisemitism with so-called Islamophobia. 

All in all, I think it was a reasonable spread of opinion (if you're into that kind of thing).

What do I know though? I'm just a bean-counting blogger. So, putting on your impartial blog reader's hat, what do you think? Did Caroline Wyatt disgrace the BBC here or do it proud (or neither)? 

1 comment:

  1. "This week there was international condemnation of Israel's killing of over 60 Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border fence," says Caroline in her introduction.

    No surprises there: it's standard pro-Palestinian BBC bleating. "International condemnation" is the phrase the BBC uses to assure its collective self that it cannot be misguided in its loathing of Israel since so much of the planet also loathes Israel.

    And "protesters" is a really mild word to describe a rabble of thousands (naturally including children as human shields) led by terrorists, many of them armed, to break through the fence under cover of a huge cloud of smoke from burning tyres with one purpose: to kill Jews. (I say "Jews" because there is no intention to kill Arab Israelis.)

    By the time she broadcast her piece the alleged protest was old news and there is no excuse for ignorance of what actually happened there.

    And here's the obligatory "Israel said:"

    "Israel said it was defending its territory and accused Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, of being behind the protests."

    Here Caroline is so intent on pushing the standard BBC obfuscation by minimizing terrorist accountability and pointing the finger at Israel that she cannot even see the obvious logical flaw in that statement: since Hamas controls Gaza, who else could be behind the protests? Is she really that ignorant that she imagines a "protest" on that scale could happen against the wishes of Hamas? And does she really not know that Hamas acknowledged that 50 of its members were killed?

    This is really pathetic and it set the tone for what was to follow. She did rope in an impressive mix of opinion on anti-Semitism, but as long as the BBC refuses to acknowledge the elephant in the room, any attempt it makes to throw light on anti-Semitism will be a futile exercise.

    Which elephant? The huge Islamic one, of course, lifting its trunk and trumpeting its hatred of Jews and of Israel as the Jewish state.


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