Sunday, 20 July 2014

Israel kills relentlessly, but no 'Al-Shejaia moment'

The wickedness continues, with at least 425 Palestinians, mostly civilians, now murdered by Israel. The names of those killed is being updated by the authorities in Gaza. 
 

Al-Shejaia, decimated 
In one of the most horrendous assaults to date, over 60 people have been massacred in the Al-Shejaia area of northeast Gaza. (Strong warning: the images from Al-Shehaiai are deeply disturbing.) 
 
Norwegian surgeon Dr Mads Gilbert has been at al-Shifa hospital, working in desperate conditions trying to save the dying and assist the injured. 
 
In A doctor writes from Gaza - 'there are lakes of blood', he observes:
 
My respect for the wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst of pain, agony and shock. My admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless. My closeness to the Palestinian "sumud" - or steadfastness - gives me strength. But, in glimpses, I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry, smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protect ourselves in an endless embrace - but we cannot afford that, nor can they.
Channel 4 News reporter Jonathan Miller has recorded much of the horror, a traumatic experience in itself.
 
He tweets
Jonathan Miller @millerC4
#c4news #Gaza Doctors at Shifa Hospital describe last night as "a massacre". I have seen there which I will never be able to unsee.
It's admirable that such journalists are there on the ground witnessing the killing and terror. But isn't it also just as vital that they bear witness, via their reporting, to the true cause and context of that killing and terror: Israel's enduring siege and the relentless Occupation of Palestinian land?

That needs to be said, clearly and consistently. Otherwise, we see the suffering - or what fraction of it the media deem permissible - but remain ignorant or mystified about the fundamental reason why it's happening.

All of which helps reinforce the spurious 'two-warring-sides' line, the facile 'tit-for-tat' narrative so seamlessly delivered by the BBC. 

This vast media distortion provides invaluable cover for political evasion. As with previous mass attacks on Gaza, where's the outcry from the US, Britain and all those 'responsibility to protect' liberals? Where's the international reaction we heard when Nato was rushing to 'defend' and 'liberate' Libya, that 'Benghazi moment'? Would we ever remotely hear them talk now of an 'Al-Shejaia moment'?

Kerry has, apparently, been caught 'off mic' reacting to Israel's blanket killing in 'Al-Shejaia: "It's a hell of a pinpoint operation", he said. 

It was a small, but revealing, moment, confirming not just what craven elites like Kerry really do see, but, much more shamefully, what they pretend not to. As he continued flawlessly again into 'we support Israel' mode, it confirmed the sheer venal deceit of his 'peace-shuttling diplomacy'.     

Contemplating the poor victims of Al-Shejaia, the horrors being inflicted on Gaza, and the West's protection of the perpetrators, people may despairingly ask: how do those like Kerry live with their wicked deceptions? Their work is not remotely about the promotion of peace and resolution, but the calculating mitigation of state terrorism. 

Yet, as Jonathan Cook suggests, we should also think deeply about the seemingly 'human motivations' behind Kerry's unguarded words, for, together with his pledge to keep supporting Israel's killing machine, they help explain the darker, delusional psychology that allows such people to rationalise mass slaughter in the 'higher interest'.

Alongside Israel's state gangsters, we can only hope such Western criminal complicity is one day exposed in the highest court of law.   

Friday, 18 July 2014

Israel's historical abuse still being hushed

Moving, artistic tribute to the Bakr children,
murdered by Israel on Gaza's beach
As the ground invasion and wicked attack on Gaza intensifies, including the wilful massacre of four small boys - a fifth died later - on Gaza's beach, Alexei Sayle offers this most fitting analogy: 'Israel is the Jimmy Savile of nation states'.

The Zionist mindset conceals its own deep psychosis. But much else in Israel's disturbing development has come from learned behaviour.

America, Israel's principal 'parent', has spoiled, protected and indulged this occupying, apartheid state now for over six decades, from defending its multiple violations at the UN, to its Congress handing over an unconditional $3billion a year 'allowance', while Israel struts around like a bragging coward killing, abusing and terrifying the neighbourhood.

Britain, likewise, has played the complicit role of silent, coddling mother, occasionally chiding the Israeli 'bad boy', but never willing to raise the alarm over its monster progeny. With its own part in a massive arms network, no worried 'we need to talk about Israel' realisation here. 

