Damning: how BBC coverage is biased against Palestinians


by Sunny
23rd May, 2011 at 2:12 pm    

Former BBC journalist Tim Llewellyn has a damning article in the Guardian today, exposing the BBC’s failings when reporting on Israel / Palestine.

He says:

There is no attempt to properly convey cause and effect, to report the misery, violence and pillage that demean and deny freedom to the Palestinians and provoke their (limited) actions.

For example:

>> In the bulletins they examined, the BBC gave 421.5 lines of text to Israeli explanations of why they attacked Gaza: the “need for security”, “enemy rockets”, “to stop the smuggling of weapons”. The BBC devoted 14.25 lines to references to the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories and 10.5 lines to the blockade. The BBC repeatedly stressed the word [Israeli] “retaliation”, and also implied that police stations bombed by the Israelis were military targets, describing other casualties as “civilian”. It described these civilian installations as “targets”. Newspapers such as the Guardian did point out the distinction.

>> “The offer that Hamas was said to have made, to halt this exchange [rockets v shells and air strikes] … was almost completely absent from the coverage,” say the authors. They cite a BBC reporter saying: “Israel feels itself surrounded by enemies, with reason.” They add: “We have not found a commentary noting that ‘Palestinians feel themselves to be subject to a brutal military occupation, with reason.’ Israel’s official view is given as fact, they say, but the Palestinian view, on the rare occasions it is found at all, is not. Israelis “state”, Palestinians “claim”.

>> Any Israeli casualty is headline news, shown in high quality images. BBC teams are based in West Jerusalem, de facto Israeli territory, and are on hand. Arab casualties may be shown in reports of a funeral, usually agency film, the victim anonymous. The Israelis, it seems, are for the BBC “people like us”. The Arabs are “the other”.

>> For example, the BBC consistently describes illegal Israeli settlements as “held to be illegal”. But they are illegal. Even the Foreign Office says so. The BBC always adds “Israel disputes this.” Well it would, wouldn’t it? Why these caveats?

Shame on the BBC for not improving its coverage of the Middle East.

And I’m sure people will say ‘just watch Al-Jazeera instead’, but that ignores the BBC not only has a duty to proper journalism but also reaches vast parts of the country in a way al-Jazeera can’t.


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  2. Counterfire

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  3. paulstpancras

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  4. Lynne Gray

    RT @paulstpancras @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Damning: how #BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  5. Celyn

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  6. Regie Bazzuri

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  7. scnnr

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  8. Sam Liu

    A damning & infuriating piece – how the BBC's Middle East coverage is biased against Palestine: http://bit.ly/iQFrrv


  9. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  10. Lynton North

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  11. Holly Steel

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  12. Jeremy Gibson

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  13. moon batchelder

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  14. Tower Hamlets Unison

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  15. David Raybould

    Sunny Hundal & Tim Llewellyn: BBC is biased against Palestinians http://stwnsh.com/2sy the BBC that stout defender of Israel, fucking idiots


  16. William Robehod

    Sunny Hundal & Tim Llewellyn: BBC is biased against Palestinians http://stwnsh.com/2sy the BBC that stout defender of Israel, fucking idiots


  17. Sairah

    Blogged: : Damning: how BBC coverage was biased against Palestinians http://bit.ly/jAckhp


  18. Michael Carr

    RT @sunny_hundal: Damning: how BBC coverage is biased against Palestinians http://t.co/fBKbhYw


  19. consumer

    http://bit.ly/iMKtHv (Damning: how BBC coverage is biased against Palestinians) I may not feel so bad about not buying a licence fee #bbc


  20. Sam Liu

    @sturdyAlex Have a look at this Alex – how the Beeb is biased against Palestine: http://bit.ly/iQFrrv


  21. Kevin Steinhardt

    Article on how BBC coverage is biased against Palestinians : http://t.co/DNVOvCz




  1. cjcjc — on 23rd May, 2011 at 2:54 pm  

    That wouldn’t be this charming man, would it?

    http://hurryupharry.org/2011/05/16/the-wisdom-of-tim-llewellyn/

  2. Sunny — on 23rd May, 2011 at 3:22 pm  

    oh sorry cjcjc – I thought you said you’d stopped reading PP and LC? I was really hoping you’d follow through with that.

  3. Sunny — on 23rd May, 2011 at 3:24 pm  

    And yes, its the same guy. Other than typical HP use of quotes and scary bold emphasis so it looks like he’s advocating mass slaughter of Israelis, its not clear what you’re objecting to.

  4. cjcjc — on 23rd May, 2011 at 3:34 pm  

    I said LC.

    After this madness it will have to be PP too.

    Shame but you seem to have gone a bit bonkers.

    Still happy to keep track of the bet of course!

  5. cjcjc — on 23rd May, 2011 at 3:34 pm  

    Haha – just realised you must still read HP + comments!!

  6. Quick question — on 23rd May, 2011 at 3:51 pm  

    Sunny,

    I’d have more sympathy with Mr Llewellyn if he wasn’t playing the same game he’s accusing the BBC of.

    I would suggest that, for example, referring to Palestinian actions as “limited” when hundreds of people have been killed in deliberate bombing of civilian targets like discos, buses and restaurants is just a tad disengenuous.

