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26 January 2009

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Dave of Maryland

The BBC refusal is distressing, but not surprising. During the recent war I surveyed London newspapers (Guardian, Independent chiefly, but also the Times) & found their coverage entirely pro-Israel. Fisk was the only notable exception.

What was depressing, however, was the comments on the papers' blogs. All the papers. All the blogs. All the comments. Militantly pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian.

The New York Times, by contrast, while still pro-Israeli, was not militantly so. NYTimes blog commentators were pro-Palestinian, by my count, at a rate of 25 pro-Palestinian, to 1 pro-Israeli. (Reader's selections)

Who would have thought New York would be pro-Palestinian, while London would be pro-Israeli? The BBC would seem to be a captive of public opinion.

CP

As for Mark Thompson and BBC impartiality:

The BBC is often accused of an anti-Israeli bias in its coverage of the Middle East, and recently censured reporter Barbara Plett for saying she "started to cry" when Yasser Arafat left Palestine shortly before his death.

Fascinating, then, to learn that its director general, Mark Thompson, has recently returned from Jerusalem, where he held a face-to-face meeting with the hardine Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Although the diplomatic visit was not publicised on these shores, it has been seized upon in Israel as evidence that Thompson, who took office in 2004, intends to build bridges with the country's political class.

Minnesotachuck

Does anyone here know if there has been an attempt to run such ads here in the States? If so, were they blown off by the main stream media?

Jose

"BBC boss Mark Thompson has again defended the decision, saying it would jeopardise the BBC's impartiality."

But by refusing to to run the add, the BBC has jeopardize it's impartiality.

Interesting used of words by Mr. Thompson.

linda

Does anyone here know if there has been an attempt to run such ads here in the States? If so, were they blown off by the main stream media?

can't comment on that particular ad; however, msnbc had no issue providing airtime for several airings of this pro-israeli propaganda (and i'm not referring to their regular 'news' reporting):

http://gawker.com/5125043/terrifying-pro+israel-commercial-has-fake-explosions

SAB

Does anyone know if Americans can safely give to such relief efforts without subsequent risk of being labeled and perhaps prosecuted as supporters of terrorists?

mo

CP, I dont know how you found that article but well done.

J

video of tony benn (former mp/bbc producer) tells off the bbc about their caving to israeli government pressure to not air the aid for gaza ads.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD1-jjQguyI

it all about -- israeli government pressure.

J

Colonel,

http://www.alternet.org/audits/121848

Israel Screwed Itself Over with Its Gaza Assault; the World Sees It as a 'Blood-Stained Monster' By Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom.

castellio

Yes, the issue has become that radioactive. To speak of Palestinians "as humans" is now understood as code for being "anti-Semite" and "anti-western".

fanto

It all boils down to the question 'who controls the media?'; btw SkyNews is owned by Rupert Murdoch through News Corp... what else needs to be said

johnf

The three other main broadcasting channels in Britain - Sky is not a major channel - have broadcast the Appeal - ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

BBC staff are undoubtedly incensed.

The BBC is in a very demoralized state at the moment. It has always been under attack by sections of the press - especially the Daily Mail and the Murdoch Press - who have broadcasting interests of their own and wish to see the Beeb privatised.

About a two months ago the Beeb was savaged because two of its DJ's indulged in some particularly obscene antics on air and there was a huge outcry - partly genuine, partly egged on by the press. I think this is partly the BBC avoiding a similar row. (The Murdoch Press in particular would have savaged it).

The good side of the episode is that the endless publicity - and the genuine public outrage at the Beeb's cravenness - has given the Appeal enormous public support.

And I think that the public senses that the people who forced us into the Iraq War are pretty much the same people who are now shutting up the Beeb.