Israel has grown to watch and copy the rapacious parents, invading, occupying and mass-murdering for selfish, imperialist gain all across the globe.   

Little wonder we're seeing such naked abuse from this now fully-grown regime, through its violent birth act of purging Palestinians to its 'family model' of settler occupation; from its military chauvinism to its bleating plea that the world understand its 'plucky defensiveness' and 'victimhood'. 

Rather than deal with these posturing delusions, the West has once again turned on the real victims, telling Palestinians they've only themselves to blame. As Seumas Milne comments:
But instead of demanding a halt to Israel’s campaign of collective punishment against what is still illegally occupied territory, the western powers have blamed the victims for fighting back. If it weren’t for Hamas’s rockets fired out of Gaza’s giant holding pen, they insist, all of this bloodletting would end. “No country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” Barack Obama declared, echoed by a mostly pliant media. Perhaps it’s scarcely surprising that states which have themselves invaded and occupied a string of Arab and Muslim countries in the past decade should take the side of another occupier they fund and arm to the hilt.
Parentally approved, Israel displays the same disregard for those it has invaded, robbed and colonised, a brutality manifest in much of its citizenry, as it gloats and cheers above Sderot at the spectacle of Gazans being massacred.

And the target of their macabre celebrating is more of Gaza's tiny children, as in this harrowing report from Peter Beaumont:     
Salem Antez, 29, approached with a purple plastic bag and opened it, its contents terrible. "This is my son," he said and nothing else, tears tracking down his face. Mohammad, another family member explained, was two. The other dead were Abed Ali, 24, and Mohammad Ibrahim, 13.
But while a certain number of deaths are reported, the vast bulk of the over 1500 of Gaza's and the West Bank's murdered children remain peripheral and nameless, their terrorist killers and military methods still given due deference.

And isn't it darkly apposite - given the BBC's own hierarchical harbouring of abusers - that Israel should be getting particular institutional protection from that same British state media?

Now clamouring to appear 'more balanced' after thousands protested its gross bias, Ali Abunimah has reminded the BBC of its still-running 'Israel responds' line, its utter distortion over the 'ceasefire issue' and other loaded narrative, saying: 'I would strongly recommend the BBC do some journalism'.

Ever keen to 'intervene', proclaiming their 'responsibility to protect' others, Israel's political patrons are massively responsible for failing to protect Palestinians. As serial abusers themselves, how could it be otherwise?      

But how can a supposedly 'impartial' media continue to shield and mitigate the actions of this craven bully? The answer, basically, lies in the establisment-serving acronym 'BBC', and an institutionally understood fear of overly-criticising Israel.  

As ex-BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Llewellyn confirms:
The BBC is now culturally and socially stuck in the Zionist frame. Whether this is fear of the Zionist lobby and its many friends in the three British political parties, sheer inbuilt prejudice, ignorance of the facts, history and nuances that every reporter, producer and editor should by now know, I am not sure. I suspect a combination of all three.
Such is the intimidating presence of the Israel lobby, and the apprehensions of senior BBC editors awaiting that call from the Israeli embassy.

How much longer can this dark compliance continue? The horror of those football-kicking kids being ruthlessly blown apart on Gaza's beach should be enough in itself to foster mass-media condemnation and real political action. Some worthy journalists are recording such graphic, terrible detail. But the core problem - the illegal occupation - and sheer historical scale of Israel's criminal abuse is still being dutifully hushed. 

---------------------------------------------------------- 

* Updated detail via Amena Saleem (Facebook):

The slaughter of Gaza's children, from morning till nightfall, on Friday 18th July:

Five-month-old baby Faris Juma al-Mahmoum was among those killed by 'heavy and indiscriminate' Israeli shelling in southern Gaza. Rizk Ahmad al-Hayk, aged 2, was killed by air strikes in Gaza City, Sarah Muhammad Bustan,13, was also killed in Gaza City. Three siblings, Ahmad Ismail Abu Musallam, aged 14, Walaa Ismail Abu Musallam, aged 13, and Muhammad Ismail Abu Musallam, aged 15, were killed... when their apartment building was shelled in northern Gaza. Eight members of the Abu Jrad family, including four children were killed when a missile struck their home in Beit Hanoun. The children were 6 month old Musa Abd al-Rahman, Haniyah Abd al-Rahman Abu Jrad, Samih Naim Abu Jrad and Ahlam Musa Abu Jrad. Imad and Qassim Alwan, both children, were killed as a result of artillery shelling in eastern Gaza City.

