BBC Reports From Gaza Always Forget To Mention The Presence Of Hamas “Minders”…I Wonder Why?

Remember reading the 2004 Balen report requested by the BBC itself to investigate accusations of anti Israel bias in its Middle East reporting?

No, neither do I – because the BBC has resisted all attempts to force it into the public domain. Don’t bother to ring Sherlock Holmes either to find out why because the findings must have been an embarrassing indictment of the Beeb’s lack of neutrality.

At The Commentator Simon Plosker has a good analysis of a more recent report on the BBC’s coverage of the Arab Spring. Generally a whitewash but, to be fair, there are some criticisms, particularly of the rather cavalier use of unverified mobile phone footage without an accompanying caveat.

Perhaps the Balen Report also found that the BBC has an unhealthy reliance on Palestinian “eyewitnesses” whose versions of events cannot be guaranteed as reliable.
And what about the lack of caveats? Does the BBC announce the reporting restrictions from Gaza where there is risk of intimidation and threats from Hamas, both towards foreign media and against Palestinians who deviate from the party line?

That is a very pertinent point. The Hamas administration in Gaza is an authoritarian regime with an unpleasant record of human rights abuse. Any Palestinian who publicly criticised it would almost certainly suffer severe consequences. But in any Gaza vox pop presented by the BBC there is never a caveat about this lack of freedom.

But then should we be surprised? After all whenever “ordinary folk” were interviewed in any Catholic enclave in Northern Ireland during the thirty years of the Troubles we were never told by the BBC that their reporters only operated under IRA “protection”.

Similarly we were never informed that government “minders” always accompanied BBC “journalists” around Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, making certain that every citizen toed the party line.

As long as a regime or group is anti British (or anti Israel) you can be certain those caveats are conveniently forgotten.

After all, as the BBC says, “it’s what we do”

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”.


Slap in the Face

Blogger Restoring Britain commented yesterday on Monday’s Open thread about the BBC’s treatment of yet another story which seizes on the Israeli retaliation while ignoring the build-up that led to it.

Here is our old friend Yolande Knell, who might have picked up some of her material from this AP report, which also contains the usual emotive anti-Israel language. For example :

“Israel has branded the activists “provocateurs” who posed a security threat to the country. Calling itself the Middle East’s only democracy, it says the protesters have their priorities wrong and should instead focus on rampant human rights violations in neighboring Arab countries.”

With the Mavi Marmara incident in mind, these activists are undoubtedly provocateurs, it’s not really necessary to use the sneering: “Israel has branded” they ARE provocateurs. End of, as they say in Eastenders. Same goes for “Calling itself”. It IS the Middle East’s only democracy. Get over it, as they say elsewhere.

“In the video, Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner is seen smashing a Danish activist in the face with his M-16 rifle.”

To me that looks distinctly over the top. “Smashing” indicates something is broken. I think the poor fellow had stitches in his lip. Painful, but not exactly smashing.

However the AP article does go into more detail, so sneering aside, we are told:

 “The officer, through his confidantes, claimed the activist had previously struck him with a stick, breaking two of his fingers, Israeli media reported. One newspaper ran a photo of him with a bandage on his hand.”

Yolande Knell has:

“After an exchange, the video shows Lt Col Eisner suddenly slamming his M-16 rifle into a demonstrator’s face in an apparently unprovoked attack.”


In her defence, the video does appear to show an unprovoked attack. Probably because that’s the bit they filmed.

This isn’t the first time the press has seized upon such a thing and presented it as though pro Palestinian activists are angels of mercy, and the IDF are brutes. It isn’t the first time Israeli governments have condemned an errant Israeli before the facts have been fully examined. Remember Mohammad Al Dura.

In conclusion, this isn’t the first time the BBC has shown little or no interest in the background to a provocative pantomime by Israel-bashers and useful idiots, but expressed indignation the moment Israel responds.

This blogger has written a series of detailed articles exploiting this incident. He seems particularly upset that several Israelis have been praising Col Eisner, but check out the tenor of the comments to see what sort of attitude they reveal.


If Col Eisner’s bad-tempered face-butt was really representative of IDF behaviour and the shy Dane who was afraid to give his name – (“don’t tell ‘em, Andreas Ias”) – was really an innocent bicycle rider and songsmith, I’ll take it all back and apologise.