Not good long term news for Israel.

johnf

Gerald Kaufman, the veteran and blunt jewish Labour MP has this to say about it:

"Gerald Kaufman, the Labour MP, said the BBC's decision to ban the broadcast was a serious error.
Mr Kaufman said: "I think Mark Thompson [the Corporation's Director General] is a good man and genuinely did not want to appear partisan. I am sure he has acted with the best intentions but I do believe he has made a serious misjudgement in this case."
He added: "I suspect but I don't know that the BBC may have been lobbied by groups who are not representative of mainstream Jewish opinion in Britain.
"These groups have managed to persuade the BBC that a broadcast on behalf of suffering people is partisan and anti-Israeli when it is neither of those things.""


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/4333816/BBC-maintains-Gaza-appeal-ban-despite-widespread-protest.html

kao_hsien_chih

Well, like the Israeli spokesperson said, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, so anyone who suggests otherwise must be out to defame Israel, right?

God, the chutzpah of these people just drives me insane!

Michael Chevalier

johnf, thank you for those comments.

Since I posted this, I've gotten a headache from trying to puzzle through who this helps.

Sky gets publicity for it's 'me too', making Rupert ecstatic. The BBC looks like it has lost its nerve or nut, as you will. That can't be good for them. If you are worried about any kind of healing in Gaza helping Hamas, this still doesn't cut off the flow of aid funds. From johnf's comments, it's actual helped create a groudswell.

Chutzpah isn't supposed to be this clumsy. This appears to damage those who allegedly pressured the BBC more than it could ever benefit their interests.

MCC

b

Link to the video appeal in question.

How is that "partisan"?

b

You should watch yesterdays 60 Minutes report.

Has peace in the Middle East become nothing more than a pipe dream? As Bob Simon reports, a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians feel that a two-state solution is no longer possible.

Keith
I have heard and read reporting that running such appeals is a tradition at the BBC

Are their any specific examples of previous relief programs?

If they were for things like tsunami relief or earthquake relief, my opinion on this action would be somewhat different than if they broadcast a Rawanda relief aid program or a Bosnia relief aid program.

I tried google, but this incident seems to overwhelm other returns.

W Dean

The appeal can be seen here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/video/2009/jan/26/dec-gaza-appeal

J

Colonel,

It's time that U.S. military aid to Israel was ended. Israel has proven by its actions that it is not adult enough to handle weapons systems. Israel is too hot headed, and its hateful demeanor is not conducive with anymore U.S. military aid.

Mad Dogs

Keith wrote: "Are their any specific examples of previous relief programs?

If they were for things like tsunami relief or earthquake relief, my opinion on this action would be somewhat different than if they broadcast a Rawanda relief aid program or a Bosnia relief aid program."

And your answer from the NYT is:

"The BBC does not accept advertising but has shown humanitarian appeals on other issues in the past, including the conflicts in Rwanda, the Congo and Darfur."
johnf

keith

The BBC has for many years run these Appeals.

There have been those for natural disasters such as the Tsunami or earthquakes. For war zones there have been appeals for the Congo, Kosovo, Rwanda, Bosnia (I think), and Darfur.

Keith

Mad Dogs and johnf -

Thanks. In that case, I agree with all the criticism voiced thusfar without reservation.

J

In 2005, BBC Director General Mark Thompson traveled to Jerusalem and met with Ariel Sharon in order to “build bridges” with Israel. Although barely covered by the Western media, the Israeli press gave it wide coverage

http://www.prunderground.com/001137/bbcs-mark-thompson-exposed-for-refusing-gaza-aid-appeal/

BBC’s Mark Thompson Exposed for Refusing Gaza Aid Appeal

Aidan

I'd like to add my dismay at the BBC's decision. I am British, and I think the BBC is an institution which we can generally be proud of, but it seems to have lost its way on this one. I suspect a combination of Mark Thompson's personal views and connections coupled with the battering they have received in recent years over Ross/Brand and Gilligan for example.

This decision, however, should not be taken as an indication that the BBC has a uniformly strong Israeli bias. For example I have heard John Humphrys (an interviewer for the Today programme - the key radio current affairs programme in the UK) give Mark Regev a very hard time on more than one occasion in recent weeks.

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