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BBC and the Gaza appeal

Mark Thompson Mark Thompson | 18:38 UK time, Saturday, 24 January 2009

It's not often as editor-in-chief I use our 'editors' blog' to highlight a BBC issue, but with strong views about our decision not to broadcast a Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza, I wanted to write directly and explain our thinking.

When there is a major humanitarian crisis, the DEC - which is a group of major British charities - comes together and, if it believes various criteria are met and a major public appeal is justified, asks the BBC and other broadcasters to broadcast an appeal. We usually - though not always - accede to the DEC's request and as a result have broadcast many DEC appeals over the years.

A few days ago, the DEC approached us about an appeal for Gaza and, after very careful reflection and consultation inside and outside the BBC, we decided that in this case we should not broadcast the appeal. One reason was a concern about whether aid raised by the appeal could actually be delivered on the ground. You will understand that one of the factors we have to look at is the practicality of the aid, which the public are being asked to fund, getting through. In the case of the Burma cyclone, for instance, it was only when we judged that there was a good chance of the aid getting to the people who needed it most that we agreed to broadcast the appeal. Clearly, there have been considerable logistical difficulties in delivering aid into Gaza. However some progress has already been made and the situation could well improve in the coming days. If it does, this reason for declining to broadcast the appeal will no longer be relevant.

But there is a second more fundamental reason why we decided that we should not broadcast the appeal at present. This is because Gaza remains a major ongoing news story, in which humanitarian issues - the suffering and distress of civilians and combatants on both sides of the conflict, the debate about who is responsible for causing it and what should be done about it - are both at the heart of the story and contentious. We have and will continue to cover the human side of the conflict in Gaza extensively across our news services where we can place all of the issues in context in an objective and balanced way. After looking at all of the circumstances, and in particular after seeking advice from senior leaders in BBC Journalism, we concluded that we could not broadcast a free-standing appeal, no matter how carefully constructed, without running the risk of reducing public confidence in the BBC's impartiality in its wider coverage of the story. Inevitably an appeal would use pictures which are the same or similar to those we would be using in our news programmes but would do so with the objective of encouraging public donations. The danger for the BBC is that this could be interpreted as taking a political stance on an ongoing story. When we have turned down DEC appeals in the past on impartiality grounds it has been because of this risk of giving the public the impression that the BBC was taking sides in an ongoing conflict.

However, BBC News and the BBC as a whole takes its responsibility to report the human consequences of situations like Gaza very seriously and I believe our record in doing it with compassion as well as objectivity is unrivalled. Putting this decision aside, we also have a very strong track-record in supporting DEC appeals and more broadly, through BBC Children In Need, Comic Relief and our many other appeals, in using the BBC's airwaves to achieve positive humanitarian and charitable goals. This is an important part of what it is to be a public service broadcaster. It is sometimes not a comfortable place to be, but we have a duty to ensure that nothing risks undermining our impartiality. It is to protect that impartiality that we have made this difficult decision.

Finally, it is important to remember that our decision does not prevent the DEC continuing with their appeal for donations and people are able to contribute should they choose to.

Mark Thompson is director-general of the BBC.

Comments

Page 1 of 23

  • Comment number 1.

    The BBCs decision here is partial, political, shows an insulting lack of trust in the major aid agencies, and a contempt for human life. I am utterly appalled. Like many other people, if I could opt out of the licence fee to NOT watch BBC I would do so now.

  • Comment number 2.

    Mark Thompson should resign.

  • Comment number 3.

    I've watched your tabloid reporting of the 'credit crunch', so I am fully aware of the contempt in which you hold the intellectual abilities of your audience.

    Nevertheless, I find your reasoning in this matter incomprehensible. Do you also believe us unable to separate the humanitarian needs of people oppressed by both sides of the divide, from the political issues?

    I regret you have totally and permanently lost the moral high ground. Refund my licence fee. I will donate it to the DEC and never watch a BBC channel again

  • Comment number 4.

    BBC it is your decision is political and partial, not those who critisise it.
    Have you no respect for human life or faith in aid agencies like the Red Cross?
    The BBC must have a death-wish.

  • Comment number 5.

    Has the BBC no humanity? This is not a matter of politics or credibility! People are suffering terribly in Gaza and need our help as a matter of urgency. At the very least the BBC should broadcast the appeal with a message explaining their position. To not broadcast is to turn your backs on innocent people caught up in a terrible conflict and would disgrace you in the eyes of a huge number of your viewers.
    Just do the decent thing!!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    People are suffering and need aid to get them water and clothing. The broadcast of a few minutes will reach a few donors who can alleviate that suffering. Your own reporters have told us that there are at least 1300 deaths in Gaza and yesterday I was moved by the Today Programmes report on the mother of 9 who saw her eldest decapitated and her daughter-in-law dissolve in front of her eyes as well as losing her husband and 3 or 4 other children. This is not political, this is humanitarian. To not broadcast the appeal would make you biased towards one side as it reinforces the view that no such suffering exists. Please change your minds.

  • Comment number 7.

    This is an absolutely disgraceful decision. I am greatly disappointed in Mark Thompson.

    The BBC already shows its partiality be refusing to broadcast pictures of the suffering and destruction which it considers too distressing to show us.

    Since when has showing suffering been a question of showing bias?

    The reputation that the BBC once had has been replaced by pusillanimity. For ever?

  • Comment number 8.

    Nice one BBC, stick to your guns on this one. I saw the interview on Channel 4 news and I thought your representative handled herself excellently.
    Channel 4 wants to count numbers? well here is a vote not to air the Gaza appeal on the BBC.
    Strange no one seems concerned about the much higher death toll in Zimbabwe.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    I have never been more appalled by the human race than I am at BBC's decision. Gutlessness reaches new lows.

    Mark Thompson, make all the mealy mouthed platitudes you like, but the whole world knows you for what you are. I guess you will never need a chiropractor, though, they work on the spine! Do you seriously think anyone will admire you for this? The UN, the government, the whole world accepts the horror that is in Gaza.

    You were so quick to condemn Jonathan Ross for a rude comment, but when hundreds are dead, injured and maimed by phosphorus bombs, then you sit on the fence. You hero!

    Shame on you, shame on you, shame on you! You gutless gutless man.

  • Comment number 12.

    You are 'damned if you do, and damned if you don't'.

    I can understand that you have had to work very hard to achieve a situation where the complaints from the likes of Melanie Phillips about the BBC now say an awful lot more about her than it does about the BBC.

    You have built up an awful lot of capital whereby American audiences now realise that 'Fair And Balanced' isn't just a label you can stick on a channel - it has to be achieved by day in, day out work to provide balanced and impartial coverage. Many on the other side of the pond [and elsewhere ] are now gaining an insight into the Middle East which maybe they did not have before.

    Of course, the huge danger for you, and you only have to look at Robin Lustig's blog to realise this, that almost all comments are inevitably polarised - and that maintaining neutrality is very difficult. Indeed huge numbers of comments on the feedback on sites like the Daily Telegraph, or on more right wing blogs, now see the BBC as very anti-Israel. But that contrasts with views some years ago that only Israel's voice was being heard.

    Of course, the real danger is that you could be painted into a corner where you are seen as either 'Fox News' or 'Al-Jazeera' and people stop watching, because they assume you've already made your mind up and will slew your coverage accordingly.

