Knell’s Toll

Yolande Knell has taken sides. In Knell’s eyes, and in the eyes of most of the BBC’s Middle East staff, Israel’s existence automatically places it in the wrong.
An unpleasant article in the Independent by Christina Patterson drifted into stormy waters not so long ago because it characterised London’s Jews as boorish freaks. She managed to dig herself even deeper in a follow-up article entitled “How I was smeared as an antisemite”.
Well, I’ve had a look at Yolande Knell’s output, and as far as impartiality is concerned, she also sails close to the wind. But she represents the BBC, which Patterson does not.

Every one of Knell’s pieces is angled from the Palestinian / Arab perspective.
For example on 26th August, a vehicle for showcasing the tally of militants killed by Israel appeared, entitled “Militant Groups in Gaza Agree to a second Israel Truce’.
On 8th September, ‘Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood faces fresh political fight’ arrived. It portrays the Muslim Brotherhood as a relatively moderate group who have disavowed violence, and whose banner reads: “Freedom and Justice Party”
On 15th September along came “West bank residents split on Palestinian Statehood bid.” The split is echoed in the article’s two contrasting halves. The first predicts the paradise that will emerge from the forthcoming transformation, ‘when the international community will recognise our rights.

“In the city it is easy to imagine what a future Palestinian state might look like. Palestinian police officers direct traffic on the newly cleaned streets and the shops and restaurants are packed. It lends a sense of relative prosperity and security.” Yolande Knell has turned into Maeve Binchy!

In part two, the mood changes. She descends sharply into misery memoir mode and the rhetoric is ramped up to full death-Knell.
“It is hard to imagine a Palestinian state here. “We’re under occupation until now and you speak about a state?” says Zayd, a Beduin. “The Israeli army is everywhere here and the settlers are everywhere – they’re armed and they cause a lot of problems and you speak about a state?” Unadulterated pathos and bitterness, with an undercurrent of belligerence. Orla, eat your heart out.

Now for the Patterson parallel. When she composed her ‘Judaisation of Jerusalem’ (Israel-Palestinian conflict writ large etc) article on August 17th, Yolande Knell didn’t feel any need to conceal her aversion to Jews. Her assumption was clear. Empathy with the Palestinian cause is a given, therefore entirely outside the scope of the impartiality conundrum. She took it for granted that the reader would accept that the stereotypical Jew is ‘over familiar’ – “swaggering” Jeremy Bowen might say. Her friendship with a high-profile Palestinian activist seems almost a boast, as does her mischievous urge to ridicule her young Jewish fellow-passenger’s preference for using the Hebrew name for Jerusalem by expressing her personal preference for the Arabic one.

Land may be at the heart of the P/I conflict” she opines, ignoring what everyone knows deep down, but chooses to ignore, that really, Palestinian rejectionism is at its heart. The possibility that signage in Jerusalem will display “the transliterations of Hebrew names of cities”, the ‘Judaisation of Jerusalem’ hints, for Knell and her friends, at a cunning plan which threatens the Palestinians’ struggle.
After Benjamin Netanyahu’s terrific speech at the UN, where he compares the incongruity of this concept with the ‘Americanisation of Washington’, I needn’t elaborate on the ignorance and bias inherent Knell’s piece.
Drawing attention to place-names brings to mind the Palestinians’ deeply unpleasant habit of naming their streets and towns after terrorists, but such things don’t interest Knell. She recounts the conjecture posited by her friend Huda, the ‘well-known, energetic Palestinian activist’, that the Israelis are erasing all traces of Palestinian identity. Israel’s opponents frequently project their own foibles and conspiracy theories onto their enemy; the more ludicrous and malevolent the better. And as erasing traces of Jewish history and identity is exactly what Arab historians and archaeologists persist in doing themselves, Huda’s theory looks like a choice example of that psychological condition.

“The biggest problems arise in East Jerusalem – which was occupied by Israel in 1967 and is still a mainly Arab area – although Jewish settlers are fast moving in, taking over Palestinian homes”.
Knell slips that in almost casually, though she must be well aware that ‘taking over Palestinian homes’ is an incendiary statement, undoubtedly phrased, deliberately, to cause outrage, especially as she doesn’t explain how the occupation came about in 1967, and leaves the unwary reader with the impression that it was a random act of aggression by an expansionist, land-grabbing thieving entity. Which may well be what she herself believes.

