. There is a great dissection of the BBC’s recent 60th birthday “tribute” “to Israel here over on Honest Reporting. The very fact that the BBC selected Jeremy Al Bowen to present this one hour documentary is surreal given HIS track record. It’s akin to having Hannibal Lecter front up a documentary on Veganism.

A taste of things to come arrives in the first few seconds of the broadcast, which features images of Islam’s Dome of the Rock and a Christian crucifix against a Jerusalem backdrop. Despite the deep religious connection of Judaism to both Jerusalem and the land of Israel, this image is, incredibly, omitted. And herein lies the major flaw of the entire program – the legitimate roots of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel going back three millenia are either downplayed, delegitmized or ignored altogether.”
You should give it a read to see just how biased this disgraceful documentary was. I doubt that Hamas could have produced anything worse. There is something about any debate about Israel which brings out the very worst of Al Beeb.
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  1. thud says:

    The beeb can’t and will not discriminate between judaism and christianities connection to Jerusalem, with islams co option of jerusalem through conquest and mythology.Islam is connected to Jerusalem only by a story designed to cement its hold on its conquests…the beeb (non believers as a rule)continues to propogandise for the world of islam by buying into this nonsense….diminishing Israels rights as a consequence…..it doesn’t do to have a true democracy in the middle east does it hey beeb?…the beeb and the people behind it never met an arab regime it didn’t like and admire…traitorous shite the lot of them.


  2. TPO says:

    What on earth is this all about:

    ‘Israel was established as an independent state in 1948 on 15 May according to the Gregorian calendar,……’


    Preparation for the BBC to foist ‘Mecca time’ onto us?

    Muslim call to adopt Mecca time

    ‘Muslim scientists and clerics have called for the adoption of Mecca time to replace GMT, arguing that the Saudi city is the true centre of the Earth. ‘


    Yeah, and the Earth is flat.


  3. Hettie says:


    The above was a really good show,balanced and showed a great variety of opinions. I don’t understand the BBC…


  4. Biodegradable says:

    This is very interesting:
    Napolean’s Proclamation of a Jewish State – 1799


  5. Biodegradable says:

    Contrast & Compare:
    Jewish return to Germany ‘humane’
    UK troops acted “humanely” overseeing the controversial 1947 disembarkation of 4,000 Jews against their will into Germany, newly-released papers show.

    The praise was given by Lt Col Gregson, who was in charge of the disembarkation at Hamburg, information in the National Archives’ file say.

    Documents show UK post-WWII dilemma over Jewish refugees
    LONDON – Documents released Monday show how the British government tried to send thousands of Palestine-bound Jewish survivors of the Nazi genocide back to postwar Germany without inflaming world opinion.

    Could it be done? The answer was no. It was just two years after the end of the war and the world was outraged by the systematic murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis in what became known as the Holocaust.

    Despite the best efforts of early spin doctors to portray the move in the most sympathetic light, the decision to turn away the more than 4,500 Jews on board the Exodus refugee ship turned into a humanitarian and public relations debacle for Britain.


    The Exodus passengers were successfully taken off the vessels in Germany, although a number were injured in confrontations with British troops that involved the use of batons and fire hoses.

    An officer identified as Lt. Col. Gregson, in a formerly secret report, said he considered using tear gas to subdue the Jews but decided not to risk inflaming the situation.

    “The Jew is liable to panic,” he wrote.



  6. Play Fair says:

    In ‘Pity the Nation’ Fisk complained about the one sided pro-Israeli stance of the British media. Whatever the truth of that conjecture we now have precisely the opposite. Jeremy Bowen is an utter disgrace – totally biased,unfair and propagandist in his approach.He marks a new low in what was once a great journalistic tradition.


  7. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Next week the BBC will highlight the Palestinian celebration of the “Nakbar”. According to the BBC, this is an equally valid viewpoint, and the world will once again be told about the massacres of many Palestinian villages by the Israelis, and how the horrible Jews really all came at once after the war, and forced all Palestinians from their homes.

    Slowly, the BBC aids the Left and anti-Semites everywhere in demonizing Israel to the point where it is just no longer acceptable. Once that happens, I wonder if the BBC will report as enthusiastically on the renewed pogroms and other massive violence against Jews around the world as they do now for every round of “It all started when Israel hit the Palestinians back”.