    But I do think some way can be found for running this appeal. After all - if you are linking to the DEC website from your website, aren't you already giving access to it, even if you are not endorsing their coverage of it ?

    And you 'advertise' the Radio Times with that caveat 'Other Magazines are available'

    I can't go as far as Marina Hyde in her column in today's Guardian - but maybe your coverage is strong enough to be able to show, what is after all, a humanitarian appeal from an organisation far far more apolitical than, say, Amnesty or Liberty.

  • Comment number 13.

    Does the BBC think we are stupid? There is NO WAY that the great British public will confuse the offer of aid with the risk of reducing public confidence in the BBC's impartiality ! This STUPID decision has so incensed me that I have now made 3 times the donations to NGOs to assist in Gaza! The BBC have never gotten it SO wrong! Shame on YOU ! Shame Shame Shame!

  • Comment number 14.

    1. I think the charities know better than the BBC, whether aid can get through or not. Are the charities telling you there is a low likelihood that money donated now won't be effective?

    2. All emergency appeals are part of an on-going news story, that is best time to run them! Surely running any appeal is compromising impartiality, in which case why does the BBC bother airing anything from DEC? Then the BBC should not get involved with any appeal and stick to reporting.

    I think if the DEC decide that there is a humanitarian case for such an appeal, the BBC has a moral obligation to air it. Ultimately people will decide for themselves whether to contribute.

    I hope the BBC realise how stupid they look in all this and reverse their decision.

  • Comment number 15.

    For once I support the BBC. Of course what has happened in Gaza is terrible, but Hamas will merely use such broadcasts as propoganda.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    "Finally, it is important to remember that our decision does not prevent the DEC continuing with their appeal for donations and people are able to contribute should they choose to."

    Good, so can I choose to withold my license fee and give it to the DEC appeal instead?

  • Comment number 18.

    Well, by not broadcasting the appeal you are doing what you said you wished not to, i.e reducing confidence in the BBC's impartiality, because it looks as if you are leaning towards the Israeli stance.
    As for being concerned whether aid raised could be delivered on the ground, this is a specious argument. One is always in these cases concerned whether aid will be delivered appropriately but that is no reason to not deliver aid or to broadcast an appeal. The British public should be allowed to decide such issues. Those who wish to give will and those who don't will ignore the appeal.
    What is important is the suffering people of Gaza and our response to such suffering. To follow your arguments to their logical conclusion would mean no aid being sent. Is that what you wish for?
    Last night I telephoned the BBC to complain about this decision, earlier today I logged a complaint on your site - not an easy site to use as I was unable to access other people's comments. (Perhaps you would care to tell me how it can be done).
    The BBC is funded by the taxpayer, the British public, and you have a duty to us. There have been too many crass and stupid decisions of late, not least being the exorbitant fee paid to Jonathon Ross. However, this stupid, uncaring decision takes the biscuit.
    It is obvious that the overwhelming response you have been receiving - evidenced by the fact that your phone line seemed to be permanently engaged until around 16.30 today, added to which a special 'Gaza' message has been added -
    is in favour of an appeal being broadcast. The UK is supposed to be a democracy, therefore I suggest you bow to the wishes of the majority and broadcast the appeal.
    Maureen A Jeffs

  • Comment number 19.

    I rarely make a comment, this is probably my first. Do you not think the major British charities know if they can deliver, most of them have been there throughout the bombings, unlike the BBC. So why is this the BBC playing politics or the decider of who gets or doesn't? Are you worried about upsetting someone? Your statement doesn't truly explain why. Surely the suffering of humanity needs to be dealt with first and quickly. The should be no politics in helping people and the BBC can help do that. The people that need the help are just common people. What's 2 minutes to you?

  • Comment number 20.

    By refusing to broadcast the appeal, they will succeed.

    A bit like telling telling teenagers a certain song has been banned. Watch it shoot straight to Number 1.

    Well done BBC, you've put Gaza back at the top of the News cycle, at least with everyone else.

    Now how many complaints does it take to make you bend over? How many complaints befor Jonathon Ross was deemed a bad boy...

    Count this as a complaint, please. Hopefully the number will have hit the magic number.

    You might want to reflect on how many people you can take from the dole queue to work in your ever-expanding Complaints Department............

  • Comment number 21.

    A gutless decision by Mr Thompson. Typical, don't upset the Israeli's whatever you do!

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    The bbc has been pro hamas throughout the conflict,why stop now.

  • Comment number 24.

    What I think is regrettable about the BBc's decision is that it casts a slur on the suffering of Gazan Palestinians at a time when they need differences to be put aside for the sake of simple human compassion. The hostilities from Israel have ceased. Were we wrong as British citizens to help ordinary Germans from the brink of starvation after the end of WW2? Should we have not have given aid for fear it be used to rebuild the Third Reich? Personally, I had grave misgivings about the Chinese Government's human rights abuses in the run up to the olympics, I thought we were far too tolerant of their regime and should have threatened to have withheld our athletes until more changes were made but equally, I wanted to give money to the Chinese earthquake appeal because the ordinary people's suffering prompted it. I could have reasoned that the Chinese Government may have used some of the money donated to buy weapons of torture or execution but that would have meant I did not trust that the regime had even one ounce of basic humanity. I had to let my compassion override my political cynicism, in the face of widespread suffering. You say that we can still donate to the fund without the BBc's sanction. This is true but, the BBC IS showing partiality by not broadcasting the appeal. It is saying that Israel's view of Hamas as purely terrorist (as opposed to an elected government with duties to its people beyond the militaristic) is the only view, the right view of this organisation. The BBC has never, on any broadcast I have seen said very much about the 18 month blockade of Gaza by the Israeli government way BEFORE any hostilities. Is THIS not partiality? By not broadcasting the appeal, the BBC are signalling to ordinary British people that there is something deeply suspicious about Gazan Palestinians, that they cannot be trusted to care for their own people, that they are instead one-dimensional fanatics who only care about killing Israelis. This ommission is a powerful form of propaganda and colludes with political interests rather than avoiding them.

  • Comment number 25.

    Shame on the BBC
    Shame on the BBC
    Shame on the BBC
    Shame on the BBC
    Shame on the BBC
    Shame on the BBC
    Shame on the BBC
    Shame on the BBC

    The controversy here may in fact draw more attention and support for the DEC appeal. Nevertheless,

    Shame on the BBC
    Shame on the BBC
    Shame on the BBC

  • Comment number 26.

    The basis for the BBC's decision-making criteria as declared in this blog is seriously suspect.

    Firstly, if the charities themselves have to get the aid to the intended beneficiaries, why on earth is the BBC second-guessing both the charities and the givers? I can work out the real-politique, whether it's Gaza, Burma or elsewhere and make my decision whether to give, knowing that there will be problems getting the relief to the ground. If anything, that's where the BBC's objective reporting should come in to play, to provide a basis for informed decision-making, by others!

    Secondly, do I take it that the BBC will now no longer report from those places it broadcasts appeals for? Dafur, maybe; many places in Africa and, mostly, anywhere else in the world where there is a dodgy regime or some fractious political conflict? Do you not have enough confidence in your own morality, judgement and standing, to be able to justify objective and un-biased reporting from disaster zones, whatever the colour/ religion/ regime/ weather??

    I urge you to go to the gym and tone your stomach and waste works muscles. If they're weak, you'll not get the wider public support you need and ought to deserve to be the world's best trusted media provider.

