Telling Tales

What is a “Massacre”?

“The wanton or savage killing of large numbers of people, as in battle. The act or an instance of killing a large number of humans indiscriminately and cruelly” says the dictionary, pedantically.

Ten years ago this month, the media, including the Guardian and the BBC, reported a fairy tale. A massacre had taken place in the Palestinian city of Jenin in the West bank.

This eventually proved to be a falsehood, but rather than retracting the accusation, the Guardian insinuated that Israel’s detailed refutations were merely part of the Zionist propaganda machine.  The Guardian had their story, and they were sticking with it; they stuck to their guns, so to speak.

An article by ‘Myrrh’ in Harry’s Place and cross-posted on CiF Watch examines this example of malicious and shoddy journalistic malpractice, perpetrated way back in April 2002 and still unacknowledged.   Evidently, ten years on they’re still unrepentant; the article was submitted to the Guardian but they declined to publish it.

For about eighteen months during the spring of 2002 there was a sustained campaign of Palestinian suicide attacks, and many Israelis were killed. Eventually a retaliatory battle took place in the Jenin refugee camp from which most of the suicide attacks had emerged. After a few days 23 Israeli solders, and 52 Palestinians, 14 of whom were allegedly civilians, had been killed.

The Guardian’s reports of hundreds of Palestinian deaths were plain wrong. They were simply regurgitating fanciful claims emanating from the depths of a maudlin Palestinian imagination.

The Guardian deliberately uses emotive  language to stir up anti-Israel passion.

“‘Jenin camp looks like the scene of a crime’; ‘Jenin smells like a crime’; ‘Jenin feels like a crime’;”

When they couldn’t find many bodies, they said hundreds were probably buried in the rubble.

“In fact, as aerial shots later showed, the pictures of ostensibly widespread destruction in Jenin and its adjacent refugee camp were all of the same tiny area within the camp which had been the scene of a tactically brilliant ambush — on the part of the Palestinians.  Thirteen Israeli soldiers were killed when a series of booby-trapped buildings collapsed on them.” says Myrrh.

Booby traps  and ambushes severely test the IDF’s resolve to limit the collateral damage associated with air power. When they send in and thus endanger troops on the ground, the BBC’s reporting neither reflects nor explores Israel’s demonstrable humanitarian concerns.

Some of the comments below the line at Harry’s Place cite the BBC as well as the Guardian:

“The BBC came out with the same stories about the “massacre”. Their reports included claims of Israeli soldiers doing things like deliberately forcing a wheelchair-bound man into his house then bulldozing it on top of him.” says one comment. Another refers to this article .

Here’s James Naughtie talking to James Reynolds about the possibility of an investigation by the UN.

While the BBC eventually reported that the UN’s findings corroborated Israel’s claims, they  concentrated instead on Palestinian victimhood.

Jeremy Cooke knows about the UN’s findings, but he won’t let go of the approved scenario. Israeli brutality and Palestinian victimhood.

And here’s Martin Asser empathising with the problems encountered by the Palestinian commuter.  And celebrity kidnapee Alan Johnston recounting assorted heresay from various Palestinians, namely allegations of torture, and being made to take some of their clothes off.

These articles resemble malicious gossip between bored pub philosophers with nothing better to do than egg each other on till they’ve whipped each other up into mutual states of incandescent indignation. Unlike the BBC, the Guardian isn’t hobbled by a charter requiring impartiality at all times, or failing that, balance over-all. The BBC is obliged to keep its prejudices under the counter in plain packaging, but it still manages to get the message across by emoting, omission and innuendo.

Ten years on and much water has passed under the bridge. The aftermath of the Arab Spring, the rise of Islamism throughout the Arab World, the overt threats against Israel from the Ayatollahs and Mr. Ahmadinejad, manifestations of increasing Muslim antisemitism here in the UK. These developments have exposed an unpalatable reality loud and clear and have offered important lessons we obstinately refuse to learn. We won’t make the simple connection leading to the obvious conclusion so we can’t confront what truly lies behind the Israel/Palestine conflict. Lies being the operative word.