------------------------------------------------------------------

* Update:
Names of the victims of Israeli terror.
          

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Glasgow turns out to support Gaza and shame BBC

Buchanan Street, Glasgow
Yesterday saw a tremendous display of humanity in Glasgow as people gathered to denounce Israel's wicked bombardment of Gaza and the media's disgraceful coverage of it.

While the people of Gaza are being bombed and murdered, the BBC in particular is not only failing to report Israel's actions as the high crimes of a rampant occupier, it won't cover mass protests over those crimes and the misreporting of them even at its own front door. 
 

Condemning the appalling death toll, and expressing solidarity for the people of Gaza, many of those addressing the crowd highlighted the false 'Israel responds' narrative being repeated by state media.

Key points were raised about what never gets reported: that Israel has Gaza's 1.7 million people under enduring military lockdown, that the context of the Occupation is never presented, and that, alongside its daily killing and repressions in the West Bank, Israel have consistently violated the 2012 Hamas-agreed ceasefire by murdering Gaza's farmers, fishermen and other civilians, most notably children.

How, others wondered, can the so-called 'international community' stand aside and allow Israel to engage in such a barbaric act of collective punishment - an act declared illegal by the UN. 

A Jews for Justice for Palestinians speaker also reiterated their admirable message that 'Israel does not speak in our name'.

And, in deliberating on what can be practically done for Palestinians, strong opinion was registered that an independent Scotland with control over foreign policy offers a much more promising means of support than a UK state which embraces Israel and its US military sponsors.    



Afterwards, the entire crowd, in spontaneous mood, flowed down Buchanan Street for an inspiring march along the Clyde-side towards BBC Scotland HQ.

People from all walks joined in the swell of Palestinian colour, young and old, people of religions and none, families pushing babies in prams.

At one point the entire 'Squinty Bridge' and a long mass behind stopped, sat on the road and fell silent for Gaza.

At their glass-fronted offices, people announced in voluminous voice: 'BBC - shame on you'.

And, shamefully indeed, not a word or picture of
this event has been offered by the BBC.

What kind of 'public broadcaster', with an 'impartial' remit to 'inform', can be so fearful of reporting such strong humanitarian feeling?

Despite such blatant censoring, people are turning to - as this superb gathering in Glasgow showed - a much more highly-effective social media to organise, communicate and disseminate information.

So, while the brutality of Israel's war crimes and other apartheid oppression continues unabated, one hopes that Palestinians can, like us, take great encouragement from the kind of resilient protest and activism going on here and in cities all around the world.

Meanwhile, Gaza suffers.

Muhammad Hamad, 75, lost his wife, three sons, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter when his house was wiped-out by an Israeli bomb. Here's his painful words:

"I went into shock. The neighbours held me because I couldn't stand. I felt I was going to faint from the horror of it."

What horror, indeed.

What horrors our leaders are allowing to continue with their sanctimonious words about a 'peace process' and the need to ensure Israel's 'security'. And what consequential horrors are being hidden from public view by a shameless state media repeating those distortions on Palestinian 'militants', Israel's 'rocket-preventing mission' and the great fiction of the West's 'benign brokering'? 

As Glasgow's and other outpourings for Gaza have shown, the capacity for rejecting such propaganda is growing, as is the heroic resistance of suffering Palestinians to their criminal occupiers.      

*Thanks to John Pacetta of
Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign
for the above images.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Cameron 'keen to rekindle Middle East peace process': BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit's finding

A final exchange with the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit, following previous correspondence.
 

British Broadcasting Corporation White City, 201 Wood Lane, London, W12 7TQ

Telephone: 020 8743 8000 Email: ecu@bbc.co.uk

Editorial Complaints Unit

Mr J Hilley
 
Ref: CT/1400241
8 July 2014

Dear Mr Hilley

News (6.00pm), BBC 1, 13 March 2014
 
I am writing to let you know the provisional finding of the Editorial Complaints Unit’s investigation into your complaint about a news item on the above bulletin. I do not believe there are grounds to uphold your complaint but I hope I can explain the reasons why I have reached this decision.

