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Off-limits

Jon Williams Jon Williams | 12:35 UK time, Friday, 14 November 2008

There are few places in the world where the BBC is not welcome. While, officially, we're still banned in Zimbabwe, a number of brave colleagues have spent the past year working there undercover to report that country's political and economic turmoil. In the spring, we were prevented from reporting in both Tibet and Burma, with BBC reporters hunted down by the authorities. Today, there is a new place that is off-limits - Gaza.

Erez crossing, GazaAt the best of times, reporting from that narrow strip of land is challenging - and these are not the best of times. Since my colleague Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza in March 2007 (he was released after 114 days) his replacement, Aleem Maqbool, has been based in Ramallah. But for the past 18 months be has made regular trips to Gaza. Not this week. For the past six days, the BBC and other media organisations have been turned back by the Israeli authorities at the Erez crossing. We're in good company. The heads of a number of EU diplomatic missions have also been refused entry. No explanation has been given, despite repeated requests.

The security situation in the area is serious. Since 4 November, the Israeli authorities say more than 60 Kassam rockets and 20 mortar bombs have been fired from Gaza at Israel. Earlier this week, four members of the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, were killed in clashes with Israeli troops - the Israelis say the Palestinians were seen trying to plant explosives. But in order to tell the story for our audiences in the UK and around the world, the BBC needs access to Gaza.

In the past, the Israeli government has accused the media of being manipulated by Hamas - on one occasion, claiming that images of children holding candles were actually taken in broad daylight, in a room darkened by drawn curtains.

The best way we can report the facts - whether in Gaza, or elsewhere - is first hand, using our own BBC reporters. In order to do so, the Israeli government needs to facilitate access to Gaza. I hope they will soon do so.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    So the Israelis have turned you away, given the balance shown over the decades in the BBC’s previous reports I'm not really surprised.

    Release the Balen Report.

  • Comment number 2.

    Oh yeah, I'm sure that if you say you're "from the BBC and demand entry" (in typical British fashion), they'll just open up and let you in.

    No explanation has been given you say, yet you also write that "Since 4 November, the Israeli authorities say more than 60 Kassam rockets and 20 mortar bombs have been fired from Gaza at Israel"

    Don't suppose it has anything to do with that do you?

    1 + 1 is what again?

  • Comment number 3.

    Jon:
    It is sad that the BBC is not able to go to certain places in the world...

    But, safety is the first concern...

  • Comment number 4.

    Don't you understand?

    You are to see and speak no evil of Israel!

    Otherwise you will be defamed and denied entry, along with the UN and other honest observers.

  • Comment number 5.

    Keeping the reporters away from war crimes (collective punishment, in this case - refusing to allow aid convoys in to aid a starving population) is understandable, I suppose - what I fail to understand is the international community's failure to condemn these crimes while whining on about a democratically elected Hamas being 'terrorists'.

    60 years ago, the terrorists were from Irgun and the Stern gang - now their descendants perpetrate war crimes with impunity.

  • Comment number 6.

    Given how the BBC consistently has demonstrated that it will twist anything in the conflict to portray Israel in a bad light, and always try to justify the likes of Hamas, why on earth do you expect them to co-operate with you?

    Get it through your heads that being objective does not mean abandoning basic morals, and Hamas is an affront to every facet of western culture, even of BBC wishy-washy liberal cultural (except, of course, it is an enemey of Israel and the USA, which of course is all you need to be viewed as a positive in the BBCs book).

    The day BBC starts reporting truthfully, honestly, and in a fashion consistent with the principles you supposedly hold dear will be the day that hell freezes over, pigs fly, the lions sit down with the lambs, and the dead walk.

  • Comment number 7.

    I would love to hear why the Hamas regime have started the rocket attacks - illegally targeted on civilians - yet again.

    Why dont you hold them to account by phoning up and asking them?

    Probable strategy: rockets at Israeli civilians > Israeli response > hamas call in their media supporters to denounce Israel

    Why should Israel assist you in taking part in the Hamas war plan?

    I think the Israelis are being very restrained by doing things like closing borders, cutting off fuel oil, preventing Hamas sympathisers (EU,UN,BBC) from coming and going etc as a response to lethal violence. Most countries would just see the rockets as an act of war and react accordingly.


    As #1 above asks - when are you going to release the Balen report?





  • Comment number 8.

    -Given how the BBC consistently has demonstrated that it will twist anything in the conflict to portray Israel in a bad light, and always try to justify the likes of Hamas, why on earth do you expect them to co-operate with you?-

    Translation: (Israel) You don't agree with everything the Israeli government put out on press releases therefore you must be a Hamas terrorist. (US) 'If you ain't with us you are against us'.

    -Get it through your heads that being objective does not mean abandoning basic morals-

    Translation: Before reporting make sure your report fits with Israeli propoganda

    -and Hamas is an affront to every facet of western culture, even of BBC wishy-washy liberal cultural-

    Translation: People in Palestine voted for Hamas, which we don't like therefore we won't regard it as a democratic vote.

    -(except, of course, it is an enemey of Israel and the USA, which of course is all you need to be viewed as a positive in the BBCs book).-

    Translation: Anyone who disagrees with AIPAC is obviously Al Qaeda.

    -The day BBC starts reporting truthfully, honestly, and in a fashion consistent with the principles you supposedly hold dear will be the day that hell freezes over, pigs fly, the lions sit down with the lambs, and the dead walk.-

    Translation: We hate the fact that the BBC among many other news organisations insist on seeing and reporting both sides.

    Translating for Israel really isn't that hard.


  • Comment number 9.

    corrupt and undemocratic countries with things to hide will always turn away the media.

    sadly the BBC has failed to remain neutral in many areas of reporting over the years and people will always react negitivly to biased reporting.

  • Comment number 10.

    Sickofisrael 4.40pm

    At least your post is a good deal more objective than many. All too often posts on this subject are full of aggressive comments like Jew Hater and Jew Basher - meant to intimidate the writers of any critical post about Israel.

    If the BBC were so anti-Israel (code words for anti-
    Jewish in current speak) it would reflect in the make up of their personnel.

    From what I can see it might be more appropriate to call it the Israeli Broadcasting Company when it comes to who gets the starring roles in anything.

  • Comment number 11.

    Just had a quick look at the mid east page on here. Headlines at top of page:

    Blockaded Gaza faces disaster

    Gaza shut to fuel and journalists

    Guide: Gaza under blockade

    Tried looking but can't find any like....

    Hamas illegally target civilians

    Israeli civilians hit by illegal rockets

    Israel holds back from flattening Gaza

    In fact I can't really remember any reports of the 60 rockets and 20 mortar rounds we are now being told about.

    EU, UN, BBC etc are a crucial part of the Hamas war effort.

    Why should Israel assist people who support Hamas?

  • Comment number 12.

    impassive - it is one of the oldest tricks of anti-semitism to try and pretend a great Jewish conspiracy.