    There might be more progress towards a proper peaceful settlement of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict if more people were willing to concede that both sides have done some pretty stupid and awful things and stopped trying to justify all the actions of their own side while demonising the other.

  7. Sunny — on 23rd May, 2011 at 4:05 pm  

    After this madness it will have to be PP too.

    woohoo!

    Still happy to keep track of the bet of course!

    Of course, that grand is mine.

    There might be more progress towards a proper peaceful settlement of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict if more people were willing to concede that both sides have done some pretty stupid and awful things and stopped trying to justify all the actions of their own side while demonising the other.

    Sure. Can we start with what borders Israel should agree to? apparently 1967 is out of the question, which fundamentally undercuts any argument they’re interested in peace.

  8. damon — on 23rd May, 2011 at 4:26 pm  

    Philo and Berry’s book, an updated edition of Bad News From Israel (2004), examines coverage of the Israeli blitz on Gaza, analysing BBC TV and ITV early evening bulletins between its beginning on 27 December 2008, and the ceasefire on 17 January 2009.

    Really? Does anyone watch early evening news programmes that closely? This is really minority interest stuff in Britain. I no longer care that much about Israel/Palestine because of all the intense politicking around it. From Harry’s Place to Ben White and this guy. It’s a big turn off.
    And the Palestinians themselves have had terrible leadership over the years. I’m more interested in what happens in Syria and Bahrain to be honest.

  9. Quick Question — on 23rd May, 2011 at 6:45 pm  

    Sunny

    “Sure. Can we start with what borders Israel should agree to?”

    Well personally I think borders based on 67 are likely to be the best basis of any final settlement but I can’t really speak for what will satisfy the Israeli or Palestinians.

    “apparently 1967 is out of the question, which fundamentally undercuts any argument they’re interested in peace.”

    I suspect that quite a lot of people found Netanyahu’s immediate comments on Obama’s speech disappointing. I was certainly one of them. But that doens’t mean that I think that this means that no negotiations on that basis will proceed. I can think of any number of reasons why he might have chosen to say that. What I think is more important is what he’s willing or able to say behind closed doors.

    Oh and just as a matter of interest what do you think that Hamas’s refusal to disavow their charter says about the sincerity of their motives when it comes to peace? Or do you have any idea when they might actually get around to recognising Israel’s right to exist?

    Maybe, just maybe it isn’t only Israel that is being uncompromising!

  10. Sarah AB — on 23rd May, 2011 at 7:08 pm  

    I read that piece – I think TL has revealed himself to have some unpleasant instincts (and I wouldn’t argue with anyone who wanted to wanted to pick some dodgy quotes to justify viewing Melanie Phillips or Douglas Murray with similar scepticism). I think this is a complex topic and you can use the same data to reach different conclusions. For example, he says that you tend to hear Israeli spokespeople rather than Palestinian ones – but given that the BBC interview style is somewhat combative that fact could be seen to work against Israel. I think the BBC coverage seems (or has the effect of being) somewhat anti-Israel – but some things work the other way, such as ‘free Palestine’ being cut from a song recently. I think maybe he’s right that the Palestinan voices are somehow muffled and flatterned – but that is compatible with a slight anti-Israel bias.

    I like Ray Hanania’s vision for a peace deal. http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6633

  11. Frank — on 23rd May, 2011 at 9:12 pm  

    [deleted]

  12. Frank — on 23rd May, 2011 at 9:25 pm  

    Some of what Llewellyn has written.

    2No alien polity has so successfully penetrated the British government and British institutions during the past ninety years as the Zionist movement and its manifestation as the state of Israel. From the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, in which the British Foreign Secretary said his government “view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” (before Britain had taken possession of Palestine from the Ottomans), through the twenty-six year history of Zionist exploitation of the British Mandate at Arab (and British) expense, to Britain’s scuttle from Palestine in 1948 and the creation of Israel and the catastrophe for the Palestinians, and up to present-day connivance by the United Kingdom government with America’s unremitting political and media support for Israel and its daily violation of international laws and conventions on Palestinian lands, the Zionists have manipulated British systems as expertly as maestros, here a massive major chord, there a minor refrain, the audience, for the most part, spellbound.”

    “Perhaps the most long-standing and egregious of these organizations, dating back to the early nineteenth century, when Zionism had still to be invented, is the Board of Deputies of British Jews. This influential lobby of the Zionist Great and Good is an important example of how Israel is working its magic here.”

    “One is the Union of Jewish Students, which elbows and induces Zionistically inclined undergraduates towards influential positions in British public life, especially the media, the banking sector and information technology.”

  13. Boyo — on 23rd May, 2011 at 9:50 pm  

    Come on, TL is a moonbat and you do yourself no favours presenting him as an authoritative voice.

  14. Sunny — on 24th May, 2011 at 1:10 am  

    stick to the points he raises rather than trying to smear him.

    It kinda tells you all you need to know about many people who try and shut this debate down, when they just come here and start throwing around phrases like ‘jew hater’ without no basis. Pathetic.

  15. Peter Stewert — on 24th May, 2011 at 2:01 am  

    “Maybe, just maybe it isn’t only Israel that is being uncompromising!”

