BBC’s Cutting-Edge Arts Commentator on the Arab Spring

There’s an article on Harry’s Place entitled “BBC and Guardian profile Latuff.

That’s Carlos Latuff the cartoonist.

The cartoonist who has been working on behalf of those involved in the Arab Spring. Cartooning by demand so to speak.

It must be his vivid interpretation of their passions rather than his drawing ability that makes him so popular with his fans.

“The Guardian describes him as the “Voice of Tripoli” because of his cartoons relating to the Libyan uprising.”

I ran the BBC’s Portuguese page through Google translate. It’s easy, and worth a try.

He’s a Twitter enthusiast, the BBC tells us.

“On Twitter, Latuff calculates Arabs have more followers than Brazilians. The friends you make on the Internet to help you translate the messages of his cartoons into Arabic.

Latuff is mobilized from other causes. It is the militant Palestinian cause, the subject of many of his cartoons, and live out for conflicts in other parts of the world – this month, did work on the protests in London and on the famine in Somalia, for example.”

Says Google Translate, helpfully. It’s that “militant Palestinian cause” again. Just another casual, indifferent BBC observation.

Myths and Facts part 1

The initial lurid sensationalism is the part of a story that will always stick, never mind what emerges thereafter. Cindy Corrie’s piece in the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ (H/T Too True) reminded me how unfortunate that can be, especially if the story appears to confirm any of the commonly-held negative preconceptions about Israel.
Just as people still repeat the Al Dura lies unchallenged on the BBC, the myth of Rachel Corrie’s noble martyrdom remains untarnished despite the facts that have come to light following the regrettable incident in 2003.
The notorious legend of Rachel Corrie’s adventures in Gaza concerns her passage from youthful but misguided idealist, through useful idiocy, to her final, inevitable destination – being bulldozed to death.

Posthumously exalted, deified and immortalised by Israel-hating dramatists and propagandists, and further elevated by having the good ship Rachel Corrie named in her honour, (and seized by the Israelis during last year’s propaganda-stunt-flotilla) her media-fuelled journey from zero to hero bears out the adage that a little knowledge is truly a dangerous thing.
It is understandable that Corrie’s family should take up her cause and exploit the unassailable position their bereavement affords them. To face the stark truth about her death would be to accept the futility of it and to rub salt into a painful wound.

However, overwhelming evidence indicates that she sacrificed herself on behalf of the ISM, a cynical and exploitative group who used her mercilessly. The martyr myth endures, regardless. People won’t let an inconvenient truth get in the way of a cherished fairytale. The Corrie fable is firmly embedded in the stubborn imaginations of people determined to cling to their preconceptions. To make matters worse, Israel had initially performed its customary suicidal ruse of taking the blame itself, even before the blamers had a chance to get their own accusations out of their mouths. They’re now beginning to see that was hasty.

“We’re nuts. We overlook the fact that Corrie’s death took place in the midst of the “intifada” terrorist onslaught against Israel and that she was working for a Palestinian-led organization as the first line of defense against Israel’s Operation Defensive Shield to stop terrorist suicide bombers. Just ten days before Corrie’s death, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a bus in Haifa, a few miles from the courthouse where the Corrie parents are suing.”
“Corrie and her band of ISM internationals had been disrupting IDF activity in Rafah just yards from the infamous “Philadelphi route” along the Gaza-Egypt border. This was an area of intense terrorist activity and was — and still is — the location of Hamas tunnels.”
“On the day of Corrie’s death, the new ISM aggressive actions involved placing themselves in severe danger. Eyewitness reports recorded immediately after Corrie’s death prove that the ISMers had knowingly decided to put themselves in harm’s way.

“Reported here — for the first time — is the fact that prior to Corrie’s death at least two “internationals” had been pulled out from under the bulldozers at the last second.”

Eight years on, Corrie’s parents have again taken Israel to court, being dissatisfied with the initial investigation. The first phase of this is over and a press conference took place in Jerusalem on this very day. Whether the BBC will report this I wouldn’t like to guess, but if Israel can be blamed unequivocally, I’d hazard a yes.
The Guardian, needless to say, is already on the case. But it’s not over yet. Even when the courts have finally finished with it, the legend will live on. I’m telling this story merely because you won’t hear it, at least not impartially, on the BBC; and because it’s a prequel to more things I’m going to mention, which I hope will illustrate the ignorance, superficiality and agenda-driven half truths which will be dished up for public consumption if ever the BBC monopoly comes to pass.