So, if the BBC’s reporters are allowed to be as overtly anti Israel as Mr. Bowen and Ms. Knell, where are the overtly pro Israel ones? The impartiality in their genes evaporated and left the building long ago.

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11 Responses to Knell’s Toll

  1. john in cheshire says:

    It puzzles me why Israel allows bbc representatives to operate in their country. If Geert Wilders was seen as a threat to the UK, surely, the same logic could be applied towards Mr Bowen and his mates.


    • deegee says:

      John in cheshire. Israel allows the BBC in for a number of reasons.
      1) Ignorance. It’s amazing how many otherwise intelligent English speaking Israelis, even in positions of responsibility are unaware. Just because you can speak English fairly fluently doesn’t mean you follow English language media.
      2) Desperate desire to be one of the club of Western nations: one of the distinguishing signs is freedom of the press.
      3) Toleration to ranges of opinion. If Israel tolerates Arab politicians whose position would be treason in any other countries and an extreme albeit Establishment left-wing blissfully unaware of the damage they do it can hardly outlaw the BBC.
      4) A not unreasonable expectation that if the BBC is excluded it will be as or even more anti Israel without even the figleaf of an Israeli voiuce for balance.


      • hippiepooter says:

        Israel doesn’t need to ban the BBC from Israel.  The BBC has some good reporters there, such as James Reynolds, but it does have grounds to ban Bowen and his ilk, who has a history of cuddling up to Arab tyrants to ask them to explain to his viewers why Israel is so bad and never asks them why they dont make peace with Israel.  He is constantly slanting his reporting to favour the propaganda war against Israel by anti-Semitic despots and terrorists.  I am sure Israel could compile a watertight document to justify his exclusion from Israel on the grounds Britain would exclude anyone ‘not conducive to the public good’.  There is no reason why Israel should admit correspondents to Israel whose only raison d’etre is to whip up hatred against Israel to pave the way to its destruction.

        Obviously, if they do make this move, it needs to be thought through, and on balance, it may make more sense not to, but there’s more than a case for at least taking a serious look at it.  Why should the Jewish State admit anti-Semites who wish to whip up hatred against it?


  2. james1070 says:

    “The biggest problems arise in East Jerusalem – which was occupied by Israel in 1967 and is still a mainly Arab area – although Jewish settlers are fast moving in, taking over Palestinian homes”.

    Err Sorry Knell but wasn’t East Jerusalem part of Jordan pre-1967 so the arabs are Jordanians not as you say Palestinians.


    • noggin says:

      “judiasation of jerusalem” eh! goodness, these johnny come latelys
      just remind me again
      what was that place before that monstrosity, the dome, was parked on it
      ignorance is bad, wilful ignorance worse, outright lies well you decide.
      but it ain t honest journalism


  3. sue says:

    One of the things that leaps out from those vile comments below any Israel/Palestine article, be it on the BBC, the Guardian or the Telegraph, is the need many of the most virulent Israel-bashers have for setting out an erroneous set of ‘facts’ before launching off into the tirade proper.

    Stolen land, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, illegal settlements, state founded on terrorism, thousands of children killed, the death toll, the occupation, humanitarian crisis, settlements, land grab, etc., etc.

    If any one of them were asked nicely to elucidate, none of them would be able to, but hints and innuendo have made them believe that they *know* certain things.  This is a reflection of the BBC’s atrocious partial and biased reporting.


    • noggin says:

      i note on the patterson so called article, cutting comments, right from the word go
      “you are open to being called racist/anti-semite. I don’t think you are those things, i just think you’re a poor journalist who can’t write a balanced article and manages to rant instead”

      Hmmm actually in truth, i think she a poor, ANTISEMITIC journalist who cant write a balanced article.


  4. hippiepooter says:

    I had the great pleasure to view Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the UN via Sue’s link, and what a huge pleasure it was to listen to the poetic beauty of truth spoken by a man inspired by faith in the justice of his cause and love of his people and country.  A candle was certainly lit in the darkness of the UN.

    I’ve only caught a snippet of Abbas’ subtitled speech elsewhere in which he was using all the hackneyed buzz phrases designed to chime with the coalition of the shameless and shallow supping at the cjup of Arab anti-Semitic evil.  If I happen upon it’s entirety and I have a quiet time at work, I guess I’ll have to trudge through it, but it wont be the elegaic joy that Netanyahu’s speech was.

    I accidentally clicked on the link to Christine Patterson’s piece and read though about half of it.  Strewth, could it be more obvious to anyone with any moral sense how demented and evil she is?


  5. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Well said, sue.