    That is the point being made, it is a conflict of stick, stones and an obscene waste of human life because politicians find it far too easy to exploit fear and nurse bitterness rather than calm the fear and fuel the heart to walk away from bitterness.

    I’d complain that TL is missing the wider point of the BBC running scared of Hutton and consequently giving up trying to present a balanced and coherent report and just going made on the balance, e.g., Newsnight’s attempt to bring across a representative opinion of British Muslims by treating the moderate majority view as being the equal of the minority militant tendency.

  16. Boyo — on 24th May, 2011 at 6:30 am  

    I suppose one might argue that there are plenty of other news stories that get little or no coverage at all compared to Israel.

    One might also argue that while Israel is a recognised nation state, Hamas is a terrorist organisation, so providing it with equal legitimacy would really leave the BBC open to accusations of bias.

    Now I suppose you could then go all out on the terrorist Zionist entity, etc, but then we get back in to old arguments.

  17. Sarah AB — on 24th May, 2011 at 6:34 am  

    I don’t think anyone has used the term ‘Jew hater’. To pick another point he made in the article, he mentioned that many in focus groups thought it was the Israelis rather than the Palestinians who were the occupiers. I assume this has something, at least, to do with the fact that many people just don’t follow current events and picked an answer in a multiple choice question at random. And I have read recently that this situation is changing, that increasingly people *do* know that Israel is occupying, not the Palestinians. Another point he made was about Hamas – he quoted someone saying they were surprised to learn Hamas was democratically elected as they’d thought it was a terrorist organisation. That’s such an unsatisfactory opposition – ‘terrorist’ vs ‘democratically elected’. It didn’t seem that TL had rushed to discuss any of the many other characteristics of Hamas, the way it deals with its opponents for example, or the fact that the Gazans have no power to get rid of Hamas using democratic mechanisms.

  18. Sarah AB — on 24th May, 2011 at 6:37 am  

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/14/europe-israel-palestine-european-disconnect-public

    Here’s a source for the changing perceptions of the occupation – which suggests that the media are not so pro-Israel.

  19. Ben — on 24th May, 2011 at 7:31 am  

    The 1967 borders are militarily indefensible. Israel is less than 9 miles wide within those lines, and could easily be cut in two by an Arab attack. The 1967 lines are an enticement for the surrounding Arab states to attack, since very likely such an attack will result in victory for them.

    That is why the Arabs are so keen on forcing the Israeli Defence Forces to the pre-1967 lines. Especially Hamas.

  20. Frank — on 24th May, 2011 at 9:11 am  

    First Sunny hosts articles from Ben White who understands why some people are antisemitic, then on Liberal Conspiracy he hosts an apology for the antisemitic Memo that attacks people for objecting to antisemitism. And now he hosts the views of Tim Llewellyn.

    Sunny, you’re a nasty little jew-baiter. Go get help.

  21. Boyo — on 24th May, 2011 at 4:02 pm  

    There’s a wider context here I’ve never understood Sunny’s position upon.

    As someone who does believe Israel does plenty of wrong and has witnessed the illegal settlements with my own eyes, I completely agree with a return to 67 borders, shared capital etc.

    However, in contrast to many other issues (and this is hardly an “Asian” one) the I/P question pales in comparison, be it Sri Lanka, Africa, Iran etc.

    It’s not whataboutery to wonder why the focus on Israel, and why cannot Sunny appreciate the issue is at best totemic anti-Americanism and at worst used as cover to excuse clerical fascism and is deeply seeded with antisemitism (the Jews condemned AGAIN).

    I suppose there’s running with the “progressive” news agenda, but Sunny often appears to lead it.

  22. tinku patel — on 24th May, 2011 at 6:26 pm  

    considering this is a “singh-o-centric” website, what would the sikh gurus have done with i/p?

  23. Shamit — on 25th May, 2011 at 12:26 am  

    I was going to sit this one out but the loonies have come out of the woodwork – lets start with this one:

    “considering this is a “singh-o-centric” website”

    how is this a singh o centric website? I guess you don’t come here too often – but the logic of your argument suggests that one should try to interpret religious text and anecdotes by cherry picking quotes (without context) to suit their cause.

    And extrapolating one’s assumptions to conclude that those exact same reasoning would have been applied by religious leaders – that’s called foolishness and in the real world they are called nutters/extremists.

    So your question is irrational and your inclination is not to have a debate but have a go at Sunny? Well if you can’t make a case you would resort to that isn’t it. So Piss Off.

  24. tinku patel — on 25th May, 2011 at 9:50 pm  

    “I was going to sit this one out but the loonies have come out of the woodwork – lets start with this one:”

    thanks for getting back to me – appreciate it!

    “but the logic of your argument suggests that one should try to interpret religious text and anecdotes by cherry picking quotes (without context) to suit their cause.”

    please don’t have a go at jai and his many threads on edl “gromit”, rahat fateh ali khan, guru gobind singh etc, etc. anyway did g-d give the land of israel to the jewish people? yes or no answer please.

