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)

Monday 7 May 2012

Pumping Out Anti-Israel Poison – BBC-Style

Well-known British Middle East specialist Robin Shepherd has a pungent not-to-be-missed article here regarding the latest round of bias against Israel from the loathsome BBC. Entitled "More shameful BBC propaganda against Israel," it points out that "The BBC has now sunk to pinning its stories against Israel on people who refer to the Jewish state in terms of Nazism and Apartheid" and cites 9/11 truther Richard Falk as a case in point:
'In a nutshell, Falk is so hostile to Israel that he’s a de facto anti-Israel activist. But even that fails to do justice to the sheer viciousness of his diatribes against the Jewish state. Here’s just a smattering of examples of his approach. First there are the suggested comparisons with Nazi Germany. He has sometimes claimed that he doesn’t quite mean it literally. On others he has talked of Israeli policies as "genocidal".
He’s ambivalent about Hamas as a terrorist outfit. His language about Israel is peppered with references to "apartheid", "criminality", "collective punishment" and so on. The picture is clear enough.
I can't see how he can be described as anything other than an obsessive, anti-Israeli fanatic.'
Shepherd continues:
'Which brings us back to the BBC and its decision to hang an entire story on the testimony of a man with a record like that. I find it difficult to believe it was pure ignorance. Falk has been on the scene for years, and his attacks against Israel are legendary. The BBC’s story did not even include a single line informing the reader of his anti-Israeli reputation.
And this is how the propaganda against Israel is spread: a mainstream media outlet feeds an unsuspecting public with a story purporting to hang on an objective source, all the while knowing that 95 percent of the readers will swallow it because they don’t know Richard Falk from Adam.'
Abdel Bari Atwan, Gaza-born editor of the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi, is also such a man, one of Al Beeb's honoured studio guests in programmes about international affairs and news bulletins about the Middle East.  In fact, as so often, he was a panellist on "Dateline London" this weekend, along with France24 correspondent Benedicte Paviot, John Fisher Burns of the New York Times, and Sir Simon Jenkins of The Guardian.
(A nice politically balanced panel, no? Er, no. But at least yesterday they didn't focus on Israel, the nearest that they got to it in the time allotted being towards the end, when Burns announced that to defeat Islamic extremism the West must change both its foreign policy and its treatment of its "domestic" Muslim populations... Nobody demurred, by the way.)

That the BBC frequently trots out Abdel Bari Atwan as a commentator on the Middle East, despite his proven pattern of vilification of Israel, and as in the case of Richard Falk, with no mention or even hint of it, is disturbing, to say the least. (You may recall this post of mine regarding how fond Al Beeb is of him.)

Indeed, it is shameful in the extreme that the national broadcaster appears to lionise the man who boasted  on Lebanese television that if Iran nuked Israel he'd dance for joy in Trafalgar Square.

Can you imagine the BBC welcoming back time and again a commentator who had contemplated the annihilation of any other Middle East country with such gloating anticipation?  No, neither can I.

Although his manner on television is genial and gentlemanly, Mr Bari Atwan has very strong, indeed embittered, opinions, and seems to want the eventual eradication of Israel altogether; however, his goal is sometimes unclear

Here's a taste of his views on and vilification of Israel, via English-language editorials in his newspaper.

[Sorry about the black font in some of the extracts - I didn't choose it.  I blame Blogger!]
 On David Cameron's characterision of Gaza as an open-air prison camp:
'The Western world has started to run out of patience with Israel and its genocidal policies. Israel has become an economic, moral, and security burden on the west and the countdown to get rid of it gradually has started. Cameron is totally right when he talks about the Gaza Strip as a large prison. We wish he had compared it to the Nazi detention camps, that he had condemned Israel's war on the Strip and the war crimes the Israelis committed during it, particularly the use of white phosphorus. But at least the days when Israel can carry out war crimes and lay seige to an entire, innocent, people are now numbered, or so we would like to believe.'
On the Mavi Marmara incident:
'The world is losing patience with this pariah state run by racist war criminals, and the tired excuses of history, the Holocaust and persecution, no longer weave their magic. If the blood of the martyrs and heroes of the flotilla marks the countdown to the end of the Apartheid Israeli regime then it has not been spilt in vain.'