And what about accountability from the media. Our trusted National broadcaster habitually passing on unverified eyewitness reports from notoriously  fanciful and unreliable sources without identifying them as such is reckless and irresponsible. Without a subsequent and prominent mea culpa it’s destructive and dangerous.

The damage has been done. The impression has been implanted, and let’s face it, without the long overdue acknowledgements, revisions and apologies the armchair experts will forever be none the wiser.

Gloating With Salah

I admire Harry’s Place. It’s considered a left-wing blog, but their comments field is by no means an echo chamber. Political views expressed are predominantly leftist, but, because of their strong pro-Israel stance, they’ve been accused, in the pejorative manner with which such an accusation is generally uttered, of being  “a right-wing, Islamophobic blog”.

Someone who applauded Theresa May’s failure to send Raed Salah packing was provoked into making such a ludicrous remark about Harry’s Place, after being subjected to what he saw as an impertinent challenge to his unseemly gloating. He didn’t much like being asked to clarify whether he endorsed or denounced Salah’s blood libel either, nor whether he agreed or disagreed that Salah was a generally undesirable lingerer in the UK.

That same person has been captured on film effectively auditioning for Broadmoor. That, and the video of the infamous “ infidels are like cattle” sermon, not to mention various Q.T. appearances that hint that he’s not the ‘sharpest fool on the box’ make his appointment as Senior Editor (politics) of the New Statesman, and his frequent appearances on the BBC all the more baffling. Why?

Harry’s Place has posed this question many many  times, but still no-one has got to the bottom of the mystery.  How far must a body go before getting crossed off the BBC’s speed dial?

As far as banning people, deporting people and declaring people personae non gratae, double standards are the order of the day. What with Geert, Grass and Salah  no-one seems to know whether  they’re coming or going.


That Sinking Feeling

That old familiar sinking feeling, courtesy of BBC morning headlines concerning Rowan Williams’s forthcoming Easter address.

According to the BBC, he was going to say: ‘Although the persecution of the Jews justifies the existence of Israel,  harassment of the Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints must stop.’

Updated wording reversed the order. Now harassment of the Palestinians headed the announcement, while Israel’s existence trailed at the tail end.
Later still, Israel was wiped off the face of the announcement and the Archbish’s retirement address was to be all about easing the everyday lives of the Palestinians.

Anyone would think he was about to deliver a sermon on behalf of the PSC. But was he? The press releases hardly mention the Middle East. The Telegraph, for example only says: “The religious leader will touch on the conflict in the Middle East.”, and even in the BBC’s own web article any reference to the topic is buried, and the tenor of that is completely different, more a plea fro God to bring peace to the region than a potpourri of anti-Israel innuendo as per those  headlines.

Who, I wonder chose to give such prominence to this segment of an otherwise, if I may say so, somewhat dull-sounding sermon, in the Easter Sunday  headlines?

Rowan Williams is well known for making foot in mouth announcements, which might pass unremarked if it weren’t for the BBC’s mischievous habit of cherry-picking misguided molehills and making them into populist mountains.
I haven’t heard his speech. But if it’s anything like what’s predicted in the written press, i.e. about Christianity and young people, well, why must the BBC gratuitously stir up more anti-Israel feelings?

Iran Matters

Over the last few days Nick Robinson and Mark Mardell have been speculating about likely topics of conversation between David Cameron and President Obama. They predict that having settled Afghanistan, the new buddies will turn their attention to Iran. Or rather Israel, because the question they will be tussling with is not “How to make sure Iran doesn’t acquire nuclear weapons” but “how to stop Israel taking unilateral military action”.

Because the BBC frames Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons as “Israel’s problem,” the prospect of pre-emptive military action against Iran’s nuclear activities is contemplated with pre-emptive righteous indignation.Israel is blamed in advance for the anticipated consequences such as oil price rises, perhaps Western armed forces being ‘sucked in’, and the probability that it would hand the Islamists in our midst an additional excuse for home-grown grievance-based terrorism. People are preoccupied with the understandable concern that they may suffer because of “Israel’s war”, but their trepidation completely overshadows Iran’s culpability.