    “So your question is irrational and your inclination is not to have a debate but have a go at Sunny?”

    out of all the “singh” type people on here, sunny (who is apparently buddhist leaning and dated a “hijabi”) is nearest to the guy who started off sikhism, guru nanak dev. nanak who was a “brahmin” and his buddy was mardana a muslim of the “maraasi” caste (“maraasi” are musicians who play for money e.g. those guys who turn up at weddings in northern hindustan).

    becoming influenced by the growing “bhagti” movement and through interaction with mardana, nanak who never called himself a sikh but a “kabir-panthi” or follower of kabir, he came to understand the hypocrisies of the orthodox religious representatives (“molvis” and “kazis”) and embraced the spiritual sufi saints .

    now, as during nanak’s time, every thursday night at most sufi saint shrines, there is a “langar” or free food and the “kalaam” or words of the saint are recited. more often than not people get off their t*ts on indian hemp (“bhang”) and music. prostitution and heavy drugs aren’t too far away. a bit like amsterdam’s canals meets “baptazia”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odZBSavffbk

    anyway the shrines often have mosques next to or nearby to them thereby reconciling “tareeqat” with “shariat”. this possibly explains the “kaaba phairiyaa” incident that nanak used to explain to his followers that god is everywhere not in buildings (yes even the “golden” temple). when he possibly went into the prayer hall for a rest, his feet pointing at the “qibla”, the worshippers would have told him to turn around as it showed disrespect. see, not as wacky as the “judeo-christian” miracles of the bible!

    sunny is more “nanak-panthi” than sikh, hence appears to be “pro-palestinian”.

    following this logic, jai (wgjk wgkf! wtf!) is more a “gobind-panthi” or “khalsa-centric”. guru gobind singh of course creating the sikh religion we know today thereby ending the “bhagti” movement. he has possibly mnetioned rahat fateh ali khan more times in his posts than guru gobing singh so could be seeing the light. rahat fateh ali khan is a paid musician by the way.

    rumbold is more a “righteous-gentile” sikh and he’s a “libertarian” as well ….. a bit of a “maharaja duleep singh”

    oh and there’s that “rab rakha” bloke who pops up now and again! same to you pal!

    i hope i have not offended any adherents of the sikh faith (albeit part of the “dharmic” faiths), i’m just highlighting (in a light-hearted manner) the disheartening way my fellow “sindhus” are embracing “judeo-christian”, “secular”, “western” pseudo-intellectual-ism whilst rejecting the depth of spritiual meaning of thousands of years in the sub-continent as per their heritage. the depth of the words of people who inspired the sikh gurus.

    the jewish (cjcjc, sarahab, armchairwoman etc) and non-jewish (boyo, damon etc) european caucasoids probably won’t have a clue as to what i’m trying to say. their loss. leon possibly never got over that “jatti” from brum he knew at uni, who’s now with “gurps”, “burps” or “turps”.

    “So Piss Off”

    if it makes you happy i will (did you ever post on hindu voice website?) but not before quoting this:

    awal allah noor upaya, qudrat ke sab banday
    ek noor te sab jag upjeya, kaun bhale kaun mande.

    maybe jai can get the translation from “siki-wiki” website and explain what that means to the white peeps on here!

  25. Sarah AB — on 26th May, 2011 at 6:42 am  

    Huh? I am not Jewish by the way, but you are right – I really don’t have a clue what you are on (about).

  26. douglas clark — on 26th May, 2011 at 7:01 am  

    tinku patel,

    Wow!

    Are you also interested in trainspotting, astronomy or science fiction? Perhaps we could engage with each other at that sort of level. Because no-one beyond your immediate family is going to have a clue about what you are trying to say. It is really quite important to have a degree of meaning in what you write.

    I get it. You are upset about something. What it is? Not at all clear….

    Try deep breaths and clarity of expression will be yours.

    Just saying.

  27. Rumbold — on 26th May, 2011 at 9:28 am  

    Oddly enough, the first part of tinku patel’s comment is quite useful, as it highlights the difference between Sikhism pre and post Guru Gobind Singh, as after this a lot more emphasis is put on external appearance (turban, beard, etc.), and the separatism of Sikhs, moving away from the idea of kindess and equality for everyone regardless of race/religion.

    Then the comment descends into I don’t know what.

  28. douglas clark — on 26th May, 2011 at 10:17 am  

    Rumbold,

    It might make sense to you. But, then again, you have a BSc, MSc and bar in this. You probably speak every dialect known to man. Sadly, you may have just proven that you are related to tinku patel.

    It just seems to me that people are trying not to communicate.

    In the earlier part of his monologue he had this to say:

    out of all the “singh” type people on here, sunny (who is apparently buddhist leaning and dated a “hijabi”) is nearest to the guy who started off sikhism, guru nanak dev.

    I think of Sunny as a chum. I refuse completely to kiss the ground if I ever meet him.

  29. Optimist — on 26th May, 2011 at 10:36 am  

    As Rumbold, I also think that tinku patel’s comments in the beginning are quite valid trying to explain origins of sikhism. As I am new to this website and not quite yet familiar about the views of various writers that he refers to, I would not comment on that.

    However, I would try to answer his original question based upon the little knowledge that I have of sikhism. I think the thread that runs through the whole of Sikhism, I mean the basic principle rather than how its actually practised now or in the past, is, ‘Sarbat Ka Bhala’, meaning, ‘goodwill to all mankind’. I also re-quote from tnku’s piece, this is a quote from Guru Nanak Dev ji, the founder of Sikhism and it roughly means :
    “Avval Allah Noor Upaya Qudrat Keh Sub Banday (God Created Light Of Which All The Beings Were Born)
    Aik Noor Keh Sub Jag Upajiya Kaun Bhale Ko Mandhe (From The Light, The Universe. So Who Is Good And Who Is Bad ?”

