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'Israeli Lobbyists' Pursue Guilty BBC Editor
Leave it to the BBC to be the burning issue after I took a week off for Passover.
The BBC Trust which investigates complaints about the Beeb's news coverage determined that Jeremy Bowen breached guidelines on accuracy and impartiality in the June, 2007 dispatch: How 1967 Defined the Middle East and in a second January, 2008 radio report from Har Homa which is not online. See the Trust's full findings in pdf format, plus HonestReporting UK's response to the dispatch.
The reports are shoddy; in and of themselves, they wouldn't normally create an untenable situation for a journalist. But Bowen unfortunately, has a history of problematic reporting. And as the Mideast editor of one of the world's most-watched news services, the BBC must take responsibility for Bowen's litany of errors, omissions, and attitude:
A documentary on Israel's 60th anniversary, full of omissions and historical revisionism, downplaying, delegitimizing or altogether ignoring the legitimate roots of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel going back three millennia. Instead, the Arabs are painted as victims of Jewish power and malevolence.
An internal memo leaked to columnist Stephen Pollard laying bare Bowen's views on the Mideast conflict. Pollard reacts, "Indeed, Israel is to blame for almost everything. The Palestinians are not responsible for anything; Israel is the culpable party. He has contempt for every Israeli politician he mentions;"
A report blaming Israel for the Hamas take-over of Gaza and the Strip's hardships, never mentioning the reason for Israeli sanctions nor the increasing aid provided by Israel and the West.
Dazzling verbal gymnastics to qualify "terrorists" as "militants."
Publicizing a Palestinian woman's shocking claim in Bowen's Gaza war diary -- that her husband and 4-year-old son had been shot in cold blood by Israeli soldiers -- with no supporting evidence or any other media coverage of such a serious charge.
A report attributing Palestinian hardship solely to Israeli security precautions, without acknowledging Palestinian responsibility for allowing rocket crews to fire Qassams or prepare other terror attacks.
An unbalanced radio report questioning the viability of the two-state solution. Failing to acknowledge Israeli security concerns, Palestinian suicide bombers or intra-Palestinian chaos, Bowen discusses restrictions on Palestinian movement and the security barrier near Bethlehem, as well as "illegal" Israeli settlements. .
A morally inverted, oversimplified report from Gaza claiming Israel "brutalized" the Palestinians with a "violent occupation."
Normally, upheld complaints of this nature attract modest attention as the UK media columnists, Israeli papers, bloggers -- and the BBC itself -- all duly take note.
But Bowen touched a nerve at The Independent, where the matter has mushroomed into a staff editorial, plus a colorful Robert Fisk reaction:
The trust – how I love that word which so dishonours everything about the BBC – has collapsed, in the most shameful way, against the usual Israeli lobbyists who have claimed – against all the facts – that Bowen was wrong to tell the truth . . . .
The Independent doth protest too much.
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Blaming the Israeli's is essentially the opposite of what most people do. Blame the Arabs and Palestinians.
Hamas would not have been elected if Israeli didn't starve the people to death and bomb them.
And it was very unbalanced of them to mention that a Israeli soldier did something wrong.
Part of the original peace treaty was that Israel had to let the truckloads of supplies. They only let 20% in and bombed the tunnels. Then, Hamas bombed Israel.
And since when is bombing Gaza to hell not a violent invasion and occupation.
Arabs and other Muslim face terrible discrimination in Israel. That's the truth.
You're totally off topic here, we're talking about accuracy of reporting, as opposed to giving vent to one's very personal ideas, which a journalist is entitled to have but he's not paid to brodcast the, he's paid to report proven facts.
For example, your statements are totally unsupported:
1)"People generally blame Palestinians": where did you get that notion? Beats me.
2)"Hamas would not have been elected if Israel didn't starve the Palestinians...": what makes you an expert in "IF" history? A different proposition would be equally right: Hamas would not etc... if it hadn't terrorized its own people with mafia methods.
3)"And... a soldier did something wrong". No soldier and no deed gets mentioned by any serious journalist without supporting material. Mentioning a fact with no proof IS something very unbalanced (to say the least).
To make a long story short:
4) "Arabs and Muslim face terrible discrimination in Israel, that's the truth": now if that's the truth it's the truth, isn't it? Why reading newspapers or listening to the BBC at all? If we already know the truth in our hearts we can save ourselves the time and effort to find out the real, complicated, contradicting, unpopular and painful truth and support the party of our choice and feel good.
(And by the way: generally people in UK support the Palestinians, not the Israeli, and that's the truth)
It's different in England than in the U.S.
I don't know if you're British, American, or from somewhere else bu in America, any politician who said anything besides "Israel is completely right" would be skewered by the national media.