  • Comment number 27.

    The BBC is to be congardulated on maintaining and standing for, its impartiality status.
    There is no guarantee that any money raised for the Gaza appeal who go to those in need.
    Hamas has already hijacked a number of lorries containg aid that was delivered via the Israeli crossing points.
    It would also be insensitive to ask the Brisish public to make donations to a terroist regime, at a time when the number of unemployed in Britain is on the increase.
    Charity begins at home.

  • Comment number 28.

    I am ashamed at the BBC's refusal to help the innocent victims of a humanitarian crisis. Your coverage of the crisis has been one-sided enough but this just marks the BBC's public capitulation to the Israeli propaganda machine. What is this so called 'neutrality' in the face of children dying through lack of aid. Would you have remained 'neutral' on the Warsaw ghetto? It is an appalling and shameful decision.

  • Comment number 29.

    Trust in the BBC with regards to middle east reporting is pretty much at zero anyway.

    If I can be convinced that the BBC hasn't intentionally created a fuss so as to give more media coverage to this appeal that it would have normally, than I would say this is a brave decision by the BBC and the correct one.

  • Comment number 30.

    Once again the BBC are showing just how out of step they are with the people who pay the licence fee in the first place. Why does the BBC seem more interested in praising the return or Mr Overpayed Jonathan Ross than doing something about poor victims who have been bullied by another country. If i could refuse to pay the licence fee without risk of prosecution i would, as i like many people are rapidly coming to the conclussion that the BBC is only interested in looking after its favoured few, and sod the rest of us! Perhaps its time for a change at the top in both management and trustees!

  • Comment number 31.

    Sorry Mr Thompson but you cannot have it both ways. If deciding to accede to the DEC request would be seen as political then deciding not to accede to it is also political. Don't insult me with your disingenuous attempts to suggest it is otherwise.

    The relief fund is to relieve suffering and the BBC, as a supposedly neutral body, has a duty to respond to its audience the majority of whom would clearly wish there to be such an appeal.

    The conflict between Hamas and Israel is not central to the human suffering we have all witnessed since most of the injured and homeless are innocent bystanders.

    I would suggest you take your lack of spirit elsewhere because it is unwelcome in a public service provider.

  • Comment number 32.

  • Comment number 33.

    Mark Thompson's patronsing comment in his final paragraph that the BBC's shameful and ill-judged decision not to broadcast the appeal for aid to Gaza "does not prevent the DEC continuing with their appeal for donations and people are able to contribute should they choose to" indicates a breathtaking level of arrogance. His appointment as Director General has proved to be a disaster (and dangerous for the BBC's long-term survival). The sooner he resigns the better.

  • Comment number 34.

    This is a most bizarre post.

    The aid agencies don't ask for donations if they don't have procedures in place to ensure aid reaches the people who need it. That's their job - and the logistics of that are what such agencies are dealing with daily. It's not the job of the BBC - the DEC wouldn't be proposing appeals if they didn't think their agencies should distribute the aid.

    The second point, distastefully political, suggests to me that perhaps the BBC would only broadcast appeals if the need is caused by a natural disaster. There are always sides to conflicts but the people who suffer in the long run are individuals - not political parties. You don't need to agree with the politics of a nation (or disagree) to have compassion on those affected by war. The BBC is putting politics before the real needs of people who have been placed in situations which they cannot escape from, and who need help.

    Please reconsider your incredibly odd political argument, Mark.

  • Comment number 35.

    This was the correct decision if you put the weakness of human sentimentality to one side for a moment. Mark Thompson is correct and this could also be seen as supporting the wider cause of Gaza - an area run by terrorists and criminals - in their fight against Israel and desire for it to be wiped from existence.

  • Comment number 36.

    All the other channels weren't going to show it either, no one is asking questions of them because they sold the BBC out by changing tact.

    Appears to me as if that some are using this issue to draw attention to their appeal, instead of looking at alternatives, BBC doesn't have a monopoly in broadcast so why treat it that way.

    Another excuse to BBC-bash it seems.

  • Comment number 37.

    Whilst I sympathise with the innocent victims of the Gaza situation, I have to wholeheartedly support the BBC in their ability to remain impartial in this circumstance.
    The publicity arising from this decision more than adequately raises the issue (as if the news coverage didn't achieve that anyway) and still maintains the BBC's credibility as an unbiased news source not influenced by political agendas

  • Comment number 38.

    Mr Thompson, I find your attitude astonishing. I seem to recall a passage from the Bible - the parable of the good Samaritan - with which you appear to be unfamiliar. You and your colleagues should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves.

    I can only assume you have bowed to pressure applied behind the scenes from the more extreme element of the pro-Israeli lobby. I regret that I shall in future not be watching any of your news or current affairs programmes as I feel your objectivity, and that of the BBC, cannot be guaranteed.

  • Comment number 39.

    I pay my BBC license because essentially, I'm forced to if I want to own a TV.

    The last thing I want to do, is fund the BBC to broadcast propaganda. It's bad enough I have to pay Jeremy Bowen to give me his pro-palestinian claptrap, there's no way I will pay the BBC to air the DEC's politically-motivated 'appeal' for Gaza.

    Gaza is run by a government which is internationally recognised as a terrorist group, including by the EU.

    There is no doubt that some aid/fund will be 'procured' by Hamas.

    I don't want the BBC to be responsible for potentially indirectly aiding Hamas.

    Good decision BBC.

  • Comment number 40.

    Well done BBC, this decision is really giving me more faith over the impartiality issue which I thought was slipping in the wrong direction. The DEC aid appeal is still going; it's not going to get any less money, in fact if anything this has given it more publicity. But it is sad that it has been hi-jacked by leftist anti-Israel campaigners/bullies, and it is sad that ITV and Sky have caved into them so quickly

    Your point about how the aid will get into Gaza is also valid. Will the money be distributed straight to the people from the aid agencies (very unlikely), or will it be given to Hamas to spread out. If it is the latter, then I wouldn't want to be giving trust my money to a terrorist organisation - this is something that people, swept away in their cause, don't bother thinking about. Stay strong on this one.

  • Comment number 41.

    Sorry Mr T. but this is your worst yet.

    The qualification for aid is undeniable.
    Gaza is a huge man made disaster and we can who made it. It is a totally unbalanced case of needs. The Israeli's do not need any more aid. Western largesse has amply supplied their military and social needs.
    Perhaps you should ask DEC to set up two funds. One for Israel, as well,
    if it would ease your anxiety.

    Thinking of your 'Impartiality' I don't know why I keep hearing Ralph Waldo Emerson's - "The louder he talked of his honour the faster we counted our spoons"

  • Comment number 42.

    "we concluded that we could not broadcast a free-standing appeal, no matter how carefully constructed, without running the risk of reducing public confidence in the BBC's impartiality in its wider coverage of the story."

    You think that

    a) people do not see the BBC as biased in its coverage already

    b) that by refusing to broadcast it you are making very clear that you ARE partial. This is an appeal for AID, pure and simple. You either have a very low opinion of your audience or you just ARE biased

    Disgraceful, despicable and inhuman, you should be ashamed.

  • Comment number 43.

    Whilst I do respect the BBC wish and clearly need to stay impartial this is first and foremost a humanitarian tragedy. Whilst suffering takes place on both sides it is clear that the devastating effects of Israel's military action in Gaza are there for all to see and the UN Secretary has visited the area and spoken about this.