As you will no doubt recall, the phrase which prompted your complaint came at the end of a brief report, as follows:

David Cameron has urged the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to be partners for peace. On the second day of his visit to the Middle East the Prime Minister held talks with the Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas. Mr Cameron also met the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who is a peace envoy in the region. Mr Cameron is keen to rekindle the Middle East peace process.
 
You have asked what evidence there was to support the assertion that

"Mr Cameron is keen to rekindle the Middle East peace process". I have to say that it seems to me to be a reasonable interpretation based on Mr Cameron’s words and actions. As you will recall, he visited the Middle East and held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In his joint press conference with Mr Abbas [1], the Prime Minister said:

We have had good discussions today and I want to focus on three issues. First the peace process and the leadership that both you and Prime Minister Netanyahu show by entering these negotiations. As I said in the Knesset I believe you are a partner for peace. I know that achieving lasting peace means difficult decisions and real determination to keep going. Britain has faced its own experiences on this front and we will do everything we can to help you.
 
Our position is clear and has not changed; we want to see a two state solution. A sovereign, viable and independent Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps, alongside a secure Israel. And Jerusalem, a sacred city to three great world religions, must be the shared capital for both sides, with Gaza a fundamental part of the Palestinian state…

… Over the last two days I have been encouraged from my discussions with both yourself, Mr President, and Prime Minister Netanyahu, that the will is there, so I urge both sides to seize this window of opportunity.
 
The BBC’s Editorial Guidelines on Impartiality [2] allow journalists to "provide professional judgements, rooted in evidence" (Section 4.4.13). I think the extract I have quoted above provides sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that Mr Cameron was keen to rekindle a Middle East peace process and did not require the kind of caveat or attribution you have suggested.

On the third of your numbered points, I think the use of the phrase "peace process" was reasonable; whether or not a settlement can be reached is open to question but there is undoubtedly a process
(backed by various international governments) to try to find such a settlement.

On your fourth point, I have explained that it was acceptable for the presenter, Sophie Raworth, to provide a professional judgement based on evidence. I do not believe, therefore, that there was breach of the Impartiality guidelines.

On your final point, the Editorial Guidelines on Impartiality include particular requirements relevant to long-running or continuous output (Section 4.4.26). These make it clear that

"due impartiality may be achieved over time by the consistent application of editorial judgement in relevant subject areas. For instance, it is not usually required for an appearance by a politician, or other contributor with partial views, to be balanced on each occasion by those taking a contrary view, although it may sometimes be necessary to offer a right of reply". I think that makes it clear that there was no requirement in this context to provide a counter view to Mr Cameron’s.

In conclusion, therefore, I don’t have grounds to uphold your complaint but, as my letter of 16 June explained, this is a provisional finding. If you’d like to make any comments on it before I finalise it I’ll be happy to consider them, providing you let me have them by 23 July.

Yours sincerely

Colin Tregear
Complaints Director

1 https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/press-conference-in-jerusalem
2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/page/guidelines-impartiality-introduction/

----------------------------------------------------

9 July 2014
Dear Colin Tregear
 
You say:
"Mr Cameron is keen to rekindle the Middle East peace process". I have to say that it seems to me to be a reasonable interpretation based on Mr Cameron’s words and actions.
Indeed. And it would have been truly amazing had Mr Cameron's words not seemed anything other to you.

You simply repeat Cameron's speech and cite this as a ''reasonable interpretation" of events. How very 'considered'. How very BBC.

This and the rest of your 'reasonable' ruling is entirely predictable. As ever, the point of such complaints is not to expect acknowledgement or seek redress, but to help expose such routinely biased output and the multiple levels of BBC officialdom, including the ECU, serving to defend it. 

So, I have no further comments regarding the complaint other than to hope that readers of this exchange are able to see what's deemed 'impartial' coverage by the BBC, and the kind of dutiful establishment-speak that passes for 'independent adjudication'.   

It's rather fitting that your letter comes as Gaza is being brutally bombed once more, with the BBC again engaged in its own assault of 'Israel responds' news and comment.

No doubt Mr Cameron and Western others deeply complicit in allowing that suffering to continue, through their enduring support for Israel, will declare themselves 'keen' to see an end to the killing. And no doubt the BBC will continue to amplify those hollow sentiments through their own slavish reporting of such words.

Yours sincerely
John Hilley


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Jon Snow's standard, but not very constructive, dismissal of Media Lens

There's been a most illuminating set of exchanges between Jon Snow of Channel 4 News, the Editors at Media Lens and other Twitter contributors.
 
