Wake up Call

“Now for a party political broadcast on behalf of Islam.”
Not heard in so many words on the BBC, but the strategy of bringing Muslims and Islam into our lives with a series of “they’re just like us” programming has been hammering away at the audience with the intensity of one of Saatchi’s finest ad campaigns.

As well as programmes about Islam itself, programmes about Muslim family life, programmes about Islamic culture, dramas with Muslim heroes, plots where all things Islamic are depicted as virtuous, often contrasted with some indigenous British scroungers, scoundrels and amoral good-for-nothings just in case we haven’t already got the message that Islam is thoroughly and benignly British, there is the increasing role Islamic preachers are playing in mainstream religious broadcasting.

This would be all very well if they were willing and able to openly mention and examine the negative characteristics associated with Islam and Islamist practices, as honestly and readily as they obviously expect us to accept all the rest of it.
When such things inevitably feature in the news, overtly politically correct attempts to distance them from the ‘religion of peace’ prevents the connection from being openly and realistically acknowledged. Not only terrorism, but honour killings and forced marriages. When we hear scary tales about these, it’s made very clear that they’re not exclusively Muslim, but Asian. Similarly, there are ‘unmentionable’ aspects of the sexual grooming phenomenon that are worth mentioning. Apparently statistics say the perpetrators of sex crimes are predominantly white, but the figures don’t show whether there are behaviour patterns and attitudes within this broad grouping that are specific to Asian gangs. There is also the unasked and unanswered question of whether Muslims’ alleged moral superiority makes it all the more incongruous that any of them indulge in this crime in the first place. Or does repressed sexuality and a contemptuous attitude towards non Muslims constitute an explosive combination?
Additionally, there’s the question of whether the number of sex crimes, or criminality in general by Muslim offenders is relative and proportionate to the population as a whole.
Must we assume that the high number of Muslims in the prison population is because of Islamophobia in the justice system, or unfair targeting of Muslims by the institutionally racist police? Or is it for some other mysterious reason.
All over the papers yesterday, but, at the time of writing, absent from the BBC, was the incident involving a Christian worker at Heathrow airport who allegedly lost her job after being bullied by Muslim colleagues. Most concerning to many of the online commenters was the predominance of overtly Muslim employees at the UK’s largest and busiest airport. The gateway to the UK gives new arrivals the impression that they’ve landed in an Islamic state. Several people alluded to foxes guarding the henhouse.

This morning’s Start the Week discussed the Arab Spring, and various speakers assured us the new Islamist ideologies are moderate and tolerant. Someone told Andrew Marr that Erdogan is so popular with the Turkish people “because of his attitude towards Israel and Syria.” This went unchallenged. Not unusual, because Andrew Marr habitually lets this sort of thing pass without a murmur. Criticism of Israel, the assumption that it’s evil, lumping it together with Syria, etc. is an everyday occurrence on that programme.

But just moments earlier, Today put out a lengthy promotional piece about Alan Yentob’s upcoming radio 4 programme on the dwindling number of Jews in Iraq. The trail even featured the remarkable Canon Andrew White ‘the vicar of Baghdad’, who told us that the recent Wikileaks exposure of their names and addresses put the lives of the seven remaining Jews still living there in grave danger.

During this feature John Humphrys sounded sympathetic to their plight and that of the thousands of Jews who had been hounded out of Iraq. No doubt, had he been involved in that conversation, Andrew Marr too would have responded sympathetically, and gone ‘mmmm,’ as he is wont to do. But the cognitive dissonance displayed here, by which I mean the disconnect between the BBC’s sympathy with persecuted Jews, alongside their own simultaneous compliance with and participation in Israel’s vilification is staggering.

Yet Alan Yentob’s programme information has this.
“Nazism, Arab-nationalism and anti-Zionist feeling created a wave of anti-Semitism“
In black and white, the BBC has allowed a writer to link Nazism with Arab-nationalism. They’ve even gone so far as to connect the terms ‘created’ and ‘a wave of antisemitism’. Normally, antisemitism is regarded by them as something that just exists, out of nowhere, and persecution of Jews arises from nothing, and is not created by Nazism and Arab Nationalism, nor fueled by the antismitism inherent in Islam.

A recent From Our Own Correspondent featured one of the few Jews remaining in Macedonia, an 89 year-old holocaust survivor who remembers the deportation of Macedonia’s Jews. In the same section of From Our Own Correspondent, the reporter himself, Mark Lowen, recounted a moving tale about his own grandmother, a concert pianist who had been sent, with her sister, to the concentration camp that was immortalised in the film “Schindler’s List.” Furthermore these items were briefly featured and linked to on a main BBC news webpage, under the heading ‘Features and Analysis’ before being relegated to another section.

