Just how bad is the BBC?

Bibi’s visit to the UK was bound to met with public protests given the political landscape there. (Such is the hate, if the Jewish equivalent of Mother Theresa were prime minister of Israel, her visit to the UK would still be protested against!) And, predictably enough, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign were at the forefront of the protests.

There are, typically, certain things you will see at anti-Israel protests throughout the world. Apart from what might pass as fair political posturing, you will also see some nasty stuff. Some of that may, occasionally, be neither incitement nor bigotry.(For example, promotion of the apartheid or genocide themes, which are however preposterous.)  But you will also see incitement and bigotry, and it is not unusual to see out and out antisemitism.

The context within the UK, and also within Europe, is that many mainstream politicians recognize how often political criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitism, and how it promotes and incites that ancient hatred. Many have spoken out against it. It is a live issue, even if I might think that some of those who talk the talk (are you there, Jeremy?) have no intention of walking the walk.

So, to put it in simple terms, if there is antisemitism on the streets of the UK, in a prominent public protest, I would expect that to be reported on. Further, when such happens at an event organized by one of the BBC’s pet pro Palestinian bodies, it is yet another acid test for the BBC’s stated objectivity.

Well, as per a previous acid test (see here) the BBC has spectacularly failed. The excellent BBC Watch has details here.

Just how bad is the BBC?

When you think about that question for a moment, also think about this one: do you think things are going to get better or worse?

The BBC is bad, bad, bad. And the future is bleak.

[Note: funnily enough, the Guardian does an extreme job of ignoring the antisemitism, too. I often feel the cold wind of a 1984 style editor blowing through these pieces, and this one is no exception. Whitewash? Sanitized? The publicly owned, national broadcaster, has an editorial line, and reporting approach almost identical in this arena to that of the most bigoted, anti-Israel mainstream press in the UK. Birds of a feather, the BBC and the Guardian, and  if that is not a danger sign, what is?  UK Media Watch can fill you in, here.]

Acid test

Source: Simon James via Wikimedia

Source: Simon James via Wikimedia

If ever there were an acid test about the independence and objectivity of the BBC (stop laughing at the back!) this is it.

If ever there were an acid test of how seriously the Guardian treats antisemitism (enough already with the laughing!) this is it.


The unbelievable, but indisputably true story that UNRWA is riddled with antisemitic and terror inciting employees and officials. It’s a story documented at length by the incomparable Elder of Ziyon, backed up by a recent home run from UN Watch, and has had some (so far, limited) mainstream media coverage. You can see a couple of samples of the cases here, and here.

What we have, therefore, are multiple sightings of UNRWA officials on social media, posting bigoted, antisemitic material, and celebrating, marking, noting, enjoying, and encouraging attacks on Jews and Israelis. UNRWA – funded by your money and mine. UNRWA – a UN body, is employing and protecting haters and inciters. For sure it’s a story of interest.

Chris Gunness, UNRWA spokesman, claims it’s a non story. I find that stance an appalling abrogation of responsibility. It’s a cross between sticking your head in the sand, and having your backside speak for you – crap, crap, and more crap. What he should have done was admit there was an issue. What he should have done was investigate each and every case. What he should have done was publish the results. Transparency. Accountability. Honesty. It appears these words are not in the UNRWA dictionary.

So, why doesn’t the BBC cover this?

So, why doesn’t the Guardian cover this?

My own theory is that it does not fit their worldview, and to publicize the existence of such endemic hatred and incitement would threaten much of the pillar of nonsense they promulgate about the Middle East.  In other words, the BBC, the Guardian, and UNRWA see themselves as being on the same side. Guess who is on the ‘other’ side?

But there is no good reason for their failure. Therefore, even if my guess is wrong, that neither changes nor excuses a single bit of their collective failure.

It’s a despicable state of affairs, which serves to illustrate in stark terms how bad the BBC has become, and how bad the Guardian continues to be.

Blinded by conceit

The BBC has a problem.

First, check out this report from BBC Watch.

Then, note the following, being part of the BBC’s response to a complaint:

“The BBC would never include what it considered to be anti-Semitic material in its comedy programmes; here the production team and Radio 4 took great care in reviewing the programme’s content to ensure this, especially in the satire concerning actions of Israeli governments past and present. No offence was intended by the jokes and satirical observations in the programme.”

As BBC Watch points out:

The key words in that sentence are obviously “what it considered to be”. As we learned from the BBC Editorial Complaints Unit’s response to complaints about remarks made by Tim Willcox during a broadcast from Paris in January 2015, the BBC does not use the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism…

As you can see from the full piece, the issue is that nobody knows what the BBC considers antisemitism (or antisemitic material) to be.

A cynic might argue that the lack of a definition gives the BBC wriggle room, so they can always argue – should they so desire – that a particular item is not antisemitic. On the other hand, perhaps a definition – any definition – would be too restrictive for the BBC.

How many Jews do you think would trust the BBC as judges of whether something is antisemitic?

But the BBC knows better, apparently. And that is because it is blinded by conceit.

