The hateful value judgement of the BBC

We have known for a while, that in this politically correct world, the use of language has become as much a political as a linguistic exercise. While not quite as bad as Orwell’s 1984, there are certain aspects that come damn close, and often the attitude and intent are entirely in keeping with it. This post is about the words terror and terrorist.

Reading about much of the mad violence that has taken place, you may well hunt in vain – except in Israel’s own media coverage – for those words. People are decapitated, run down, blown up, tortured, butchered, and killed. But that is rarely described as terror, and the actors are not terrorists.

Occasionally, you might see these words encased in quotation marks. This stylistic exercise is carried out to convey a clear message: someone else said this, and we certainly don’t agree, because we would never use such a word.

The BBC are on the most influential media outlets on the planet, and (very regrettably) they seem to be leading the charge (to mix a metaphor or two) in sanitizing terror from their reports on such incidents.

However, over at the excellent BBC Watch, they have a post that highlights how the BBC does actually use these words, and their hypocrisy when it comes to using terror and terrorist.

That post explains the BBC’s public stance on the use of these words. In short, they claim they are unable to make a value judgement, and so avoid doing so. However, as BBC Watch points out:

In other words, when it comes to terrorism in Europe the BBC apparently has no problem with “value judgements”.

So, apparently the BBC can make a value judgement if it wants to.

After reading the BBC Watch post, you might not unreasonably form the conclusion that so far as the BBC is concerned,  terror is something that happens in Europe, but never in Israel, unless it comes to Jewish terror.. Strange that. On the other hand, after reading it, you might conclude that the BBC is a vengeful, hateful beast, ridden with antisemitism and a distaste for the Jewish State.

Read the post here. And see the BBC Watch post about the BBC’s use of Jewish terror here. Quite a contrast.



The land of milk and honey. And traffic.


From Globes:

Israel has the greatest average traffic density per kilometer among OECD countries. This data is presented in a new OECD paper examining Israel’s green taxation.

That’s the bad news. In the good news section, there is this:

The paper commends the unique method of calculating the green tax Israel formulated in 2009, claiming that it is “innovative and creative in referring not only to CO2 but taking into account five different pollutants and using the vehicle purchase tax to differentiate car models according to their relative impact on the environment.”

Even more good news is this:

According to the paper, the effect of green taxation on the purchase of cleaner vehicles has been “tremendous” and by 2014 about 83% of the private cars sold in Israel were in the lowest pollution grades, compared with 19% in 2009.

Unfortunately, in keeping with the law of unintended consequences, there is also this bad news:

At the same time, OECD researchers claim that the green tax had the side effect of drastically reducing the real purchase tax for many cars, due to green tax benefits, and has therefore reduced family car prices and led to new car sales skyrocketing. The OECD claimed that this leap has facilitated a substantial increase in traffic congestion, resulting in a rise in pollutant emissions, despite decreasing emission per vehicle.

Oh, that’s not good. That’s really bad. They would have been better, it seems, doing nothing!

So, another challenge for the government. Will they rise to it? And how? Well, whatever they do, some of the battle lines are already drawn:

At the present, professional-level officials in the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Tax Authority support a congestion tax, which imposes a tax based on the driver’s actual contribution to congestion and air pollution, while the Ministry of Transportation resolutely opposes such a tax.

The environmental issues may be solved by a growth in electric vehicles, but the issue of congestion is likely to be ever present. We are just going to have to live with the jams.


Five for Friday

Ra'anana sunset - August 2012

Ra’anana sunset – August 2012

This has been another week suffering disruption in the house, as the painters continue their mission. Nearly there, and we’ll be glad when it’s all over. Meantime, the plan is to have another especially restful Shabbat. But before we get there, here are the regular offering of links:


I am late to this, but having heard it for the first time (on the radio, on the way to work) I just had to track it down and hear it again. One of my favorite songs, covered brilliantly by Disturbed. David Draiman‘s vocals are superb: powerful, emotional, and haunting.

The original, of course, remains as beautiful as ever.

Shabbat Shalom!


Bringing down the house

To put it as simply as I can, I am opposed to the demolition of homes as a punishment in any shape, manner, or form. It’s often a collective punishment – the legality of which under international law is probably, at best, questionable – and there’s no evidence that it actually is an effective deterrent. To the contrary, the effect seems to be a radicalization and hardening of attitudes that does absolutely nothing positive for Israel. It does not make it safer. It does not reduce the pool of attackers – but increases them.

I understand the argument that you cannot show weakness to your enemy in this part of the world, and that to win you must constantly show power, strength, resolve, and so on. But home demolitions are not a show of power or strength; they are a bullying response, and expose an almost childish, immature motive of having the last say.