    But by all means, if you support an organisation dedicated to genocide such that Hamas is, I suppose folks like you and sickofisrael have no problem with a little anti-semitism.

  • Comment number 13.

    The polarised comments here make me very sad - both sides unwilling to be objective.

    However #7 makes me saddest.

    "I would love to hear why the Hamas regime have started the rocket attacks - illegally targeted on civilians - yet again"

    The didn't - Israel broke the ceasefire first,as I'm sure the poster knows very well. Two wrongs don't make a right and I'm sure if you live in Siderot it's very difficult. But at least you have food and fuel, unlike the Gazans.

    "Probable strategy: rockets at Israeli civilians > Israeli response > hamas call in their media supporters to denounce Israel"

    What actually happened: Israeli army attacks Gaza > Hamas retaliates with rockets > Israel stops deliveries of fuel and food to Palestinian people = collective punishment = war crime under UN Charter.

    I suggest this person reads
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7729886.stm

    "Oxfam called on world leaders to do everything they could to break Israel's blockade of Gaza and urged Israel to resume supplies without delay.

    "Israel has shut border crossings in response to rocket attacks from Palestinian militants in Gaza.

    "Earlier Israel fired missiles at targets in northern Gaza."

    (BBC and other news reports)

  • Comment number 14.

    I've just been watching BBC World News and this subject has not even been mentioned never mind reported on.
    May I ask the BBC World News editor why not?
    Doesn't this situation count as news?

  • Comment number 15.

    Stnylan. 00.29

    You can always tell when a post hits a raw nerve - back comes the Bush style response of "If you're not with us, you're a terrorist supporter."

    Absolute rubbish. It's equally ridiculous to suggest that someone who finds the actions of Hamas out of order is a supporter of Israel.

    I do, and I am not, in that order.

    Just as I recognise that the BBC can be a pain in the bum sometimes - but totally biased - not at all.

    The ranting extremism that this subject brings out epitomises all that is bad about some of the comments that find their way into columns such as this. There is a middle way and in my opinion, the BBC usually does its best to find it.

  • Comment number 16.

    Given the BBC's anti Israeli stance over the years, it's hardly surprising they turn correspondents away. The best way to deal with the terrorist enclave that is Gaza is total isolation and a total ban on Palestinian propaganda from the media.

  • Comment number 17.

    Even if the BBC is anti-Israeli as some posters claim, and I doubt, Israel has no business limiting their reporting. The only acceptable way to fight propaganda is not by suppressing it, but rather with counter-propaganda. If the Israelis don't like the BBC's reporting, they can present their own case. But they should let the BBC and other news organisations carry on their work, biased or not.

  • Comment number 18.

    #13

    "What actually happened: Israeli army attacks Gaza > Hamas retaliates with rockets > Israel stops deliveries of fuel and food to Palestinian people = collective punishment = war crime under UN Charter."


    "Hamas retaliates with rockets" - and how does that work exactly?

    They are going to defeat Israel militarily with a few home made fireworks? Kill so many young men Israel can't fight anymore? Destroy Israel's means of war production? That does not sound very realistic.

    I would suggest it works by the mechanism put forward in (#7) ...

    rockets at israel > israel responds > hamas bring in their supporters (EU, UN, BBC) to hammer israel

    The idea that the rockets are a military, rather than political, weapon is silly.

    Hamas want the reporters in to show their 'suffering' and the 'evil israelis.' The BBC are upset because they wanted to participate and the israelis are not letting them.

    As I said - why should Israel facilitate Hamas supporters and the Hamas war plan?



    (This 'tit for tat' has been going on for decades - I make no claim to have a definitive version of who struck first, it's an ongoing war)


  • Comment number 19.

    Interesting. And I don't just mean the blog.

    Quote: "Boldly go where no man...."

    And more power to your elbow.

    I hope my personal Licence Fee is coming your way. :-)

  • Comment number 20.

    impassive

    Too right you hit a raw nerve

    Why should I pay a bloody tax in the form of the license fee to have that organisation offer moral support to an organisation (Hamas) committed to genocide?

    And I am sick to my bones of people like you who refuse to stand up for the principles you presumably believe in. Genocide. Think about that. If you are willing to tolerate Hamas, and excuse those who are, you are happy with support a genocidal organisation.

    That you are blind to your believes is no surprise however. Halifax thought himself a reasonable man when he wanted to surrender to Hitler in 1940. So did the people in Oxford when they encouraged Hitler by voting not to fight for King in Country in the 1930s. You belong to a despised culture of appeasement and collaboration in British public life, a culture that now infects and poisons all the BBC does.

  • Comment number 21.

    impassive (#15) - well said, and absolutely right.

    What's more, if the BBC was truly as biased as people in the comments make out, the blogger/editor wouldn't have called Hamas Palestinian militant group, he would have referred to them as the "democratically elected party".

    And I say that as someone who despises Hamas - although how ridiculous that I even need to add that disclaimer. I also say it as someone who has criticized the BBC on many an occasion, though always I hope grounded in fact rather than in any particular agenda.

    The amount of distortion, hysteria, selective vision and opportunistic whining ("PC liberal blah blah licence fee blah blah...") that repeatedly finds its way into the comment areas of these editors blogs - and in particular, Have Your Say - beggars belief and is already being parodied across some quarters of the web. I can only admire the BBC for giving these prickly creatures a platform to air their predictable poison - licence fee aside, if only the likes of the Mail and other outlets were as tolerant of views critical of themselves, and willing to let them be published.

  • Comment number 22.

    Oh look, over on the Sky News website right now...

    "In an exclusive interview with Sky News, the leader of Hamas says he is ready to talk to Barack Obama..."

    Can you imagine if instead that read "In an exclusive interview with the BBC"?

    Yes, Sky News, that well-known liberal Hamas-supporting organisation owned by that extreme left-winger, Rupert Murdoch. This just goes to show how liberal biased it is, doesn't it?

    And before anyone says it, no this point is not about the licence fee and accountability. It is about the selective way people - already armed with an agenda - have come to view the BBC.

  • Comment number 23.

    The issue is not whether you like Hamas or not - they were democratically elected by the Palestinians, and the subsequent disengagement by Europe and the US has contributed greatly to the deterioration of the situation in Gaza.

    Collective punishment, as the Israelis are currently carrying out by restricting fuel supplies and stopping aid convoys, is a war crime - surely someone in Europe or the US should be calling for sanctions against Israel at the very least (and we know they've got WMD, so why not go the whole hog and invade? No - wait - that hasn't helped the Iraqi people much, has it?).

    Sure, some elements of Hamas have been firing rockets into Israel, but then again Israel has been carrying out extrajudicial assasinations of Hamas leaders using helicopter-fired missiles for years, and these have been mostly lauded by the West.

    Support for Israel should never be unconditional - that leads to the Israeli leadership believing that they no longer have to live up to civilised norms, and can carry on smiting in their inimitable Old Testament fashion.

  • Comment number 24.