Arguments against military intervention are boosted by speculation that Iran hasn’t got nuclear weapons yet, and is a long way off acquiring them. People cite Iran’s repeated reassurances that their nuclear activities are one hundred percent peaceful; yet still they retain, as back-up, the theory that even if the Iranians have lied, perish the thought, diplomacy and sanctions will rescue us.
This argument comes with yet another back-up. If Iran has been fooling us all along, and should sanctions and diplomacy fail, we can always fall back on Mutually Assured Destruction – the all-time, ultimate deterrent. However, in a country ruled by people who are awaiting the End Times with joyous anticipation, an event that entails the coming of the Shia Mahdi accompanied by the apocalypse, the Mutual part of this deal doesn’t seem quite so relevant. Which just leaves the Assured Destruction.
It could be that if we wait too long, we’re in permanent thrall to nuclear-armed Ayatollahs. However, meantime we could bombard Iran with a concerted programme of overt sabre-rattling.

“The dirty secret about President Obama’s generally successful effort to put more pressure on Iran through sanctions and diplomatic methods is that in the last resort its effectiveness depends on exactly the military threats that he would like to downplay. “

It hasn’t occurred to the BBC’s political analysts that if we stick together and threaten, we could give Ahmadinejad the serious willies, which, End Times notwithstanding, could be more effective than trying to ingratiate ourselves with him by pacifying, tolerating and being patient. It’s known as Brinkmanship.

On Tues 6th March 5:05 am the BBC World service featured the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu. I couldn’t blog it at the time because my internet connection was down. Their interpretation appeared to be that Netanyahu is making a big fuss about nothing. Though President Obama’s and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s clearly expressed preference for diplomacy was mentioned briefly, it was all but cancelled out by extremely misleading hinted-at images of Netanyahu straining at the leash like a mad dog, with peace-loving Obama wrestling with all his might to rein him in and save us all from Armageddon.
Mark Mardell and Nick Robinson are not alone in believing Obama is insincere in his friendships, both with the UK and, even more so, with Israel. The BBC portrays Netanyahu as a warmonger simply because they dislike him. They undoubtedly remember Sarkozy saying he can’t stand Netanyahu, and calling him a liar, with Obama’s apparent approval. Why, they may argue, pretend otherwise?
The Guardian.

The president sees the Israeli PM “as a liar who uses subversive tactics, shamelessly meddles in American politics and is encouraging the Republican campaign to topple him,” [Haaretz] while “Netanyahu sees Obama as a spineless leftwinger whose fantasies about world peace are threatening Israel with the prospect of a second Holocaust.” So, not exactly chums, then.”

The BBC attributes President Obama’s abrupt recollection of the unshakeable solidarity between the US and Israel to the upcoming US election. Why else, they imply, would the esteemed Obama bother with a hard-line leader of such a despicable country as Israel?
Obama undoubtedly does hope to curry favour with the Jewish voter, but since the majority of US Jews traditionally vote Democrat come what may, all this does seem an unnecessarily elaborate strategy.

However, whether or not the BBC should really be putting such ideas into people’s heads, it certainly isn’t their job to inspire people like Peter Oborne and Jenny Tonge to scatter sinister warnings about the Jewish Lobby, or to boost the credibility of people who talk about tentacles and tails that wag dogs.

If military action does eventually prove unavoidable, can a pre-emptive surgical strike with a clearly defined target be compared unfavourably with an open-ended military adventure like the one in which we are currently embroiled? The one popularly believed to have an undefined, ever changing, unachievable goal, the success of which is impossible to evaluate and the end of which is likely to be never, ever?

The possibility of a surgical strike specifically targeting Iran’s nuclear activities is not the same as an all-out attack against Iran. Who knows if such a thing is, or ever was, feasible, but the window of opportunity, if there is one, is closing – or closed. What would the situation in Syria be now, if such a thing hadn’t (allegedly) occurred in 2007?
And in any case, the consequences of our existing interference in ‘Muslim Lands’ are already with us. Maybe it would be better to go for it now, before it’s too late; whichever party does the deed, Israel knows it would face retaliation from Hezbollah, and despite what Jon Donnison says, Hamas.