    An appeal to help the suffering people in Gaza is the least that can and must be done.
    I struggle to see how this makes the BBC less impartial.

    By deciding this way the BBC actually gets involved in politics. This is regrettable and lessens my confidence in the corporation.

  • Comment number 44.

    I never thought I'd see the day when, actively or passively, the BBC would add to the suffering and deaths of innocent civilians by refusing to inform the British public of their plight. By refusing to show this appeal the BBC has, by definition, taken sides and shown it values some lives more than others. I'm ashamed to say I've always been a supporter of the licence fee in the past, but for Mark Thompson to claim he is doing on this on behalf of us, the licence-fee payer, angers me enough to change my mind.

  • Comment number 45.

    i always use to lwatch bbc from my childhood but after gaza terror attack what i saw bbc also puppet of israel and don't have feeling for human i will stop watching bbc from today,

  • Comment number 46.

    This is a bad decision by the BBC. Whatever the politics, whatever the cause of the conflict, innocent children are dying and need help. The BBC should broadcast the appeal and not worry about the logistics of getting aid into the region. That is best left to the professionals and in any case, it could be weeks before the money donated is actually used.

  • Comment number 47.

    1. It is frankly nothing whatsoever to do with the BBC what any 'alleged' difficulties in getting AID into Gaza are or are not. That judgement is a matter for the Charities concerned and the UN. They feel they can, and the UK Government has given £25m so it clearly believes the AID *can* get through. So that is out of the way as a red herring.

    2. The condescending, patronising nonsense in suggesting that the overwhelming *majority* could not see perfectly clearly for themselves, that the appeal is to raise funds to help almost half a million people without water, and 50,000 without homes, and not an act of partial judgement about the politics of it, is breathtaking.

    There has also been dishonesty on the part of the BBC in suggesting that other Broadcasters had taken their own independent view in concurrence with the BBC when clearly they had not. They had waited for the BBC's decision and not made their own.

    The BBC should be ashamed of themselves and I, for one, am now considering for the first time in my adult life supporting the ending of the TV Licence system.

  • Comment number 48.

    Shame on you Mark Thompson!

    This is clearly a humanitarian not a political situation. The people of Gaza are clearly in desperate need of our help and we should do all in our power to help them. If the people of Israel were in this position we would be right to help them too.

    It is not a matter of partiality, death, homelessness and suffering are not partial.

    I suspect that the reality here is that you are afraid of the pro-Israel lobby.

    Mark Thompson you are a spineless man who should resign with immediate effect.

    Shame on you and shame on the BBC.

  • Comment number 49.

    How long has Mark Thompson worked for a major charity in his life . Let the charities deal with getting the aid to those who need it. He also assumes your audience is incapable of differentiating between assigning blame, understanding the politics and helping people in need.
    In any contest for the moral high ground I will guarantee that the DEC will come out ahead of the BBC.

  • Comment number 50.

    The BBC really must reconsider this stupid decision. You say that you wish to avoid people believing that the BBC is "taking sides in the conflict". Do you not realise that by refusing a perfectly reasonable request from the Disasters Emergency Committee, related to what is universally accepted as a humanitarian catastrophe, then "taking sides" is exactly what you have done?

  • Comment number 51.

    The BBC should have told the DEC that they would only air the appeal if it included southern Israel where around 1,400 homes have been damaged. There is a big problem with trauma amongst Israeli kids who've spent years running in and out of bomb shelters.

    A survey found the majority of kids suffered from stress/mental problems due to rocket barrages.

    Additionally, Israel's economy in the south has taken a battering.

    The only reason why Israeli deaths don't number that of Palestinians, is because the Israelis have built shelters for their population.


    Only if the appeal includes the areas in the south of Israel which were fairly poor to begin with, should the BBC air the appeal.


    Well done for not bowing to left wing pressure (so far)

  • Comment number 52.

    i think it is disgusting that the bbc can do this cos if it was us they would want people to help us as well, what would they do if we were in the same situation? They should rethink about what they have done, they have showed appeals before for others that have been in worse humanitarian difficulties,would they still say the same if we all refused to watch or pay our t.v licence,i completely agree with lyonesse.

    the BBC seem to show only what they want they must ask themselves what if they were in the situation or if it was someone they knew or loved, i think the BBC should either refund all of our t.v licence money to all who dont agree with them or send all our t.v licence money over through the charities to help all of them people who have nowhere to live, nothing to eat and help to rebuild the country

  • Comment number 53.

    This is a humanitarian appeal on behalf of the desparate people of Gaza by the highly respected and truly impartial DEC. The BBC decision is political and far from impartial. It is yet another nail in the coffin of the impartiality of the BBC. The answer, for those who care about the humanitarian situation, is easy; change channels, watch the appeal and don't be too quick to change back again. I've just discovered that Sky Sports News have a very credible alternative on Freeview to BBC's Final Score on a Saturday afternoon. Not much of a protest, but if others join in.......

  • Comment number 54.

    The EU has just pledged millions to re-build Gaza. And now major charities are scrambling for a place on the bandwagon. Can´t we spend just a little more time contemplating the wisdom of pouring money into a Hamas stronghold, without any guarantee that these funds will not be misused to further terrorism?

    Hamas, financed and armed by Iran, receives United Nations and EU subsidies to bolster a regime that has terrorised the population of Gaza, that successfully provoked the Israeli attack at the cost of so may lives and has either murdered moderate Fatah supporters or driven them out of Gaza.

    The present cease-fire is fragile and the leaders of Hamas have been discredited. The population of Gaza must now decide on their own political future and it would be irresponsible if western charities were to enable terrorists not only to re-arm, but to do so with the acquiescence of western democracies.

    Re-building a new and viable Gaza is a laudable cause. And help must be provided immediately to alleviate suffering. But this can only be accomplished if the distribution of aid is not supervised or influenced by terrorist organizations. Long-term economic aid to Gaza must be dependent on a unified, moderate Palestinian government and a negotiated settlement of border issues.

  • Comment number 55.

    The sheer inhumanity of the BBC's decision really takes the breath away. It is almost as though they are in agreement with the Israeli line that anyone in Gaza is a justifiable target because they live in an area governed by Hamas. The need of the people who live there is what should determine any decision to broadcast an appeal, rather than the politics of their rulers.

    I very much value the journalism of the BBC and I do not support the calls of other contributors for the abolition of the licence fee. But it is because the BBC is so important that Mark Thompson and his offensive henchwoman, Caroline Thomson, should go. It is their inhumanity that is damaging the reputation of the BBC.

  • Comment number 56.

    Maybe the BBC should concentrate on educating people on why they think the DEC would compromise impartiallity. Maybe the BBC thinks that the DEC will smuggle in weapons? I for one would like to know more about this untrustworthy organisation that i have given money to in the past. An expose of how they would spend the money, maybe they could dedicate a whole panorama program on the DEC and the way they work, surely my supporting this organisation means that i have supported the Burmese goverment when i donated, and i must have been supporting the Goverment or the Rebels in DR Congo when i supported the DEC there.

    I once respected the BBC, all i think now after seeing the continious dumbing down of news is that its time the organisation was dismantled as very little it left worth saving as a whole. Better to spend the money commissioning individual projects from the money spent on the BBC as a whole.