  8. Jack Hughes says:

    Jeremy Bowen has held a grudge against Israel since his driver was killed by israel tank fire in Lebanon in 2000.

    These are his words afterwards:

    “Later, an Israeli army officer told me that the soldiers who had killed Abed [driver] were out to get Malek [camerman] and me.

    At first, the Israelis blamed their allies, the South Lebanon Army, the militia they paid to do their dirty work. Then they promised an inquiry.”

    Reported in The Independent.

    His anger may or may not be justified – but it makes it very difficult for him to be objective when reporting from an area where everything single thing seems to be controversial.


  9. Cockney says:

    I thought it was a very good programme, but then unlike (ahem) Honest Reporting I don’t have an axe to grind either way on Israel.


  10. Hugh says:

    Cockney, reading that Independent piece, do you not think Bowen also might have an axe to grind? Would he be your choice as the corporation’s first editor for an area of reporting where the BBC is particularly susceptible to claims of bias?


  11. Abandon Ship! says:

    For the BBC, it was relatively balanced and fairly interesting. Relatively balanced because all the major issues were mentioned, but the telling thing was the amount of time devoted to the victimhood of one side versus the amount of time devoted to the victimhood of the other. For example, just compare the amount of time devoted to Palestinian refugees as opposed to Jewish refugees (who they?). Also compare the extended coverage of Deir Yassin incident with the brief mention of the Mount Scopus incident, and the fact that the latter was described as a response to the former. Also the amount of time devoted to the activities of the Irgun and the scant mention of Arab terrorist activites and antisemitic riots way back towards the beginning of the last century. Notice also how the acquisition of land by Jews before 1948 was mentioned, but not explained or given context, as the BBC like to do in other scenarios. Indeed the land was “purchased” – but from whom Jeremy? Not Arabs surely? So overall better than the normal BBC fare, but still woefully short on proper balanced analysis.


  12. Anonymous says:

    Hugh | 08.05.08 – 8:50 am |

    One of Bowen’s predecessors, Tim Llewellyn, was actually shot by Palestinians and lost part of his hand as a result.

    That didn’t make him biased against Palestinians.


  13. Hugh says:

    Bowen doesn’t have any predecessors. He’s the first Middle East Editor: an appointment specifically created to tackle inadequacies in the BBC’s reporting of the region. So, I’d only ask again: was he really, given articles like that Independent one, the obvious choice?


  14. Sue says:

    The BBC has succeeded in doing exactly what it set out to do. Hoodwinking ignoramuses. Take our friend Cockney. He is so bored with the Middle East that he interrupts threads about the subject to tell us so. Now he insinuates that people see bias only because they have an axe to grind. What axe would that be Cockney? Being Jewish?
    Go back to being bored with it mate, if as you say, you have no axe to grind.


  15. Cockney says:

    Re: Bowen, I see the point but I think it would be a bit harsh to divert someone’s career because they have a bad experience with one party or other through no fault of their own. Unless they manifestly show lingering hostility and bias afterwards, which is a matter of opinion.

    Sue – I’m obviously interested in the history and politics as any sane person is. I’m irritated when an interesting discussion on unrelated and genuine BBC bias grinds to a halt when someone makes a wildly dubious link to some Israel/Palestine aspect and everyone piles in with the usual cut n’ paste anti Israel/ anti semitic stuff.


  16. Sue says:

    Abandon Ship!:
    For the BBC, it was relatively balanced and fairly interesting. Relatively balanced because all the major issues were mentioned,

    The superficial impression of balance was far more damaging than out and out bias.
    The programme reinforced the popular misconception that Israel ‘stole the land from the indigenous Arab population’ and the perception held by many that Israel was granted by sleight of hand and trickery (by Britain) to holocaust survivors from Europe as some sort of compensation for their loss.

    By crafty editing of interviews, various omissions, not so subtle meaningful glances, juxtaposing of Shimon Peres’s edited comments with Hazem Musseibeh’s dramatic responses, heightened pathos given to the plight of the Palestinians, the bias was there, however many of the major issues were mentioned.
    The average viewer was once again duped by the great educator Bowen the BBC Bunny.


