Propaganda Works

Although the BBC’s current attitude towards Israel is predominantly hostile, certain Jews are always treated sympathetically. Those persecuted and murdered by Hitler.

“Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel is one of the most sombre points in the calendar. This year has seen the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the young men who ran a football league in the ghetto of Theresienstadt in the Czech republic, who left a remarkable musical legacy. ” So says the Today webpage, introducing Kevin Connolly’s item (yesterday) about the type of Jews he and the BBC have no problem with.

It was a moving and memorable piece, but sadly, such undoubtedly well-intentioned features also provide material for the anachronistic but oft-cited complainants who, according to the BBC, contend that the BBC is overly pro-Israel. This conveniently masks the genuine bias and generates our old friend “we-must-have-got-it-about-right”.  It will have been filed away away in the recesses of their consciousness, together with  Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’s Shoah-themed Thought For The Day, to justify another tedious complaint about catching sight of Mark Regev on television, or to inspire a hateful post on the internet beneath the YouTube clip of the Nazi propaganda film contrived to bamboozle the public into believing that Hitler was kind to the Jews.

Kevin Connolly spoke to Israeli born Oded Breda who has worked at Beit-Terezin since 2009: “That cynical propaganda film still troubles him to this day. Holocaust deniers who find it on the internet want to use it to suggest that the Jews of Europe were not mistreated. Were not slaughtered” said Connolly, and Mr. Breda added:

“The propaganda film is still working. If you look at YouTube, if you look at remarks that people are putting, people are saying ‘look at the Jews in the war. There was nothing. Look how they play. The propaganda film was working very well.” 

The BBC should be made aware that propaganda is a powerful weapon, and reminded that many people are still unhappy with the BBC’s misleading coverage of the “Jenin massacre”, the lingering fallacy surrounding the Al Durah incident, the uncritical publicity gifted to Ken O’Keefe and Sarah Colbourne after the Mavi Marmara debacle and the ongoing misinformation over the unnecessary death and sanctification of Rachel Corrie; not to mention the BBC’s biased reporting of Operation Cast Lead, and for that matter all wars and skirmishes involving Israel, invariably provoked by the neighbouring states, but habitually blamed on Israel. Not forgetting the misrepresentation of Gaza, the air time given to Islamists and unmarked, unnoted supporters of Islamists and terrorists. In fact the incessant vilification of Israel fits in nicely with the conventional present-day perception of righteousness, no doubt just as it did regarding Jews in pre-war Germany. If the Guardian reflects the thinking behind the BBC’s worldview, and the BBC was not hobbled by its charter, Kevin Connolly’s piece might have replicated the Guardian’s insensitive conduct. In reply to the suggestion that it was inappropriate to publish a piece written by Raed Salah on Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day day, Guardian Comment Editor Becky Gardiner said: “No offence intended”.


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11 Responses to Propaganda Works

  1. Sue says:

    Oh, and this.


  2. David Preiser (USA) says:

    This absolutely begs the question about the BBC’s tolerance of the idea that all Jews everywhere should take the heat for Israel’s sins (real or imagined). According to the Muslim world – and Palestinophiles everywhere – remembering the Holocaust or having a separate moment of sympathy for the Jewish victims of the Nazis is considered pro-Israel. I understand why this is, considering Israel’s very existence is connected to it (a discussion for another time). But I’d like the BBC for once to address this, seeing how it’s editorial policy to abjure against doing so for Muslims and Islamic terrorism.

    I really wish people would stop referring to this as a”Jewish ghetto”. It was a forced, guarded, enclosed camp. “Ghetto” doesn’t have the same connotation. This was exacerbated by “Teabagger” Connolly’s referencing the actual ghettos of Poland. Now the average listener will have the wrong idea.

    Another wrong idea perpetrated by this piece is the music. In actual fact, there was much more going on than the music hall stuff we heard here, even though there was plenty of it, and folk/popular music probably made up the bulk. I’m sure that’s just due to what was provided by the museum folks Connolly’s producer dealt with, but I think it’s important to get it right.

    There was a full(ish) orchestra, and real, serious Classical composers lived and worked there until being sent to their deaths. There are a number of recordings available of their works. It’s not all dark, depressing stuff, but much of it is. Although some of that has to do with the fact that the composers were working in a contemporary (for the time) genre, and wasn’t generally the more approachable stuff.

    Erwin Schulhoff, Pavel Haas, Gideon Klein, Viktor Ullman (probably the best of them), Zikmund Schul, and several others composed fine music there before being exterminated.

    Anyone interested can find their works here, here, here, here, here, and here.

    Then there’s Brundibar.

    Having said all that, is Connolly still growing those £100 anti-Israel propaganda lemons on his terrace?


    • Sue says:

      Yes, you’re quite right of course, David P.
      But I think it was the football league idea that got Kevin Connolly particularly excited.


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        I know I can’t blame “Teabagger” Connolly for focusing on the football, as that would have a much wider appeal to the BBC audience than stuffy old longhair music for white people.

        But it’s a shame he didn’t paint the proper picture of what was an enclosed, guarded camp, and left open the softer “ghetto” concept. And once again the BBC ignores the issue of Jewish dual loyalty and Israel.


    • Dave s says:

      He should apologise for conflating ghetto with a prison camp.But he won’t. It’s in his dna.


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        He hasn’t apologized for insulting a million or more people on air and online with a sexual innuendo. And never will.


  3. Adi says:

    The BBC belongs in the newly opened EU(SSR) museum of history.

    If WW2 was a ‘civil war’, then the BBC is ‘impartially balanced’. Mostly.


  4. chrisH says:

    I too took some offence at this piece Sue.
    I got the impression that , because music and football came out of Theresienstad, then somehow it was “not as bad” as other concentration camps…I resented that.
    Still I was pleased to hear Jonathan Sacks again on the same show…a true colossus in intellect compared to the pigmies he has to deal with on the Today show…and Naughtie made some silly little comment after Sacks, that only showed the Beebs talking nonentities up for what they are.
    All too clear that the BBC and the likes of Sacks continue to be opposite sides of the razor wire in matters of morality…and Goebbels would purr at some of the subtle techniques he had yet to develop.


  5. Miv Tucker says:

    The BBC just loves dead Jews; oh, how they love dead Jews, and anything to do with them: endless programmes on the Holocaust, Cable Street, Oswald Mosley…

    As long it’s all safely buried in the long, long ago.

    It’s just all those pesky living ones they’d really rather not have to deal with.


  6. zemplar says:


    Nicely put. It boils down to:

    Dead Jews = good
    Alive Jews = bad