Is this a sea change somewhere in the bowels of the BBC, or is it just part of the same ‘old one step forward, two steps back’ progress we’re more used to. The BBC is still some way off from connecting the current waves of antisemitism with events in the present day Arab world. They seem uncannily eager to impress upon us that every newly, or about-to-be, democratically elected Islamist party is moderate. The Muslim Brotherhood, Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party that recently won the elections in Morocco, and last but not least our moderate friend Mahmoud Abbas. But it seems these moderates swiftly impose restrictions on the population as soon as they get the chance. Veils in universities, modest dress, polygamy and hatred of Jews, Israel and the West may seem moderate to some people, but surely not here in ‘Great’ Britain.

Programmes and items about the holocaust are not unusual. The BBC and the film industry have always been interested in depicting the holocaust. The pathos can sometimes appear self indulgent and gratuitous, but when people refer to “the holocaust industry” they don’t mean that. What they actually mean is that in their opinion the holocaust is being cynically and exploitatively used by Jews to shut down debate and act as a smokescreen to obscure the wrongdoings of Israel. This accusation works just the same in reverse, shutting down debate from the other side and unconvincingly masking the antisemitism that lies behind the accusation. Remembering the holocaust does more than beg for the universal sympathy vote. It reminds us how far things can escalate before they’re acknowledged, properly recognised and seen for what they really are. Hindsight shows how easily people can abandon reason, and should warn us to be vigilant lest history repeats. Be vigilant, BBC, and wake up.

Bad Start to the Week

It seems that the BBC will be ‘Starting the Week’ tomorrow morning with a particularly objectionable duo on the guest list. Not only Peter Kosminsky of ‘The Promise’ notoriety, but also a singer / songwriter unknown to most people outside the Guardian/BBC clique called Sarah Gillespie (Who?)
I’ll leave it to Harry’s Place to expand on why her inclusion on Start the Week to discuss ‘the arts and politics’ is both puzzling and worrying.

For anyone who doesn’t want to click on the link, here’s what Harry’s Place tells us about Ms. Gillespie.

  • She is a supporter and musical associate of Gilad Atzmon, the Jewish-Israeli saxophonist who has taken self-loathing to new heights. His Israel-bashing writings are so extreme that even some of the most notorious anti-Israel activists have dissociated themselves from him.
  • She has expressed solidarity with holocaust denier Paul Eisen,
  • and has accused Mark Thompson of bias towards Israel.

The article ends by asking ‘what is the BBC’s reasoning?’

If Mark Thompson’s reasoning has something to do with “confronting people with the other”, I should think we’ve had just about enough anti-Israel and antisemitic flavoured programming already. It’s high time we had a glimpse of some real “other”, but I won’t be holding my breath.

Baffling Alliance

There’s a fascinating thread on Harry’s Place about the left wing’s ever increasing association with Israel-bashing and Jew hatred.
Mentioning it here, on what is supposedly a right-wing blog – though some dispute this – could be seen as schadenfreude, where one party delights in another’s misfortune. In this case, the left’s misfortune is allowing their own self-criticism to be snatched, nay, cherry picked, by the so-called right, (me) and used as evidence against them. We all hate it when it happens to us; but this is not intended to be that.

I don’t want to criticise the left per se, I want to discuss the massive cognitive dissonance between the left’s self-asserted, self-proclaimed self-identification with the moral high ground, and their exponentially growing alliance with overt antisemitism.

We all know Harry’s Place is a left wing blog, and a pro Israel blog, and when an irresistible force meets an immovable object it forces itself into some extremely uncomfortable contortions.

The article by Habibi cites Ed Miliband’s praise for overtly antisemitic MPs and campaigners for organisations such as the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and the friends of Al Aqsa. For example Robert Lambert, Andy Slaughter and Martin Linton.
Esteemed Harry’s Place blogger Lucy Lips contrasts this with the treatment of the few Tories who are found to be supporters of the EDL. The nasty party doesn’t praise them at all. Just the opposite, zero tolerance; it dismisses them with no further ado.

As the BBC is known to be of the left, and is similarly becoming ever more openly antisemitic, this trend desperately needs to be examined in public, openly and often. Especially as the current financial situation has been compared by BBC pundits with that of the 1930s. The similarities between the BBC and the left’s current default antisemitism and that of the 1930s should also be borne in mind.

This Harry’s Place article is a sincere criticism of the Labour party’s increasingly open racism, not a criticism of Labour party’s fundamental philosophy. It’s worth reading the comments to see that some Labour supporters are as baffled by it as I am.

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.