  17. Dr R says:

    Did anyone catch the grotesque Bowen’s summary of 60 years of Israeli independence. He pointed out 3 things: 1) it’s hi-tech industry, 2) the fact ot os a nuclear power and 3) the fact that it has American support.
    No mention of welcoming exiles from over 100 countries.
    No mention of its triumph over the holocvaust ina a thousand ways.
    No mention of its revival of an ancient language into a thriving modern tongue;
    No mention of its triumph in medicine, agriculture and the arts
    No mention of its astonishing battle for survival against Islamist murderers
    No mention of…

    .. you get the drift.

    It annoys me so much that I should have to subsidise the vile bigotry of polemicists like Bowen. But even at the most basic level, he is simply not up to the job.

    Ditto Franks, the BBC Court Jew.


  18. Sue says:

    Cockney | 08.05.08 – 11:54 am
    I am glad you are interested in the subject after all. What you have said in previous comments has given the impression that you find the subject irrelevant and uninteresting.
    I’m sure you are aware, as most of us are, that if ever you have personal experience of something that happens to hit the news, it can be almost unrecognisable by the time it that comes out the other end in a news report or article. Sometimes not only factual errors, but the wrong impression altogether is given and tells the opposite of what you know to be true.

    I became interested in antisemitism and BBC bias a long time ago when personal experience drew it to my attention. I am not a fanatical supporter of Israel right or wrong. I am not religious in any shape or form. But I make a connection between the demonisation of Israel, the insinuated suspicion of Jews, and the courting of the approval of Muslims and the normalisation of the demands of the Islamic religion, and I think of Germany in the 1930s.
    So what the BBC does by omission, selection and emphasis may seem irrelevant to you, but not to me.


  19. Hugh says:

    Cockney: “…a bit harsh to divert someone’s career because they have a bad experience with one party or other through no fault of their own.”

    To be frank, I don’t really care if it would be a bit harsh. If someone’s experience and the way they write about it suggest they’re not – or even might not be – up to the job of fulfilling the BBC’s charter obligations, they shouldn’t get the job.

    It just makes the BBC look entirely arrogant. Despite being publicly funded it doesn’t seem to worry about how things look: the punters must simply accept its claims that it is impartiality. Principles applicable to other public bodies that would, for instance, stop officials taking a role in decisions if there is even a perceived conflict of interest, are simply ignored. Why, exactly, don’t they apply?


  20. Hillhunt says:


    I became interested in antisemitism and BBC bias a long time ago

    I know you have a busy and fulfilling life, but just how long can you stretch out the study of something that doesn’t exist?

    Israel is as intractable a field as any the media report. So much is disputed, and by passionate advocates, that reporting it is a nightmare. Getting it wrong in the eyes of some – or many – viewers is inevitable. The BBC does not shill for either side, and, yes, it makes errors of fact and of judgement. As do all media.

    Anti-semitism is used on these pages as easily as fascism is used in left-wing circles, as an easy label to wound those who don’t subscribe to your worldview. I know very many BBC journalists, editors and managers – and many more in the independent sector. I have never heard an anti-semitic view expressed, though I have heard more prejudice against Muslims than you would expect.

    Contradicting Israeli views or actions is not ant-semitism. It is as healthy as challenging any other nation when events demand it.

    It would be as patronising to refrain from criticism of Israel as it is to refrain from criticising any other nation. Yet that is the effective demand of those posters who routinely confuse arms-length reporting of Israeli issues with a destructive loathing of all Jews. You demean the debate by doing it.


  21. Genuinely Puzzled says:

    I realize that this is a very sensitive subject for many people, but I am genuinely puzzled as to what moral claim the Zionist pioneers who founded the modern state of Israel felt they had • particularly before the Holocaust.

    Why did the Jews (or some Jews, at least) feel that • uniquely • they had a moral right to turn back the clock of history and restore a political, ethnic, cultural and religious dominance in the region that had not existed for almost 2000 years?

    I notice that much is made of the continuity of Jewish presence in the area. But it seems that Jews have been a minority in Israel-Palestine since around the second century AD, and for most of that time constituted less than 4% of the population. Why did they think they had the right to form a majority, let alone a nation state with a Jewish cultural flavour on land lived upon by non-Jews?

    The vast majority of Arabs living in the British Mandate of Palestine in 1948 were descendants of people who had been there for well over a thousand years, in many cases nearer to two thousand.

    On what basis was it considered okay either to displace these people, or even to merely disturb them by flooding their country with immigrants who had the stated intention of altering the character of the neighbourhood?

    It was not, after all, the forebears of these Palestinian Arabs who had originally expelled most of the Jewish people • it was the Romans and the Byzantines.