Media Lens had tweeted Snow to flag-up an excellent letter from regular ML contributor Ed Murray on Snow's appallingly tame interview with Hillary Clinton:
Media Lens: An uncomfortable email for @jonsnowC4 to read - which he will likely ignore or brush away. http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1404548492.html
 Ignoring Murray's points and ML's tweet, Snow later tweeted:
Jon Snow: Media Lens: 18,000 Tweets; 14,000 followers/ JSnow 8,500 Tweets 424,000 followers:If only you were more constructive, you might help!
A direct exchange between Snow and Media Lens followed:
Media Lens: @jonsnowC4 Jon, 'You say what you like, because they like what you say.' From our alert (which has 229,577 hits) http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/alerts-2013/731-you-say-what-you-like-because-they-like-what-you-say.html
 
Jon Snow: @medialens but have you thought that perhaps they don't follow you because they don't like your hostility to ordinary hacks?
 
Media Lens: @jonsnowC4 The only people saying we're hostile to hacks are (some) hacks. Most readers understand we're asking reasonable questions.
Most readers seemed to agree, taking Snow to task over his boastful claim:
Robin Monotti: Very narcissistic argument @johnsnowC4 that's the kind of comment that gets us on @medialens side
And:
Anthony Atanasio: @jonsnowC4 @medialens: Its hypocrisy, pandering, and propaganda that most of 'us' feel hostile towards. @medialens is a breath of fresh air
Seemingly realising his faux pas over journalistic 'status' and follower numbers, Snow evaded another reader's challenge:
Irk Hudson: @jonsnowC4 There's a mere handful of people in positions from which they can reach national audience; only reason for your follower numbers.
 
Jon Snow: @IrkHudson Irk there's a hunger for a constructive critique of mainstream journalism: if Media Lens provided it, followers might gather!
Ariel Adam: @jonsnowC4 my dogs bigger than your dog. And it ate my homework.
 
Jon Snow: @Ariel_ Adam And Media Lens for some reason keeps eating its own homework instead of campaigning constructively!
And here:  
James Van Wilson: @jonsnowC4 Made yourself look a bit self absorbed and without an actual point to make there Jon. Twitter equivalent of pulling rank.

Jon Snow: @jamesvanwilson It's simply that Media Lens is remorselessly negative..I cannot think of one time when they have sent a constructive Tweet!
As most contributors to this exchange, and other endorsers of Media Lens (reminder for Snow: ML consists only of its two editors and webmaster, not its followers) recognise, there could be no more non-abusive and positive project currently shining a critical light on woeful media performance.   
 
But what does Snow mean exactly by 'constructive'?
 
One only need watch Snow's interview with Clinton to see the safely-moderated version that passes for 'probing journalism'.

Is this the kind of 'constructive' approach to 'challenging' power, 'challenging' other journalists, or 'challenging' journalists on their claims to be 'challenging' power, that Snow thinks Media Lens need to adopt?

As her cosy engagements with Jeremy Paxman, Jeremy Vine and other media notables showed, you can be pretty sure that Clinton and her protectors would not have permitted Snow an interview had he posed any real threat of critically-constructive questioning.
 
For example, the interview includes Snow asking Clinton about the West's 'failure' to press Israel on illegal settlements. All seemingly 'constructive'. But why is US-Western 'action/inaction' actually viewed by Snow as a 'failure' - a regularly-repeated line which assumes fair, neutral and benign input?
 
Instead, why didn't Snow highlight America's role as a principal and criminal supporter of Israel, and specify the $3 billion a year it gifts the Israeli state to continue its brutal military Occupation? Why didn't he call out the US as a fundamental cause of the problem, and grill Clinton on her own complicit part in that 'failure'?

Where, elsewhere in the piece, was the serious indictment of US-directed murder and mayhem in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and Syria? What of Washington's protection of terror state Saudi Arabia? 

If she so now 'regrets' supporting the invasion of Iraq, why isn't she calling for its perpetrators to be prosecuted for war crimes? Is she herself fit for public office after her willing participation in such a crime?

Where was the question on her husband's wicked sanctions policy that killed half a million children in Iraq?

And, rather than cordial nods to her becoming a grandmother, deferential citing of her book and conjecture on her presidential candidacy, where was the reminder of her infamous, inhuman line: 'We came, we saw, he died'? 
 