    #22
    "And before anyone says it, no this point is not about the licence fee and accountability. It is about the selective way people - already armed with an agenda - have come to view the BBC."


    The media are an important weapon of war - ask Goebels (or Churchill) etc

    Hamas know the western media are probably their most (only?) effective weapon.

    The BBC need to ensure they are not the propaganda ministry for hamas.

    Film of empty food shops, babies in a hospital with no electricity, old grannies sat in the dark etc - all strong images that the BBC are desperate to get on our screens.

    This is part of the Hamas war effort and it is hardly surprising that the israelis are not going to support it.



  • Comment number 25.

    "Sickofisrael 4.40pm

    At least your post is a good deal more objective than many."

    You're having a laugh surely. His name says it all.

  • Comment number 26.

    Until Israel accepts that there are many different points of view of what is and has happened in Gaza then it is hardly surprising that they continue to suppress "impartial" observation.

    This is not a matter of points scoring with awards for bullets fired, mortars released, or bodies counted. All sides in this conflict are equally guilty of appalling acts of cowardice, and none of them has a right to criticise the others.

    There are those of us who would like to see a resolution of the Middle East situation some day very soon and we do not see Israel helping that forward. As a supposedly responsible country Israel should be ashamed of itself.

  • Comment number 27.

    Mr. Williams,

    I am amazed that the Israelis even allow the BBC entry into the country, leave alone into Gaza. Your anti-Israel bias is set in stone. And your Aleem McBool is even more of a partisan propagandist than Alan Johnston, and he is difficult to better in that field. I followed Johnston's reporting closely on the World Service. It is not for nothing that he was described in glowing terms in the comments that poured into Have Your Say during his kidnapping as "a friend of the Palestinian people."

    13. badgercourage,

    Ease up on the propaganda. The Israelis didn't just suddenly decide that last week would be a good time to attack Gaza. They attacked because terrorists were excavating a tunnel specifically to enter Israel and kidnap Israeli soldiers. And they also attacked because they were planting explosives at the fence. The Kassam fire from Hamas was a response to the Israeli action which in turn was a response to the acts I've described. I suppose you think Israel should just allow the terrorists free rein to do whatever they like, not disturb them and pay attention to their "rights."

    21. dotconnect,

    What's more, if the BBC was truly as biased as people in the comments make out, the blogger/editor wouldn't have called Hamas Palestinian militant group…

    Give us a break. You really think that shows lack of bias? They are terrorists, not militants. You might be happy with the BBC's mangling of the English language in order to portray terrorists in the best possible light. I'm not, and neither are many others who have seen through the BBC's game.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'll tell you another place you are not welcome and that is in my house. I do not believe one word you say about Israel, the Palestinians, America or a lot of other topics. The Israelis should have kicked you out of Gaza a long time ago. If I were them, I'd kick you out of The West Bank and Israel as well. Too bad we can't kick your lying reporters out of America. I am sick and tired of my tax dollars going to subsidize you through contracts with NPR and whatever is left of your contracts with PBS. But I'm sure the American left will have no objections to your distortions and falsehoods being broadcast at American taxpayer expense all across our land into our homes and cars for a long time to come.

  • Comment number 29.

    I will tell you what is also off limits, a certain topic BBC has put there. It is germaine to this blog entry but BBC does not want it discussed on its blog sites. I'll post it in my next entry and see if it is still off limits.

  • Comment number 30.

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

  • Comment number 31.

    The claims that the BBC have an "anti-Israel" bias worry me deeply. About eighteen months ago a leading UK Jewish spokesperson came on Radio Five Live to complain that the BBC had not covered a failed suicide bomb attempt one Sunday morning. I witnessed a very early morning news bulletin where the incident was reported by the BBC on Five Live.

    This incident was used as an example of anti-Israel bias, was dishonest and a deliberate attempt to gain air time for pro-Israel propaganda.

    In the hope that what I say will one day register may I repeat that none of the sides in the Middle East conflict are any better than the others - they are all guilty of murdering civilians with absolutely no regard for their actions. I am sick of hearing how "right" one side in this conflict is - that is a complete and unadulterated lie and they know it too.

  • Comment number 32.

    Re #30, BBC censors understand their job well. I wonder if they learned their trade from Radio Moscow and Pravda or developed it on their own.

  • Comment number 33.

    @MarcusAureliusII - I don't particualrly want to come to your house, but it's a bit rich for you to complain about NPR and PBS 'subsidising' the BBC when the US government subsidises the war criminals in Tel-Aviv to the tune of 3 billion dollars a year, and protects them from the entirely justifiable censure of the UN Security Council by vetoing any resolution critical of these state terrorists. It's not just 3 billion dollars, either - subsidised military aid for Israel adds another 7 billion per year. The only president in living memory to stand up to these thugs (George Bush I) was subsequently voted out in favour of Billy Clintstone - coincidence?

    One can only hope that Barack Obama has more sense than every President since Truman, and treats Israel fairly - fair in this context meaning sanctions and ostracism until the Israelis behave in a civilised manner.

  • Comment number 34.

    #27

    Your comments just illustrate the point I was making - that both "sides" of this argument are blinkered and will not listen to what the other side, or neutrals, say.

    Correcting a factual inaccuracy is not "propaganda". The proximate trigger for the latest round of ceasefire-breaking was an Israeli incursion. News reports confirm this. Depending on who far back you selectively take the cause and effect argument, you can can get to the Intifada, the Wall / Separation Barrier, 6 Day War, the Stern Gang, the Holocaust or the Crusdades. "It's not my fault, he started it". None of this helps the ordinary Palestinian or Israelis.

    And it's still true, whether you like it or not, that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Was Menachim Begin not originally a terrorist, who later became a mainstream politician and then won the Nobel Peace Prize? Depends if you think the cause is right. "History is propaganda written by the victors".

    I will defend forever the right of all people, including Israelis, to genuine self-defence. But my point was that whatever the actions of Hamas, this does not excuse the collective punishment of ordinary women and children in Gaza, or make it necessary.

  • Comment number 35.

    You Europeans are so trite and boorishly predictable. Most of you still cling to the scapegoating of Jews you've clung to for over a thousand years to explain the shortcomings of your pathetic civilization. How many secretly lamented the fact that Hitler did not finish them off and resent the US for not allowing the Arabs to finish the job? You can call the leaders of Israel war criminals, terrorists, or whatever else you like but from a British perspective so were George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Nathan Hale, and the rest of America's greatest patriots of the Revolutionary period so I take note of where your comments come from.

    Does it irk you that even according to Sir Christopher Meyers own words, the man who was Britain's ambassador to the US for over 5 years, the US is by far closer to Israel than to any other nation including Britain. He said that in a BBC interview. IMO the so called special relation the UK has with the US is largely a myth invented by the UK's imagination.