    Many countries in Europe have been overrun, conquered, passed between one foreign Empire and another to the extent that their present ethnic and demographic position is nothing like it was 2000 years ago. We accept these changes as facts of history and do not try to reverse them. Why hasn’t this been the case in the Middle East?

    What is the Jewish claim to the ‘land of Israel’ actually based upon?


  22. Phil says:

    So, Hillhunt, is it “patronising” to “refrain from criticism” of Hamas’s government in Gaza? Of Hizbollah in Lebanon? Of the mediaeval theocracy in Iran, soon to be nuclear armed? Of the Taliban’s homophobia and denial of a woman’s right to choose?

    The BBC: Patronising Islamist fascism is what we do. Liberal democracies like Israel just have to take their chance.


  23. Sue says:

    Contradicting Israeli views is O.K. as long as it comes together with a balanced helping of contradicting the views of its enemies.

    As long as the contradictions are not misrepresentations. As long as the authority who contradicts them is an authority and not a fool masquerading as an authority. If you are determined to defend the BBC’s portrayal of Israel and Jeremy Bowen’s mangled version of history in that film, carry on.

    Up the Khyber.

    If you don’t understand my arguments please say so, don’t twist them into imaginary ones. Don’t accuse me of having a ‘worldview.’ I don’t even know what that is.

    What is it?

    Naturally nobody at the BBC would openly express antisemitic views. It’s just not the thing at all darling.

    We demand only impartiality. Arms-length reporting of Israel? O.K. if accompanied by arm-length reporting of her enemies. But it aint, and you know it.,


  24. max says:

    You’d be less genuinely puzzeled were you to place the scare quotes around ‘Palestinian Arabs’ instead of placing them around ‘land of Israel’.


  25. Edna says:

    Genuinely Puzzled

    Your first error is quoting the myth that the majority of Arabs in 1948 in Palestine were descendants of families going back thousands of years. Not true.

    Your second error is in comparing Jewish history to the history of other displaced persons in Europe.

    I suggest you do some real research on the subject; this is not the place to discuss the rights of the Jews to their own soveriegnty.


  26. Hugh says:

    I’m genuinely puzzled as to what, regardless of the historical arguments, those who happily question Israel’s very right to exist suggest be done about it? Where exactly do we move those seven million odd people to – since we can’t turn the clock back? Any offers?


  27. Hillhunt says:


    Naturally nobody at the BBC would openly express antisemitic views. It’s just not the thing at all darling.

    Indeed. So why would they exercise it in practice? And in public, too, since that is what broadcasting is…..?


  28. lucklucky says:

    Contrary to your nick Genuinely Puzzled you dont seem so puzzled but you should.

    It doesnt matter if there is 1 1000 or 10000000 or 0.5%, 50% or 100%. It is in right of any human being to seced from any country, organisation.
    You also fail to account the dozens of times that happened after Israel was formed. So why the bias?

    Hillhunt did BBC piece told about jews expelled from Arab countries in WW2 war coup d’etat in Iraq, and Iran? and those expelled when Arab countries attacked Israel in 1948.


  29. Mailman says:


    Its interesting that you make a claim to the right of conquest…yet you dont ascribe the same “priviledge” to Israel and its conquests of Eqyptian, Syrian, Jordanian lands etc.

    Why is that?



  30. Biodegradable says:

    I’m irritated when an interesting discussion on unrelated and genuine BBC bias grinds to a halt when someone makes a wildly dubious link to some Israel/Palestine aspect and everyone piles in with the usual cut n’ paste anti Israel/ anti semitic stuff.
    Cockney | 08.05.08 – 11:54 am

    You constantly come on to threads that are related, indeed dedicated, to “some Israel/Palestine aspect” complaining that you’re “irritated”.

    As I’ve pointed out to you on other occasions there are numerous other posts here about global warming, UK domestic politics, Northern Ireland to name but a few, where you’ll find not one comment about Israel/Palestine.

    I for one am irritated hearing that you are irritated. If Israel/Palestine irritates you so much why even read the comments on a thread like this one, let alone comment here?


  31. Biodegradable says:

    Genuinely Puzzled | 08.05.08 – 1:03 pm

    You’ll find the answers to most of your questions here:


  32. Cockney says:

    Bio, I commented on the programme and on Bowen’s appropriateness then got pulled up reasonably enough for whingeing elsewhere.