Whatever proprieties one expects of interviews, precisely none of those questions lack real constructive intent. None need be posed in abusive terms. They simply require to be put firmly and courteously to power, and held up to journalists claiming to hold power to account, as Media Lens routinely do.  
 
Is it lacking in constructive observation to say that in this interview, as in so many other liberal 'interrogations' of elites, Snow has not just 'failed', but is part of a deluded journalism that helps sustain the illusion of a 'constructively critical' media?  
 
Which, again, is simply what Media Lens is asking in its relentlessly polite tweets, alerts and other output.

Is it 'hostile' or 'negative' to ask why Snow is so unwilling to partake in constructive discussion on how power should be spoken to, and what part people like he himself play in that dialogue? Rather than trite dismissal, why doesn't he engage in evidence-based discussion of the issues?
 
Doesn't Jon Snow's own hostility to such engagement speak volumes about the pretensions, boundaries and self-preserving ego of liberal journalism?               

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Israel's purging of Palestinian children - don't mention The Occupation

 
It's another grim reminder of the kind of 'justice' Palestinian children can expect from 'the world's most moral army'.
 
As Jonathan Cook blogs, the beating and unlawful incarceration of Tarek is consistent with the inhuman treatment experienced by the family of Tarek's murdered 16-year-old Palestinian cousin, Muhammad Abu Khdeir.

Autopsy results have confirmed that Muhammad was burned alive after being abducted in Jerusalem. Arrests have now been made, though Palestinians have little faith that proper justice will ensue.
 
Tarek has also now been released. But, as reported by Rania Khalek for Electronic Intifada, Tarek's father and other family members have struggled to get US Consulate officials to press Israel on Tarek's behalf:
When asked if he expects any accountability or justice for the treatment of his son, Salahedeen said, “No way, this is Israel. There is no protection for Palestinians from the police or soldiers or army.”
Speaking movingly about Muhammad's murder, his cousin Dimah Khdeir also criticised general media indifference to Palestinian suffering:
No one cares. The media doesn't. Obviously, you’re [Yolande Knell of the BBC] talking to me, you’re part of the media, but there’s something crazy going on. But for the most part, no one talks about the Palestinian situation, the Palestinian case. It’s quieted, it’s shushed because most people support the Israeli government. No one cares if six people are missing, 10 people die, two kids are kidnapped, 10 women are killed. No one cares about Palestinians.
One wonders whether the BBC and other leading media would have even covered such Palestinian killings had three Israeli teenagers not been killed earlier. For, as with the treatment of Muhammad's cousin and other family, it seems there's a higher premium placed on Israeli deaths. 
 
As suggested by a tortured article from the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland, it's also revealing how media comment and analysis is routinely framed as 'tit-for-tat' revenge, a 'cycle of vengeance', all feeding the convenient narrative of 'two sides' locked in an 'intractable conflict', rather than the true, but never properly contextualised, fact of an Occupier and an Occupied. 
 
Here, in a deplorable statement, is what senior BBC correspondent Kevin Connolly has to say about the 'weighing' of such violence: 
Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli security sweeps conducted across the West Bank, as the Israeli army searched for the three boys and for clues as to what happened to them, but I think Israelis would argue that the nature of this crime – these three boys were from a religious college on the West Bank – they were just hitchhiking home for the weekend — the nature of it, the brutal abduction, the murder, the fact that the families were left for two and a half weeks not knowing the fate of the boys — there was a special kind of chilling factor, a cold blooded calculation to that crime that slightly sets it aside from the other waves of violence that we report on across the Middle East. [Original emphasis.]
So what we have is a supposedly impartial BBC Middle East correspondent elevating three Israeli deaths above all others in the Middle East and justifying this elevation by claiming that the circumstances in which they were killed were uniquely awful.
While effectively relegating Palestinian lives to that of Israelis, Connolly has, likewise, nothing to say about the primary cause and context of the killings: the Occupation. Indeed, it's sobering to think that this vital word is almost entirely excluded from BBC and other media output. 
 
We are all human beings. We share the same hoped-for humanity, the ability to comprehend the pain families feel when their children are murdered, beaten and locked-up, and to recognise how children themselves are scarred and blighted by violence. But we also have a humanitarian duty to help identify the central cause of that violence: the historic crime of the Nakba and Israel's brutal removal of Palestinians from their land and homes. All present questions and possible resolutions must still return to the core illegality of the Occupation.    
 