    In all likelihood the US will continue to give unrestricted support to Israel, even more so now that we understand that they have been on the front lines in the war on terror since their founding 60 years ago. Forced to choose between Europe and Israel, I'd say most Americans would stick by Israel.

    aproposofwhat, it is ludicrous for anyone from the UK to talk about behaving in a civilized manner when the UK's history catalogues more crimes against humanity than anyone can count. BTW, most expert political observers in the US believe that Clinton defeated Bush I in the 1992 election because of the recession. The middle east had nothing to do with it. As I recall, the US sent Patriot missiles to Israel to intercept the Scuds the Iraqis were firing trying to persuade them not to enter the war and damage the coalition. Is that what you call standing up to the Israelis?

    Don't worry Mr. Williams. If anything of note happens in Gaza, one way or another CNN will report it. They may not have as many people as BBC but they seem to have a penchant for being in the right place at the right time. On the roof of the el Rashid Hotel in January 1991 to cover the American bombing of Baghdad and in Baghdad when the civilians there with the help of an American tank pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein symbolizing the end of his rule. And where was BBC during all this? Nowhere to be found.

  • Comment number 36.

    It seems that most of you are missing the point here, it's not just the BBC that have been banned, but other media organisations too.

    That sounds like an Israeli black out of what's going on, is that not just a little suspicious.

    No34, badegercourage offers one of the few balanced views on this blog, it's extremly easy to critisise both sides in this situation, and to find various points in time when either appears to have 'started it', this just doesen't help.

    The BBC hating from the likes of Too True is actually reassuring, given that he/she equates being a friend of the Palestinian people with being a bad thing.

    Finally Marcus (wouldn't it be great if the BBC moderators used MarcuAurelliusII as their trigger for censoring any posts....?).

    I don't think it bothers very many British people that Israel has more in common with the US than they do. It's hardly surprising given the amount of real world testing Israel gives the US defence companies, is it? And shock, horror, CNN present at Planned US Military Manufactured news stories. Were they just as prompt for the friendly fire incidents or Abu Ghraib?

  • Comment number 37.

    It is simplistic, but has been effective in the past: scream abuse in order to silence and intimidate.

    Why should any land seek to bar reporters or other observers? The answer is obvious.

    Israel has a long history of censorship, perhaps because it has done so much evil.

    One Premier published a multi-volume memoir that included details of how his cabinet plotted and executed the murder of two Arab boys as a false-flag operation- the government sought to ban the book.

    Uri Avnery was part of the operation that drove hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes. He had orders to kill any who tried to return. The censorship would not allow him to publish the fact.

    The need to cover up apparently continues.

    However, there are Israeli organisations that expose and publish abuses by the Israeli regime- and they would like to have decent folk on their mailing lists. If anyone wants their names, speak up.

  • Comment number 38.

    It should be a sobering thought to any and all who hate Jews and Israel that the Israeli government is among a handful of governments which can unilaterally bring an end to all human life on earth if it chooses to. Those who wish it would disappear are in fact flirting with thoughts of their own end as well.

  • Comment number 39.

    The problem is not so much that the BBC needs to inject some objectivity into its coverage; the real problem for peace in the Middle East is that the BBC needs to exorcise its historical Judeophobic bias.

    Both earlier posters and the BBC have declared Hamas a democratically elected authority in Gaza. This is not strictly true. A majority of Hamas representatives were elected but so were many Fatah members as well. Hamas has exercised an undemocratic coup against other parties and has exercised nothing less than dictatorial persecution against other Gaza factions and clans; including a purge of Fatah from the enclave.

    Logically speaking if Scotland declares not only independence from England, but also makes it policy to annihilate England and then starts firing rockets over Hadrian’s Wall; what would be the response of the English? Now apply this analogy to Israel and Gaza.

    Even if 100% of Gazans democratically support Hamas and its stated aim to destroy Israel, are they not also then culpable and responsible for the effects that this policy has when Israel defends itself attempts to survive?

    The BBC should turn its attention to the fact that Jordan was originally intended as the ‘Palestinian State’. More Palestinians are held captive to the violent Dictatorship of the Hashemite King of Jordan than are in Gaza and the West Bank combined. In fact the UK will not deport convicted terrorists to Jordan for fear of the way they will be treated. Israel is the only democracy in the region and applies its own laws against itself in the treatment of Palestinians; which is against Israel’s military interest. Even the USA has a special Guantanamo prison to prevent combatants dedicated to the destruction of the USA benefiting from civil laws in the USA designed only for the protection of its own citizens and civil society. Israel has no Cuba.

    Despite International agreement that Israel has a right to exist as the only (tiny) self-determining Jewish State; the BBC persists in peddling the ‘Israel is apartheid’ Sophism. The idea behind this lie is that if Israel cannot be destroyed militarily perhaps it can be swamped by massive numbers of Muslims so that de facto it ceases to be a Jewish State. This is perhaps one of the most insidious lies perpetrated by the BBC and ranks alongside the racist-transference that ‘Jews, Israelis or Zionists are the new Nazis’.

    Further the BBC pushes the idea that Zionism (the Jewish movement for national self-determination) is racism. All the BBC does is presume in its articles that the United Nations is neutral, but it is not: A series of Judeophile proclamations and statements have been made by the United Nations General Assembly, which consists of a natural majority of Islamic States and their cronies. One of these declarations back in the 1970s was that Zionism equates to Racism. This is a direct attempt to deny Jews the reciprocal right of national self-determination and sovereignty. The BBC repeats this lie.

    Seen in this light; the BBC is regarded as a Judeophobia propaganda tool dedicated to the destruction of Israel; but unlike Hamas only through non-violent means; but nevertheless using propaganda lies and half-truths against the legal Jewish State.

    This is nothing new and carries the tradition set in WW2; when the BBC failed to demand the prevention of the holocaust by requesting the RAF to bomb the concentration camps. Further the BBC stood idly by while survivors of the holocaust were banned from entering pre-modern-Israeli borders, and sunk in refugee ships fleeing the continent of Europe.

    The BBC has a lot to answer for in stoking up the idea in Muslim minds that Israel is illegitimate and that it is possible to destroy it. This in turn is a barrier to Muslim compromise and true peace in the Middle East.

  • Comment number 40.

    Marcus, what's your point? Are you saying that people who disagree with Israel should keep quiet lest they are the target of nuclear weapons. Codswallop.

    Zeneds, nice rant. BBC dedicated towards the destruction of Israel? Why, to waht end? The main thing your comment lacks is a rational explanation for such an approach by the BBC.

  • Comment number 41.

    #38

    How far can you take a variation on "it's my ball and I'll take it away if I want"?

    Perhaps you are fortunate that the French gave you nuclear capability - perhaps you are not. Perhaps your fixation with CNN has a logical base - perhaps it does not. Perhaps there are "Jew-haters" on this blog - perhaps there are not. Perhaps the UK is jealous of the US relationship with Israel - perhaps it is not. Perhaps the Israelis will obliterate its "enemies" from the planet forever - perhaps it will not.