Cherry Ripe

People accuse me of cherry picking when I present my arguments against the BBC’s one-sided reporting of matters related to Israel.
It’s my job to put my case. I’m not going to put theirs too. I’m acting for the prosecution so to speak. Do defence lawyers put the case for the prosecution and the prosecutors likewise argue on behalf of the defence? No they don’t, because they’re on opposite sides.
The BBC shouldn’t be on an opposite side. It shouldn’t be on any side, least of all on the particular side it has chosen.

We’re talking flotilla again I’m afraid. Jon Donnison’s report, Today R4 7:17 ( link) was painful. He asked people in Gaza if they think flotillas are good. By now everyone should know that they’re not actually carrying much humanitarian aid, so we can’t pretend that they’re intended to relieve a humanitarian crisis. So instead they have to find another away to defend them. They’re good now, they’re saying, because they show that the people of Gaza are not forgotten. Fat chance of that.

A left-wing Israeli is heard saying the blockade must be lifted. Could the inclusion of an Israeli voice be Donnison’s attempt to provide balance? The reason why there has to be a blockade seems to have escaped both her and Donnison.

Donnison mentioned last year’s violence on the Mavi Marmara “when nine activists were killed by the Israeli Navy” but fails to remind us that they were attacked with iron bars. That’s how he sees it, Panorama or no Panorama. All Jane Corbin’s work, disappeared down the memory hole of inconvenient truths.

Right at the end of the report, as if Donnison had remembered, belatedly and somewhat reluctantly, that we are supposed to regard Hamas as a terrorist organisation, he introduced the final Gazan pro-flotilla spokesperson as “no friend of Israel OR Hamas”

My point is that the BBC has no business openly and blatantly putting the case for the flotilla. It is a publicity stunt, cynically and deliberately designed to provoke loss of life, which will be mercilessly exploited by Israel’s enemies. If that happens, it will be regarded as a great success by the organisers. Nothing less will satisfy them.

The BBC is cherry-picking, and that is utterly wrong.

First Cuckoo

Just like the first cuckoo of spring, the first cuckoo has been heard chirruping its approval of the latest flotilla.
Yes it’s our old friend Ken Loach, proponent of fighting fascism, supporter of those who fought in the Spanish Civil War and gallant opponent of Mosley’s blackshirts, flaunting his and others’ gullibility in supporting the ridiculous publicity-stunt flotilla, aimed at breaking Israel’s blockade on the importation of weapons for the Islamic extremists in Gaza to use against Israeli civilians.

Brace yourselves, because this will probably be the first of many sightings of this brainless creature.

He’s already famous for getting it spectacularly wrong, so the Today producers might have known that Mr. Loach was likely to squeeze in an advert for those ‘brave’ flotilla freedom fighters a nanosecond before the pips went.
Why did they let him?

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Court.

So the shaggy dog-stoning story turned out to be out of synch with the actuality. The delight with which the BBC wagged its tail over the story contrasts starkly with their low-profile retraction. Their hasty, nay reckless, promotion of it might have been embarrassing if it had concerned any other topic, but being about Israel, well….. give a dog a bad name.

Why, one might ask, would the BBC go to the trouble of announcing it on news bulletins with obvious glee? Why would it become one of the most popular stories on the BBC website? Simples. In their relentless quest to sanitise Islam and demonise Judaism, all the elements were there. Dog. Stoning. Religion. Jews are as mad as the mad mullahs, with cruelty to animals thrown in for good measure. Nice one.

The retractions are a different story. ‘We’re sorry we fell for it, but it was understandable. We may have been barking up the wrong tree, but we still think it’s possibly true. The Jews deny it, but they would, wouldn’t they.’

Other news organs are more explicit. Even Islam Newsroom dot com.
Many single out the BBC’s ‘mistake’ for special mention.
“The story’s only deficiency is that it comes up short in the being-factually-true department.”

The BBC has been caught with its pants down, but now that Israel is permanently in the dog house, who’s bovvered?