This is not an argument for war. It’s simply about the BBC’s inappropriate advocacy of appeasing the Ayatollahs on top of their willful misrepresentation of the Arab Spring as a benign and enlightened success story. And now, their delusional attitude to the monumental differences between the Western and the Islamic world, framed as though it’s a straightforward case of ‘war or peace, ‘either or’. Meaning either (Israel’s) war or (the world’s) peace.

BBC World service. ‘The World Today with Lawrence Pollard and Roger Hearing’ reported the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu. They called on the services of Professor Avi Shlaim of Oxford University. Prof Shlaim is an Israeli domiciled in the UK, and a harsh critic of Israel, so it’s no surprise that he would be consulted to reinforce the BBC’s stance. He did not disappoint.

He cited a warning to Israel not to take pre-emptive military action, made recently by “ex Mossad hard-liner” Meir Dagan. According to Haaretz Mr Dagan did indeed issue such a warning, but Ynet adds:
”Ultimately, the former head of Mossad said the Iranians cannot be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon, but an attack on their nuclear sites now would be a mistake.” So Dagan wasn’t playing down the threat from Iran, but, for better or worse, handing the hot potato of what to do about a nuclear-armed Iran, back to President Obama.
In the programme, after short sound-bites from Netanyahu and Obama, came Professor Shlaim’s analysis.
He kept referring to the Israeli government as ‘reckless’, without acknowledging that, even if it’s really all bluff and bluster, sabre-rattling is a necessary piece of the jigsaw.

I transcribed this programme, because it ticked all the above mentioned boxes.
Intro: “We don’t know exactly what went on at the meeting between president Obama and the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Washington but we can be pretty sure Mr. Netanyahu strongly argued the case for urgent military action against Iran to stop it developing nuclear weapons, and that president Obama pressed the case for seeing what sanctions and diplomatic pressure could do before sending in the bombers. In a speech before the American Israel and Public Affairs Committee AIPAC Mr. Netanyahu said time was running out.”
B. Netanyahu:
“My friends, Israel has waited, patiently waited for the international community to resolve this issue we’ve waited for diplomacy to work. We’ve waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer. As prime minister of Israel I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation.”
Well, earlier Mr. Obama said that both he and Mr. Netanyahu preferred a diplomatic to a military solution.
B. Obama:
“I reserve all options, and my policy here is not going to be one of containment. My policy prevention Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, and as I indicated in my speech when I say all options are on the table I mean it. Having said that I know that both the prime minister and I prefer to resolve this diplomatically. We understand the costs of any military action.”
But what complicates this is that in a presidential election year Mr. Obama has to be very careful of alienating the large number of pro Israeli US voters by appearing not to be safeguarding the security of the Jewish State. Avi Shlaim is the professor of international relations at the University of Oxford, here in Britain. he doesn’t think President Obama does have to make concessions to the Israelis.
A. Shlaim:
“I question whether Israel has the ability to take unilateral action against Iran. The whole of the Israeli strategy for a long time has been geared to getting America to take military action against Iran. That hasn’t succeeded, so now there are rumours and speculation that Israel will be forced to take unilateral action.”
“You think that’s bluff?”
A. Shlaim:
“I do think that it is bluff and more than that I think it is reckless. It’s not I who thinks that Mr Netanyahu and his defence Ehud Barak are reckless. It is the former director of the Mossad Meir Dagan who is a hard-line and former general who said that Israel cannot carry out unilateral military action against Iran, and that Israel shouldn’t be talking about unilateral action, and he called the prime minister and the defence minister of the state of Israel ‘reckless’. So I do believe he is right on this issue.”

“Many in Israel would say it was reckless to ignore what they see as a very real threat from Iran, after all the Iranian president has threatened to wipe Israel from the map, and I suppose, with nuclear weapons they would have the capacity to do that. Isn’t it reckless not to take any action?”

