After being treated to decades of spiteful, passive-aggressive anti-Israel spin from Middle East editor Bowen and his subordinates, anyone with a smattering of political and historical knowledge of ‘Middle East affairs’ could rattle off a pretty good case against the BBC.
Last night Yolande Knell treated us to a mawkish, innuendo-laden report on the BBC World Service impliedly blaming Israel for interruptions to Palestinian children’s cancer treatments during the coronavirus crisis - although most obstacles seemed to stem from the P.A.’s latest strategy of refusing to ‘cooperate’ with Israel in answer to the proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank. I wasn’t certain what message she was trying to send to be honest, but I predict a whole lot more mileage will be extracted from that situation ‘going forward’.
Although criticism of Israel-related reporting is but one factor in a bias-related bigger picture, many bias-watchers regard the BBC’s left-wing/anti-Conservative bias as their chief bugbear and therefore their main target, but in a way, the BBC’s anti-Zionist bias is the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of bias.
Regrettably, the BBC’s Palestinian-advocacy reporting style has a wide reach. Compare the BBC’s uncritical regurgitation of the Palestinian narrative with the overtly hostile, ‘arms-length’ or even non-existent representation of the Israeli perspective that is routinely dished up by the BBC’s Middle East correspondents. Bog-standard, superficial and shallow reporting, served with ‘half-a-story’ contemporary and historical analysis.
Given that both Britain and Israel are democracies, this attitudinal imbalance is hard to explain. If ‘Palestinianism’ is rooted in (Islamic) religion-based antisemitism, surely a largely secular - or at least a not very religiously observant country like post 60s Britain would see Israel as a natural ally, while instinctively filing overtly racist,’Yahud-hating Palestinians’ as ’other’.
As non-racist Brits, shouldn’t we at least find the Palestinians’ intractable refusal to accept Israel’s existence a little problematic? Since the opposite seems to be the case, the obvious conclusion must be that this demonisation of the Jewish state stems from the ‘oldest hatred’.
However, the word ‘Annexation’ has triggered a new wave of anti-Israel angst.
Mark Regev has been Israel’s UK Ambassador for over four years. Here’s a link
to his ‘goodbye interview’ It seems like only yesterday that he was merely Israel’s ‘spokesperson’ and his very appearances on the BBC would send the haters into paroxysms of fury.
Palestinians: Is It Really about 'Annexation'?
Khaled Abu Toameh offers another perspective on Trump’s plan for peace. He says that the Palestinians’ opposition to annexation encompasses twin objections; the religious one and the political one. According to Islamic clerics and scholars, Israel has no right to exist anywhere in the region, so with that in mind, any legality (or otherwise) appertaining to ‘annexation’ is but a trivial detail, therefore irrelevant to the ultimate objective - eliminating Israel altogether.
Mahmoud Abbas, whom the BBC persists in regarding as a ‘potential partner for peace’ claims that annexation would destroy any chance of a ‘two-state’ solution, ending all hopes of peace with Israel. According to officials, the plan would irreversibly deprive the Palestinians of their right to establish an independent and sovereign state on the (unsustainable) pre-1967 armistice lines.
The BBC, being determined to see such disingenuous role-play as ‘the voice of reason’ takes Abbas’s words at face value. But the P.A. is actually with the clerics. Neither strand really wants ‘a state’, or is capable of forming one. Their idea of peace is simply ‘no Israel’.
True to form, the BBC’s Tom Bateman puts the customary BBC spin on the matter. I don’t know if that was Bateman’s own headline, but whoever penned it is clearly hostile to Israel and sympathises with the Palestinians. Israel annexation: New border plans leave Palestinians in despair
Getting to grips with the complexity
of Netanyahu / Trump proposals
or analysing the long-term potential is of little interest to Tom Bateman whose job is to promote the BBC’s agenda, which disregards the welfare of the Palestinians. Stuck with their appalling leadership, encouraged to kill Jews by Abbas’s outrageous ‘pay for slay’ policy, and ensuring that the existing stalemate is prolonged indefinitely.
At the present time, while old allegiances in the region are shifting, the BBC’s current anti-Israel animus has been triggered bigly by the word “annexation’. An emotive concept indeed, but what does it mean? That terrible word alone evokes expansionism; land-grab; occupation. But this isn’t the idea at all.
I don’t claim to be an expert on the legality or otherwise of Trump’s plan for peace, but one thing I have gathered from my research so far is that the idea of ‘annexing’ parts of the West Bank appears considerably less ominous than Israel’s detractors would have us believe.
“So before explaining what annexation is and why it is imperative, it is important to emphasize a few things: France and the United Kingdom are vocal opponents of the agreement. The United Kingdom, which controls 17 territories, spread over thousands of miles across the globe, is criticising a territorial process in which there is a deep connection between a country and its citizens. France maintains control over 13 colonies thousands of miles away and even uses some of them for nuclear experiments, yet opposes our connection to our historical homeland. Not only that, Turkey illegally invaded and took over Northern Cyprus but threatens Israel over the mere potential of Israeli sovereignty. All of them claim that for Israel “it is not the same”. In fact, they are right – it is not the same.
“Under international law, annexation has a precise meaning: the forcible incorporation by one state of the territory of another state. This does not apply to the disputed territories, which never belonged in law to any other state.
Israel has the only legally grounded claim to this land, including the never-abrogated duty given to the British in the 1920s to settle the Jews throughout what is now Israel, the disputed territories and the Gaza Strip.
Far from being an illegal annexation, extending Israeli law to these areas actually implements international law after some nine decades during which it was flouted and then ignored by Britain and the world community. It is those who oppose the sovereignty proposal who show contempt for the law.”
If it’s too easy to tar her with the “She would say that” brush, legal expert Eugene Kontorovich, lays out the situation fully in this article: Don’t Buy the ‘Annexation’ Hype
(WSJ is behind a paywall, but I will post it in full over the fold.)
I didn’t want to display my ignorance by spouting nonsense about something I know very little about, so I did try to digest as much of the document as I could, and I dutifully watched the interesting (to me) video below. In the end, it seems that the specifics of the annexation plan is still a work in progress. Also, at the end of the day, the legality is never the main and ultimate clincher when it comes to Middle East policy. Emotion is the real game-changer; hearts and minds and so on.
Even if the annexation ploy turns out to be just one strategic move in a long-term game, and the objective is a genuine, just and lasting peace, the BBC is never going to give us a fully-rounded picture because it is ideologically and ‘institutionally’ opposed to it and not entirely convinced of Israel's right to exist.
Legal situation fully explained overleaf.