The Day Today

I was listening, on and off, to Today this morning. Somewhere in a news bulletin I thought I heard:
“US President Barack Obama has condemned the shooting of two American airmen. He described it as an “outrageous act”, and pledged to “ensure that all the perpetrators are brought to justice”
I’m sure they will leave no turn unstoned to discover the motive.
Then I heard Evan Davis discussing the Pope’s extraordinary decision to forgive the Jews. More on that later.
I avoided Jeremy Bowen. The programme ended with Justin Webb’s interview with a glottal-stopping expert on ‘gigs for despots’ by the likes of Beyonce who get zillions of dollars for two-song sets for sons of sheikhs. Say that wiv your teef out. To his credit, Justin mentioned double standards, where celebs “Make a lot of fuss about playing in Israel.” Then he said, I thought somewhat reflectively, “It’s cooler to play for an Arab dictator than it is to play in Israel.”

For reasons that I won’t go into, my late father always felt deeply uncomfortable about the Catholic church’s theological condemnation of the Jewish race. So I had more than a passing interest in the latest decision by Pope Benedict to reinterpret the matter. Oddly, this item is omitted from the Today website running order, so I’ve transcribed the whole thing and posted in the comments field so as not to bore you with it here.

This issue has always troubled people particularly because, as even the Guardian acknowledges

“Anti-Jewish Catholic doctrines such as the claim that the Jews murdered Christ were said to have ideologically underpinned nazism. Vatican officials allegedly helped Nazis escape Europe after the war.”

So. No small matter. At the end of the piece, Evan asks, ‘ if the Pope is able to ‘reinterpret’ such a thing theologically, how could such a big mistake have been made for a couple of centuries?’

Now we’re getting somewhere, I thought. But no. We aren’t going to get a straight answer to that, especially with such gentle questioning.

There is, however, another question this papal uturn begs. If it’s so easy for a Pope to turn such a fundamental theological matter upon its head, what’s to stop another Pope reverting to default position at some future date? This was touched upon in the Guardian piece.

“Disquiet that the apology was a beautiful gesture but a theological mistake bubbled to the surface last week.

Echoing widespread concern from liberal as well as conservative theologians, the Bishop of Como, Alessandro Maggiolini, said: “In whose name, exactly, is the holy father asking pardon? He is relying on a group of experts, but tomorrow another group of experts might come up with different examples.”

And how well will it go down with the other antisemites of the world?

“Other churchmen said the gesture would be seen by Muslims as a sign of weakness and by secular enemies as a cue to launch further attacks.”

What is my point? I’m not sure. It’s all verbal chip paper anyway, all forgotten by the next day.

The New Jew

BBC R4 “Thought For The Day.” (Holocaust Memorial Day 2011)
The artist formerly known as Richard Harries is now Lord Harries of Pentrgarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity. I’m sure he’s well meaning. He looks nice in his outfit.

Far be it from me to express ingratitude, on behalf of myself and others, for his kindly thoughts about the Jews that perished at the hands of Hitler. Mentioning that the demonisation of Jews was wholly undeserved was much appreciated, as was his sensitive reminder that it led to murder and betrayal, even by former friends colleagues and neighbours.

Then he went and spoiled it all by saying something stupid, like…….
“so, don’t demonise the Muslims.”

Antisemitism is a very light sleeper, indeed.

On R4 now. Face the Facts. Islamophobia.

Bloody Sunday

Hooray. Three cheers for Yolanda Knell’s report on the recent bomb attack in Egypt against Copts. A balanced report at last! She rectified the omissions we’ve been pointing out on B-BBC, and more. Listen to her report, then skip till just after halfway, when Kevin Bocquet starts his “analysis” of Islam v the West.

Boo. Kevin Bocquet undid all the promise of Yolanda Knell’s integrity by reverting to obfuscation, moral equivalence and politically correct mumbo jumbo, and by the way, Muslims admire America, and modestly dressed women embrace free speech, particularly the freedom to praise the burka.

In particular Bocquet pitted all of fundamental Islam against Pastor Terry Jones as if they represented opposite examples of extremism. To him, Jones’s Koran-burning threat counterbalanced the whole of radical Islam’s terrorist attacks, treating them as though they were equal combatants in a philosophical, moral conflict.
The mind boggled till Stephen Pollard pointed out how ludicrous this and many other things in Kevin’s report were, only to be shusshhed by Ed “Holy book” Stourton, and again later when Pollard had the audacity to mention the upsurge of Islam-fuelled antisemitism on campus.

Indy/ Church Times columnist Paul Valley mentioned intolerance, and Stourton assumed he was referring to Stephen Pollard. But he denied that. For a fleeting second I thought he was referring to the ROP. Silly me, he was referring to Stephen Pollard after all, albeit indirectly. He was, of course, alluding to our intolerance of Islam.

I think I see what Helen Boaden meant about impartiality.
In the debate between God and the Devil, the BBC proudly sits on the fence. In the struggle between good and evil, they’re impartial. Tolerance is handed out to all indiscriminately.