A. Shlaim:
“No, because Netanyahu keeps repeating that a nuclear-armed Iran will be an existential threat to the State of Israel. Well first of all, it would not be an existential threat, because Israel already has nuclear weapons, and therefore Israel’s nuclear weapons would deter Iran from launching an attack. So the worst case scenario would be a nuclear-armed Iran, and there would be a balance of terror, and the Iranians would be committing an act of suicide if they attacked Israel, and They are Not Irrational. That’s the worst case scenario. It wouldn’t be a good scenario, because if Iran had nuclear weapons, other countries, and first and foremost Saudi Arabia would want to have nuclear weapons, so it’s not a good scenario, but we are a very very long way from that worst case scenario because Iran hasn’t got nuclear weapons, it has a peaceful nuclear programme, and the best estimate from the American experts is that Iran has not made the decision yet to acquire a nuclear capability. That Iran’s programme is still peaceful and the decision to weaponize has not been taken yet so at the moment what we have is very serious severe western sanctions against Iran, so there is still the possibility of a diplomatic solution and this is what Obama should be concentrating on rather than threats of military action.”
“Professor Avi Shlaim.”


Complaints About Complaints

“Hundreds, if not thousands of people think the BBC is pro Israel. And an equal number think the opposite. How on earth do you adjudicate on matters as complicated as that?” asks BBC Newswatch’s Raymond Snoddy.

BBC Trust’s Richard Ayres has been brought in specially to help tell us that on balance the BBC gets it about right.

“It’s extremely difficult! It’s almost impossible for the BBC to do a news report on the M.E. without someone alleging that we are partial on one side or the other,” answers Mr Ayres,
“ sometimes on both” he adds, bafflingly.

(“Dear Sir,” someone has obviously written, “I am outraged by the BBC’s blatant bias against Israel and its blatant bias against the Palestinians” )

If they get complaints like that, no wonder it takes the BBC such a long time to reply.

Enjoy! Can’t wait for the new, speeded up complaints system!

Today in Parliament with Mark D’Arcy

M D’A:
“good evening. This is Mark D’Arcy at Westminster, where a peer who quit the Lib dems renews her attack on Israel.”

J T:
“I am not antisemitic. But I am anti-injustice.”M D’A:
“Plus border tensions between parliament and the civil service as the Sir Humphreys insist they answer to ministers, not to MPs[…] but first tonight, former Liberal democrat peer Lady Tonge who quit the party whip in the Lords after being told to withdraw criticisms of Israel has spoke out during a debate on the Middle East. Lady Tonge attracted furious criticism when she said Israel would not be there forever, defended her comments.”

J T :
“I am not antisemitic. But I am anti-injustice. And I think the treatment of the Palestinians over the last six decades by Israel and the international community has been a gross injustice which has eaten away at peace in the Middle East and has served to fuel extreme Islamism and terrorism.”

M D’A:
“She said she accepted that Israel had a right to exist – within its 1967 borders, but she gave a warning that its actions were becoming more and more dangerous, and she claimed it was attempting to make life for Palestinians impossible.”

J T :
“Our government deals with these violations of international law by urging restraint, and expressing concern. They’re worthy sentiments my lords, but they do not stop the relentless ethnic cleansing, land grab, and what many people would describe as terrorism, by the Israeli Airforce with their targeted assassinations. And because of the pro Israel lobby bullying tactics against anyone who speaks the truth, Israel is allowed to act with impunity.”

M D’A:
“Later, winding up the debate the foreign office minister Lord Howell said that Israel suffered regular missile attacks from Palestinian enclaves, and retaliated with force. Lady Tonge intervened.”

J T:
“The raining of missiles on Southern Israel, from Gaza, always follows a targeted assassination by the Israel Airforce.”

M D’A:
“Lord Howell retorted by quoting the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu”

L H:
“If there’s quietness on one side there’ll be quietness on the other side. There were targeted assassinations, there are constant threats of the elimination of Israel, there are these repostes by rockets.”

M D’A:
“At that Lady Tonge threw up her hands in exasperation. The debate ranged across the hotspots of the Middle East …….”

It did indeed, and nobody joined the dots.