  • Comment number 57.

    "This is because Gaza remains a major ongoing news story, in which humanitarian issues - the suffering and distress of civilians and combatants on both sides of the conflict, the debate about who is responsible for causing it and what should be done about it - are both at the heart of the story and contentious."

    And by not showing it - you're being impartial?

    Would there be a debate if the appeal was for Zimbabwe? Or Afghanistan?

    I don't think so.

  • Comment number 58.

    Resign now.

  • Comment number 59.

    I'm going to donate my BBC licence fee to the DEC appeal to make up for the shortfall that this incomprehensible decision will induce.

    The BBC can stick it.

  • Comment number 60.

    I absolutely agree with this decision. It is just a pity that the reporting is so one sided.

  • Comment number 61.

    Innocent people will die because of this cowardly decision. Shame on you.

    The choice for the BBC seems clear -

    By choosing to broadcast the appeal, the BBC could help to save the lives of innocent Palestinians BUT it would risk the anger of the Israeli government and some of Israel's most ardent supporters.

    By choosing not to broadcast it, it will contribute to the death and suffering of civilians BUT it will appease the Israeli government and its most ardent supporters.

    Apparently the latter option is preferable.

    Only the most unfeeling person could see the broadcasting of an appeal that will do something to alleviate the suffering of the Gazans as an act of impartiality rather than as an act of humanity.

    The weak excuses put forward about the uncertainty of aid reaching its target are pathetic. If this is a real concern, Mr Thompson, then you must quote your sources. Saying

    "Clearly, there have been considerable logistical difficulties in delivering aid into Gaza."

    is simply insufficient. I have not seen it reported that the NGOs involved share this concern and can, therefore, only consider this to be nothing more than a cheap excuse to cover up the BBC's brutal cowardice. It should be up to the NGOs, who have actual experience of the situation in Gaza, to decide whether they can supply aid effectively, not the BBC chiefs in London. They cannot possibly claim to be in a better position to judge whether the aid will be deliverered than either the NGOs or the government, who have condemned the BBC's decision.

    The weakness of this excuse only makes it clearer that the BBC is depserately trying to conceal the shameful nature of its actions and its claims regarding impartiality.

    Shame on you.

  • Comment number 62.

    It's commendable that the BBC didn't kow-tow to left wing elements within the government, or the angry mob outside of their offices.

    However, I am slightly concerned that the most basic aspects of impartiality such as simple reporting on the conflict, have not been met. So I'm confused why the BBC would suddenly see this appeal as a threat to their mythical neutrality when it appears they don't seem to care about cheap, emotional, pro Palestinian journalism from the likes of Jeremy Bowen.

    Whatever the BBC's reasons (one of which could be that in doing this, they have granted more airtime for the appeal) I support not broadcasting this appeal.

    There's a long way to go before you can regain the prestige you used to have BBC. Much of it evaporated when you decided to
    initiate a media war against Israel.

  • Comment number 63.

    The BBC's decision not to broadcast the Gaza appeal is a disgrace. You must rethink your policy. To pay foul-mouthed Jonathon Ross millions of pounds of licence payers money yet deny a Palestinian child the chance of medical aid is obscene.

  • Comment number 64.

    By not airing the appeal the BBC has lost all credibility and impartiality. The aftermath of the disaster in Gaza is not a question of 'who is to blame?' @who do we support?'. It is a humanitarian disaster as a result of a military action of an unrivalled scale. One of the reactions sent in on the BBC's website congratulates the BBC for it's courage because' I don't see any appeals for the victims of Hamas' and Hezbollah's rockets'. And this is exactly the crux of the story. What would the BBC's stance be when Jerusalem would be flattened by a criminal military action by Hamas? I'm quite convinced now that the BBC would air any appeal. In my eyes they have lost all impartiality in this matter and only SHAME SHAME SHAME is a correct reaction. But then shame has left this country long ago.

  • Comment number 65.

    I remain unconvinced by your justification Mark. Forgive me but it is weak and lacks substance and credibility. You weren't done any favours by Caroline Thomson's gobbledygook explanation on the Today programme this morning either (which continues to baffle me btw). How can you equate genuine human suffering with politics. You may consider yourself impartial but you have also awarded yourself a new accolade today...inhuman.
    I think you'll have to try a bit harder with a response....one that's truthful would be a good start.
    I believe that you are ultimately answerable to us as we pay your salary so we deserve the truth don't we?

  • Comment number 66.

    BBC is acting like IDF, prejudging respectful humanitarian organization, withouth any reason.

    Calamitous situation in Gaza transcends any other argument used not to help.

    As a public TV, it has duties and obligations to fulfill with public opinion.

    It's quite imoral and indecent to accept money from Royal Dutch sued for environmental and labor crimes all overt the world.

  • Comment number 67.

    Please BBC - don't give in to your pride. Do the right thing and run the advert - it will save lives. Of Children.
    it's not pro anything except humanity.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    There are clearly faults on both sides in this appalling conflict; but I believe that the humanitarian needs of those in Gaza must be placed above rather dubious concerns over whether or not the BBC remains impartial.
    I urge the BBC to reconsider the decision not to broadcast the appeal urgently.
    If the BBC is so impartial then why were national newspapers , and other news channels,detailing the use of white phosphorus in areas occupied by civilians 3 days before there was any mention of this in the BBC news?

  • Comment number 70.

    If I can just echo other people's points about the aid getting through.

    Mark Thompson hinted, yet didn't have the courage to say it, so I will.

    The reason the BBC wasn't satisfied that the aid would get through, is because it's been documented for years how Hamas manage to gain from aid and have recently stopped lorries at gunpoint and even went on to SELL the aid to the Palestinian population.

    The BBC doesn't want to be seen to aid terrorists, even though it seems many in Britain of a left wing persuasion have become Hamas' biggest cheerleaders.

  • Comment number 71.

    This is a contemptible decision by the BBC. It is absolutely not impartial - quite the contrary. Most of the hundreds of victims of the recent conflict in Gaza are innocent civilians, including children. The BBCs decision demonstrates contempt for the expertise of the DEC and an appalling disregard for human life. I am ashamed to pay the licence fee.

  • Comment number 72.

    Absolutely disgusting...the one silver lining is that this extra coverage may be giving the appeal more attention than it may have got..but there is a principle here.

    I too would love to withhold my licence fee on the basis of this decision alone.. gutless people in overpaid jobs more concerned about how they are perceived than a humanitarian crisis.

    We are not stupid we can tell the difference between supporting a side in this unfortunate affair and wanting to help innocent victims.

    Does Isreal's money and influence really reach this far ?

    I can usually see both sides of an issue but in this instance, having read Mark Thompsons comments, I am amazed out how weak the reasons are...very poor indeed.

  • Comment number 73.

    One good thing to come out of this otherwise shameful episode is that the appeal is getting more publicity than it otherwise might have done and lots more people will send in donations.

    The BBC's defence if its position is absurd. If it OK to broadcast an appeal for the victims of Darfur, it's OK to broadcast this one, and if it upsets the Israeli Government then so be it.

  • Comment number 74.