    We can all deal in opinion disguised as polemic or propaganda and it must irk you greatly when facts you dislike are broadcast around the globe. The remedy is however in Israels hands - when it is brave enough and big enough to admit to its own crimes against humanity and sit down with its opponents to negotiate real settlements to real issues. Do YOU want that day to come?

  • Comment number 42.

    # 40

    Few people realise the extent of the religio-ethnic fanaticism animating Israel.

    What is frequently referred to is the "Samson Option". Essentially, if the West does not come to the aid of Israel when needed, then Israel will provoke nuclear destruction of the World.

    Not only is this promoted in Israel, but various pro-Israel posters on BBC blogs unveil it under paranoic stress.

    It was introduced by such a poster on the BBC World Have Your Say, but the WHYS management, always editing with a strong pro-Israel bias, blocked any reference to its import.

  • Comment number 43.

    #42, Wow xie_ming, so what you're saying is that MAII isn't the only person to who's scared into giving Israel whatever they want because of the nuclear threat?

    Thanks also for describing the BBC as pro-Israel. Once again they are being dissed from both sides and no one seems to have a good explanation as to why they would persue bias (in either direction).

    Curious.

  • Comment number 44.

    *42. Xie Ming.

    Never heard of this 'Samson option' as you call it but I know one thing, I'd rather take the risk than live under the rule of the kind of ranting lunatics that have taken over this thread.


    There's absolutely no reason for the BBC to take the biased line that is being attributed to it and the fact that it is willing to allow such aggressive comments to be published in its own columns seems to demonstrate this.

    I suppose it could be argued the BBC are applying some kind of reverse psychology ... but if that's the case, the extremists seem more than willing to contribute to it.

    Hoist by their own petard, I would say, for it is this kind of agenda extremism that will turn those who would seek the middle road into 'anti'.

  • Comment number 45.

    # 43

    I did NOT describe the BBC as pro-Israel- I mentioned the management of one "program"- World Have Your Say (WHYS).

    The management there engaged in serious departures from journalistic ethics.

    The program also managed allow a special telephone number and email address to get into the hands of Zionist activists threatening violence.

    Since there are allegations above concerning the BBC as a whole, I mention the WHYS program as a very contrary example (and have the documentation to establish the claim).

  • Comment number 46.

    #45, fair enough Xie. Not going to ask for your evidence, but do you have a theory as to why the Beeb went that route for that particular WHYS? Was it a 'bad apple' or something more sinister?

  • Comment number 47.

    paulcrosseyes you just don't see what is staring you in the face. If organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, the government of Iran, and others get their way and it appears Israel will cease to exist, so will everyone else including you and me. And what irony that the instruments of all of our destruction and the extinction of the intolerant human race, nuclear power and nuclear weapons was created largely by Jews like Oppenheimer, Fermi, Teller, and others and that if in one mode, say the launching of thermonuclear weapons at the oil fields of the middle east, the rocket science was developed by Nazis working first for Nazi Germany and then the US government. Poetic justice. So it doesn't come down to right or wrong, what's fair and what isn't, justice or injustice whichever side you are on, whichever way you see it. It comes down to whether or not your hatred for Jews is greater than your wish for yourself and those you love to go on living. It's actually the same issue facing the so called Palestinians when they or their children go out to fight armed Israelis with rocks or RPGs or shoot small home made rockets at them. In fact, anyone who has a nuclear reactor and a nuclear weapon or just a nuclear weapon and enough easy to acquire cobalt can create a device which will irradiate the entire surface of our planet with lethal radiation. So our survival depends on theirs. Now who is the insane one, me or you?

  • Comment number 48.

    To zeneds, MAII, TrueToo

    Please inject some of your objectivity...

    Terrorism involves violence and the threat of violence.

    To those accusing the BBC of bias, please post your legal definition of "terrorism". People can then do a point-by-point analysis of an extensive impartial legal definition and conclude what constitutes "terrorism" and who has carried it out.

    In the absence of this definition you might not be qualified to declare what is or isn't impartial. Supplying a definition may give you more credibility.

    To those posting claims that the BBC is anti-Israel, why do you think you are unable to supply this legal impartial definition?

  • Comment number 49.

    # 46

    I attribute it solely to the particular manager involved and to the employees who remained in that high-turnover unit under his direction.

  • Comment number 50.

    Well Marcus Aurelius. your usual load of rubbish. If Israel ceases to exist, how does it follow that I will cease to exist? Does my whole existence depend on the existence of Israel? I don't think so, and neither do you, if as I suspect, you have a brain inside your head. Your comments regarding nuclear weapons are sub-infantile. The possession of a nuclear reactor does not empower a country to destroy the planet. Do you have any evidence to support that statement? No, I didn't think so. And can the whole world be held to ransom by, for instance, Finland? Get real, MA, and by the way, don't steal the name of someone who actually was capable of independent thought. What a clown.

  • Comment number 51.

    # 50

    You fail to appreciate what is within Israel called the "Samson Option" (he who brought the Temple down upon himself and his enemies).

    The idea is that, if the West does not help Israel when it is threatened, then Israel will detonate nuclear devices in such a manner as to pollute the Earth's atmosphere and end life on Earth.

    This idea is cherished among Zionist paranoid fanatics.

  • Comment number 52.

    Response to Paulcrossleyii

    At 07:13am #40 16th November: You wrote:
    “BBC dedicated towards the destruction of Israel? Why, to waht [your mis-type] end? The main thing your comment lacks is a rational explanation for such an approach by the BBC.”
    At 09:03am #43 you wrote:
    “…no one seems to have a good explanation as to why they would persue [your spelling mistake] bias…”

    Paul if you can find out why Jews were formally expelled from England between 1290 and 1655; why it was necessary for parliament to introduce the ‘Jew Bill of 1753; Why Britain enforced the ‘Alien Immigration Act in 1905’ to prevent Jews entering Britain to escape Russia persecution, (when it allowed for example Ugandan Asians into the country some three-quarters of a century later); Why a 1939 White Paper effectively outlawed the escape of Jews persecuted by Nazis to their ancestral home in pre-modern Israel; then you may begin to inch towards an understanding of the historical Judeophobia that is rife in British (and many other) societies.

    This originated as a theological problem: Christianity and later Islam has a hard time promoting the idea that either religion speaks ‘the truth’ in religious terms when they are both carbon copies of a living and vibrant Judaism. Consequently both religions have sought to erase Judaism and its practitioners from history. Islam also seeks to erase Christianity from history for the same reason.

    This has led to modern civil societies being corrupted by this historical and theological Judeophobia. Hence the German-Nazi use of industrial mass-murder to obliterate the Jews; and modern speech such as the Iran President’s desire to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ (ironically using very non-Islamic Jewish nuclear technology).

    There are many tautologies in history caused by the fear of Jews by non-Jews. This is now a pathology displayed by the indoctrinated masses, including those who rely on the BBC and it statutory license fee for a living.

    I hope this helps you understand the reality of the situation a little better; although I suspect you question was insincere.

  • Comment number 53.