I’m not blaming the BBC for reporting this ill-informed rant by Tonge, I’m not even bothering to tell Mark D’Arcy that he oversimplified and thus misrepresented the real cause of Ms Tonge’s dismissal from the Lib Dems. I’m not even going to mention the blurb that describes the audience at the event during which she sat next to and applauded Ken O’Keefe, as “a university audience.”

What I am doing is blaming the BBC for creating an atmosphere in Britain where a selective, fallacious and mischievous speech of this nature can pass virtually unchallenged in the House of Lords.

Huff and Puff

Forgive me for mentioning something non-BBC, but has anyone seen a more spectacular own goal than the Guardian’s unintentionally truthful advertising campaign?

“The Whole Picture” goes the slogan.

Everyone knows that the real Little Pigs were acting in self defence when they tricked the wolf into coming down the chimney and landing in the boiling water.

The ad boasts that the Guardian is ‘telling the whole story,’ when they’re so not.

They’ve twisted it, portraying the perpetrator as the innocent party, and blaming the victim!

Many a true word is spoken in jest.
I wonder when someone will point out that the message is not so much ‘we paint the Whole picture’; it’s much more ‘we paint the Wrong picture’?
Oh, I’ve just done done it, by the hairs on my chinny chin chin.

Tally of Death

Mustafa Barghouti was given a nice gentle time by Evan this a.m. Not that I prefer the Humphrys method of interrogation, which hardly gives the interviewee a chance to state his case.
But Mustafa was given free rein to spout a series of unadulterated porky pies.

“Is the ceasefire in effect?” asked Evan, nicely.
“Israel provoked the cycle of violence by attacking Gaza viciously. [it’s all Israel’s fault] ” replied Mustafa at length.
“At the moment you are respecting the ceasefire, there are no rockets being fired into Israel?” repeated Evan, to clarify that there are no rockets being fired into Israel.

“Gaza never fired rockets into Israel except as a response to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. [It’s Israel’s fault, oppression, segregation, apartheid, occupation, settlement activity]” replied Mustafa at great length.

“How much public support is there in Gaza for these rocket attacks? ventured Evan, who might think that rocket attacks are unpopular with the peace-loving Palestinians.
All Palestinians are for non violent resistance. The rockets were self defence.” Says Mustafa, with a staggering disregard for the truth.Israeli spokesperson Avital Leibovich is talking from a tunnel. A BBC sound engineer is having a laugh.
“Are you respecting now the terms of the apparent ceasefire, that there will be no more assassinations in Gaza?” asks Evan, sounding slightly less nice.
“I believe your previous speaker did not give the complete facts, he said there were no rockets but as a reaction to Israeli attack. But last year 627 rockets were fired at Israel, the rocket launching has never really stopped. I can tell you that an hour and a half ago another rocket was fired into Israel.” Avital replied echoingly.
But Evan is more interested in how many Israelis have been killed.
“How many Israelis have been killed in the last few days? ” he asks, almost certainly aware, being a journalist who supposedly follows the news, that precisely none have.
What, none? That’s outrageous!

Do you recognise how many Palestinians have been killed? You do recognise that Palestinians are dying on a much larger scale than Israelis?” He asks, leaving the audience in no doubt as to what he’s getting at. It’s disproportionate, which is just. not. fair.

Oh Evan, don’t you remember, in Operation Cast Lead at least 1,200/1,400/1,500 innocent Palestinians were killed, while only 13 Israeli solders ‘died.’ According to the BBC, the more martyrs there are, the more righteous the cause, no matter how the situation came about. So until the requisite number of Israelis are murdered, Israel can never redeem itself.


The Guardian/BBC symbiosis has produced a cuddly pledge from Hamas to the effect that they would not help Iran militarily in any conflict with Israel.
The BBC’s Jon Donnison and Harriet Sherwood of the Graun have been speaking to Mahmoud Zahhar, a senior leader of Hamas. He has told them that Hamas are not, to coin a phrase, “ideologically wedded” to Iran.
But according to FARS news agency and Haaretz, Mahmoud al-Zahar has “strongly rejected the BBC claim as unfounded and a lie.”

“………any Israel or US attack on Iranwill be reciprocated by Hamas’s crushing response to the Zionists.”