'We thank God that the Freedom Flotilla ships sailed from Turkish ports and thank Him more that one of them (Marmara) was sailing under the Turkish flag. We thank Him a third time that Turkish martyrs were killed by the bullets of the Israeli soldiers who raided the ship and opened fire deliberately at the activists aboard it with the murderous intent....
Israel has lost its strategic ally Turkey and moved it from the corner of friend to that of the enemy.... Israel is increasingly hated as it faces the threat of Iran's growing regional power and stands on the verge of losing its Western allies whom it is embarrassing and threatening their security with its massacres.
The only friend left for Israel, and we say it with bitterness and sorrow, are the official Arab order or those still committed to the peace process and moving in the American orbit. We say it sincerely and with satisfaction: Congratulations to Israel for these friends. They might be helpful to it when they have not been helpful to their nation, creed, peoples, and fair causes.'

 On religious strife in post-Mubarak Egypt:
'Israeli fingers never stopped playing with fire in the internal affairs of Egypt, as it did in Iraq, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories, and churches always been one of its goals, in order to incite Christians against their Muslim brothers, and to give the impression that peaceful Islamic-Christian coexistence is impossible. The Israeli lobby plays the same game against Muslim minorities in the West, smearing them with allegations of terrorism and presenting them as a security risk and source of great danger. From the same source come all the unfounded opinions about the incompatibility of Islam and democracy.'
On direct peace talks:
'A former Arab foreign minister, who did not want to be named, confided to me that President Husni Mubarak told him one day that if he wanted something from the United States, he would turn to Sharon, and the US response would be quick to come, meeting his request. Is it reasonable for a state with the standing of Egypt, its history, and civilization to deal with the United States through Israel? Yes, everything is possible these days. After all, have the Arab regimes not fought all Israel's wars through the United States - in Iraq and Afghanistan - and against Hezbollah in Lebanon, and against Hamas in Palestine? And these regimes are now getting ready to fight a new war against Iran.'
On visits by Muslim dignitaries to the disputed territories:
'We in Al-Quds al-Arabi back Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi's fatwa which incriminates all calls for and all forms of normalization of ties with Israel as long as the territories remain under occupation and face continued grabbing by the successive Israeli governments, which reject peace and continue to commit war crimes in the Gaza Strip and in south Lebanon.
Visits to the occupied territories by Muslim religious clerics and senior officials will only serve to legitimize the Israeli occupation and give a misleading picture to the world about Israel's tolerance towards other religions at a time when it Judiazes Arab mosques and churches in the holy city, undermines the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and implements plans to partition it, if not, in fact, it is seeking to demolish it by the excavations under its foundations.'

'[I]t is necessary to warn of this dangerous kind of normalisation with an enemy that totally ruins the Arab and Islamic identity of Jerusalem....
High profile Muslim scholars should convene and face Sheikh Goma with clear religious evidence proving the wrongness of his ruling. They also have to call for his sacking if they are convinced he is "committing the crime of normalisation" with an enemy that occupies the holy lands, Judaises it and kills thousands of Muslims in wars which haven't stopped since the occupation of Palestine.“the occupation state”....'

On Bibi Netanyahu:
'Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu practices lies as a profession, like all Israeli officials ...'

'Netanyahu considers himself more powerful than the US President because of the support he enjoys within Congress and from the Jewish lobby, AIPAC [American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee]....'
'When Netanyahu demands that the Palestinian [National] Authority abandons the Palestinian refugees' right to return, accepts a disarmed state, and recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, then what is left for the Palestinians in terms of rights or aspirations?' 
On Operation Cast Lead and its aftermath:

