Tuesday, February 03, 2009


The BBC's Jeremy Bowen is a particulalry nasty fellow who never misses an opportunity to editorialise against Israel whenever there is a hint of any wrongdoing on its part and who generally ignores Hamas excesses so that he rarely reports on the growing list of atrocities that terrorist group visits on the Israelis and its own people. Here are two letters written by disgruntled BBC viewers. The first is on the subject of the notorious Bowen diaries

I wish to express my disgust at the partial - and in places lying - statements in the so-called diaries of Jeremy Bowen in the last week : diatribes would have been a fairer description. I accept that he may have been deliberately misled by the notorious Marc Galasco, who had already been outed as a propagandist for Hamas ; but we are entitled to ask why a senior BBC reporter should have shown such a lack of judgement.

To come to specifics, to suggest that most Israelis were indifferent to the deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza before this incident is palpably absurd : sincere regrets for every such death or injury have been pouring into the Israeli media daily. But most Israelis also know what Bowen seemingly does not : that the war was started deliberately by Hamas, in the hope (or belief) that a neighbour who suffered in silence while dozens of mortars and rockets were emptied into border towns daily, would be unlikely to take issue when those rockets were replaced by Iranian models, firing 30 kms. or more.

He should also know that the Israelis have already started investigating the incident and the claims of Dr. Abuelaish : (an interesting contrast with our own government, which only began investigating the brutal killing of an innocent Iraqui already in custody by British soldiers weeks after the event ; and making enquires into gang rapes by members of our army in Kenya only years after complaints had been made locally). The initial results of the Israeli investigation show that, contrary to Bowen's assertions, it is unlikely, (to put it mildly), that the wounds suffered were caused by tank shells ; and that wild shooting of light weapons by an undisciplined gang of terrorists looks much more likely. Some indication of doubt on Bowen's part might be thought more appropriate, but then he is not much given to doubt or introspection.

But he surely knows that Hamas have been deliberately firing their rockets from the yards of schools and mosques, confident that Jewish respect for life would not allow Israelis to return the fire. He should have known, as more than one senior member of Hamas has boasted that when the Israelis give 15 minutes' warning of an attack on a house or similar, Hamas can and does rush women and children onto the roof to foil the attack. And that in direct contrast to the Israelis, Palestinians had been increasing their fire into civilian areas on weekdays at the time, verifiable statistically, when the streets would be full of Jewish children making their way to school.

And to suggest that Palestinans - including wounded gunmen and launchers of rockets - are not taken to Israeli hospitals for treatment is an outright lie. I suggest that Bowen be asked to visit hospitals in Israel which are indeed treating substantial numbers of Palestinians, including many children whose parents have succeeded in getting them out despite bullying tactics and worse by the Hamas gangsters, unwilling to help their own people in a distress caused by themselves and their allies.

This brief war was wished onto Israel by a gang of criminals who seized power in a coup more than a year ago. Having inherited a land without the Jews who had made it less of a hell for its people than at any time in recorded history, they did NOTHING to build a prosperous future there. Instead, they have cultivated a worship of martyrdom and death, founded on undying hatred for the neighbour whose goodwill will be essential if the Palestinians ever do establish a state.

Denis Vandervelde

The second letter is addressed directly to Bowen:

For as many years as I remember, I have been reading and listening to your reports from the Middle East.

And I'll put my cards on the table straight away; you and your BBC colleagues' perspective on Israel and its conflicts with its neighbours is (and always has been in my view) equivalent to the propaganda that comes from the Hamas information office or from the desk of President Ahmadinejad. You (by which I mean the BBC) are no more objective than say Fox News on US domestic matters, although unlike self-proclaimed partisan agencies, the BBC masquerades as an impartial voice.

Jews in this country are not fooled, neither do we especially care. I am of your generation (two years younger than you), a British jew born to Hungarian parents, a generation which by and large survived the Holocaust but whose parents' generation did not. You are not a jew and have no emotional concept of anti-semitism. And I don't mean the Neo-Nazi variety of skinheads and Hitler moustaches, but the more subtle, middle class prejudices which blighted my university days in the early 80s and which sits on a continuum of centuries of persecution, banishment and exodus wherever and whenever jews have tried to live in peace with other people.

Nor do you have the emotional capacity to understand why and where Israel came from (I don't mean the historical background which is self-evident). While I was at university on anti-apartheid marches in the early 80s, most of the campus population was on pro-Palestinian rallies wearing the trendy Arafat kafiyeh and subscribing to that peculiarly British notion that the underdog must somehow be the righteous party in any conflict.

(By the way, I recall that Arafat was an Egyptian not a Palestinian and that he chose the name Yasser as he felt himself to be an Arab victim of the British mandate in Palestine, lest we get overly hypocritical about Britain's history).

If you could understand the WHY of Israel, you would know that Israel does not care what the rest of the world thinks about it, ie whether you merely hate Israel a little in the fashionable way of the middle classes, hate it very much as most of the world does, or hate it with the full venom of President Ahmadinejad; these are all merely shades of hate. In essence, Israel being the embodiment of jewishness is ubiquitously despised, anti-Zionism and anti-semitism in my book being largely synonymous. As you know, Israel has only one true ally in the world, being the US. Israel does not care or need to care about the rest of world opinion. Not should it; the rest of world opinion is and always has been hostile. If Ahmadinejad's dream of removing Israel from the map of the world came to fruition, very few people (including at the BBC) would mourn.

I think that the analogy you make in your latest diary on the current crisis between Britain and the IRA during the Troubles is weak; I would have thought that the Falklands War was a better exemplum of British attitudes to "defence" of the nation. And you'll be aware that this country has been fighting its own wars in the Middle East for some years now, although we have no obvious connection with either Iraq or Afghanistan. I recall also that Russia has had some not inconsiderable involvement in Chechnya and two Georgian breakaway regions, that China has had a hint of recent interference in Tibet, and that France's conduct in Rwanda has not been entirely meritorious etc. You get the picture.

In other words, the recent pronouncements of the UN Security Council members to the latest Israel conflict is, shall we say, just a tad hypocritical. No change there: was it a couple of decades ago that the UN passed a resolution that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination? And now Israel is supposed to heed the words of an organisation which bemoans its very right to exist? I don't think so…

Of course it's not fashionable to be objective about Israel (sorry, I don't recall the BBC's report on the death of a friend of mine's twin girls aged 11 a few years ago in a bomb explosion on a bus in Israel; perhaps there were no BBC reporters around at the time). Mr Bowen, Palestinians do not have the monopoly on suffering.

In summary, Israel does not care whether the BBC reports the facts or not. For the reasons mentioned above, Israel is not trying to court the favour of world opinion; this was a cause lost several centuries back. To put it bluntly, the fact that Israel exists as a highly successful nation state is two fingers up at you, at the BBC and at the rest of the world. Israel will be around whatever you write or say, diligently keeping its population (Israel also has women and children, by the way), safe from Hamas bombardment.

Or to put it in the context of the defining historical event of the 20th century, Israel means: "Never again."

So you can write what you want.

Kind regards,
Yours sincerely,

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