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)

Sunday 25 December 2011

A Gratuitous Christmas Kicking For Israel From The BBC

This Christmas Eve there's a slyly nasty little concoction on the BBC News website that can be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to aid and abet Christian antisemitism.
"While shepherds watched their flocks by night" is of course the opening line of a familiar Christmas carol.  Shepherds are part and parcel of traditional nativity scenes and plays.

As we have seen in recent years, the Jewish Jesus is being transformed by anti-Israel propagandists into a "Palestinian".

Al Beeb hasn't given the shepherds a makeover of that sort, but it has taken the symbol of the (Judean) shepherd and updated it for political ends. Thus Al Beeb's Gaza and West Bank correspondent Jon Donnison, a young man but an old hand at shooting Bowen arrows in Israel's direction, has been to meet a Palestinian Arab shepherd, in a feature especially for Yuletide.

"Bethlehem's Shepherds Are A Dying Breed," screams Donnison's illustrated piece, which  topped the list of features advertised on the BBC News home page earlier, so keen was Al Beeb to ensure a wide audience.  The piece says in part
'The shepherds are forced to buy fodder for their sheep, but the prices are too high.  He said Israeli security restrictions had made it harder for him and his sheep to roam.
 "We can't move. If we want to go anywhere we have to get a permit."
Bethlehem is one of the Palestinian towns that has been most affected by the West Bank barrier, which Israelis call a "security fence" but Palestinians call an "apartheid wall"....
Israel says it is needed for security reasons, but it makes it very difficult for Palestinians to move freely.
Palestinian ID holders cannot pass it without Israeli permission.
And from Carlos Sarras's back garden you can see another obstacle.
"This is the settlement," he said, pointing his stick at the concrete perimeter wall of the Har Gilo settlement which backs on to his land....'  Read the entire piece here
It's not a pressing news story.

It's a planted feature of invented topicality.

It can be seen as an attempt to use Christian imagery in order to enhance vitriol against  Israel by touching a particular nerve in the public, and thus as kindling religious antisemitism.

It's hardly the first Yuletide kicking for Israel by Al Beeb that smacks of Christian antisemitism.  One of the most blatant examples occurred some years ago when the egregious Orla Guerin presented a similarly gratuitous Israel-bashing sob story of a report from Bethlehem that revolved around a conveniently newborn Palestinian infant called by the Arabic name for Jesus.

Incidentally, on the BBC television news today Donnison blithely told viewers that  the number of Palestinian Christians is betweeen 50,000 and 100,000. Compare that seemingly inflated figure to this information about their numbers (and status) in 2003.

No wonder that all many of Al Beeb's viewers want for Christmas is the release of the suppressed Balen Report.  [Update: For more BBC Yuletide mischief at Israel's expense see my next post]


  1. Hang on a minute, Sheila, none of what was said in the report was actually untrue.

  2. Sheila?
    It's the gratuitous planting of the story that is objectionable. As I said, a feature specially done for Christmas, using imagery every Christian, nominal or not, knows.
    Then there are those questionable figures for the Palestinian Christian population...

  3. See also:

  4. Ha! I loved that link so much I posted it twice!

    I meant this one as the second link:

  5. It's not even novel, the Guardian did the same story last year, even interviewing the same shepherd
    Dec 23, 2010 "In Bethlehem, shepherds watching their flocks by night are a dying breed" by Ana Carbajosa


  6. That's interesting!!!What an unholy nexus.Thanks.

  7. And so did this lot in 2010. Donnison script eeriely echoes the text in this piece...starting from the 'dying breed' headline.

    If this were 'academia', he would fall foul of plagiarism.

    PS I am Catholic and recognise the emotional intent of the 'shepherd/flock and angel' emotion. It is unacceptable to use Christian symbols of the second most important festival to make political points. Pure propaganda.

  8. Again, you fail resolutely, Sheila, to point where there are inaccuracies in the piece. Just coz Israel comes out bad doesn't make the piece wrong. Perhaps you should ponder that while bklowing your digeridoo

  9. Thanks, Anon who gave me the latest link.

    Donnison's piece resolutely fails to give Israel's resons for having to erect a security barrier in the first place, second Anon. It is typical biased BBC fodder. And there's plenty more of that on the BBC website this Christmas.
    btw, your juvenile use of the sexist "Sheila" does you little credit. And needless to say, I'm lacking a didgeridoo...

  10. Daphne the BBC Radio's World at One interviewed the archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams in which he was speaking about, the as he called it, Ethnic cleansing of christians from Iraq [the worst case] by muslims, and, the same for Copts in Egypt. Not surprisingly the the reporter tried to "prompt' him with inserting Bethlehem into the conversation. But Dr.Williams I'm happy to say gave the reporter short shrift,i.e he gave her nothing of what I think she was looking for. There was no I repeat no crticism of Israel. After all the subject Dr.williams was talking about was ethnic cleansing of christians by muslims and he kept to the subject at hand.

  11. And please keep up your very good work.
    Thank you and sincerely, Cry4Dance

  12. I have been really busy with should-have-been-done-long-since editing work over the last few days - must finish it soon! - but will have a look at that and other links I've been given today asap!


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