Anorak News | BBC Bias Against Israel

BBC Bias Against Israel

by | 23rd, March 2009

TO not allow journalists to cover the war in Gaza was a mistake by the Israelis. But, then, this is their war, not the media’s.

War is horrible. Only a lunatic would enjoy it. Anorak is less interested in the whys are wherefores of the latest Israel-Arab war, than why Israel is the BBC’s lead news item. Who sets the BBC’s news agenda, and what is their agenda?

Honest Reporting has this (via Backspin):

It is extremely appropriate to highlight the BBC’s coverage of the Middle East considering the importance that the BBC attaches to the region. During the conflict, the BBC published, on average, 4.5 articles every day dealing with the fighting. In contrast, BBC coverage of the Sri Lankan government’s campaign against the Tamil Tigers group — a conflict that resulted in an estimated 2,000 civilian deaths in January of 2009 — produced barely one article a day.

According to human rights organizations, the conflict in Sri Lanka includes intentional attacks by both sides on civilians, attacks on hospitals (twenty attacks from December through February alone), and the use of human shields. Yet the BBC gives this conflict, estimated to have resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, less than one quarter the average daily coverage of the Gaza conflict. If the BBC is going to focus this much on  Gaza, it must expect scrutiny of that coverage.

Are there no Asians in the UK interested in Sir Lanka?

This is worth a read:

Why does the world media love to hate Israel?

A few idiots on the Israeli side:

It’s not the Jews they hate – it’s Israel, dummy:

Berating Jews with their own history, disinheriting them of pity, as though pity is negotiable or has a sell-by date, is the latest species of Holocaust denial, infinitely more subtle than the David Irving version with its clunking body counts and quibbles over gas-chamber capability and chimney sizes. Instead of saying the Holocaust didn’t happen, the modern sophisticated denier accepts the event in all its terrible enormity, only to accuse the Jews of trying to profit from it, either in the form of moral blackmail or downright territorial theft. According to this thinking, the Jews have betrayed the Holocaust and become unworthy of it, the true heirs to their suffering being the Palestinians. Thus, here and there throughout the world this year, Holocaust day was temporarily annulled or boycotted on account of Gaza, dead Jews being found guilty of the sins of live ones.

Read it all.


The distress and upset over the terrible pictures of children killed in Israel’s attacks on Hamas in Gaza have allowed anti-Israeli feelings to be more violently and vehemently expressed than ever before. Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic. But all anti-Semites hate the existence of a Jewish state and hiding behind code words such as anti-Zionism increases the density and viciousness of their anti-Jewish utterances.

He gets it…

Norm Geras on Gaza and Israel:

To hold Israel to the standards of international humanitarian law, the elementary standards entailed by codes of human rights, is only right and proper. But to hold Israel to those standards, but not also its regional adversaries, suggests a special hostility towards it that needs some explanation. Not all of this hostility can be accounted anti-Semitic. But some of it is. Only the blindest can ignore the plain manifestations of anti-Semitism now evident both amongst Israel’s regional adversaries and within the worldwide protests against Israel’s actions in Gaza and disfiguring them. As worrying is the fact that the same liberal-left aforementioned that populates these protests and in doing so looks away from the crimes of Israel’s opponents, a liberal-left that is, to a man and a woman, proud of its anti-racism, proud of its sensitivity to ‘Islamophobia’, is silent about this growth of anti-Semitism, shamefully silent, having forgotten in just the one case its avowed duty of solidarity with the victims of prejudice everywhere.


A few years ago, a terrorist bombing happened on a bus in Jerusalem, and about ten people were killed, including two Chinese. These two Chinese people were from Fujian province and they had gone to Jerusalem to work. The Israeli government immediately got in touch with their Chinese counterparts to discuss compensation. But the Chinese consulate said that the two had arrived in Israel illegally, and that they did not want to help.

Later, the Israeli government convened a special meeting and decided that the government was responsible towards the people who’d died innocently on Israel’s soil. As to whether they got there illegally, that is a different matter. After the meeting they decided that the two dead Chinese would be treated as if they were Israeli citizens.

The parents of the deceased would receive 1,100 US Dollars per month until their death; offspring of the deceased who were not yet adults would be given 1,100 US Dollars per month until they reached adulthood; those who had wives would be given 1,700 US Dollars until their death. The families asked for a one-off payment, and the Israeli government agreed. The final figure of compensation was 700,000 US Dollars for each of their families. All related investigation costs were covered by the government.

The news spread, and in Fujian province a crazy movement to go work in Israel began. The official from the Fujian provincial government said they simply couldn’t stop it. The Israeli government treats illegal workers like so: if you are not spotted, you can continue to work; if you are spotted, the government will pay for your ticket to return home; if you die, they will compensate you as if you are a Israeli citizen.


And an idiot from the other side:

Spotter: Pickled Politics

Elizabeth Wurtzel in The Guardian on Israel:

But here is what I finally know: with all the troubles in the world, with the terrible things that the Chinese do in Tibet, and do to their own citizens; with the horrors of genocide committed in Darfur by Sudanese Muslims; with all the bad things that Arab governments in the Middle East visit upon their own people – no need for Israel to have a perfectly horrible time – still, the focus is on what the Jews may or may not be doing wrong in Gaza. And it makes people angry and vehement as nothing else does. The vitriol it inspires is downright weird.