Here’s one I prepared earlier. It concerns another broadcasting malfunction that required a retraction and a teensy weensy apology.
I was in Iona recently and saw that their Abbey is a popular tourist attraction. It reminded me that John Bell of the Iona Community is a regular contributor to Thought For The Day, the Today programme’s daily reminder of goodness and Godliness. I understand that the Iona community supports the BDS campaign, and if that is indeed the case, it ties up with this. (From Wikipedia.)

“He [John Bell] is a frequent broadcaster, and often presents programmes on the BBC, majoring on contemporary religious songs from various parts of the world.

In 2005, the BBC apologised for a broadcast by Bell in which he suggested that a Muslim corporal conscripted into the Israeli army had been jailed for refusing to shoot Palestinian children. The broadcast itself was a fairly innocuous plea for understanding between the two sides with conflicting claims in the Middle East, yet was interpreted by those of one allegiance as an attack. Neither the BBC nor the Israeli military were able to find any evidence supporting the story or the existence of a soldier fitting the description. It was further pointed out that Israeli Arabs are not subject to conscription. Bell acknowledged that parts of his story were incorrect and that the broadcast could have been interpreted by some parties as “furtive racism”, though he countered that “such a conjecture would be completely untrue.”.[1] It was also reported that a spokesman at the Israeli embassy said, “We appreciate that the BBC has apologised; however, it is a pity as the damage is irreparable.[…]”

Muslim! Jailed! Israeli Army! Shooting! Palestinian! Children.!
Good gracious me. whatever next!
Who could ‘those of one allegiance’ possibly be? Oh, how innocuous, this little plea for understanding. Or was that more of a plea for misunderstanding?
Carry on pleading all you like on the BBC John, and should any furtive racism creep in, the BBC will issue a miniscule apology to make it all better.

What Time is It?

The shambles hosted by Nicky Campbell that calls itself ‘The Big Questions’ plumbs new depths each time it graces the airwaves. Particularly when the subject is Israel/Palestine. How can people be so opinionated, so vocal and so sure of themselves yet so ignorant? Frantically launching themselves at subjects about which they know dangerously little, they interrupt hysterically, disrupt and misbehave in front of goodness knows who – why, we’re told that even the Queen sometimes watches what everyone calls, with great reverence and awe, ‘National Television.’

Who are they pandering to? Who do they think will admire these childish antics? Sadly, audiences do accept uncouth behaviour, even if they don’t particularly applaud it.

These bearbaiting programmes are simply ratings-chasers. Nothing, apart from hot air is ever achieved. Ray Cook deals with the idiocy of the question. “Is it Time to Free Palestine?” It’s completely senseless.

Nicky Campbell certainly knows more than he lets on. The genocidal content of the Hamas Charter for example. Nevertheless Hasan Nowarah avoids confirming the murderous intent immutably embedded therein, when Janey Godley, the Rab C Nesbitt-alike Scottish stand-up comedienne wonders if it is true. “Is it true?” she screeches, not listening for an answer. Hasan is setting sail on the forthcoming flotilla, to alleviate the plight of the starving Palestinians in Gaza, the largest prison on earth, by bringing them several boatloads of letters from sympathisers and Israel-bashers. Best of luck with that stupid publicity stunt.

Ms Godley is volatile and indignant. Whatever is or is not in the Hamas charter, she *knows* what she’s talking about. “For somebody who hates ghettos” she barks at Raymond Mann of Scottish Friends of Israel, “why did you create another one?” she shrieks, before smugly settling back into her chins. Denis MacEion advises her to Google the Hamas Charter. But you know – and I know – she won’t; and even if she does, she’d find some way of excusing or denying it.
Through the din Margo MacDonald can be heard announcing that Israel is an artificial state.
Sam Westrop is an impressive character. He’s part of the initiative ‘British Muslims for Israel.’ He wasn’t going to be ruffled by the heckling and jeering.
Peter Hitchens has a booming baritone which commands respect by dint of decibels. An air of expectancy descends whenever he opens his mouth. He knows you can get a good beef stroganoff in Gaza, but when the chunky keffeyeh-shrouded individual who had been yelling throughout because he’s palpably seething with hatred, is finally given the opportunity to tell the world that Gazans are starving, Hitchens barely challenges him. So we, the audience, which possibly includes Her Majesty, don’t forget, are left to ponder this misplaced emotional outburst for the rest of the day.
Because of the BBC’s misrepresentation of the Middle East, we must now expect to be confronted with this kind of outrageous hysteria, both on our screens, and in real life, and we’ll be encountering strangers with woefully prejudiced opinions for some time to come. Thanks BBC.

