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)

Friday 5 October 2012

'A Gift To The "New Antisemites" Of The Radical Left': BBC Bias's Book of Genesis?

The New Antisemitism?: on Facebook, a leftist parody of Bibi's fear of a second Holocaust
In my previous blog I quoted from a pamphlet issued by the London-based Office of the Chief Rabbi entitled Zionism Today that, in preparation for an impending house move, I found among several decades' worth of accumulated papers.

I've also found an interesting review of BBC broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby's book The Palestinians, published in 1978 by the leftist pro-Arab Quartet Books.

When the BBC's "Middle East editor" Jeremy Bowen was rapped over the knuckles by the BBC Trust a few years ago for breaching the Corporation's impartiality guidelines in remarks pertaining to Israel, Dimbleby wrote a fierce screed deploring the Trust's action.

It's tempting to view Dimbleby's book, as reviewed by Terence Prittie (in "The Way It Isn't, " Forum on the Jewish People, Zionism and Israel: A Quarterly, No. 36, Fall/Winter 1979. pp. 229-31) as the textual progenitor of that bias against Israel that characterises Al Beeb.  It's tempting to imagine the book as a mandatory read for Al Beeb apparatchniks Bowen, Jon Donnison, and Yolande Knell.

Indeed, Keith Kyle, the BBC journalist whom I identified here as the first to thumb his nose at the Charter's requirement of impartiality and to exhibit bias against Israel, gave the book a glowing review.

Prittie (1913-85), a respected non-Jewish author and journalist whose books included Israel: Miracle in the Desert, wrote a weekly column for the Jewish Observer and was a member of the Anti-Boycott Coordination Committee and the Britain Israel Public Affairs Committee.  The bases of his indictment of Dimbleby's book find echoes today in criticisms of the BBC's ongoing anti-Israel bias:
'Many thousands of Palestinian refugees have suffered bitterly, but have gallantly tried to make the best of their lives.  They have not been helped by their Arab neighbours – one thinks of those oil-rich Arab states, which literally do not know what to do with their money, but squander it or hand it as hush-money to terrorists rather than give it to the terrorists who need it.  In every other part of the world, where there have been countless millions of refugees, others have come to their aid, financed and resettled them.  Only in the Arab world is it an article of faith that politics are more important than human beings, and that Arab refugees should be humbled and eventually destroyed.
.... Jonathan Dimbleby has set out to prove that the Jews of Israel are clack villains, who arrived in Palestine during this century with the base and brutal purpose of driving the Palestinian Arabs from their homes.  This is a travesty of history.  The Jews have maintained a continuous presence in their own land, against all the odds, during 2000 years of oppression.  By the early 1870s they were an absolute majority in their holy city (it is nobody else's).  The influx after 1900 was of peacable people, seeking a small place in what they had always regarded as their own country, without hurt or hindrance to those who already lived there.  Jonathan Dimbleby writes of the "myth" that the Palestine of 80 years ago was a "land without a people".  the phrase may be too sweeping; but under half a million people were living where over five million live today.
Jonathan Dimbleby glosses over the fact that it was not the Jews, but their Arab assailants who attacked after the United Nations decided on the partition of Palestine, that Israel offered the hand of friendship to all of its neighbours and was assaulted by the armies of five outside Arab states, that as many Jews left their homes in Arab lands as Palestinians left theirs.  He makes much of the relatively small proportion of land owned by Jews in 1947, but conveniently forgets that roughly 70 percent of the land was in any case state-owned, passing from the Ottoman Empire, through the British Mandatoy Power, to its successors.
A subtlety used in the book is to proclaim "truth" through the mouths of Arabs, some of them unidentified, without any comment.  Thus the reader is told that Moslems never persecuted Jews.  What arrant nonsense!  If the author had done his homework, he would know that the Koran denounces Jews in the most violent terms, that Jews were conventionally treated as third-class citizens in the Moslem world, and were periodically persecuted and even massacred.  Then one is told that "the Jews are brought up in the Germanic tradition of greater loyalty to the state than to the individual".  In reality, the Jew is the greatest individualist in the history of the world.  Again: "The Zionist occupation is nothing but the rise of a new crusade."  The Crusaders massacred Moslem and Jew alike; under Israeli rule, the population of the Arab minority has grown in 30 years from 150,000 to 550,000.
The author himself proclaims as a "myth" the belief that the Jews "made the desert bloom".  Thirty years ago, the desert reached to the gates of Tel Aviv, the Plain of Sharon was largely sand and swamp, the now rich agricultural land of Hadera and the Emek was malarial marsh, and the Negev was a forbidding desert.  Yet he makes the astonishing claim that the Bedouin of the Negev had three times as much land under cultivation as all the Jewish settlers in the rest of Palestine.  Plainly, he does not know that the Bedouin were migrant herdsmen, looking for sparse grazing wherever it could be found.
There is is high praise in this book for the PLO leader, Arafat.  One of his followers is quoted as saying (again, no comment by the author): "It is extremely painful for us to be called terrorists.  We do not really know what is meant by this.  Well, what is meant is the massacres on the Tel Aviv-Haifa highway, at Ma'alot and Kiryat Shimona, and many, many others, when the "softest targets women and children were undoubtedly chosen.  The author claims that Arafat ha "denounced" extremists.  So he has, in the press of the Western world; but their groups have continued to belong to the PLO and only a few weeks ago Arafat spoke on the same platform as one of the worst of them, George Habash.  The PLO belongs to "Terror International," which includes among others the renegade Irishmen who murdered Earl Mountbatten.
 This book – doubtless intentionally – is a gift to the "new antisemites" of the radical left.  They have invented a new equation: Racists equals Israelis equals Zionists – equals by implication nine-tenths of world Jewry.  This doctrine is more insidious than the antisemitism of the National Front.  The Palestinians need the right champions who want a fair future for them based on peace and compromise.  A fresh invocation to bitterness, hatred, and violence will do nothing to end their suffering.'

1 comment:

  1. OT
    Israeli poster exhibition


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