    Guru Nanak Dev ji also said that, ‘Na koi apna, Na koi prya’, meaning , no one is ‘our’ and no one is a ‘foreigner’, otherwise, the whole humanity is one, without any difference of colour, creed, race or religion.

    So, based on these basic principles, what would the gurus have done about i/p ?

    Let me now start what I think the solution to the i/p conflict is, and I think the gurus would probably have agreed with me. I think it can only be resolved in a greater Arabia, a democratic, secular and socialist Arabia, in which Muslims, Jews, Christians and all others could live in peace and harmony, the sort of world the gurus had imagined.

    The current ‘Arab Spring’ may take us some way towards that but we really need true revolutions to take place in all the Arab countries as well as in Israel so that the working class takes power in its own hands, turns the whole area into one country, so that all displaced Palestinians could come home and as the oil revenues are used to advance that country rather than being invested in America, there would be enough demand for immigrants and giving chance for even more Jews to come and live there.

    Now, you may think that I am a dreamer, well so was the great guru Nanak !!

  30. Rumbold — on 26th May, 2011 at 11:17 am  

    Doulgas:

    Heh. Thank you. If you know a bit about the development of Sikhism as a religion it is easy to follow.

    Optimist:

    I too would like to see more people following the same train of thought as Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

  31. douglas clark — on 26th May, 2011 at 11:40 am  

    Rumbold meet Optimist.

    Optimist, Rumbold is one of the regular authors on here and a diamond geezer as you say South of the Border.

    ————————-

    I expect Rumbold that looking into Sikhism is a worthwhile endeavour. I, OTOH, am spending, or wasting my time – you decide – trying to get my head around cosmology. I’m seriously thinking about seeing whether or not they’d fund me for a University Course. Chances are I’m too old….

  32. Optimist — on 26th May, 2011 at 11:56 am  

    Thanks douglas for the introduction!

  33. jamal — on 26th May, 2011 at 4:54 pm  

    “the BBC gave 421.5 lines of text to Israeli explanations of why they attacked Gaza: the “need for security”, “enemy rockets”, “to stop the smuggling of weapons”. The BBC devoted 14.25 lines to references to the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories and 10.5 lines to the blockade.”

    Israeli’s government seem to have got the bbc in an armlock and blockaded the palestinan viewpoint. What a disgrace how can the bbc claim to be unbiased on palestine/israel dispute with facts and figures like that!

  34. Rumbold — on 26th May, 2011 at 9:04 pm  

    Douglas:

    You should go for it- you would excel at it.

  35. Refresh — on 27th May, 2011 at 2:16 am  

    It seems the bias is broader and deeper than Tim Llewellyn reports.

    SarahAB, Boyo you should take a look at this:

    http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2011/05/26/in-further-case-of-censorship-the-bbc-deny-palestine%E2%80%99s-right-to-exist/

    ‘In further case of censorship, the BBC deny Palestine’s right to exist’

    The question is what undertakings has Mark Thompson given to counter so-called ‘anti-israel bias’.

  36. Sarah AB — on 27th May, 2011 at 7:19 am  

    Refresh – that’s old news!

    The rather wet title is meant to be slightly wry – an anticipation of possible dissenters in the comments.

  37. Sarah AB — on 27th May, 2011 at 7:20 am  

    See also my comment #10.

  38. Sarah AB — on 27th May, 2011 at 5:55 pm  

    I would just like to note that it seems petty and absurd that my link to a fully relevant story from HP (a site on your blogroll) should have been deleted from my post #36.

  39. tinku patel — on 27th May, 2011 at 8:24 pm  

    “Huh? I am not Jewish by the way, but you are right – I really don’t have a clue what you are on (about).”

    you’re not jewish! neither am i – (tee hee!). the old “shtetl” rabbis would not be big fans of you … “thank g-d for not making me a gentile! thank g-d for not making me a woman!”. on “hp” you posted you were neutral on i/p but became more anti p becuase of the hatred against i. this reminds me of my ex-roommate “si” who was also “not a jew” and was “neutral” and would have gone to the anti (iraq) war demo but became pro-war beacuse of the “anti-semitism” of the antiwar crowd…. hmmm …

    optimist – you got the gist of what i was trying to say. rather than “sub-continent types” adopting euro-centric political stances with which to provide opinion on issues they should not be frightened of using the universal approaches of people like nanak, chaitanya and of course bulleh shah. i was thinking jai might come back with how gobind singh was an expert on “islamic extremism” and would have protected the poor israeli jews against the palestinian “rangu” (sikh nickname for emperor aurangzeb) yasser arafat. the palestinians of course not being sufis. the sikh army would then set up a “misl” system to ensure all of “greater syria” is boxed off by the “soldier saints”. how the f**k did the “bhangi misl” get anything done?!

    “Then the comment descends into I don’t know what.”

    rumbold – you’ve not turned into a sathnam sanghera have you? (yet!)