    Well done the BBC, please continue to remain impartial so the nation can continue to trust the news they receive is unbiased.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    Come on BBC you have had failed to save these children by standing up to the Israeli Government and your present was missing we reverse that. The least you could do now is to recosider your decission and help the parents, sisters and brothers of these kiled innocent children.
    At least 450 children are among the more than 1,330 Palestinians who have died since Israel began to bombard the Gaza Strip on December 27.
    Al Jazeera has obtained the names of 210 only of the young victims, 44 of which were under five years old.
    Date Name Gender Age
    27/12/2008 Ibtihal Kechko Girl 10
    Ahmed Riad Mohammed Al-Sinwar Boy 3
    Ahmed Al-Homs Boy 18
    Ahmed Rasmi Abu Jazar Boy 16
    Ahmed Sameeh Al-Halabi Boy 18
    Tamer Hassan Al-Akhrass Boy 5
    Hassan Ali Al-Akhrass Boy 3
    Haneen Wael Mohammed Daban Girl 15
    Khaled Sami Al-Astal Boy 15
    alaat Mokhless Bassal Boy 18
    Aaed Imad Kheera Boy 14
    Abdullah Al-Rayess Boy 17
    Odai Hakeem Al-Mansi Boy 4
    Allam Nehrou Idriss Boy 18
    Ali Marwan Abu Rabih Boy 18
    Anan Saber Atiyah Boy 13
    Camelia Al-Bardini Girl 10
    Lama Talal Hamdan Girl 10
    Mohammed Jaber Howeij Boy 17
    Nimr Mustafa Amoom Boy 10
    29/12/2008 Ismail Talal Hamdan Boy 10
    Ahmed Ziad Al-Absi Boy 14
    Ahmed Youssef Khello Boy 18
    Ikram Anwar Baaloosha Girl 14
    Tahrier Anwar Baaloosha Girl 17
    Jihad Saleh Ghobn Boy 10
    Jawaher Anwar Baaloosha Girl 8
    Dina Anwar Baaloosha Girl 7
    Samar Anwar Baaloosha Girl 6
    Shady Youssef Ghobn Boy 12
    Sudqi Ziad Al-Absi Boy 3
    Imad Nabeel Abou Khater Boy 16
    Lina Anwar Baaloosha Girl 7
    Mohammed Basseel Madi Boy 17
    Mohammed Jalal Abou Tair Boy 18
    Mohammed Ziad Al-Absi Boy 14
    Mahmoud Nabeel Ghabayen Boy 15
    Moaz Yasser Abou Tair Boy 6
    Wissam Akram Eid Girl 14
    30/12/2008 Haya Talal Hamdan Girl 8
    31/12/2008 Ahmed Kanouh Boy 10
    Ameen Al-Zarbatlee Boy 10
    Mohammed Nafez Mohaissen Boy 10
    Mustafa Abou Ghanimah Boy 16
    Yehya Awnee Mohaissen Boy 10
    Ossman Bin Zaid Nizar Rayyan Boy 3
    Assaad Nizar Rayyan Boy 2
    Moaz-Uldeen Allah Al-Nasla Boy 5
    Aya Nizar Rayyan Girl 12
    Halima Nizar Rayyan Girl 5
    Reem Nizar Rayyan Boy 4
    Aicha Nizar Rayyan Girl 3
    Abdul Rahman Nizar Rayyan Boy 6
    Abdul Qader Nizar Rayyan Boy 12
    Oyoon Jihad Al-Nasla Girl 16
    Mahmoud Mustafa Ashour Boy 13
    Maryam Nizar Rayyan Girl 5
    01/01/2009 Hamada Ibrahim Mousabbah Boy 10
    Zeinab Nizar Rayyan Girl 12
    Sujud Mahmoud Al-Derdesawi Girl 10
    Abdul Sattar Waleed Al-Astal Boy 12
    Abed Rabbo Iyyad Abed Rabbo Al-Astal Boy 10
    Ghassan Nizar Rayyan Boy 15
    Christine Wadih El-Turk Boy 6
    Mohammed Mousabbah Boy 14
    Mohammed Iyad Abed Rabbo Al-Astal Boy 13
    Mahmoud Samsoom Boy 16
    Ahmed Tobail Boy 16
    Ahmed Sameeh Al-Kafarneh Boy 17
    Hassan Hejjo Boy 14
    Rajeh Ziadeh Boy 18
    Shareef Abdul Mota Armeelat Boy 15
    Mohammed Moussa Al-Silawi Boy 10
    Mahmoud Majed Mahmoud Abou Nahel Boy 16
    Mohannad Al-Tatnaneeh Boy 18
    Hani Mohammed Al-Silawi Boy 10
    01/01/2009 Ahmed Al-Meshharawi Boy 16
    Ahmed Khodair Sobaih Boy 17
    Ahmed Sameeh Al-Kafarneh Boy 18
    Asraa Kossai Al-Habash Girl 10
    Assad Khaled Al-Meshharawi Boy 17
    Asmaa Ibrahim Afana Girl 12
    Ismail Abdullah Abou Sneima Boy 4
    Akram Ziad Al-Nemr Boy 18
    Aya Ziad Al-Nemr Girl 8
    Ahmed Mohammed Al-Adham Boy 1
    Akram Ziad Al-Nemr Boy 13
    Hamza Zuhair Tantish Boy 12
    Khalil Mohammed Mokdad Boy 18
    Ruba Mohammed Fadl Abou-Rass Girl 13
    Ziad Mohammed Salma Abou Sneima Boy 9
    Shaza Al-Abed Al-Habash Girl 16
    Abed Ziad Al-Nemr Boy 12
    Attia Rushdi Al-Khawli Boy 16
    Luay Yahya Abou Haleema Boy 17
    Mohammed Akram Abou Harbeed Boy 18
    Mohammed Abed Berbekh Boy 18
    Mohammed Faraj Hassouna Boy 16
    Mahmoud Khalil Al-Mashharawi Boy 12
    Mahmoud Zahir Tantish Boy 17
    Mahmoud Sami Assliya Boy 3
    Moussa Youssef Berbekh Boy 16
    Wi'am Jamal Al-Kafarneh Girl 2
    Wadih Ayman Omar Boy 4
    Youssef Abed Berbekh Boy 10
    05/01/2009 Ibrahim Rouhee Akl Boy 17
    Ibrahim Abdullah Merjan Boy 13
    Ahmed Attiyah Al-Semouni Boy 4
    Aya Youssef Al-Defdah Girl 13
    Aya Al-Sersawi Girl 5
    Ahmed Amer Abou Eisha Boy 5
    Ameen Attiyah Al-Semouni Boy 4
    Hazem Alewa Boy 8
    Khalil Mohammed Helless Boy 12
    Diana Mosbah Saad Girl 17
    Raya Al-Sersawi Girl 5
    Rahma Mohammed Al-Semouni Girl 18
    Ramadan Ali Felfel Boy 14
    Rahaf Ahmed Saeed Al-Azaar Girl 4
    Shahad Mohammed Hijjih Girl 3
    Arafat Mohammed Abdul Dayem Boy 10
    Omar Mahmoud Al-Baradei Boy 12
    Ghaydaa Amer Abou Eisha Girl 6
    Fathiyya Ayman Al-Dabari Girl 4
    Faraj Ammar Al-Helou Boy 2
    Moumen Alewah Boy 9
    Moumen Mahmoud Talal Alaw Boy 10
    Mohammed Amer Abu Eisha Boy 8
    Mahmoud Mohammed Abu Kamar Boy 15
    Marwan Hein Kodeih Girl 6
    Montasser Alewah Boy 12
    Naji Nidal Al-Hamlawi Boy 16
    Nada Redwan Mardi Girl 5
    Hanadi Bassem Khaleefa Girl 13
    06/01/2009 Ibrahim Ahmed Maarouf Boy 14
    Ahmed Shaher Khodeir Boy 14
    Ismail Adnan Hweilah Boy 15
    Aseel Moeen Deeb Boy 17
    Adam Mamoun Al-Kurdee Boy 3
    Alaa Iyad Al-Daya Girl 8
    Areej Mohammed Al-Daya Girl 3 months
    Amani Mohammed Al-Daya Girl 4
    Baraa Ramez Al-Daya Girl 2
    Bilal Hamza Obaid Boy 15
    Thaer Shaker Karmout Boy 17
    Hozaifa Jihad Al-Kahloot Boy 17
    Khitam Iyad Al-Daya Girl 9
    Rafik Abdul Basset Al-Khodari Boy 15
    Raneen Abdullah saleh Girl 12
    Zakariya Yahya Al-Taweel Boy 5
    Sahar Hatem Dawood Girl 10
    Salsabeel Ramez Al-Daya Girl 6 months
    Sharafuldeen Iyad Al-Daya Boy 7
    Doha Mohammed Al-Daya Girl 5
    Ahed Iyad Kodas Boy 15
    Abdullah Mohammed Abdullah Boy 10
    Issam Sameer Deeb Boy 12
    Alaa Ismail Ismail Boy 18
    Ali Iyad Al-Daya Boy 10
    Imad Abu Askar Boy 18
    Filasteen Al-Daya Girl 5
    Kamar Mohammed Al-Daya Boy 3
    Lina Abdul Menem Hassan Girl 10
    Unidentified Boy 9
    Unidentified Boy 15
    Mohammed Iyad Al-Daya Boy 6
    Mohammed Bassem Shakoura Boy 10
    Mohammed Bassem Eid Boy 18
    Mohammed Deeb Boy 17
    Mohammed Eid Boy 18
    Mustafa Moeen Deeb Boy 12
    Noor Moeen Deeb Boy 2
    Youssef Saad Al-Kahloot Boy 17
    Youssef Mohammed Al-Daya Boy 1
    07/01/2009 Ibrahim Kamal Awaja Boy 9
    Ahmed Jaber Howeij Boy 7
    Ahmed Fawzi Labad Boy 18
    Ayman Al-Bayed Boy 16
    Amal Khaled Abed Rabbo Girl 3
    Toufic Khaled Al-Khahloot Boy 10
    Habeeb Khaled Al-Khahloot Boy 12
    Houssam Raed Sobeh Boy 12
    Hassan Rateb Semaan Boy 18
    Hassan Ata Hassan Azzam Boy 2
    Redwan Mohammed Ashoor Boy 10
    Suad Khaled Abed Rabbo Girl 6
    Samar Khaled Abed Rabbo Girl 2
    Abdul Rahman Mohammmed Ashoor Boy 12
    Fareed Ata Hassan Azzam Boy 13
    Mohammed Khaled Al-Kahloot Boy 15
    Mohammed Samir Hijji Boy 16
    Mohammed Fareed Al-Maasawabi Boy 16
    Mohammed Moeen Deeb Boy 17
    Mohammed Nasseem Salama Saba Boy 16
    Mahmoud Hameed Boy 17
    Hamam Issa Boy 1
    08/01/2009 Anas Arif Abou Baraka Boy 7
    Ibrahim Akram Abou Dakkka Boy 12
    Ibrahim Moeen Jiha Boy 15
    Baraa Iyad Shalha Girl 6
    Basma Yasser Al-Jeblawi Girl 5
    Shahd Saad Abou Haleema Girl 15
    Azmi Diab Boy 16
    Mohammed Akram Abou Dakka Boy 14
    Mohammed Hikmat Abou Haleema Boy 17
    Ibrahim Moeen Jiha Boy 15
    Matar Saad Abou Haleema Boy 17
    09/01/2009 Ahmed Ibrahim Abou Kleik Boy 17
    Ismail Ayman Yasseen Boy 18
    Alaa Ahmed Jaber Girl 11
    Baha-Uldeen Fayez Salha Girl 5
    Rana Fayez Salha Girl 12
    Rola Fayez Salha Girl 13
    Diyaa-Uldeen Fayez Salah Boy 14
    Ghanima Sultan Halawa Girl 11
    Fatima Raed Jadullah Girl 10
    Mohammed Atef Abou Al-Hussna Boy 15