Nowhere to be seen

In this review of Tuvia Tenenbom‘s Catch the Jew, it says:

This myth-shattering book became an instant bestseller in Israel last year, yet, Germany aside, it has largely been ignored in American and European media outlets and by the reigning Middle East punditocracy. Ostensibly, Tenenbom’s book is disdained because the author lacks the academic or journalistic credentials to be taken seriously as a commentator on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

It’s an explanation. But it doesn’t stand up to examination.

For example, search long and hard at the BBC or the Guardian websites and you will not find a review or mention of Catch the Jew. But you will find Shlomo Sand, and Ilan Pappe, to name but two who conform to the BBC and Guardian view of the world.

  • Shlomo Sand. Perfectly described by the Elder of Ziyon as “the academic with no background in history who wrote an absurdly ridiculous book The Invention of the Jewish People to much acclaim by anti-semites.”
  • Ilan Pappe. Benny Morris,a  real historian, could not restrain himself: “At best, Ilan Pappe must be one of the world’s sloppiest historians; at worst, one of the most dishonest. In truth, he probably merits a place somewhere between the two….”

Shlomo and Ilan and their output are welcome at the BBC and the Guardian. Tuvia Tenenbom, it appears, is not.

Now why might that be?

The shoe is on the other foot for the BBC

In case you missed it, the Twittersphere has been all ablaze with the conspiracy theories of one  Ashgar Bukhari – “prominent Muslim activist” – who has accused “Zionists” of a conspiracy to wage psychological warfare against him, including stealing one of his shoes. Feel free to see the extent of this conspiracy by going to Twitter and searching for the hahshtag #MossadStoleMyShoe.

But in the midst of this bizarre development, Hillel Neuer posts an excellent question.


Do you think the BBC will answer?

[First seen at BBC Watch.]


Messengers of evil

On Seder night, the orthodox tradition includes mention of the many plagues beyond the ten plagues that most have heard of. One of these extra plagues is described as “messengers of evil.”

When we did this part of the Haggadah at our seder night, I replaced “messengers of evil” with “the BBC.” I didn’t plan it; it just came out. I said it out loud. And after I said it, I realized how appropriate it was, and was comfortable with that modern intrusion into one of our ancient traditions.

Having returned to normal life – ha! – after Pesach, it was somewhat ironical that I then read the BBC Watch story – BBC’s ‘Hardtalk’ mainstreams anti-Israel delegitimisation – because it was a clear example of the BBC performing exactly according to my description: messengers of evil.

The story covers the appearance of Raja Shehadeh in a Zeinab Badawi hosted broadcast of the March 16th 2015 edition of ‘Hardtalk’ shown on the BBC World News channel. As BBC Watch puts it:

“Audiences hear mostly unchallenged references to Israelis as ‘colonisers’, promotion of the ‘apartheid’ trope and comparison to South Africa, the claim that “Israel never left Gaza” along with description of the Gaza Strip as a ‘large prison’ and the claim that the Arab-Israeli conflict is “the most important issue in the world today” and “at the core of the problems of the Middle East”. Shehadeh distorts history both actively and by omission with viewers hearing, for example, an account of his father’s post-1967 proposals which is devoid of any mention of the Khartoum Declaration and a euphemistic representation of the 2013/14 round of negotiations which eliminates the Palestinian Authority’s decision to run those talks aground by means of its reconciliation deal with Hamas.”

Shehadeh no doubt has a story to tell – one which in the past has included the nasty, unfounded, and wicked allegation that Israel is ethnically cleansing the Arab-Palestinian population – but it’s not a story of peace and reconciliation. So, the BBC gave him a platform, and left him to it. Messengers of evil, indeed.

Read the whole piece, here, and then tell me if you can come up with a better, more accurate (and printable!) label. What a disgrace they are.

BBC, Brand, and bias

I’m happy to ignore Russell Brand. Whatever I have heard him say, read of his writings, or seen of his appearances, has done nothing to suggest he is anything of substance, and often the opposite. Now this may be grossly unfair. The man may be a great and deep thinker, a philosopher for our times, or something of the sort. But he may also be an average personality with a reasonable stage presence, a sense of timing, solid media connections, and otherwise empty. And it’s in the latter form that he comes across to me. Further, while I have not made an extensive search, there do not appear to be any people of note promoting Brand as somebody of substance. There have however been plenty giving him the gift of publicity and media exposure. And that’s where this post is heading. Continue reading

Sticks and stones

When is stone throwing newsworthy?

If you are the BBC, stone throwing attacks on Israelis – for example, in Jerusalem – are not newsworthy. As the excellent BBC Watch site says:

In 2013, more than 2,400 such incidents took place with 116 civilians injured as a result of stone-throwing.

Last month, for example, two such incidents took place on one evening alone.

“A two-and-a-half-year-old infant was lightly wounded by glass shards after unknown perpetrators hurled rockets at a bus in a Jerusalem street. Earlier in the evening, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a bus on Route 505 between Tapuach and Sha’ar Shomron. The bus driver suffered light wounds from glass shards from the windshield of the bus.”

BBC audiences, however, are not informed of the overwhelming majority of the many such incidents taking place just a short drive from the corporation’s Jerusalem offices and do not see photographs … [of the outcome of such attacks].

But there is one set of circumstances where the BBC does report stone throwing – when the stones are thrown at the BBC. That’s one way to guarantee media coverage!