Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Power of Palestinian Propaganda - with more than a little help from Al Beeb

Having warned of the danger posed by Iran, two British pundits go on to say:

"But European opinion had already taken note ... that the only crucial issue in the Middle East dispute is that of the self-determination of the Palestinian Arabs.  PLO propaganda has been extraordinarily successful in spreading this view, and Israeli propaganda - until recently - has been extraordinarily slow to react to it. 
The most crucial issue, since the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947, has been the adamant refusal of the Arab world to accept the existence of the State of Israel. For this refusal provoked the first of all the Arab-Israeli wars and in the next two decades there was no attempt to give the Palestinian Arabs self-determination....
Palestinian Arab self-determination has become a parrot's cry in much of the press of Western Europe.  Every time it is used, there should be a reminder that, after the 1948 war, the Kingdom of Jordan occupied what remained of the Arab state proposed in the UN Partition Plan.  Jordanian occupation was initially recognised, indeed, only by Britain and Pakistan.  But the states of the Arab League made no attempt to intervene or even protest - when it would have been perfectly possible to set up an Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with its capital in East Jerusalem.  Only since Israeli occupation of these areas took place, in 1967, did other Arabs discover the sanctity of Palestinian Arab "rights".'
Those words were written over 30 years ago, by Terence Prittie (1913-85), who was a prominent pro-Israel British author and journalist, perhaps best remembered for his book Whose Jerusalem?, and Walter Nelson.  Their article, "Europe and Peace," appeared in the Australia/Israel Review (June 6-20, 1979), pp. 14-15.

Is it any wonder that when Binyamin Netanhayu met Barack Obama today he gave the stony-faced American president what Al Beeb sneeringly described as "a long history lesson"?

A long history lesson is something the BBC could do with, judging from the half truths, distortions, and even outright revisionism that characterises its reportage on the Middle East - and  the following map on its website is one of the latest examples (hat tip: reader Roger).

Al Beeb's reportage where Israel is concerned consists of sins of both commission and omission.

The map is an example of the latter.  As Roger points out, in showing the land "occupied" by Israel since 1967, Al Been neglects to tell us that neither Gaza nor the West Bank were under the aegis of the Palestinians (or, as they were then called, before the brilliant makeover that conned the ignorant, Palestinian Arabs) but of Egypt and Jordan respectively.

(Update: And as commenter Davieboy points out, Israel is no longer occupying Gaza!)

Just shoddiness on Al Beeb's part?  Or malevolence?

Whatever the case, as with their ongoing reluctance to tell the public the genocidal nature of the Hamas Charter, and just as they habitually neglect to remind the public that the Arabs were responsible for all the wars Israel has fought, so the the BBC has left unfulfilled in this instance - by design or accident - a moral obligation to present the facts in a scrupulously honest manner, so that listeners, viewers, and website readers will not be misled into false assumptions.

It's part of a pattern.

Last year, in that sanctimonious, self-serving way of Al Beeb's, no less a personage than Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, wrote, with not a hint of irony:
"impartiality is in our DNA - it's part of the BBC's genetic make-up. Anyone who thinks differently doesn't really understand how the organisation works and how seriously we take issues around balance and impartiality."


But also shamelessly mendacious.

For the national broadcaster is aiding and abetting those whose aim is to demonise, delegitimise, and destroy the Jewish State.

As the always impressive Netanyahu told Obama in that latest icy meeting:
 "Israel cannot go back to 1967 lines.  We can’t go back to the indefensible lines.... We don’t have a lot of margin for error.  History will not give the Jewish people another chance."


  1. Goodson's Rule.

    When the consequences of incompetence become indistinguishable from the consequences of malevolence, it is wiser and safer to assume malevolence.

  2. Good one, Ian!

    I also notice that whereas Al Beeb's presenters bend over backwards to pronounce the names of overseas rulers and places with scrupulous correctness - sometimes to the point of pedantry (many examples lately of exaggerated French and Arabic ways of pronouncing Sarkozy and so on, for instance) - Annita McVeigh for one doesn't bother: she adulterates Binyamin as in Netanyahu to Benjameen.
    Just a small point, but a telling one, perhaps.
    After all, Al Beeb has always had a guide to pronunciation for its staff.

  3. A crucial reminder from the Camera org:

    In a May 19 policy speech, President Barack Obama, referring to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, said the “1967 lines” should be the basis of a future border between Israel and Palestine. Major media organizations subsequently announced, wrongly, that Obama referenced “1967 borders.”
    Although President Obama correctly used the term “lines” to describe what was the frontier between Israel and the Jordanian-occupied West Bank between 1949 and 1967, major media organizations, including some Jewish and Israeli sources, claimed he referenced “1967 borders.”
    Obama actually said: “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”
    But an Associated Press headline, typical of the widespread misreporting of the speech, inaccurately asserted that “Obama urges Israel to go back to 1967 borders.”
    The difference between the two terms — borders and lines — is extremely significant.

  4. The BBC map on the left shows Gaza shaded, indicating it has been "occupied by Israel since 1967". This is today patently untrue, as it was voluntarily returned years ago so how can we trust the BBC to be correct about events decades ago?

  5. Daphne, the BBC used to have a pronunciation unit, but I am not sure it still has one. Foreign names and unfamiliar place names get mangled all the time. They really seem to be incapable of pronouncing any Spanish name correctly. If there is a pronunciation unit, it must be on a permanent lunch break.

  6. Thanks, Sally.
    I remember that I once (in the National Library of Scotland, while browsing the reference shelves) came across a definitive BBC guide to pronunciation of personal and place names. But that was quite a while ago!

  7. The pronunciation unit was closed a few years ago. I think that it was to save money!

  8. Thanks, Ian. I bet that was after they were taught to drop irahk for irak!