Brendan O’Neill on how a satire on Stabucks and Israel spawned a conspiracy theory that saw a London branch of Starbucks attacked by anti-war/pro-Hamas/anti-Israel/ Hamas FC hooligans etc, protestors:

Many of the claims about ‘Zionist coffee’ and a link between Starbucks and the Israeli military spring from a letter allegedly written by CEO Howard Schultz. Dated 11 July 2006, and titled ‘A Thank You To All Starbucks Customers’, Schultz apparently said that ‘with every cup you drink at Starbucks you are helping with a noble cause’: ensuring the ‘continued viability and prospering of the Jewish State’. Schultz seems to say that the $5 billion donated by America to Israel every year is ‘no way near enough to pay for all the weaponry, bulldozers and security fences needed to protect innocent Israeli citizens from anti-Semitic Muslim terrorism. Corporate sponsorships are essential [too]’. Schultz thanks Starbucks customers for helping him to raise ‘hundreds of millions of dollars each year’ to support the state of Israel (8). This seemingly Starbucks-damning letter has been on the internet for two-and-a-half years, and it now underpins much of the current anti-Starbucks, pro-Gaza protesting. It has appeared on anti-war websites; it has been cited as evidence by those spreading the ‘Boycott Starbucks’ SMS; Daily Egypt, an English-language paper in Cairo, says that ‘Egyptians and Arabs [have been] circulating emails’ containing the Schultz letter (9).

However, the ‘Schultz letter’ is a hoax; worse than that, it’s a piece of satire that has been accepted by some people as fact. The letter was written, not by Schultz, but by Andrew Winkler, an Australian-based ‘anti-Zionist media activist’ of German origin. It was published as a parody of Schultz, and clearly advertised as a parody, on the anti-Zionist website ZioPedia on 11 July 2006. Winkler later wrote: ‘The Howard Schultz spoof letter has caused quite a bit of a stir… Howard Schultz never wrote that letter, I did.’ (10) Yet now it has become something like a modern, internet-shared version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion: a hoax document supposedly written by a Jew which is cited by some people as evidence of Zionist wickedness.

File under: Beyond parody. Via. And here.


The first head of the hydra-like monster of medieval anti-Semitic conspiracy theories was the implied parallel between Israeli treatment of Palestinians and Nazis’ treatment of the Jews. This is a de facto cousin of Holocaust denial, as it diminishes and trivialises what really happened then. Since the second intifada started, 2,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis have died – an appalling loss of life, but hardly a genocide.
This couples with sympathy for anti-Israel suicide bombers: Israeli deeds are disgusting, those of Palestinian terrorists permissible, because of their victimhood.

Since 9/11 and Iraq, a millenarian cauldron of old-fashioned anti-Semitic conspiracy theories claims that secretive Jews (the wicked “neo-cons”) are controlling Bush, Blair and the media, and even arranged 9/11. Anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism have become interchangeable.

The conspiracy fever sounds like something out of that notorious forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, mixed with the medieval blood libel about the drinking of Christian children’s blood. This
rubbish seeps over the internet from the Arab media, where feverish anti-Semitism is the norm, to insane US/UK websites. The message: from Iraq to 9/11, it’s the Jews wot did it.


Until 9/11, Anglo-Jewry had become accustomed to prejudiced coverage of Israel. But if you were not a Zionist, as many Jews are not, you did not need to worry. Since 9/11, and particularly post-Iraq, we have witnessed a sea change. It is as if, in the mythical scale of 9/11, al-Qaeda had unlocked a forgotten cultural capsule of anti-Semitic myths, sealed and forgotten since the Nazis, the Black Hundreds and the medieval blood libels. Just words? But words matter in a violent world. This weird and scary nonsense is an international phenomenon, not a British one. Despite it, Britain retains the easygoing tolerance and pragmatism, the sources of her greatness. It is still better to be a Jew in England than anywhere else.

Read it all

The “oldest hatred” lives, from Gaza to Florida.

You would have to be very hardhearted not to weep at the sight of dead Palestinian children, but you would also have to accord a measure of blame to the Hamas officials who choose to use grade schools as launch pads for Israeli-bound rockets, and to the U.N. refugee agency that turns a blind eye to it. And, even if you don’t deplore Fatah and Hamas for marinating their infants in a sick death cult in which martyrdom in the course of Jew-killing is the greatest goal to which a citizen can aspire, any fair-minded visitor to the West Bank or Gaza in the decade and a half in which the “Palestinian Authority” has exercised sovereign powers roughly equivalent to those of the nascent Irish Free State in 1922 would have to concede that the Palestinian “nationalist movement” has a profound shortage of nationalists interested in running a nation, or indeed capable of doing so. There is fault on both sides, of course, and Israel has few good long-term options. But, if this was a conventional ethno-nationalist
dispute, it would have been over long ago.

So, as I said, forget Gaza. And, instead, ponder the reaction to Gaza in Scandinavia, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and golly, even Florida. As the delegitimization of Israel has metastasized, we are assured that criticism of the Jewish state is not the same as anti-Semitism. We are further assured that anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism, which is a wee bit more of a stretch. Only Israel attracts an intellectually respectable movement
querying its very existence. For the purposes of comparison, let’s take a state that came into existence at the exact same time as the Zionist Entity, and involved far bloodier population displacements. I happen to think the creation of Pakistan was the greatest failure of post-war
British imperial policy. But the fact is that Pakistan exists, and if I were to launch a movement of anti-Pakism it would get pretty short shrift.


WHEN Israel was the underdog, how we cheered: Having read thousands of words on the subject, I find I have nothing intelligible or helpful to say about Gaza. But I do remember sitting in a history class in school in 1967. Before the teacher came in, one enthusiastically belligerent boy had drawn a map of the Israeli advance across the Sinai in the Six Day War. We cheered. We felt that these
were our guys. That would be unthinkable now that Israel, a country I love, has allowed herself to be seen as the world’s bully.

Brian Appleyard

Hatred has many guises…

Posted: 23rd, March 2009 | In: Reviews Comments (12) | TrackBack | Permalink