More Than Meets The Eye

Here’s a tale about the BBC and its conjoined twin The Guardian being taken in by the same bit of Pali propaganda.
It seems Jacoub Odeh has been entertaining the gullible siblings.

“The fact that one Yacoub Odeh is the former Lifta resident guiding the BBC’s Wyre Davies and the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood separately would suggest that this “tour” was a well-organized effort offered to the international media and eagerly picked up by those outlets sympathetic to the Palestinian narrative from 1948.”

The vindictive Israelis want to pave paradise and put up a parking lot on his former home. The remains of the Palestinian village of Lifta are the subject of a legal planning battle. To conserve or build? The BBC article portrays this as an example of Israel’s desire to obliterate precious Palestinian memories by their deliberately ruthless policy of expansionism.
The BBC reconfigures the 1948 war of intended annihilation of Israel by the Arabs, by using this peculiar phrase:

“It(Lifta’s) 3,000 residents were forced out or fled in fighting that erupted before the creation of Israel in 1948, which Palestinians view as the “nakba” or catastrophe. They were not allowed to move back.”

Fighting just “erupts,” you know, spontaneously, for no apparent reason. The emotive language leaves no-one in doubt about which side the BBC is on. Harriet Sherwood in the Guardian goes further, but then, they have no obligation to be impartial, although one would expect them to make an effort to be accurate.

For a more realistic overview, see here, and read the comments:

“As for the other question – well it is pretty clear that there are plenty of people intent upon making political capital out of places such as Lifta.
It is surely telling that their concern does not appear to extend equally to other sites such as the Jewish quarter in Hevron or the ancient 8th century synagogue in Gaza, let alone the Jewish burial ground in Tripoli which is now covered in concrete.”

There’s more to this story than meets the eye. The BBC’s eye anyway.

Complicity in Israel-Bashing Jamboree

Does the Media Aid Israel? Does Amnesty Aid Humanity? Does the BBC Aid Amnesty?
To comply with its charter the BBC needs to convince the world that its coverage of the Middle East is impartial, but you need only glance at certain BBC employees to spot a commonality that belies any such claim. Former BBC Middle East correspondent Alan Hart is a conspiracy nut whose anti-Israel fanaticism crosses the line between rationality and hyper mania. He flimsily camouflages this by producing a faux BBC chat show called ‘Hart of the Matter,’ with a rogues gallery of career anti Zionists as guests. He parted company with the BBC a while ago, but there’s also Tim Llewellyn who worked for the BBC for ten years and knows all about propaganda. At the 2004 book launch of ‘Bad news From Israel’, Mr Llewellyn exposed the tricks used by the cunning Israelis to dupe the BBC into promoting the case for Israel.

“The Israelis appear in studios wearing suits. They’ve learned all sorts of tricks. They are wizards at communication; [….]He added that the tone of complaints against those giving the Palestinian viewpoint was “vituperative, pestering and controlling.”

‘Bad News From Israel’ is a rich source of material from which BBC spokespersons tediously produce morsels to attest to the BBC’s impartiality. (the antidote is Stephanie Gutmann’s The Other War)
Author Greg Philo and his colleague Llewellyn use the technique, much cherished by Arabs, of attributing your own most malevolent inner thoughts, suspicions and shortcomings to your enemy.
To employ one anti-Israel polemicist as Middle East correspondent seems careless; two appears more than mere coincidence. Yet more still …… looks positively purposeful.