  33. Still Genuinely Puzzled says:

    Edna | 08.05.08 – 1:49 pm
    max | 08.05.08 – 1:46 pm
    Hugh | 08.05.08 – 1:50 pm


    Your first error is quoting the myth that the majority of Arabs in 1948 in Palestine were descendants of families going back thousands of years. Not true.

    First, I didn’t say going back thousands of years. I said well over a thousand years, in many cases nearer to two thousand.

    I have read disputes between historians on the question of recent (post-1880) Arab immigration to Palestine. But even if one accepts the highest figures quoted, the majority of the 1948 population would still be able to claim descent from Arabs who’d been there for many centuries.

    There was large scale Arab immigration in the second and third centuries AD. Arab family names in Nablus often indicate ancient Samaritan roots; those in 1948 Ramallah showed strong Ghassanid roots. When the Jews were expelled, the country wasn’t left empty.


    There is no call for quotes round Palestinian Arabs. That’s what they were in early 48 • citizens of the British Mandate for Palestine.


    Now that Israel exists and now that a majority of its population were born there, it would of course be wrong of Hamas etc. to try to expel its people.

    I was not asking for a justification of Israel’s right to exist. I was asking what the rationale was for its foundation. A reasonable thing to consider on a 60th anniversary.

    Bowen’s film didn’t provide an answer. Nor has anyone here. So I remain puzzled.


  34. Sue says:

    Genuinely Puzzled | 08.05.08 – 1:03 pm

    Mr. Puzzled,
    Re your question
    “What is the Jewish claim to the ‘land of Israel’ actually based upon?”

    There are millions of websites which discuss the basis of the Zionist claim that the Jews have an inalienable right to a homeland in Israel.

    BBC bias is not one of them. Why don’t you follow some of the links provided by Melanie Phillips if you’re interested, such as http://www.mythsandfacts.com/Conflict/mandate_for_palestine/Mandate%20for%20Palestine-11-20-07-English.pdf
    Also the link by Bio, above?
    You say “Many countries in Europe have been overrun, conquered, passed between one foreign Empire and another to the extent that their present ethnic and demographic position is nothing like it was 2000 years ago. We accept these changes as facts of history and do not try to reverse them.”
    That statement makes your first question almost irrelevant. Claim or no claim, the second question:
    “So why hasn’t this been the case in the Middle East?” is the genuine puzzle.

    Jews offered to share their wealth, expertise and brains with the Arabs. But the Arabs weren’t having it. Everyone wants peace except Iran-backed Hezbollah and Hamas. The refugee problem has two sides. The BBC doesn’t tell us. It just mangles history and downplays terrorism, and some of us object. That is what concerns posters on this site.


  35. Hugh says:

    Yes, you’re obviously just curious. Try Wikipedia.


  36. Edna says:

    Genuinely puzzled

    This is a blog about BBC bias. You need to find another place to find your answers.

    BBC website
    History of Israel-Key events.

    I don’t know if this has been brought up before. Apologies if so.

    1967 -The Six-Day war

    Israel extends its territory dramatically after strike.

    (Yes, that really sums it up doesn’t it?)

    1982-Lebanon invasion

    Israel turns attention to Palestinian targets.(!!)

    WHo writes this stuff? I’d really love to know. It doesn’t take much imagination to know whose side they’re on.


  37. Jack Bauer says:

    The arabs in “Palestine” already have a country. It’s called Jordan.


  38. Biodegradable says:

    Why don’t you follow some of the links provided by Melanie Phillips if you’re interested, such as http://www.mythsandfacts.com/Con…-07- English.pdf

    The HTML version of that is more readable, IMO:


  39. Sue says:

    If you won’t read my comments properly I’ll have to re-post my lengthy critique of Bowen’s film.

    The bias was in there alright, its subtlety was intermittent but effective. If you didn’t spot it you weren’t alone. Even Bowen is not stupid enough to let his bias be obvious and blatant. But having watched it, what do you think of Israel? Not a lot, I’ll wager.

    But then you probably didn’t before, either.


  40. Oscar says:

    Bowen on this morning’s Today programme – “Israel has many achievements – her high tech industry, her nuclear weapons and her close ties with America”. Bowen not biased? Come on – even Barroso for the EU managed to comment on Israel’s achievements in science, the arts and industry, without recourse to this kind of below the belt snidey comment.