    If this was in reverse god forbid I will do the same.

  • Comment number 77.

    What a load of pompous, self-righteous garbage.

    If you really can't bring yourself to help thousands of suffering people because of political correctness you should be very ashamed of yourselves.

    It makes me wonder if the right people are running the BBC.

  • Comment number 78.

    The DEC are not requesting an appeal for money to support the Palestinian cause but to save innocent civilian lives. The issue of partiality is irrelevant when innocent civilians of any country need urgent help, whether from natural disaster or war.
    Ongoing conflict in the Congo was being shown by the BBC when they broadcast for the DEC to raise funds for those affected in that situation. I don't imagine partiality was a concern then though.
    The BBC will be seen to decline to broadcast an appeal for life saving aid only because they're Palestinians in this case. This will be recognised as political bias throughout the world, the very accusation they say they wish to avoid.
    This appalling pronouncement disgusts me.

  • Comment number 79.

    So it's wrong to ask for money to help wounded, homeless and traumatised civilians, but it's right to ask for money to pay your wages? I assume that all fee-paying phone lines will now be banned as they too are partial. Or will you spread the money impatially between all UK broadcasters?
    This one incident has done more to erode our trust in the BBC than anything you've broadcast in years.

  • Comment number 80.

    Ok, I've tripled my donation to Save The Children.

    Hopefully, by following your example, the Israeli propaganda employees will be impartial in providing a similar amount of aid to children.

    After all, the Israelis did not mean to hurt or kill the children and innocent adults in Gaza - right.... Being the good people that they claim to be, we shall await the massive donations from Israel.

    Perhaps a group of charities may consider making an appeal to raise funds to help the one or two Israelis who are homeless, and suffered terrible acts of war. That would be impartial. Would the unequal level of and severity of damage suffered in Israel over the past few weeks pose a problem in terms of partiality for the BBC ..... Would the BBC like to discuss this with the charities in order that they may meet the silly level of impartiallity too........ Perhaps the BBC would like to see the Government give an equal amount of aid to Israel to ensure they are seen to be impartial...



    Would that make Mr Thompson feel a little bit better... although would do nothing to resore our belief in his ability to do his job. Quite the opposite.

    In the meantime, Mr Thompson et al., I await a news report of your resignations. As soon as possible.

    You are too much of an idiot to be employed in any responsible postion. Douglas Alexander is stating the obvious, and you are so incompetent, you can't see it.

    This spineless decision making is bringing shame on the UK. Pathetic.

  • Comment number 81.