    Response to Xie_Ming

    At 2:28pm you write:
    “You fail to appreciate what is within Israel called the "Samson Option"… The idea is that, if the West does not help Israel when it is threatened, then Israel will detonate nuclear devices in such a manner as to pollute the Earth's atmosphere and end life on Earth. This idea is cherished among Zionist paranoid fanatics.”

    Nonsense. One of this mistakes that Judeophobic Islamicists makes is to presume Israel cannot use nuclear weapons tactically in geographical areas around it due to the problem of the fall-out you claim they want to use to destroy the world.

    If you (or the President of Iran) knew anything on this serious subject, then both of you would already understand the strategic implications of the difference between neutron and atom/hydrogen bombs.

    Israel has no intention of destroying either the world or itself. It has neutron weapons, which effectively leave no radioactive fallout; they emit a gamma burst that is measurable to the meter. This means, for example, that they could annihilate Hezbollah in south Lebanon without risk to themselves (if they so desired).

    The deterrent that Israel uses on the Islamic world that is baying for its destruction in every international forum where they can whine; is that if a single Weapon of Mass Destruction [WMD] is detonated in (or used against) Israel, then in consequence the entire Muslim world will be destroyed within twelve hours.

    The so called ‘Samson’ Option (which you do not understand at a tactical, strategic or political level), is a secondary deterrent to people like the Russians, which effectively says: ‘The Islamics attacked us first with WMD, they had it coming (i.e. our response), if you now exploit our weakness (from the initial ‘Islamic’ attack against us), by attacking us at this moment, then you will get the same treatment (i.e. we will attack your entire country with neutron weapons and annihilate you).’

    I hope you all now understand the nature of the Israeli defence that they have developed against the repeated and bloodthirsty efforts to destroy them. I suggest everyone leaves them alone: Talk to the Hashemite King in Jordan about democracy for his Palestinian population, before you attempt to eat any more of Israel.

  • Comment number 54.

    Zeneds, clearly understood, thanks, a nation of a few million people thinks it has the god-given right to destroy the whole planet and 6000 million people for their own political ends. And our great leaders go along with this and support these abject scoundrels? What is going on here? And why?

  • Comment number 55.

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

  • Comment number 56.

    halfbrain, the detonation of a nuclear weapon inside of a nuclear reactor will send one hundred tons of enriched uranium into the stratosphere where it will circle the globe and fall on every part of the planet causing us to all be poisoned as it enters our food chain. In the 1940s and 1950s, the US and USSR tested several hundred nuclear weapons in remote areas, each having only about 20 pounds of enriched uranium or plutonium. The results were so devastating in the alarming rise of cancers around the world that despite their fear of each other and determination to build large nuclear arsenals, they agreed to ban the atmospheric testing of them in 1961.

    The high energy physics lab web site which has a very good account of all aspects of nuclear weapons including who has what concluded ten years ago that Israel had about 200, many fusion boosted. By now they probably have about 400 and many may be full thermonuclear weapons. These can be used in many ways to destroy all human life on earth. A doomsday weapon such as one I described above or one jacketed with cobalt. Igniting all of the middle east's oil fields in fires that could never be extinguished giving us a hundred years of global warming in six months not to mention enormous atmospheric disruptions. BTW, their missiles can also reach most of the capitals of Europe in case anyone is interested. Perhaps when they go down, they'll take out some of the countries which persecuted their ancestors for a millenium or more just as a going away present. Yes, our survival depends on theirs and there is nothing anyone can do about it. In fact insofar as the US is concerned, there is nothing anyone wants to do about it. At least 30 million American evangelists believe that before Christ returns, there will be a nuclear war in the middle east and many are actually looking forward to it. I'm not one of them but with the developments in Iran, it could happen at any moment when either the US or Israel feels sufficiently threatened by the looming possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon. Short of intrusive unannounced on-site inspection, the only defense a nation has against being wiped out by a surprise nuclear attack by an adversary is a pre-emptive strike of its own. When push comes to shove, Isreal will strike if the US doesn't first.

  • Comment number 57.

    Poor BBC, for once a democratic country has told you to bugger off, the amount of anti-Israeli rhetoric displayed by your reporters (e.g. Alan Johnson) makes me wonder why the Israelis did not refuse you permission to enter Gaza before.

    Also, and what you have omitted is the fact that the BBC is not banned from Israeli, nor is it banned by Egypt both of which have border controls into Gaza.

    Not for one moment do I think that Israel acts correctly all of the time, nor do I think that Hamas is anything less than a terrorist organisation.

    The BBC can peddle all the pro-Hamas rubbish it wishes, however, until it releases the Balen report it has no authority whatsoever to complain about any country/individual who refuses to allow such an openly biased media outlet to operate in it's COUNTRY.


  • Comment number 58.

    # 56

    Adding to #56

    Israel has three missile-carrying submarines.
    These can go anywhere and are not planned for use in the Middle East.

    There are a large number of fanatics in Israel. Many of them speak of the "Samson Option", and several Zionists have pushed the idea on BBC websites.

    It took only one man to kill the Premier of Israel, because the latter wanted to make peace.

    The killer was a top law law student, was and is quite sane, and maintains that the murder was justified by religious law.

    [If you are familiar with such matters, he said that the Premier was a "rodef".]

  • Comment number 59.

    The pattern of hurling insults and protests in order to silence facts is common behaviour among political Zionists.

    Various forms of censorship have been a persistent behaviour of the Israeli state.

    Of course, the regime wishes to conceal its crimes and religo-ethnic character, including the attempted genocide and continuing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

    There are many organizations within Israel publicising these criminal activities. Anyone interested should get on their mailing lists.

    Try gush-shalom, the otherisrael, physicians for human rights, rabbis for human rights, betselem, etc.

    If anyone has difficulty finding the appropriate URLs, speak up and I will try to post them.

  • Comment number 60.

    Xie_Ming

    Israel has been in a perpetual state of war for its survival since its inception 60 years ago. It would be surprising if there were not many violations of what would be considered civil rights during normal times. That's just the nature of war. Until the war waged against it ends, it will go on and on and will likely get even worse. There has never been a war without atrocities on both sides, each side claiming the other is inhuman. In the US, the same thing has happened since 9-11 and will continue to happen. If the US slackens and returns to business as usual allowing potential threats to go unchecked, then after the next attack or two, things will change drastically. Depending on how severe the attack is, this could include overthrow of Constitutional government and imposition of a military dictatorship for real, not the imaginary one those who have opposed American actions against its current adversaries up to now have invented a perjorative political rhetoric. In this state, anyone and everyone who is even suspected of being subversive could be imprisoned without trial, even executed. The survival of the Republic will take precedence over survival of the Constitution because without the Republic, there will be no Constitution. BTW, if Obama or the Democrats stand in opposition to necessary security measures the Pentagon and CIA feel are necessary, they will be shoved aside or worse. Like all people everywhere, survival is the number one priority of most Americans even if it temporarily means under a dictatorship. Don't believe it? Just ask Americans of Japanese ancestry who experienced WWII in the US.

