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)

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Ask Us No Questions and We’ll Tell You No Lies – Al Beeb, Israel, and the “Pimply Loners”

The scandalously feather-bedded and wasteful BBC (employer of dodgy Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen, pictured here at a CoJo function in party mood) squandered over £270,000 of licence-payers’ money on legal fees in order to keep out of the public domain the 20,000-word internal report (2004) prepared by senior staffer Malcolm Balen regarding allegations of anti-Israel bias in Al Beeb’s coverage of the Israel-Palestine issue. Under the Freedom of Information Act, Al Beeb was forced to disclose some weeks ago that it spent £264,000 on barristers’ fees and £6,156 fighting (all the way to the House of Lords, no less ) a thwarted attempt by Jewish solicitor Steven Sugar to force the release of the Balen Report under the same Act. “If we are not able to pursue our journalism freely and have honest debate and analysis over how we are covering important issues, then our ability to serve the public effectively will be diminished”, sniffed an Al Beeb spokesperson in relation to the suppressed report.

Since the Freedom of Information Act reached the Statute Book in 2005, Al Beeb has paid, using licence-payers' money, of course, for external legal advice regarding sixteen requests under the legislation, including “advice in relation to the publication of the register of interests for senior staff”. Al Beeb failed to respond to no less than fourteen of the total of seventeen requests about Jews and Israel made under the terms of the Act. These unanswered requests included five regarding the involvement of Jews with the running of the Corporation at top level (such as “How many Arab people does the BBC employ in a senior capacity, including directors, compared with Jewish employees?” and “How many people of the Jewish faith make up the BBC Trust”) and several relating to Operation Cast Lead. (To be fair, it seems to be a reasonable assumption, given their nature, that not all these questions were asked by supporters of Israel, but rather by Israel’s critics and foes.)

That Al Beeb holds the hard-pressed public who fund its biases and excesses in something approaching contempt is suggested by one of its highest-paid and best-known political pundits, Andrew Marr (the man who’s on record as admitting that Al Beeb “is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias”.)  He’s dismissed most “so-called citizen journalism” as “the spewing and rantings of very drunk people late at night”: “A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting”, says Marr (pictured).

I agree with him that “Terrible things are said on line because they are anonymous. People say things online that they wouldn’t dream of saying in person.” But that sort of thing seems to come from anonymous commentators on unmoderated or poorly moderated internet forums, rather than from bloggers themselves. The folk who run the superb website Biased BBC certainly don’t fit Mr Marr’s stereotyping. It’s lucky for us all that they devote so much time monitoring Al Beeb – in all its flagrant arrogant bias in all sorts of ways, not least Israel. More power to ‘em!


  1. Mark Thompson thinks getting complaints from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rationalizes lousy BBC coverage.

  2. Marr's wife works for the Guardian, where he once said "..the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain 'natural' beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off."
    Andrew Marr, The Guardian Feb. 1999


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.