Whatever doubts exist about the folly of home demolitions should be eliminated by this:

Family of E. Jerusalem Arab teen petitions court to demolish homes of his killers

Muhammed Abu Khdeir was the East Jerusalem teen brutally murdered by Jewish extremists in 2014. The homes of the murderers remain untouched. Was the killing a terrorist action? For sure. So why are their homes still intact?

The Time of Israel continues the story:

… the Abu Khdeir family has demanded the state demolish their homes, as it does for Palestinian terrorists.

“The state needs to operate in the same way against Jewish terrorists as it does against Palestinians. Just like the homes of Palestinian terrorists are sealed, the same should be done to Jews,” the family said in its plea.

I agree. However…

Last month, the Defense Ministry told the family in a letter that there was no need to demolish the homes of Jewish terrorists at this stage, as the attacks are too infrequent to warrant the deterrent action.

According to the official letter seen by The Times of Israel last month, the ministry’s legal adviser told the Abu Khdeir family: “Given the scale of the phenomenon of seriously hostile crimes in the Jewish community, the need to implement this [deterrent] power does not arise.”

That’s a dreadful excuse. It’s a fig leaf to cover a nasty attitude, and in my opinion it is unacceptable. One law for all, or no law exists. The state should demolish the homes of Muhammed Abu Khdeir’s killers, or it should stop all home demolitions permanently. It’s time for the authorities to take a good long hard look at their attitude, admit they are wrong, and bring the sad saga of home demolitions to an end, once and for all.


They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity

Following on publication of the Rami Levy mall development story (about the first Israeli-Palestinian mall near Ramallah), the Elder of Ziyon reports that – almost unbelievably – the Palestinian response was to reject co-existence, and jobs, and goods at low prices:

How are Palestinian officials responding to a chance at hundreds of jobs and the prospect of co-existence, while at the same time serving tens of thousands of Arabs with services that they have not had easy access to?

The head of the Palestinian Consumer Protection Association, Salah Haniyeh, said his group will create a blacklist of any Palestinian shop that agrees to open at that mall, and consumers will be urged to boycott them. He said that the principle of boycotting “settlement” businesses is more important than the “few shekels” of economic benefit such a mall would bring to the region.

There you go.

Truly, they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace.


Elie Wiesel’s victory, and our ongoing war


Today’s Israel HaYom newspaper leads with the death of Elie Wiesel. The headline there says:

“A symbol of the victory of the human spirit over evil.”

It is somewhat poignant that this shares the front page with coverage of the drive-by murder of Rabbi Michael Mark, and the Gaza launched rocket that hit a kindergarten in Sderot. Because, to my mind, regardless of previous victories, we must not lose sight of the fact that today true evil remains at large.

To put it another way: the war against the Jews continues.


Should Zoabi be silenced?

Whether we like it or not, Hanin Zoabi is an elected representative, a member of the Knesset. So long as she doesn’t break the law, she is entitled to participate in the democratic process. Even if she calls Israeli soldiers “murderers.” Unlike some, I don’t see incitement in those words.

But, if anyone thought she was a serious politician, with a shred of honesty or integrity, that was rather blown away by her silence in the aftermath of the brutal murder of Hallel Yaffa in Kiryat Arba. For if anyone truly deserved to be branded a murderer, it was Hallel Yaffa’s killer. Zoabi’s silence (somewhat ironically) marks her true character as a hypocritical grandstander, with evil in her heart. Perhaps the question should not be whether Zoabi should be silenced, but whether Zoabi is a true representative? Is hers a constituency with murder in their hearts? What are the prospects for true peace in such circumstances?


Five for Friday

Chinatown, London, formerly part of Europe - June 2016

Chinatown, London, formerly part of Europe – June 2016

One week since the Brexit poll, and it still dominates much of the political discourse, managing even to intrude on the Israeli scene as commentators vie to prove that it will be good or bad for Israel. My opinion? It will be what it will be, and we just need to get on with our own business. Given the horrific terror attack that killed the poor 13 year old kid in her bed, as well as another mass stabbing attempt, we plainly have more important issues than Brexit. Of course, there is no settled wisdom on how we deal with these, which leaves plenty of room for debate, discussion, and argument, but precious little action – except by non state actors making their own small way towards peace and understanding. Don’t worry; I’m not depressed about the situation, though I do wish things were different. I simply recognize it will take time.

Away from the headlines, on to more domestic matters: we have painters in this week. (And next week, and the week after, and…?) So, the house is a bit of a bombsite, with that tainted smell of under construction. This is part of operation Get Ready for the Wedding! It’s been a good week to have work to go to.

Anyway, the weekend is here, and it is time for the regular selection of links. Here they are:

Shabbat Shalom!