  • Comment number 61.

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

  • Comment number 62.

    Response to Xie_Ming #59, 5:44pm

    You regurgitate the tired old Judeophobic argument that Israel has committed genocide and ethnic cleansing. In 1948 almost the entire Jewish populations of every Islamic State were, in your words, ethnically cleansed and expelled to: guess where? Yes that is right: to Israel. There was a huge population exchange envisaged. This is not to mention the wandering survivors of the Holocaust in Europe.

    More Jews were expelled from the Arab countries than there were Arabs who were forced to relocate from Israel.

    Instead of absorbing the relatively small number of so-called Palestinians from what became Israel the Arab countries refused to integrate them, as they intended to use them as a political pawn in their never-ending war of destruction against Israel. The Arab countries created huge refugee camps for the Palestinians to ensure their on-going suffering and sense of displacement. This problem was worst in Jordan where the actual country that was meant to represent the Arab population of Trans-Jordan should have been established. Trans-Jordan was the land area that today makes up Israel, Jordan, The West-Bank and Gaza. Instead a Hashemite Dictatorship came to control Jordan, denying the local Arab population and refuges from Israel, all so-called Palestinians, from having their own country.

    So today when you talk about displaced people from what became Israel you starkly and blatantly refuse to address the Jewish populations who were stripped of their land; their property, some of which had oil under it; and citizenship from ALL the Islamic countries including places as far away as Iran and Malaysia.

    This is why you, and those who spout the same one-sided and twisted arguments like the BBC alongside you, come across logically as twisted, manipulative, racist Judeophobic haters.




  • Comment number 63.

    Marcus, thanks for your response.While I don't think you're insane, I do think you are so misguided in certain areas that it often appears this way. You're probably beyond help, and I see you've shuffled the topic of your comments on to how brilliant the US is and its current "War on Terror".

    Zeneds, you're obviously very familiar with anti-Jewish history (as well as pointing out spelling mistakes in a truly patronising manner) maybe you're a GCSE History Teacher?

    So despite the Pro-Israel stance of the BBC and the presence of a lot of Jews within the organisation (according to the other bloggers here), the Beeb continues to persue a historical persecution? Again, why?

    Apologies for going back to the original post, but why is it that all organisations have been locked out of Gaza?

  • Comment number 64.

    Response to Paulcrossleyii #63 at 9:12pm

    I am sorry if you feel that it is patronising to point out spelling mistakes on a blog; but if you want to be taken seriously perhaps you should make the effort to at least spell correctly in your posts.

    I attempted to answer your question about why the BBC is biased against Israel; you seem to not understand. I will give you another example, you bring up the subject of History teaching: Look at those areas of Britain where the history of the Holocaust (against predominantly Jews, where according to established historical record over 6 million Jews were murdered), has been removed from the teaching syllabus. The removal of parts of recent history about the largest mass murder in human history has been executed in parts of England for fear of offending Muslim students! No I am not a GCSE History teacher (is that your attempt at patronising?). This is akin to removing the teaching of Evolution in schools for fear of offending Creationists: Something most scientists and educated thinkers regard as retrograde and a degradation of modern education and culture.

    To answer your second question about why the BBC has been stopped from entering Gaza from Israel this week: There is a war going on with the Gazans having fired up to 150 rockets from there at Southern Israel. The BBC and this blog take a rather egocentric view when it thinks the BBC alone has been barred. No one is going across the border, as it is physically too dangerous. That is why the border is closed. There are boats from Cyprus and a longer border with Egypt. Perhaps the BBC could whine at the Egyptians about why they have not allowed entry from their side. But no, the Judeophobes want to attack Israel, for anything, even at the risk of exposing their bias. The BBC should try to get into Gaza from Egypt; then you should be asking why has neither Israel nor Egypt allowed the BBC into Gaza? Then you can ask yourself; why has the EU and the USA determined Hamas to be a terrorist organisation?

    Are you getting the picture yet? As the saying goes, you can take a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.

    To say the BBC is pro-Israel is similar to saying that the Pope is not Catholic.





  • Comment number 65.

    Zeneds, thank you for your apology, it is much appreciated. I do try to spell correctly, but tend to concentrate my efforts on ensuring that my posts are balanced and well reasoned.

    I genuinely thought that you might be a history teacher, and that's certainly not meant as an insult (sorry for you if you took it that way). If you want to be patronised, I suggest you go elsewhere.

    I fear that most people on these blogs will never take me seriously though, I find the general approach by most bloggers is that their view is correct; they are very rarely prepared to accept that two people can be confronted with the same facts or situation and come to two very different conclusions.

    As I understand it, you think the BBC is anti-Israel, because in the past many other people have also been anti-Israel and ant-Jewish. So in your opinion how far does this go? (the UK Govt, the whole EU....) and why? To what ends? In my experience individuals tend to act out of hatred and fear, but Governments and the business' that control them to some degree usually have a monetary purpose behind their actions.

    As to your explanation for the Gaza lock-down, please enlighten me further. Have there not been many other times when a similar level of danger existed in the area, wasn't it always up to the individual journalist whether they chose to go there?

    The only people who have been marking the BBC down as a special case here are the various posters with an axe to grind. Jon Williams makes the point that there are few places the BBC are unwelcome - presumably to emphasise tha they are generall considered pretty unbiased. But he states that no media is been allowed in.

    To say that the BBC is anti-Jewish is to say that bears don't deficate in the woods. There - we can all make meaningless statements, it really is very easy.

    As the updated saying goes, you can lead an unblinkered horse to the tainted lop-sided drinking trough, but you can't make him drink.

  • Comment number 66.

    We should not neglect facts in the smoke of diversionary spiels.

    Do any decent and honest souls want references to the genocide of Palestinians that began in the final hours of the British Mandate?

    To the slaughter of entire and untotally
    unarmed Arab villages?

    To the coordinated campaign designed to drive 500,000 Palestinians from their homes?

    To the orders given to "kill any thet tried to return"?

    This began as genocide and continues even today as ethnic cleansing.

    The mouthings of political Zionists are but insincere propaganda.

    Should any decent folk want references, just ask.

  • Comment number 67.

    paulcrosseyes, if you mean by me being beyond help that I can never become a European, you are right. I've been that way since my personality was formed probably by the time I was five years old. I've had a lifetime of observing all kinds of people from all over the world including Europeans on their own turf and there is no doubt that I will never see the world through their eyes. If that makes me crazy in their opinion, well that is just too bad. The last time I left Europe was in February 1974 and I have no desire to ever return. I find that entire civilization repulsive beyond description. I reject it and everything it is now, ever was, or is likely to become.

  • Comment number 68.

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

  • Comment number 69.

    zeneds, I wasn't aware I was being sarcastic (well not much anyway). Were you being sarcastic too? If not can you tell me what it was I was imitating?