Someone’s gone wrong somewhere.
H/T Bio and Elder of Ziyon

It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To

That outrageous interview on Today was but a mere chapter in the Jenny Tonge saga.
She may not have anticipated that her recent ill-advised antics at the Middlesex University would make the headlines so spectacularly. That is, apart from on the BBC.

The BBC were particularly reticent about the event, waiting till her ‘resignation’ was announced before they realised they had little option but to report it. Even the Guardian was quicker off the mark. Martin Bright suspects that the report in the Guardian “not known for its Zionist views” was what finally did for “Jihad Jenny”. Of course Ed Miliband’s Tweet obviously helped:
“[There is] no place in politics for those who question [the] existence of the state of Israel. Nick Clegg must condemn Jenny Tonge’s remark and demand [an] apology.”
Motes and beams.
Despite Baroness Tonge’s record of making antisemitic speeches of varying degrees of virulence and her relentless pro Palestinian campaigning, which frequently veers into full-on conspiracy theory paranoia, Nick Clegg dragged his feet interminably before deciding to dump her from his party. Previously the Lib Dems had dealt with her by imposing a series of cautious incremental demotions.Of course the BBC itself has used Mrs Tonge before, as a roving reporter. In 2004 they sent her to Israel, or rather to Gaza, as an apologist for the suicide bomber.
The clutch of below the line comments “reflecting the balance of opinion” were gratifyingly hostile to the line she took, and I’m pleasantly surprised that the BBC let them through.
The Web Article.
The BBC is not alone in giving the impression that the Baroness ‘quit’ the party – rather than being presented with an ultimatum that forced her resignation, but I think it’s fair to say that anyone who hadn’t been following the tale through Richard Millet, Student Rights, The Commentator, Guido Fawkes, etc., might glean from the BBC’s report that she was made a martyr. Martyred for the cause, scuppered below the line by the all powerful Jewish Lobby.
The strap-line implies that she had been unfairly punished for making a relatively trivial observation, which stated the obvious:

“A Liberal Democrat peer has resigned from the party after saying Israel “is not going to be there forever”

Many people have taken this line and defended her on various blogs, remarking that she was ‘only saying what’s true.’ I imagine John Humphrys would identify with this notion.
She herself complains that her comments were taken ‘out of context’, but clearly anyone who viewed the video in which she played a prominent role in what she disingenuously calls the “ill-tempered meeting” would realise that taking her comments ‘out of context’ as the BBC does here, effectively does her a huge favour. It’s viewing them in context that damns her out of hand and justifies the Lib Dems’ ultimatum and her dismissal.
The sub-heading “Proud Record” stands out. An odd choice, because it alludes, not to Jenny’s personal record, as any casual reader might assume, but to the Lib Dems’ proud record of campaigning for the rights of the Palestinians.
She was given a considerable amount of space to defend herself in the article, which included a generous number of direct quotes, although her accusation that the Zionist campaigners mouthed obscenities at her, and her complaint that:
“the leadership of my party” (ex party) did not consult me….
“…………...seems always to abet the request of the pro-Israel lobby” looked like desperate straw clutching.
The Today Interview.
Throughout the interview John Humphrys was clearly sympathetic to Baroness Tonge. He spoke to her warmly, and sounded ‘sorry for her troubles’. He allowed her to speak virtually uninterrupted, whereas while Robert Halfon was speaking Humphrys continually interjected with helpful counter-arguments on Jenny‘s behalf. “She’s saying what she believes”
He addressed Mr. Halfon with amused cynicism. Robert Halfon seemed sadly unprepared. He kept calling her Mrs Tongue, and over-used the word ‘delegitimise’ which has become meaningless. Through over-use.

Baroness Tonge spoke with the confidence of someone who knew she was among friends, sure that what she was saying would be welcome.
“Oh, come on Robert,” she laughs beguilingly at one stage, like a person who knows the world is on her side.