When the Arab uprisings began to make the headlines, one of the experts on the BBC’s speed dial was kindly grandfather Kamal Helbawy, spokesman for the Islamist group Jeremy Bowen calls moderate, the Muslim Brotherhood. Moderate in comparison to something in his own head no doubt. Meanwhile, Bowen, himself a man with attitude, has temporarily forsaken his Palestinian pals to support Gaddafi, and Jon Donnison is following in Alan “I’m telling your story” Johnston’s well trodden footsteps, like a kidnap waiting to happen. So Is Wyre Davies. Yasmin Alabhai Brown is on the BBC so often that she acts as if she owns the place. She and Mehdi Hasan are incessantly called upon to review the newspapers. Why?
Abdel Bari Atwan’s eyes bulge constantly from our screens. Thought for the Day regular Oliver McTernan runs Forward Thinking.

“Have a look through Harry’s Place archives and you’ll understand very quickly that this is merely a euphemism for “we support Hamas”.

I could go on, but I won’t.
Tim Llewellyn is consumed by his hatred of Israel. He’s beside himself, a man possessed. He and Mr Philo are continually beavering away alongside other Israel-haters, spreading the word. Amnesty International has unequivocally aligned itself with the Islamists. In the UK the BBC, the rest of the MSM, and probably the global social media network have convinced the majority of the idiocracy that taking an anti Israel stance is cool.
Occasionally the BBC administers Douglas Murray and Melanie Phillips to take the bitter taste away, but that’s just a drop in the bucket of balance. Next time a human rights report from Amnesty headlines a BBC news bulletin, remember the BBC’s charter.
Because of the BBC, Zionism is a pejorative, and the very word Israel has come to embody evil. Heedless that they’re recreating 1930s Germany, the BBC carries on regardless.

Deliberately So

I wish somebody else had written this because it’s about the usual, and believe me, I don’t want to be repetitive. But needs must.

Anyone who heard R4’s Saturday Live this morning will know what I mean. The studio guest was ‘comedian’ Mark Thomas who has walked the length of the separation barrier in Israel /Palestine. Saturday Live’s genial host, exceedingly left wing Reverend Richard Coles, was all ears.

Not wishing to appear one-sided, Mr. Thomas took a moment to explain that the Second Intifada was very bloody, before lapsing into a melodramatic chronicle of the Palestinian suffering caused by checkpoints and the wall. Meanwhile, Stockholm Syndrome sufferer John McCarthy chimed in with a trail for Excess Baggage, the following programme, which he hosts. McCarthy regularly devotes much of ‘Excess Baggage’ to recommending idyllic holiday destinations such as Damascus, and eulogising over Arab hospitality. Which they duly demonstrated by holding him hostage for several years.
While Mr. Thomas was underlining the unnecessary suffering caused by checkpoints and the barrier, McCarthy interjected with his twopence-worth – “Deliberately so.

Much as Mark Thomas’s ‘comedian’s cockerney’ portended a preconceived political agenda, I still hoped this might have been tempered by his eye-opening adventure. But his eyes had remained blinkered. Barriers are bad, and must come down, he surmised. Bombs still go off, proving the wall doesn’t protect Israelis as they claim. Here I’m assuming that I’m preaching to the converted, much as the BBC consistently does from the opposite perspective. Please, if you’re not sure what I mean, you need go no further with this.

Mark Thomas is anxious to tell us that his escapade was solely motivated by a devilish, naughty-boy, ‘ooh I am awful’ spirit, and a genuine, healthy curiosity.
But, same as anyone else – you knew it all along – he was merely exploiting ‘our’ hatred of Israel to make a few bucks out of his book, Extreme Rambling. Upcoming gigs seem to be doing rather well.

Funnily enough, he’s written an article for the paper that laps up, with gusto, any morsel of anti Israel rhetoric that comes along. It features an account of a rather moralistic encounter with the late Juliano Mer-Kamis, whose Jenin based inspirational theatre project purportedly channelled would-be suicide bombers’ hatred into the performing arts. Mr. Thomas didn’t disclose that their success rate was dubious. Nor that poor Mr. Mer-Karmis was thenceforth summarily dispatched by some raving Salafist murderers.

On his journey Mark Thomas spoke to Israelis as well as Palestinians, but predictably the list he provides on his website comprises only Israeli pro Palestinian organisations such as ‘Jews for Justice for Palestinians’. There is a deep well of such bodies in Israel. Sadly, not so on the other side.