'[T]he Israeli army's rabbi issued a fatwa sanctioning the merciless killing of Arabs....
The legislation used in the application for Livni to be arrested was the same mechanism used by Jewish Nazi hunters in many countries, including Britain, in their quest to bring those responsible for the Holocaust to justice.
It did not cross their minds or those of the Israeli State's leaders that they would drink from the same cup and face the same justice, the same charges, for their own barbaric crimes, equal to the Nazi ones, against an innocent and unarmed people whose lands they robbed and whom they dispersed in the diasporas and refugee camps and then chased them with white phosphorous bombs after imposing on them a blockade of starvation with the approval and support of the 'civilized world'.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry, which represents the only democratic state in the region according to the classification of the British Government and its European counterparts, summoned the British ambassador in Tel Aviv to protest a purely judicial measure and issued a statement rejecting the 'tendentious' procedures in a British court against Tzipi Livni instigated by 'extremist' elements.
....This foreign ministry of an outlaw state no more than 60 years old is casting doubts on the British legal system dating back at least 600 years and refusing to comply with it although Israel benefited from it and its measures even before its establishment.... We do not know of any terrorism that is fiercer and bloodier than Israel's own....
The Israelis, whether war criminals or ordinary people, believe they are the descendants of gods....
Israeli generals - whose chests are crammed with the medals and badges they received for killing the innocent and unarmed and using children and old people as human shields in front of their tanks - are in a state of panic. They can no longer freely wander the Capital cities of Europe and the credit for this goes to a group of Arab and Muslim activists who decided to deal with the West in its own language and laws and without the help of corrupt and dictatorial Arab regimes....
The Israeli lobby will use all its weapons against the British Government to make it amend the judicial system and stop the pursuit and arrest of Israeli war criminals. This amendment requires the House of Commons' approval first and then that of the House of Lords, which means we are facing a long and complicated political and judicial battle that requires counter moves by the Arabs, Muslims, and all supporters of human rights in the world.
 We are pinning much hope on the sons of the Arab and Muslim communities and humanitarians in general to continue to confront the Israeli lobby. In the British universities they succeeded in imposing an academic boycott on Israeli universities and another campaign ensured that produce from illegal Israeli settlements would be clearly labelled as such so that the British consumer can exercise his or her conscience while shopping....'

'The whole world supported the victims of Nazism and took the necessary measures for taking revenge against the war criminals by bringing them to justice and punishing them to ensure that their crimes and mass holocausts are not repeated. Why then is the world conniving with the Israeli war criminals just because their victims are Arabs and Muslims? It is an ugly revenge which exposes the UK's present moral collapse.
Britain, which is planning to amend its laws ...  [since done - D.A.] to protect the Israeli criminals, bears moral and legal responsibility towards the Palestinian people whose blood is allowed to be shed by the Israeli war criminals and gives them a green light to continue their massacres. With this step, Britain is repeating, and even confirming, its hostility to the Palestinian people and its insistence on chasing them even in their exiles by its shameful bias towards their butchers whose state Britain had established at their expense.
Instead of atoning for its big crime against the Palestinian people, as it is responsible for their tragedy and all the catastrophes caused by it, Britain is continuing this crime even after more than 60 years of committing it by providing the legal and political protection for those who stole their land and dispersed them all over the world with its connivance.'
'[T]he crimes in Gaza were committed by the grandsons of the victims of the holocaust against innocent, unarmed peoples whose only guilt was that they were Palestinians, not Jews. This discriminatory view of British laws, based as it is on ethnicity, religion, and nationality, is a great insult to the victims of the holocaust themselves. Were the holocaust victims to express their view on this issue, they would have resisted any alteration to these laws, stood on the side of the victims in the Gaza Strip, and demanded the trial of the war criminals for tearing apart those victims' bodies, destroying their homes, and forcing more than 60,000 of them to live in the open air without shelter!'