  41. Hillhunt says:


    its subtlety was intermittent but effective..

    This is the media monitoring equivalent of homeopathy. Does bias work at the point at which it is diluted so much it’s undetectable?

    Is it even there at all?

    Take Edna’s point about the key events time-line. The lines she quotes are not the full story. They are one-line tags on links, which reveal a more satisfying account of the history. I read it as it’s meant to be read, I think. I think Edna is seeing only what she wants to see. You probably don’t.

    having watched it, what do you think of Israel? Not a lot, I’ll wager. But then you probably didn’t before, either.

    Then you’d be wrong….


  42. David S says:

    I really don’t understand why those who are aware of the inherent bias of the BBC, and its affect on the rest of the media market in the UK, still pay the license tax! Look, I lived in London for more than a year. I had a goon from TV Licensing come by and try to enter my home to inspect for a TV (yes, in 21st century Britain, agents for the state broadcaster will try and enter your home to check for TV tax compliance). But it really was quite easy to tell the bastard to take a walk and not to return without a search warrant…never saw him again.


    If enough people refuse, politicians will notice and some MPs will soon realize there are votes to be won by running on a platform to end the TV License tax. If enough people refuse to pay, the BBC – in its present form – will implode.


  43. Joel says:

    ‘The very fact that the BBC selected Jeremy Al Bowen to present this one hour documentary is surreal given HIS track record. It’s akin to having Hannibal Lecter front up a documentary on Veganism.’

    He’s the Chief Middle East Editor, you muppets!


  44. Pete says:

    When do we get to read that report about how the BBC reports on the Middle East. We paid for it so why shouldn’t we read it? The BBC could post a copy to everyone. They have all our addresses on its database, as they tell us increasingly often.


  45. Sue says:

    Hunhilt | 08.05.08 – 4:28 pm | #

    Does bias work at the point at which it is diluted so much it’s

    Obviously bias is at its most effective when it masquerades as impartiality. Surely you can see that.

    Is it even there at all? You tell me.

    Bowen begins: “60 Years ago Israel fought and won a war for its independence. For the Palestinians, defeat was a catastrophe”
    Loaded statement, not very subtle bias.

    “Gaza, home of 1.4 million Palestinians, most of who were refugees from the land that became Israel”
    Misleading statement. The total number of Arab refugees in 1948 was estimated to be about 750,000, and they didn’t all go to Gaza.

    “Israel attacks Gaza with rockets and ground incursions, and Gaza sends rockets into Israeli towns.” A tit-for-tat pattern of aggression was implied, an untrue representation.

    Bowen has in the past admitted that there are “Dual Narratives,” but in this film he is quite satisfied to settle for the Arab one. Efraim Karsh gives a credible, more verifiable and rather different picture of the history of the Jews, their relations with Arabs and the creation of Israel.
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/1948–israel–and-the-palestinians-the-true-story-11355 But even if one were to regard that, rather than Bowen’s travesty, as cynical propaganda, the BBC is obliged to offer the viewer an alternative perspective where there is controversy.

    A map of the area was used to illustrate the Arab invasion in ‘48, but the absence of any map showing the huge area that was allocated to TransJordan in the original carving up of Palestine allowed Bowen to get away with stating, of the UN partition, – “The Jews got the best bit” Misleading and untrue.

    Emphasising one bit from the Balfour declaration, Bowen reads to camera the bit he thinks reminds us of Israel’s apartheid tendencies.
    “……and it also said …..it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” Looks into camera.
    “Now there’s a whole series of incompatible promises the British never found a way to keep, …..”
    Bowen glances conspiratorially at his audience conveying that the discerning viewer should now be experiencing an attack of outrage. Subtle bias. A look. A gesture. A poignant silent moment.

    Bulging eyed Hazem Musseibeh, former Jordanian ambassador to the UN described the displacement of the Palestinian people with the particular sentimentality peculiar to BBC coverage of Palestinians. He is given ample time to tell us of their idyllic way of life, olives, watermelons, etc etc. They left behind “everything”, …..”even their jewels.” How very romantic. Then, menacingly, someone pipes up: “Israel stopped them returning.”
    Mr. Musseibeh’s expression is very sad. Those poor Gazans we saw on TV the other day rushing home with their washing machines, fags and mobile phones, why, all they hanker after is their way of life. Oh cynical me.

