Wednesday 15 May 2019

Lost in translation

Forgive me for going back to One Day in Gaza. I’m no Mastermind, but this topic covers both my specialist subjects.

1) The BBC’s bias against Israel,
2) The psychological manipulation of emotions through film.

This is also covered on David Collier’s blog, in the Jewish press and over on Harry’s Place, where Marc Goldberg focuses on the controversial translation of the (audio) “Yehud” to “Israeli”. 

This is not the first time the BBC has sanctioned this translation. In Lyse Doucet’s Children of Gaza’ film,:
“Israel is massacring us” says a boy, according to the subtitles, but what we heard the boy actually saying was “yahud”  -  ‘Jews,’ not Israel.
Lyse was persuaded that when the people of Gaza say “yahud” they really mean Israelis; the truth is being disingenuously massaged to make the message more acceptable.

What did I mean?

Lyse defended this practice because she says that when Palestinians use the term “Yehud” they effectively mean “Israelis”. 

Why is this even an issue?

Because it exposes the inherent Jew-hate behind the religion-based rejection of the Jewish state. It is, after all, enshrined in their holy book, and is the very thing that fuelled the original war against Israel, which according to the BBC “Broke Out” when Israel was established in 1948 The BBC is loath to confront even that, and even more loath to admit that Islam-rooted Jew-hate is the real obstacle to “peace” in the Middle East.

The three stages of the current topsy-turvy practice of Gaslighting. Definition: manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity. Not sanity, exactly, but doubting their own decency and integrity.

The Israel /Palestinian version of Gaslighting goes something like this:

1) Islamic Arab world rejects the establishment of the Jewish state: immediately declares war of annihilation.
2) Jewish state defends itself; defeats Arabs.
3) Arab states employ massive Gaslighting; blame victim, persuade world that “Israel is to blame”.

That’s it. The mother of all Gaslighting.

Lyse Doucet was right. The waters have been well and truly muddied and the decidedly shaky claim that criticism of Israel - criticism of Israel’s policies - of its government etc., etc - is not antisemitic is thus cemented with just about enough shifty disingenuousness to set it off - hard and permanent.

I stand by my instinctive response to the psychological devices in the film, which I cited in my previous post. These are tell-tale signs of the BBC’s not so subtle anti-Jew approach. Their sentimental, quasi-romantic, emotional relationship with “the most hospitable people on earth” versus their Shylock, Fagin, Brian Sewell perception of the greedy Jew.

Epitomised by poignant portraits of traditionally dressed bereaved mothers, movingly, nay, heartrendingly filmed as they talk of their departed loved ones in the past tense, contrasted with the Israeli military spokesmen’s cold, dispassionate, hard-hearted rationalisation of the fog-of-war accident. 

The filmmaker’s tacit innuendo appeared to be that these shootings were carried out ‘accidentally on purpose’,  accentuated by the “straight to camera” filming  technique with its distancing effect and its between-the-lines message, roughly, that the Palestinian ‘David’ (armed only with ramshackle, homemade slingshots) was (and always is) hopelessly pitted against a heavily armed ‘Goliath’ that delights in taking indiscriminate pot-shots at random women and children.

Of course, this has resonance with the current issue that the BBC mentioned this morning.
“The definition from the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims is: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

It’s a typical example of the drive to apply (false) equivalence to antisemitism and Islamophobia. 

I very much doubt that the Labour Party’s antisemitism is connected in any way to their intimate knowledge of the Jewish religion. No, I’m afraid it’s simply “Jewishness” that offends them. In other words “It’s racism, stupid.” 

Islamophobia, to coin a phrase, is largely based on the fear of the ideology of Islam, and “Muslimness" is one signal that the practitioner, or the wearer of the Islamic uniform, adheres to those principles. 

“It’s the ideology, stupid."

For a detailed and substantive account of the film's bias, go the BBC Watch.

Here is a rather generous analysis of the film. The problem (as I see it) with Honest Reporting’s generosity is that the plus points he cites would resonate with open-minded audiences who happen to be viewing the film in an informed and objective environment.

But for the audience in Britain, hostile, ill-informed and already in no mood to empathise with Israel’s position, many viewers will have made their minds up already, and despite the film (at long last) acknowledging the violence, people believe it’s justified by “What Israel is doing to the Palestinians”.

As for the ‘gassing’, leaving the innuendo in the air, without any clarification was a grave misjudgement by the filmmakers. 


  1. Yes, this is disingenuous to say the least. One of the reasons the Arabs there refer to Jews rather than Israelis is because they simply don't accept there is any rightful entity called "Israel" in that location. To translate the term as "Israelis" is to deliver Fake News to the public because it suggests they do recognise Israel, they just don't like its actions. But that's not the case. They deny Israel's right to exist.

  2. Yes, Lyse Doucet. Almost without exception she and others like Kevin Connolly and Paul Adams pumped out Hamas propaganda during the 2014 war with Israel. “We have nowhere to escape the Israeli shelling” was the main propaganda thrust, ignoring the fact of leaflets in Arabic showered over Gaza warning of where and when Israel would strike, thousands of phone calls and texts with the same messages and refugee centres in UN schools (unfortunately including the one where Hamas stored rockets, firing at Israel from nearby.)

    Doucet’s report on the World Service was so bad that I complained to Peter Horrocks, then head of the WS, via his BBC email address. An indignant and defensive reply came back, either from Horrocks himself or an assistant, to the effect that Doucet’s report had appeared on the BBC ‘News’ Website including some info that had been omitted from the WS report.

    I can’t recall now whether I replied. But I remember thinking that the website report in no way obviated the sheer propaganda from the WS.

    Regarding the reluctance on the part of Israel’s enemies to name the country, it was almost mandatory some time ago for them to refer to it as “The Zionist Entity,” so that the dreaded name would not be spoken lest it denote recognition.

    Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the like are filled with hatred of Jews that is no different from that of the Nazis. And given the power and the means they would carry out another Holocaust.

  3. Anti-Semitism has a terrible history that stretches back through millennium. I’m not sure it can be compared to any other form of racism. It’s completely different from the racism that had had its roots in imperialism or even concepts of otherness. To conflate it with ideas of islamophobia is to be wilfully ignorant.

    I have no absolutely doubt that there are racists in Britain who would discriminate against, say people of Pakistani origin, or for that matter anyone who isn’t white. We know this is wrong and any decent person would condemn this. But Islamophobia seems to be be a term deliberately created to shut down any criticism of Islam as an ideology. It is a new kind of selective intolerance that has flourished in this age of offence taking.

    I can see that critics of Israel will say that if I can criticise Islam without being racist, they too can criticise Israel without being anti-Semitic. And of course they can, but there is a gulf as wide as the Atlantic between questioning the actions of a particular Israeli government and demanding that a free, democratic nation state has no right to exist - which is the definition of anti-Zionism. But even this doesn’t really work because the debate has been skewed by decades of dishonest reporting. I haven’t seen “One Day In Gaza”, but by now we all know exactly what to expect.

    The BBC, reluctantly or not and despite attempts to conflate it with Islamophobia have reported extensively on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Yet they they, themselves are one of the main causes.

  4. For a detailed, blow-by-blow account of the bias in the film “One Day in Gaza’, go to BBC Watch. (Link on the sidebar)


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