“Israel is making enemies all over the Middle East” she states. She knows she can get away with insinuating that Israel has deliberately made enemies of Turkey or Egypt. She can make wildly inaccurate comments with impunity under John Humphrys’s compassionate chairmanship. She knows quite well that with the aid of – or in her words ‘abetted’ by the BBC, many listeners languish in ‘psychologically embedded’ denial of the irrational Jew-hate that Islam drums into its followers. The BBC prefers to pretend that the Islamic world – Turks, Syrians, Iranians, those liberated Egyptians and Libyans, Muslims from Arab and North African Islamic states are ‘just like us’, only perhaps, being more devout, they’re all the more motivated by benevolence and goodwill.

Although I doubt that John Humphrys has watched the video of that “Ill-tempered meeting” he was evidently aware that Jenny Tonge had been sitting next to Ken O’Keefe the dangerously unhinged antisemite who the pro Palestinian fraternity have been busy distancing themselves from recently. Oh how the BBC fawned over him not so long ago, when they hailed him as a hero after the Mavi Marmara debacle.

John Humphrys wanted to hear why Jenny Tonge hadn’t challenged crazy Ken, but failed himself to challenge her likely story: “I didn’t know I was sharing a platform (with him)”. He asked if she had applauded him, knowing full well that she had indeed, and that it was captured on the film. She got away with a blustering justification “Probably at the end of his speech I did, y’know, at the end everyone gives a little clap.”

But the most outrageous thing was that she got away with her appalling little history lesson:
“Israel was a good concept at the beginning. I wish they’d left the Palestinians where they were. Jews were in a minority when the state of israel was founded. there were very few of them there.
If they’d gone in and said okay we’re going to help you, we’re going to build up this state and we’re gonna include Palestinians from the very beginning – If they’d done that instead of persecuted(sic) them and now trying to take the whole area for themselves it would have been a very different story.”

Pointing out that this is all wrong is not an attempt to enter the debate about the history of Israel. What I am saying is that anyone who knows the first thing about the birth of Israel (and if they don’t they shouldn’t really be opining) knows that there are conflicting ‘narratives’.

The Arabs allege that they were physically displaced in 1948 to compensate European Jews for the holocaust. The Jews say that when Israel was born they begged the Arabs to stay. It’s easy to find out what each side has to say on the matter. All you have to do is read a bit from both sides to gather that there are different versions of the story, and it’s up to you to decide which version, or which parts of which version, you believe. Which story seems more credible? Which bits are evidenced? Who do you trust?

“WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.
WE EXTEND our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.
We all know that the surrounding Arabs merely responded by launching their war of intended annihilation against Israel.” (H/T Bio)

The BBC has been methodically portraying the Jews as greedy, untrustworthy, and recently, completely batty. They’ve reported Israel in a systematically negative manner and have continually portrayed the victim as the aggressor / aggressor as victim. At the same time they’ve been doggedly whitewashing Islam, and the more crazed the Islamists appear, the more the BBC whitewashes them. So the chances are that the majority of viewers will identify with Arabs and be suspicious of Jews. They’ll follow Jenny Tonge’s propagandistic defamation-by-short-cut, referring, knowingly, to “What Israel is doing” or “How Israel is treating the Palestinians.” Having established that Israel is a brutal, heartless, racist, supremacist, expansionist pariah state, they are confident that there’s no need to explain what’s already understood. Their obsession with the notion that Israel is oppressing the Palestinians is so ingrained that any mention of any measure Israel might take in self defence is reflexively treated with derision.

Some of this might stem from antisemitism of the type with which the foreign office is tinged, or the traditionally ‘Arabist’ proclivities of those who view Johnny Arab with a mixture of awe and amusement. The Queen has never, for example, visited Israel. In the political left this uneasy feeling about Jews is coupled with a misguided empathy towards Muslims whose intolerance towards everything, including themselves, they view with an illogical disregard. The need to be thought of as liberal and tolerant could explain the BBC’s policy of treating all Muslims, bar the bogeymen Al Qaeda, with exaggerated sensitivity, and re-branding them as ‘the new Jews’. This has taken political correctness to stratospheric heights, where almost any less than reverential reference to Islam is deemed offensive.

They needn’t worry about Jenny Tonge though. She will still be keeping herself busy.