On Israel and nuclear weapons:
'If the material for making dirty nuclear bombs must not reach terrorist organizations, which pay no attention to international law and do not hesitate to use any weapon of mass destruction which falls into their hands against their enemies, let us not forget that there are still official parties that pose as much danger to the world's security and stability and the lives of their people.
We are referring here of course to Israel which is considered above the international law, its articles, and its treaties. It is a "rogue state" which succeeded in developing nuclear weapons away from the eyes of international supervision or despite it with the encouragement of the Western world and in particular the United States of America.
The presence of nuclear weapons in Israel's hands is as dangerous as if they were in the hands of extremist organizations like al-Qa'ida. victims of al-Qa'ida are modest in number compared with those killed in Israeli massacres of Arabs and Palestinians...'
'The German novelist and Nobel laureate Günter Grass bravely published a poem entitled “What Must Be Said,” in the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily newspaper in which he condemned Israel, the guardian of a nuclear facility, for threatening Iran which does not yet have one. He said it (Israel) is a source of danger to the fragile international peace and criticised his country for providing it with another nuclear submarine in the coming days. He also appealed for an international authority to inspect both Israeli and Iranian nuclear facilities.'
On Sheikh Salah, and 'Zionist lobbies':
'The arrest of Shaykh Ra'id Salah [leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel] by British security forces after he had entered the country legally in response to an invitation by British parliamentarians to take part in a political forum is the ugliest form of McCarthyism and a revival of the tyrannical European inquisition courts that belong to the Dark Ages and intellectual backwardness....
British Home Secretary Theresa May, whose government took the decision to arrest and then deport him, does not have any legal basis for her action - but has clearly demonstrated that she is giving in to the blackmail of Zionist Jewish pressure groups that want to turn Britain into a banana republic and deface the image of democratic institutions and its age old parliament where Shaykh Ra'id Salah was to lecture in one of its halls in the presence of several of its members.
How can the Conservatives Party's coalition government justify banning a peaceful man who has not been convicted in the most racist country in the world whose nationality he carries and was allowed to travel when this government is intervening militarily in Libya and its missiles and aircraft are killing dozens of civilians under the slogan of freedom, human rights, and consolidation of the values of justice and democracy?....
Shaykh Ra'id Salah speaks on behalf of the legal owners of the land which the Jews fleeing from European repression and holocausts usurped, expelling and displacing the majority of them while those who remained - representing a fifth of the new racist state's population -are facing the harshest kinds of discrimination and treated as 10th class citizens in a state boasting falsely it is the only democracy in the region.
We wish the British Government had arrested Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak who committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip and issued orders to use white phosphorous bombs against its unarmed and blockaded sons or Binyamin Netanyahu and members of his government who committed the Marmara ship massacre in the Mediterranean Sea's international waters. But it did not do this and will not do it because these represent a country that the civilized democratic West is treating as if it is above all laws and its terrorists enjoy immunity regardless of the crimes or massacres they commit.
How can Shaykh Ra'id Salah be anti-Semite when he and all the Palestinian people's sons are the biggest victims of anti-Semitism?....
 This venerable man coming from the bowels of suffering who believes in his faith, defends his creed, and is the model of patience and fortitude does not deserve this racist and exclusionary way and from a government that represents the state which caused the Palestinian people's catastrophe, deprived them of their land and homeland, and dispersed them all over the world even though they had not committed any crime and did this to atone for its sins of keeping silent over the Jews' holocaust in Nazi Germany....
We blame ourselves as Arabs and Muslims before blaming Britain, France, and all the governments of the civilized West for treating us scornfully and for yielding totally to the Israeli blackmail. We are the ones who have the oil and assets. We are the ones investing more than 3 trillion dollars and buying arms costing hundreds of billions of dollars to save Western economies from bankruptcy and yet do not have an iota of influence to stop this humiliation and ignominy to which we are subjected at the hands of Western governments and the Zionist lobbies controlling them....'
Mr Bari Atwan is, of course, entitled to his views.  However, the BBC, which is bound to objectivity by the terms of its (much-flouted) Charter is surely not entitled, morally at any rate, to its unconscionable duplicity in presenting him as a credible commentator with no axe to grind.

It is high time that the BBC demonstrates some integrity by lettiing its audience know that Mr Bari Atwan is a partisan commentator on the subject of Israel.  Either that, or ceasing altogether to invite him to comment on matters pertaining to Israel and its neighbours.


  1. Daphne, Isn't there some kind of governmental department in the 'old country' such we have here in Oz, to be able to report things like you quote to?

    1. There's Ofcom, Shirlee, which withdrew Press TV's licence to broadcast in the UK.
      But the BBC has a special Charter to broadcast, and seems to be a law unto itself.
      If you look at this website you'll see the myriad ways in which it flouts its Charter day after day, on all sorts of topics, not just Israel.
      Why Mrs Thatcher didn't privatise the BBC is surely a question many non-leftists must be asking themselves over and over again.

    2. Unfortunately Australia might end up with the ABC and SBS “self regulating” just like the BBC does.

      ABC, SBS may escape watchdog
      THE ABC and SBS would be answerable only to themselves when it comes to complaints about their journalism, under proposals before Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.


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