Complementing widespread protests, this was the scene yesterday in Glasgow's Buchanan Street as people gathered to denounce Israeli terror and the rampant media bias that prevents these essential truths from being properly aired.   

Friday, 4 July 2014

More 'Israel responds' spin from BBC: Biased Bombardment Continues

As Israel intensifies its relentless assaults on Gaza, the BBC maintains in its own relentless bombardment of brazenly biased coverage.

One of the most consistent BBC falsehoods is the 'Israel responds' line. Not only does this present a distorted 'tit-for-tat' narrative  - why doesn't the 'timeline' on 'responding' begin with Israel's actual occupation of Palestinian lands or/and the strangulation siege of Gaza? - it's a clear violation of the BBC's own supposed rules of 'impartial' engagement.

BBC reports set a vitally misleading context for viewers in constantly repeating the message that Israel is simply 'responding' to Hamas rockets or Palestinian 'provocation'.

Consider the following passage from this BBC online report:
In the past few days Israel has launched air strikes after rockets were fired from Gaza.

There is high tension in East Jerusalem ahead of the planned funeral of a murdered Palestinian teenager. There have already been two days of clashes there between masked Palestinians and Israeli police over the kidnap and murder of 17-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdair.

The motive for his killing has not been confirmed but there are claims it was an act of revenge for the recent murders of three Israeli teenagers in the occupied West Bank. Israeli police are investigating.
Notice that while the 'motive' for Israeli air strikes is taken as a given, a 'bald fact', the motive for the killing and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdair is treated as a 'claim', as in "there are claims it was an act of revenge".

Why are these same words not similarly applied when reporting Israel's bombing of Gaza?

The amended line would, thus, read:
"In the past few days Israel claims it has launched air strikes as an act of revenge over rockets fired from Gaza."
This, at least, would have the merit of treating Israel's 'revenge attacks' as contestable claims - even amid all the other regular 'Israel says' quotes, comments and approving repetition contained in such output.

The actual truth is that Israel has never needed any such pretexts to bomb Gaza - it bombs Gaza at will, out of a deliberate policy to terrify, contain, demoralise, dehumanise and break Palestinian resolve.

There's no chance, of course, that the BBC would ever venture that kind of unconditional statement or view.

But it will routinely churn out this 'matter of fact' line:
'Mr Cameron is keen to rekindle the Middle East peace process.'
Again, not Cameron 'claims' or 'says' he is 'keen', just the straightforward acceptance that he is 'keen', and that there is an actual 'peace process' to be 'rekindled'. 

My complaint over this specific line, with all its deeply-loaded assumptions of 'benign assistance' and omissions on Western culpability, has now made its labyrinthine way to the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit. One awaits with usual interest the Kafkaesque excuses and mitigations being prepared.

Meanwhile, the BBC and other posturing media contrive to show that they are reporting the killing of a Palestinian teenager with the same intensity as three Israeli teenagers. The Guardian even ran livestream coverage of the Israeli youths' funeral services, but evaded comment on whether they would do likewise for the dead Palestinian youth.

What's crucially absent in BBC and other 'leading' media commentary is the contextual scale of the daily murder and oppression of Palestinians.

In what should be a seemingly obvious opportunity to relate such facts, the BBC has steadfastly refused to highlight the vast number of Palestinian children murdered by the Israeli state.

All it had to do was state the undeniable statistics, as distilled here by Media Lens:
The missing, ugly reality is that over the last 13 years, on average, one Palestinian child has been killed by Israel every 3 days. Since the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000, 1,523 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel's occupation forces. Over the same time period, 129 Israeli children have been killed. Thus, the ratio of Palestinian children to Israeli children killed is more than ten to one.
Just imagine the differing awareness, hostility to Israel and pressure on our government to act if the viewing public were being routinely reminded about that kind of shocking truth.

As with the BBC's selective suppression of death figures for Iraq, the state media is playing a critical role in hiding Israel's crimes, the West's criminal protections of a brutal ally, and the media's own complicit part in the whole disgraceful story of Palestinian suffering.  

For more of the crucial illumination the BBC refuse to provide, please read and share ML's vital alert article:

Some Deaths Really Matter - The Disproportionate Coverage of Israeli and Palestinian Killings