    “Are you also interested in trainspotting, astronomy or science fiction? Perhaps we could engage with each other at that sort of level. Because no-one beyond your immediate family is going to have a clue about what you are trying to say”

    douglas clark – to be honest i tried all that stuff trying to fit in at uni with “goras”, ok mainly with “gorees”. thankfully most of my white mates (inc. jews, ex-bnp types etc) want to be more like me now. you are welcome to join me most saturday nights at my local byob “balti” in brum with my “uncle” charan singh. “uncle” usually brings about 8 cans for the duration of the meal (inc. “daal” and meat). by the 7th can he sometimes makes swipes at the “mirpuri” waiters (here on “stoodentt” visas), “we had your women before you had ours!” and “you killed our gurus!”. the waiters usually ignore him as he often leaves a generous tip for them … “assi jataan de puth higgay!”. a couple of weeks ago he came up with the nugget “ithay saanoo sikhi baree mengee paee hai maharaaj”. he sometimes blames on the “pehnchod ramgharia, jeraay africa thu aiy” who can’t control their “janaanian”. on second thoughts stick to whatever you’re usually into.

    to quote meher mittal in “long da lishkara” (or was it “ucha dar babay nanak da”?), “tannoo maseet di makhian larran!”

    jo bhole so nihaaal!!!! sat sri akaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!!

  40. earwicga — on 28th May, 2011 at 4:49 pm  

    Steady there Sarah, with the exception of the ‘seems’ you almost formed a whole opinion.

  41. Sarah AB — on 28th May, 2011 at 5:18 pm  

    tinku patel – you misrepresent my argument a little – I did not say I became more anti-Palestinian, just that I became concerned by the tone of much pro-Palestinian advocacy.

    Earwicga – ok then – it *is* a bit crap to sneer at my comment without actually responding to the complaint I made about my link being deleted.

  42. AbuF — on 28th May, 2011 at 6:28 pm  

    The 1967 borders are militarily indefensible. Israel is less than 9 miles wide within those lines, and could easily be cut in two by an Arab attack. The 1967 lines are an enticement for the surrounding Arab states to attack, since very likely such an attack will result in victory for them.

    I am sorry, but this is simply not the case. See, here, from an Israeli military historian:

    One of the main threats that Israel faces today is from ballistic missiles. Yet everybody knows that holding on to the West Bank won’t help Israel defend itself against missiles coming from Syria or Iran. Even the most extreme hawk would concede this point.

    As far as the threat of a land invasion, it is of course true that the distance between the former Green Line and the Mediterranean is very small — at its narrowest point, what is sometimes affectionately known as “Old” Israel is just nine miles wide. As was noted before, it is also true that the West Bank comprises the high ground and overlooks Israel’s coastal plain.

    On the other hand, since the West Bank itself is surrounded by Israel on three sides, anybody who tries to enter it from the east is sticking his head into a noose. To make things worse for a prospective invader, the ascent from the Jordan Valley into the heights of Judea and Samaria is topographically one of the most difficult on earth. Just four roads lead from east to west, all of which are easily blocked by air strikes or by means of precision-guided missiles. To put the icing on the cake, Israeli forces stationed in Jerusalem could quickly cut off the only road connecting the southern portion of the West Bank with its northern section in the event of an armed conflict.

    The defense of the West Bank by Arab forces would be a truly suicidal enterprise. The late King Hussein understood these facts well. Until 1967 he was careful to keep most of his forces east of the Jordan River. When he momentarily forgot these realities in 1967, it took Israel just three days of fighting to remind him of them.

    Therefore, just as Israel does not need the West Bank to defend itself against ballistic missiles, it does not need that territory to defend itself against conventional warfare. If it could retain a security presence in the Jordan Valley, keep the eventual Palestinian state demilitarized and maintain control of the relevant airspace, that would all be well and good. However, none of these conditions existed before 1967; in view of geography and the balance of forces, none is really essential today either.

    And how about terrorism? As experience in Gaza has shown, a fence (or preferably a wall) can stop suicide bombers from entering. As experience in Gaza has also shown, it cannot stop mortar rounds and rockets. Mortar and rocket fire from the West Bank could be very unpleasant. On the other hand, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran already have missiles capable of reaching every point in Israel, Tel Aviv included. Many of those missiles are large and powerful. Compared to the damage they can cause, anything the Palestinians are ever likely to do would amount to mere pinpricks.

    Furthermore, in recent years Israel has shown it can deal with that kind of threat if it really wants to. Since 2006, when the Second Lebanon War killed perhaps 2,000 Lebanese, many of them civilians, and led to the destruction of an entire section of Beirut, the northern border has been absolutely quiet. Since Operation Cast Lead, which killed perhaps 1,200 Gazans, many of them civilians, and led to the destruction of much of the city of Gaza, not one Israeli has been killed by a mortar round or rocket coming from the Gaza Strip. Since mortar rounds and rockets continue to be fired from time to time, that is hardly accidental. Obviously Hamas, while reluctant to give up what it calls “resistance,” is taking care not to provoke Israel too much.

