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Tommy Lapid on BBC's Hardtalk
Israeli Justice Minister Tommy Lapid withstood a hostile interview (more like an antagonistic assault) on BBC World's HardTalk today. Lapid stood up well to host Tim Sebastian on the following issues: Rantissi, Yassin, disengagement, Vanunu, American support to Sharon, and the disapproval of the international community for the Israeli policy of target assassinations.
It's well worth watching: (req. RealPlayer) HardTalk interview with Lapid
Near the very end Lapid realizes what's happening and says to Sebastian, "Israel's reputation is exposed to suffering from people like you...You are trying to hurt Israel's reputation as much as possible...Mr. Sebastian, I was in your profession longer than you are...you are deliberately trying to create an anti-Israel atmosphere...you are more understanding toward the Palestinians."
(Hat tip: Irene H.)
Sebastian also recently interviewed Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal -- available here in text. An excerpt:
TS- So the answer is no. Israel does not have the right to exist. That's what you're telling me.
KM: The occupation doesn't become legitimate even after a long time. You are talking about a fair and comprehensive peace. The Palestinian who was forced to leave his land in Haifa and Jafa, if he doesn't return to his land, how do you say this is fair? Why do you stick to your rights in Europe and the whole world while you ask us to drop ours?
TS- So Israel does not have the right to exist. Let's just clarify this once and for all. You're saying Israel does not have the right to exist.
TS- So you're not going to answer my question. Let's just clarify that for the sake of the viewers, you're not going to answer my question because it's too difficult.
KM: This is not difficult. I answered in the spirit of the situation. Occupation must end regardless of the duration. Therefore, it is our right to hold on to our land.
TS- How can anyone negotiate with people who will not give a straight answer to a straight question? How?
KM: Didn't you understand my answer?
TS- I don't think the rest of the world will understand.
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Thanks for the link.
I thought Lapid help up well and made good points. Of course, his English is only passable and I wished he went back at Sebastian a bit more directly than he did.
How about this reply -
We just killed a mass murderer and his 2 bodyguards and no bystanders were killed in the process. But we are brutalized in the press. If any bystanders were killed that would be a tragedy for which we would be slammed. If we tried to arrest him and a massive fire back and forth ensued and he and his men hid behind civilians as they often do we would be slammed for being overly brutal in regards to anyone injured or killed. But here we elinminated an unrepentent and mass murderer who actively plans to murder Israeli civilians every day and no bystanders were killed. We get no credit for the preciseness of the entire operation and instead the UN and world press slam us and you crudely mock us for supposedly "killing anyone we want". And while you sit in your ivory tower I listen to intelligence updates every week of suicide bombers attempting to mass murder Israelis anywhere they can. Yet, when countries need advice and expertise on battling terrorism they call us."
By the way I watched Sebastian interview Rantisi last summer I think? He was direct and tough as usual with Rantisi but certainly not nearly as tough as he was with Lapid.
There is a certain kind of reverse prejudice here........ The Israelis are more educated and Westernized so we can zing their rep more harshly than a poor Palestinian un-westernized doctor, even if he does send out people with rat poisoned, nail packed suicide bombs....
Agreed, Mike, on the 'reverse prejudice'. This is related to the 'soft bigotry of low expections', and something we identified in yesterday's communique: the overemphasis on Arab culture as unusually 'emotional'.
The cultural stereotypes are coloring media coverage of this conflict, maintaining the drama but oftentimes at the expense of accuracy.
Tim Sebastian, and the Hardtalk programme, is well known for asking very difficult, awkward and probing questions, questioning policies, not taking no for an answer, not allowing "sidestepping" of questions, and generally making politicians sweat. That's why it's called "Hardtalk". Get it?
I think the BBC could do with a few more like Tim Sebastian. He doesn't give anyone an easy ride!
I watched the programme, and indeed the questions were sort of an image of the intensified concentrated bias displayed on the beeb. I also think Tommy Lapid responded well and very much to the point.
I was outraged at first, counted to ten and went to check other 'Hardtalk' programmes related to this conflict.
I was surprised. I have no problem with Tim Sebastian. He is tough on everyone, quite the opposite of almost any other BBC 'journalist'.
Although Mike has a point - reading the transcript of the latest interview with Mashaal, and watching the interview with Mahmoud Zahar (both Hamas heads), The line of questioning was tough but focused quite extensively on objection of Hamas to the PA and the peace process - on both Sebastian compared Hamas and Israeli's opposition to the PA (to provoke maybe) and treating Hamas more as a political entity that can understand and pursue legitimate political ideas.
In another example, Sebastian interviewed Ghada Karmi, 'a Palestinian activist', who did most of the work for him expressing endless stupidity on her own. I noticed that when she accused Israel in the usual 'atrocities/warcrimes/fill in the blank manner in order to avoid a difficult question regarding Iraq, Sebastian just let it stand which is not typical.
However the Interview with Azami Bashara from 13/02/2004 regarding the fence, I think, proved without a doubt that Sebastian is not taking sides. He certainly didn't give Azami an easy ride.
If he is biased personally (which might be) he certainly doesn't show it and I have to agree with Adrian that the BBC could do with a few more like him.
I think I see the problem. While lines of questioning shown in the Lapid case are echoed everywhere on the beeb, CNN and other mainstream media outlets. Lines of questioning shown in the Bashara case are limited almost only to 'hardtalk'. In fact, It's the first time I saw someone giving Palestinian spokesmen such a hard time.
Dan, do you have links to those interviews you mentioned? I'd be surprised if he was as tough with them as he was with Lapid for many reasons good and bad.
I must say I was surprised as well.
Azami Bashara (click the video link)
M Zahar (same)
Here's the bbc search page you can find more HardTalk interviews (I got 4 pages when searching 'palestinian' on their webpage you can check other Israeli interviews, some have links to videos, some not)
Isreal is based on injustice,violence and disposession of unarmed civilains,women men and childeren.
Israeal should understand that vioelnce only breeds violence.
Down with ZIONISM (based on historical fallacy violence and usuruption)!
hooray Tommy Lapid finally acknowledged that the Israeli occupation and the crimes commited by the israeli government and army are NO different to those committed by the Nazis (except in scale of course). He said the army's conduct, that of collective punishment of a repressed people and murder of children and demolishing houses and roads and orchards was very UNJEWISH. Let me expand on his words it was INHUMAN.
God bless the bastard he has a heart after all.
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