Just as after some Islam-fuelled violence the Egyptian authorities round up equal numbers of Islamists and Christians for the political expediency of appeasing radical Islam, the BBC rounds up equal numbers of Muslims and non Muslims for balance, struggling over who to blame for Islam-fuelled discontent, forever locked into their impossible quest to resolve irreconcilable differences.

Making Allowances

Often you have to make allowances for things you see or hear, especially when the topic is you-know-what. For example, when you suspect that English isn’t someone’s first language, or in certain cases, that human isn’t their first state of being.

When evaluating their choice of Richard Ingrams as guest editor of today’s Today, you have to take into consideration that the BBC is institutionally antisemitic, but even after making such allowances, his particular edition merits a thumbs down.
Even if we were all obsessed with proving James Hanratty’s innocence, the handling of this item, by any standards, was shoddy.
The DNA evidence was flawed because it was kept in a folder with hairs, fluff, toenail clippings and other detritus?
What sort of a folder was this? Cardboard? Even in the days of Dixon of Dock Green it seems odd that evidence collected with surgical gloves and white suits would then be shoved into a hairy old folder and shaken up. Later, someone called it a container. What sort of container?
But most of all, we heard a sound clip in which the rape victim swore the rapist was Hanratty. Why did no-one subsequently refer to that?

Whenever I hear the name Richard (I have developed a habit, when confronted by letters to the editor in support of the Israeli government, to look at the signature to see if the writer has a Jewish name. If so, I tend not to read it) Ingrams I automatically assume it’s crap. In fact I have developed a habit, when confronted by the voice of Richard Ingrams, of finding it pompous, high-pitched and repressed. The poor chap is stuck in the Britain of schoolboys with short trousers.

Talking of voices, another peculiar item that avoided the nub in the way they often do on Today, was the discussion about the pitch and tone of voices we find annoying, which avoided analysing the real reason, which is of course the delivery and idiosyncratic pronunciation as per Robert Peston and Neil Nunes. So never mind that Peston draws out random words like a bleating lamb, and pronounces others with a strange explosive stutter, it’s merely the pitch we find unattractive.
So Sarah Montague and Corrie Corfield get letters telling them to just shut up? Oh hilarity, they frame them and put them in the bog.

And another thing. The man who saw ghosts. He himself was obviously the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Ingrams didn’t spot it because he was too busy going hahahahahahah in an annoying high pitched manner.
Then we had that great orator George Galloway, who has made so many wonderful speeches, who’s to say which was his finest? Could it have been the one he made to the indefatigable Sadaam, or when presenting his generous cash donation to Ismail Haniyeh, or at a rally where he said something like “If anyone dares to touch a hair on the head of a Moslem burka I’ll personally ….something or other blah blah.”

You have to make allowances for the BBC. What variety of racist other than a hate-filled antisemite would they deem a worthy guest editor?

The Good, the Bad, and the BBC

If anyone accuses me of ferreting out the bad in something good, here’s an example for them, on a plate.
The something good is very good and very unusual. It’s a programme on the BBC world service in a series called Heart and Soul. I linked to it in a previous post, but I fear it was buried amongst too many words.

Several others have praised this programme, as did I. Everyone thought it was a programme about antisemitism, the current manifestation rather than the Nazi variety. Some thought it contained one or two questionable remarks, one of which has been discussed at length elsewhere, concerning the statement: “Some Jews mistake criticism of Israel for antisemitism,” but on the whole everyone was full of praise and thought it was a breakthrough.

What’s more, Wendy Robbins consulted two of the most eloquent and authoritative people for contributions. So, part one of the two-part series was everything one could have wished for, if one were in the habit of wishing that the BBC was not campaigning furiously against everything one knows and loves.

Mary Jackson says: “It makes the point that today’s anti-Semites are not jackbooted Nazis but Muslims. Of course it then feels obliged to qualify this with “a minority of…”, which is true but not the whole truth. And it makes no reference to the role of the execrable Jeremy Bowen and Orla Guerin in fuelling Jew-hatred with their lies about Israel.”

Now, here’s where the bad comes in. The BBC is confused. It doesn’t hate all Jews; it is very fond of holocaust victims. So in order to rationalise this disturbing programme and the BBC’s role in the current manifestation of antisemitism, they have magicked the programme into their mould. A piece on the website describing the programme reveals how. In the BBC’s eyes, it is not about antisemitism at all. It’s about holocaust denial, which is something they can honestly say they do not go along with.
Don’t mention the Muslims. Wendy Robbins did that once but I think she got away with it.

Our Culture

The Guardian’s favourite cartoonist.
“Steve Bell – At the centre of our culture”
(David Yelland. Today radio 4.)

Update: New Sharon cartoon to replace previous image that wasn’t by the Guardian’s favourite cartoonist Steve Bell. Sorry for any inconvenience, and thanks to Mr Gregory for pointing out my mistake.