    Jeremy completely forgot to mention the possessions left behind by the 800,000 Jews that were driven from Arab countries, and absorbed by Israel.
    But hey, if you didn’t know it, you wouldn’t miss it. Subtle, or plain bias?

    Shimon Peres’s contributions were edited to the extent that they made little sense. Mr. Peres asked why Israel should apologise for the Arabs’ own mistake? He stated that the Arabs refused the offer of land and their own state in 1947, and that was a mistake. If he expanded on that it was not shown. The bewildered viewer was not told more about that offer.
    In the edit his assertion that Arab leaders were responsible for denying the Palestinians their own state was somewhat lost. He was made to look unreasonable and belligerent as he appeared to be refusing to apologise for the plight of the dispossessed Palestinians. How easy it is to distort the truth on film. How subtle. Or not.

    Did Mr. Peres think Israel should bear responsibility for the refugees? “No. No responsibility whatsoever”. For dramatic effect, the film cut immediately to Mr. Musseibeh and that statement was repeated to him verbatim.
    His facial expression was a marvel of indignation and trembling jowl. “No responsibility whatsoever?!” His eyes had almost popped out of his head, and his chins disappeared into his neck with outraged apoplexy.
    “What!” he exclaimed. “Why would they leave if it was not for the Israeli massacre?” and, sorrowfully, “I’m surprised Mr. Peres said that.”
    Obviously, so would the viewer have been, what with all those massacres.
    “Why should they pay the price for something that was nothing to do with them? Why? Why?” Such pathos in Mr. Musseibeh’s words, his favourite one being ‘massacre’ .
    Bowen recounted the massacre in Deir Yasin, lending further drama to it by reading out, with relish, a statement that graphically detailed the killing of a “mother and baby” He looks pointedly at the camera after uttering those words. Very subtle? Not very subtle?

    A huge amount of controversial and unresolved historical accounts concerning the Palestinian exodus were brushed aside. Pro-Israeli accounts were dismissed by Bowen as ‘claims.’ He was sticking to the Arabs’ version, thanks all the same.

    Unless the viewer knew otherwise they wouldn’t suspect that they had been hoodwinked into thinking they had watched a balanced programme. After all, it was presented by no less than ‘the BBC’s chief Middle east Editor,’ why doubt that they were being told the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

    I’m sure you will find this tedious and a load of fuss over nothing. But bias like this is foisted on an unsuspecting audience some of whom who trust the BBC to tell the honest truth.


  46. Edna says:


    I am perfectly aware that the headings are merely pointers to the main articles.

    Nevertheless, you cannot disagree that , deliberately or not, they are misleading and falsely and unnecessarily, paint Israel as the agressor and the Arabs as the victims.


  47. TPO says:

    He’s the Chief Middle East Editor, you muppets!
    Joel | Homepage | 08.05.08 – 5:22 pm |

    That’s what it is all about you muppet.
    The BBC are employing someone who makes little or no pretense of hiding his partisanship.


  48. Biodegradable says:

    Sue | 08.05.08 – 6:07 pm



  49. deegee says:

    There’s an old story about a group of blind men who inspect an elephant. Each describes what they experience from their own limited perspective e.g. from a leg or a trunk, but because they never gain an overall ‘view’ and don’t compare notes none ever realises they are all touching a single animal and that animal is an elephant.

    Jeremy Bowen, is a war correspondent and every word he writes is looking for the bang-bang. I suggest people read his autobiography War Stories. He is completely consistent.

    Just like a blind man with an elephant he is totally incapable of seeing the ‘big picture’. That he surrounds himself with ‘fixers’ exclusively from a particular P.O.V., without whom he is incapable of doing his job; apparently does no research; speaks none of the languages of the regions he covers and suffers from the trauma/guilt of having one of his Hizbullah fixers killed before his eyes only narrows his viewpoint.

    He and the BBC obsessively see Israel as a nation, born in sin, defined by war and nothing else. Perhaps it’s a chicken and egg question whether Bowen directs the standard BBC approach to Israel or he follows the standard BBC approach blindly.


  50. thud says:

    For all it’s efforts to demonise it the beeb still has to deal with Israel and its continued existence.The beeb,foreign office and all other anti semites who become all misty eyed and overcome at the thought of Lawrence and the noble arab can watch now as another arab nation destroys itself….or maybe as usual the situation in Lebanon is the joooos fault as well.