    Keeping all these facts in mind — and provided that Israel maintains its military strength and builds a wall to stop suicide bombers — it is crystal-clear that Israel can easily afford to give up the West Bank. Strategically speaking, the risk of doing so is negligible. What is not negligible is the demographic, social, cultural and political challenge that ruling over 2.5 million — nobody knows exactly how many — occupied Palestinians in the West Bank poses. Should Israeli rule over them continue, then the country will definitely turn into what it is already fast becoming: namely, an apartheid state that can only maintain its control by means of repressive secret police actions.

    To save itself from such a fate, Israel should rid itself of the West Bank, most of Arab Jerusalem specifically included. If possible, it should do so by agreement with the Palestinian Authority; if not, then it should proceed unilaterally, as the — in my view, very successful — withdrawal from Gaza suggests. Or else I would strongly advise my children and grandson to seek some other, less purblind and less stiff-necked, country to live in.

    http://forward.com/articles/133961/

  43. earwicga — on 28th May, 2011 at 6:34 pm  

    Bravo Sarah! Very almost there.

  44. Sarah AB — on 28th May, 2011 at 6:56 pm  

    Ok – consider yourself unbookmarked.

  45. KB Player — on 28th May, 2011 at 7:05 pm  

    Earwicga – what a nasty sneering brainless bitch you are.

    This used to be an interesting, intelligent site. You really do bring it down.

    Just thought you should be told.

  46. KB Player — on 28th May, 2011 at 7:21 pm  

    And note there is no “seems” in my opinion of you and the garbage you write. It IS garbage and you ARE a nasty sneering brainless bitch.

  47. earwicga — on 29th May, 2011 at 12:19 am  

    Oh no, I am wounded. Or in other words, fuck off and take the rest of the HP trash with you.

  48. Boyo — on 29th May, 2011 at 8:46 am  

    It’s probably worth observing that the above unpleasantness does appear to have sprung not from discussion but Earwicga’s initial attitude.

    Sarah does not deserve to be treated like that – she is actually a real person.

    Indeed for a pair of people who I presume were stone cold sober Earwicga and KB Player act like bar room drunks. How old are you?

    People are strange and the internet does strange things to people.

  49. tinku patel — on 29th May, 2011 at 4:11 pm  

    “tinku patel – you misrepresent my argument a little – I did not say I became more anti-Palestinian, just that I became concerned by the tone of much pro-Palestinian advocacy.”

    thanks, i’m sorry it was only a “little”. what about the tone of these israeli advocates:

    http://vimeo.com/7608305

  50. Shamit — on 29th May, 2011 at 8:41 pm  

    Why should Israel negotiate with Hamas or Hezbollah – No one has explained that to me yet.

    So would people also ask India to negotiate with LeT –

    Hamas and Hezbollah are no different that the bunch of goons promoted by ISI – just the patron state is different. In this case it is Iran, a state like Pakistan uses terror as a foreign policy tool.

    On top of that all of these groups want destruction of Israel – and yet people think Israel should sit down and negotiate with Hamas.

    That is not going to happen – Unless Hamas and Hezbollah and their paymaster accept Israel’s right to exist there would be no peace.

    So everything else is bullshit. The key condition is security for Israel in return for a viable Palestinian State.

    But there is no Israeli securtiy if the two terrorist groups (which have murdered Lebanese politicians, same groups which attacked people for supporting the tahirir square uprsirisng) and their paymaster Iran do not accept the right for Israel to exist.

    Nothing else matters – and no matter how many articles are there in the New Statesman and CIF and how many bloggers and activists shout about it – Israel is not going to bow down to any pressure on this key ground.

    Settlements are truly illegal and the Israeli governments action towards their Arab minority is despicable. But Israelis argue that this a battle for survival.

    When the world despite 9/11 have not been able to disarm two terrorist groups (as defined by the UN Security Council) which attack civilians and you think Israel would just fold and sit down. And the World has also failed to stop states sponsoring terrorism against civilians – it is foolish to expect Israel would give in.

    In the real world it does not happen – so what’s the point of these so called discussions.

    I know its cool to be anti-America and anti-Israel but you know what its getting kinda boring. No one wants a solution – everyone wants a winner.

    And there can be no winners in the short term for both sides to win in the long term.

    And anyone who thinks Obama is putting pressure on Israel must get their heads checked?

    *********************

  51. Shamit — on 29th May, 2011 at 8:43 pm  

    But the narratives on both sides are hyperbolic and rather stupid – even Obama knows 1967 would not be accepted in any way and there is no danger for pressure on Israel because Hamas, and Iran are not going to accept Israel’s right to exist.

    And it ensures the ultra-liberals stay within the fold for 2012 elections. Everyone’s happy but nothing changes.

    Two days after the President of the US gave his speech, the Israeli Prime Minister got a standing ovation from all sides of the aisle in the US Congress.

    So, there is no pressure on Israel and they don’t give a shit because they believe its the survival of the Jewish people and State is at stake.

  52. Boyo — on 29th May, 2011 at 10:25 pm  

    Excellent summary Shamit. Naturally it serves the dictatorships of Syria and Iran, whose murders and torture chambers make Israel look like Sweden, to have a forever war – it distracts from domestic failure and from international opprobrium (to that extent the supposedly progressive leftists regularly appear on Press TV).