    I think this is a shocking case of the BBC putting humanitarian needs second to its own needs as a company.
    The ordinary people of Gaza are at the mercy of not only the Israelis, but Hamas. To deny an appeal for those people who have suffered so much IS political and biased, denying them the help they need so urgently. They need help as human beings, and the BBC are the ones who are making it a political issue.
    To say that the aid may not reach them is just a copout, the BBC is not responsible for whether the aid reaches them or not and most people who might make a donation will hardly hold it against the BBC if it doesn't reach them, they will decide for themselves if they're willing to donate under the circumstances.
    The BBC DOES have a responsibility to publicise humanitarian needs, a responsibility it is sadly neglecting at the moment.

  • Comment number 82.

    Well done the BBC.

    I can recall occasions when Isreali representatives have wriggled out of tough questions about dubious behaviour by claiming the BBC is biased against Isreal.

    Stick to your guns and they cannot use this excuse the next time your jounalists ask legitimate questions.

    That will be far more helpful to the people of Gaza that a small temporary appeal for funds.

  • Comment number 83.

    I'm simply appalled. The charities involved say that they are confident that the aid will get to those who need it. Why does the BBC think that they know better?

    You're right about one thing. The decision IS political, just not in the way that some people may think.

    If only giving money to the BBC was also voluntary.

  • Comment number 84.

    Well done BBC.

    I lost faith in you a long time ago over the Balen report fiasco which was rumoured to point to anti-Israel bias at the BBC. A report you suppressed in court with tax payers' money.

    However, the fact you have knocked back this cynical politically-motivated appeal from being broadcast, has helped to slightly restore my faith, even though the reporting is still one sided.

    How on earth the other broadcasters fee its right to appeal for aid which could land in the lap of Hamas, is beyond me.

    What next? aid for Al Qaeda areas in the Pakistan/Afghanistan border? it's ridiculous.

  • Comment number 85.

    Why has Israel become so untouchable? This impartiality doesn't make sense. You aren't taking sides with the Israeli government or Hamas you are taking sides with ordinary people. You suggest with you impartiality arguement that Gaza is Hamas . Its as ridiculous as saying the UK is the Labour party. It seems a little a ignorant and predjudiced. I wouldn't want to stereotype the whole population of Israel as a load of Nasty right wing bigots. Just its government.

    Is BBC hiding under the table from the Jewish Lobby?


  • Comment number 86.

    Shame on you Mark Thompson !

    Regardless of your analysis of the causes of the Gaza conflict and who is to blame, people are suffering and dying in Gaza. We must help !

    Why can't the BBC broadcast the appeal with a message explaining your position - like Channel 4 did with Ahmedinejad's so-called Xmas message ?

    Your first reason is also quite spurious - since when did the BBC have the right to decide not to broadcast an appeal because 'the money might not get through' ? The members of the DEC, as professional charities/NGOs, must have made that calculation before launching the appeal. This sounds like a poor excuse to me.

    If I could withhold my licence fee, I would !

  • Comment number 87.

    The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a reality. If the BBC broadcasts that reality and public opinion turns against the Israeli government then so be it. It is not the BBC's job to protect the Israeli government from the consequences of the people seeing the truth.

  • Comment number 88.

    The BBC must maintain its impartiality by showing this appeal. Not showing it is favouring the Isreali cause. We can't allow the BBC to discriminate against Palestine.

  • Comment number 89.

    Mark is talking for the shake of talking, alsolutelly nothing he says makes any sense. it could be he may have made or got paid by the israelis...... i am asking everyone to stop paying their TV licences in protest at this outrageous decission

  • Comment number 90.

    Writing as a British Jew with no love for Hamas, I have to say that this is a disgraceful decision, and the BBC's justification is nonsensical. This is not a political or partisan issue:; it is not about the rights and wrongs of the Gaza conflict or the wider Israeli-Palestinian issue; this is simply a humanitarian appeal for people who are suffering grievously and whose suffering will be relieved by the assistance of the DEC aid agencies. It is the BBC's response that has turned this into a political issue.

    The BBC has previously broadcast DEC appeals for humanitarian relief in Darfur and Congo. Darfur is a controversial issue that is often on the news agenda, but it was recognised in that case that the DEC appeal was humanitarian, not political. Why not in this case?

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    Ther must be something I don't understand. The UN has recognised the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and John Holmes the UN Humanitarian chief has stated that massive relief is needed.
    Israel deny the humanitarian crisis and The BBC by not allowing the appeal to be broadcast show a disregard for the suffering and need by the Palestinians and instead a bias toward the Israeli position.
    I am much saddened and disappointed by your decision and wonder indeed what public opinion you are worried about.

  • Comment number 93.

    Mark Thompson should stick to his decision
    and not be pressured by members of the Goverment appearing on News 24 suggesting that all members of the public would support the appeal " as all charities in DEC would do a good job in helping children injured in the recent fighting".
    This is not the point. The BBC must be free to make editorial decisoins without pressure from ANY outside influence.
    The BBC have provided excellent unbiased coverage of events in GAZA.
    Everybody watching this can have no doubt that donations to the charities involved in Gaza would be needed, once the fighting stopped.
    We dont need an appeal to help us make a decision, its blindingly obvious !

  • Comment number 94.

    A shameful decision by the BBC - arrogant as ever. Do you think your audience is so stupid that it can't differentiate between reporting and an appeal?
    The BBC now has blood on its hands - every child in Gaza that dies from lack or medicine or food can now be blamed on the BBC.

    I for one, won't be paying my licence fee - I'm sending the money to a charity that WILL deliver aid and I hope Thompson will have a lot of sleepless nights as the BBC becomes increasingly isolated.

  • Comment number 95.

    I’m surprised that the BBC does not have staff bright enough to know that in refusing to support aid to civilians caught in a humanitarian catastrophe they are not being impartial – they are supporting the views of Israel, who often deny there is a humanitarian problem. Israel also consider all of Gaza as a battlefield (justifying the use of white phosphorous), and from independent reports do not consider obligations to civilians under the Geneva Convention to be relevant. Again the only logical conclusion is that the BBC agrees with this viewpoint.
    This is a sickening and cowardly decision based on the fear of Israeli propaganda. The BBC is not just a news outlet – it is a public service provider. The decision to describe helping civilians as “political” suggests that the BBC agrees with the Israeli “Defence” Force who, from its outrageous use of extreme force, considers that there is no such thing as a blameless Palestinian.

  • Comment number 96.

    Seems to me that the action to inhibit the DEC appeal does actually benefit one party - Israel - although i always found it jaw dropping that you were more than happy to provide a platform for some gobsmackingly outrageous claims and assertions from the Israeli war PR machine.

    Is your unfortunate decision some kind of test to see how dumbed down we have become because there's a great many here far from that?

    I've defended the BBC, it's approach, it's funding in many places but this is one issue i'll happily join the mob at the gates against you on.

  • Comment number 97.

    If this is the stuff of its Director General then no wonder the BBC is in meltdown. A five year old is capable of inventing better logic than Mark Thompson!

    Would you like to give us the details (including names etc) of everyone you consulted Mr Thompson - what was said to them and how they responded - or is it the simple truth that you haven't the bottle to make common sense decisions when called upon to do so?

    I shall be writing to my MP to call for your head and I will be expecting her to deliver it - this is not the first time that the BBC has shown clear unmitigated bias or error under your stewardship.

  • Comment number 98.

    lets not pay or TV license in protest see how long they take to change their minds

    Mr Mark Thompson should resign with immediate effect

    i had enoug of the BBC and all its cronies

  • Comment number 99.

    Thank heavens for the commercial channels.

    Shame on you BBC.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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