Also on the programme was an interview with ex Guantanamo Bay guard Brandon Neely who is enduring severe pangs of guilt and regret about the inhumane treatment he unthinkingly meted out to former inmates. The Rev’s introduction alluded to the WikiLeaks revelations about innocent detainees, with nary a whisper about the accompanying revelations that explained why we were involved in the war on terror in the first place.

I have a great deal of sympathy with innocent people caught up in wars. Unfortunates who are in the wrong place at the wrong time do suffer unfairly and unjustly. If inhumane treatment is a tacitly approved practice, that should stop. Should our sympathy for those who are inconvenienced, ill treated, or who suffer loss and pain obscure our sympathy for the intentional victims of Jihad who are never coming back to tell the tale? No it should not.

Ultimately such people are victims of the same terrible thing; the collateral damage that stems from a wicked ideological fanaticism that sets out to overpower and subjugate, or dispose of, unbelievers and those who don’t belong. Deliberately so.

Less is More

The necessity for brevity in BBC online articles calls for ruthless pruning of irrelevant material. Ditching the detail and binning the background lays bare the priorities and prejudices of the BBC. What’s hot and what’s not; the salient v the superfluous. What’s left unsaid says it all.

Let’s peek beneath the cloak of impartiality to expose the agenda-driven underbelly and unveil the secrets of the subtle but revealing body language of Jon Donnison.
In other words, what you say and what you leave out speaks volumes. The answer my friend is lying on the cutting-room floor.
Democratically elected!
Hamas, for example, is a violent Islamist group, resolutely opposed to Israel’s existence. They were elected to govern Gaza ‘by the people’ “democratically” yet they are officially a terrorist group – the BBC doesn’t know whether to love them or loathe them.
The tangible and subliminal Arabist vibes radiating from the BBC have inspired many Europeans and Westerners to see Palestinians solely as victims, not of their own government’s policies, but of Israel. Some particularly passionate, empathetic individuals are so moved emotionally (and physically) that they cross the globe to participate in ‘the struggle, ’ achieving both celebritydom and martyrdom.
I can I can’t!
Hamas can’t make up its mind whether it can or can’t control breakaway factions that send rockets into Israel, (it can’t) or capture hostages so as to make demands, (it can).
When Italian pro Palestinian activist Vittorio Arrigoni was abducted by Salafist Islamists, but prematurely hanged before the set deadline, Hamas set off in pursuit of those responsible to show who’s boss.
Blame Israel!
Meanwhile, despite the video, Salafists denied that they were involved, and various experts suggested Mossad bumped Arrigoni off before he could participate in the forthcoming anti Israel publicity-stunt flotilla.
Hamas organised a shoot-out, whereupon, as the BBC puts it, two Salafist suspects “died”.
Not Enough Information !
There’s more, but the BBC sticks with:
*a brief summary of the outcome of the siege.
*The abduction, and Hamas’s condemnation of it.
*An endearing quote from Hamas about the humanity of the Palestinian people.
*A brief description of Salafism,
*another brief description of the siege, including
*injuries sustained.
*Another reference to Hamas’s condemnation of Arrigoni’s killing, this time ‘by Jon Donnison in Ramallah’ and
*a reminder that this is the first kidnapping since 2007, indicating that Hamas have shown restraint and been very good well-behaved boys.
Deemed Superfluous!
The BBC evidently decided the following points are irrelevant.
*Hamas are as violent as Salafists who are affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
*“Peace Activism” is the exact opposite of what it says on the tin.
*Arrigoni was a shit-stirring trouble-maker.
*Arrigoni’s girlfriend was, of all things, ”co-ordinator of Israel/Occupied Territories Section” of our old friend Amnesty International.
*Ludicrous conspiracy theories that blame Israel for everything under the sun are rampant in the Arab world.
*Israel desires peace despite being surrounded by hostile Jew-hating neighbouring countries which constantly and deliberately provoke retaliation as an excuse to resume the traditionally devillish tactics of warfare that the international community deems immoral and underhand when practised by other countries, but which said International community blatantly overlooks when employed against Israel by her enemies.

Since the BBC has a habit of reiterating anything that casts Palestinians in a good light and Israelis as liars, the last point deserves reiteration as often and as repetitively as the death toll from Operation Cast Lead.
H/T Pounce