    Their supporters would argue that Israel, sponsored by the West, should be held to different standards, as indeed it should. Yet if one looks harder, the “exceptionalism” of Israel does not add up. It is the South Africa of our time, yet Hamas is no ANC. The state of Israel was recognised by the UN and Arab nations attacked it four times as a result of which it expanded its borders. All this against the backdrop of the Holocaust, which does not excuse settlements and so on, but does help explain its lack of sympathy for the bleeding hearts in the West who presumably would believe they would have got what they deserved if Iran lobbed a nuke on Tel Aviv.

    My point is not that what Israel does is right, but that the focus on the left is at the cost of far more pressing issues which some of their allies are quite content for them to ignore.

  53. Boyo — on 29th May, 2011 at 10:28 pm  

    I would add i don’t believe there is ay danger of Iran lobbing a nuke on Tel Aviv – the existence of Israel is far too important for the fascists in Iran.

  54. Trampolene — on 30th May, 2011 at 12:01 pm  

    @sunny

    “its not clear what you’re objecting to.”

    You don’t find anything disquieting about this, sunny?

    “Mr Llewellyn said: “What a lovely Anglo-Saxon name! But Denis Ross is not just a Jew, he is a Zionist, a long-time Zionist… and now directs an Israeli-funded think tank in Washington. He is a Zionist propagandist.”

    Mr Llewellyn declared: “The Israelis appear in studios wearing suits. They’ve learned all sorts of tricks.”

    Wearing suits and sometimes having not obviously Jewish names eh? Those sneaky zionists.

    Llewellyn’s sneering insinuations stink.

  55. Optimist — on 31st May, 2011 at 2:08 pm  

    tinku patel -

    Thanks for referring to me in your last piece. It looks like that you want to have a discussion on general merits of Sikhism. But I am not sure if this is the right forum for that as I think there are a number of other forums like ‘SikhPhilospy’, ‘SikhSangat’ and ‘SikhiChic’ etc more appropriate for this topic. Also, I think that your use of a lot of Punjabi words tends to exclude many people like my new found friend douglas clark.

    Although I think that I do follow your drift but it’s a very vast subject that you are trying to cover – the changing nature if Sikhism from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, the period after Guru Gobind Singh, the Sikh misils etc,. the caste system, although meant to have been abolished by Sikhism but still practiced as strongly as ever, etc!!

    I would try to answer briefly some of your questions and yes, I think that after the first three gurus the sikhisms changed considerably due to the very fact that it became a family ‘business’. The fourth guru was the son-in-law of the third guru and from then onwards they all came from one family, Sodhis, passing down from father to son, even appointing four year olds as gurus, or to other members of the family as in the case of the ninth guru.

    I have great respect for the tenth guru as I think he did lead a sort of agrarian revolution against the landed aristocracy, Muslim as well as Hindu. I think he also did genuinely try to abolish the derided caste system by selecting the ‘panj piaras’ from different castes. But him trying to establish in the ‘Vachiter Natik’ that the Sodhi family had descended from god Rama etc. did not quite fit in with ‘Na koi apna, Na koi prya’ ( no one is ‘our’ and no one is ‘other’). Although I must add that some scholars have expressed doubts whether it was written by him.

    In any case, Banda Bhadur trying to set himself up as the 11th guru and splitting the Khalsa into ‘Band Khalsa’ and ‘Tat Khalsa’ so soon after passing of Guru Gobind Singh did not exactly encourage continuation of the basic Sikh principles thus soon leading to the misls and the despotic Sikh rulers with re-emergence of the caste system.

    But the caste system was really entrenched in 1793 by Corwallis’ Permanent Settlement Rule. Now some may say that I am blaming the British again for all the problems but that is not the case. I think we need to examine the evidence and then learn from history. Some would jump on to the age old general caste prejudices headed by Brahmins, such as untouchablity ( which were all true ) but then try to ignore the economic arguments and the role played by the British for two hundred years.

    But until this time, in the Punjab at least, all the village land was held as the communal land which was tilled by the Jatts while other castes played their role, according to their caste profession, in producing food for the whole community, which was normally shared quite fairly. The village paid taxes in kind to the Rajas/Maharajas etc. At times of bad weather they paid less taxes as the there would be less produce.

    But the British gave the land titles to the Jatts, banned any other castes from buying and selling land and introduced taxes to be paid in cash rather than in kind. These were also fixed and had to be paid regardless of the bad weather and crop failures.

    So, the Jatts became responsible for paying taxes who had to sell their produce in the market to raise cash. As the taxes were usually fixed so high they started to deprive others castes of their fair share. To justify such actions all the old prejudices came back as well as the oppression to stamp out any dissent.

    Despite that, at times of bad weather the Jatts were not able to raise enough money to pay taxes and thus they started to borrow money from the money lenders often falling into debt. Sometimes they even sold the grain that was meant to be the seeds for the next season and often leading to famine.

    The agro-markets produced new trader class and with the increased competition they organized themselves into guilds normally based on religion or caste, thus further increasing divisions. The Jatts, the traders and the other new social strata were often in conflict leading to tremendous growth of lawyers ( leaches ) and other officialdom.

    This is a very long subject but to cut the story short, with one act of charging taxes in cash rather than in kind the British had managed to destroy whole communities while entrenching the caste system and thus your ‘uncle’ now can still blame it all on the ‘Ramgarhias’ or what ever !

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