    Unfortunately, as we all know, stating that the person you are arguing with has "nothing to say" and is "vacuous" is the worst form of argument. Until that point I thought maybe you had a reasoned argument to make, but you appear to have given up.

    Marcus, don't worry too much, you can still become a European, there's always time, but, gosh! 1974, what a long time ago. I was under the impression that your authoritative views on we Euros were a little more up to date than that, we've all changed a lot since then (being born was a biggy for me). But never mind, unlike you I won't stamp my feet and tell you that you're not allowed to comment on people that you have either never lived amongst or at least not for 35 years.

  • Comment number 70.

    paulcrosseyes, Europeans haven't changed much in 35 years. I've been meeting them, watching them, and I see that they say the same things, think the same thoughts, commit the same crimes, make the same blunders they did when I lived there. If I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and saw a European looking back at me, I'd pull the gun out of the drawer and blow my brains out without the slightest hesitation. I'd rather be dead than be like you.

  • Comment number 71.

    Sparky: "I'd rather be dead than be like you".

    While of course that statement demonstrates your obvious mental maturity (perhaps in the same way that an overly mature cheese is in reality mouldy and inedible), I am drawn to enquire what it is that most upsets you about me?

    Do you not like my family (they're alright if you give them a chance), is it my choice in leisure persuits (I rather lke the idea of you rock climbing), or is it simply because you know I can't dance?

    I, on the other hand, would love a chance to see the world through your eyes, call it morbid curiosity (so long as I am guaranteed to return to my own being).

  • Comment number 72.

    The tiresome and shameful efforts of the political Zionists to obfuscate and conceal the evils of Israeli acts and policy are quite evident,

    both in the postings here and in their actions in barring journalists and other observers, in this case making the BBC a special target.

    In the case of Israel's rulers, the truth will hurt.

    The remedy is utter evident: publish the truth!

    Start with the Plan Dalet:

    http://www.mideastweb.org/pland.htm

  • Comment number 73.

    For reporting from and about Israel/Palestine, Uri Avnery is an extraordinarily good resource.


    He is now 85 and has been a member of the Knesset, a war hero, and reporting for more than sixty years. His articles are searchable in either English or Hebrew. Here is one:

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/archive/1182406019

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

    34. At 01:03am on 16 Nov 2008, badgercourage,

    There are degrees, even of terrorism. Study the King David Hotel attack, site of the British military headquarters and before which three warnings to evacuate were issued, one to the British - who responding by saying, "We do not take orders from Jews." Consider the fact that the British were doing everything they could to arm and encourage the Arabs and strangle the nascent Jewish state - which they had been mandated to help establish.

    Then compare that, for example, to terrorist Sami Kuntar - who infiltrated Israel from Lebanon and bashed a little Jewish girl's head in against a rock with his rifle butt, having just murdered her father in front of her.

    And you are being disingenous about who started what. The current round was started by Hamas - though you'd never know that if you get your news from the BBC.

    36, paulcrossleyiii,

    I don't hate the BBC. And I didn't say being a friend of the Palestinians was a bad thing. But when a "journalists" allows his friendship to affect his reporting, as Johnston continually did, that is a bad thing. Why do you lefties always read ten times more into a simple statement than that which is intended?

  • Comment number 76.

    Today BBC news reported that following a court ruling in Israel, that an Arab family was evicted for illegally residing in a house in what BBC calls "Arab East Jerusalem" and it is now occupied by "Israeli settlers." There was nothing about the details of this ruling except that the Arab family had lived in the house for 50 years. Show me even ONE comparable example of BBC reporting an eviction legal or otherwise of a Jewish family from their home in a Moslem country or in fact in a European country. BBC is clearly still very much biased against Jews, Israel and America. BBC is a hostile alien presence in both the United States and Israel. I see no reason why its reporters and other employees should be allowed to remain in either of those countries. I for one would not mind them being told to pack up and get out of America lock, stock, and barrel.

  • Comment number 77.

    "66. At 11:00pm on 16 Nov 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    Do any decent and honest souls want references to the genocide of Palestinians that began in the final hours of the British Mandate?"

    Perhaps you should report it in context with the slaughter of all Jews in haifa in 1927 and the comments by the Grand Muftee of Jerusalem druing the 40's that the Arabs should follow Hitlers example and exterminate all Jews.

    BOTH sides in the arab-israeli conflict are as bad as each other. Neither has shown any real inclination to compromise and both are equally happy to slaughter each other.

    Choosing one isolated slaughter to prove your point merely shows how partisan you are. There are no 'good' or 'bad' guys in that part of the world.

  • Comment number 78.

    #8 I'm amazed I'm even debating this with someones tag is 'sick of israel' but your point

    "Translation: People in Palestine voted for Hamas, which we don't like therefore we won't regard it as a democratic vote."

    Is totally wrong. I think the election of Hamas was totally democratic. Now, rather than being a minority terror group they have a mandate to represent the people of Palestine and every Hamas rocket that lands in Israel lands with the blessing of the Palestinian people... and the Palestinian people have to bear the consequences of their democracy.

    If Al Qu'eda hold all Brits responsible for Blairs war in Iraq because we voted for him then I don't see why the situation shouldn't be reversed. The German people voted in Hitler and they were certainly made to pay for their choice.

  • Comment number 79.

    If understand MA2 and zeneds correctly Israel already rules the world....

    No wonder he USA is in so much disarray then...

  • Comment number 80.

    # 79

    Yes. Part of the ideology is that Jews everywhere form a nation. An Orthodox corollory is that other than in Israel they are living in "exile" (galut).

    This will help to explain the Fifth Column activity so evident in America and on this board.

  • Comment number 81.

    Response to MeACoalPit 12:20 #79

    You most certainly do not understand; all we are saying is that Israel has a very convincing nuclear deterrent to prevent people like the Iranians thinking they can destroy Israel without consequence. It also means that anyone who thinks of imposing another Holocaust on Jews may well find themselves annihilated in a matter of seconds. Self-defence is both a legal right amongst sovereign states, and a legal obligation owed by every government of a state to its people.

    Response to Xie_Ming 12:37 #80

    It is not fifth column activity to point out your or the BBC’s solitary critical focus on Israel in marked contrast to your and the BBC’s failure to ever criticise the Arab current attempt at Genocide of all the Jews in the world. This is a debate not military action. A fifth column is what Quaeda has in Britain when they seek to explode more bombs on civilian targets. You Judeophobia has made you berserk.

  • Comment number 82.

    #78

    Can you explain what "sin" the Palestinians committed to be displaced to make way for Israel?

    And as "Israel" did not exist prior to 1948 and its creation involved serious terrorist activity against others including British soldiers does that not also invite "terrorism" as a means to gaining (or recovering) territory even in a 21st Century world?

  • Comment number 83.

    #81 zeneds

    Oh I understand far better than you do.

    Nuclear deterrence has been a topic for over half a century in the heads of political academics and most sane people know that it will take just one "hot head" to deliver "Armageddon". That you claim that Israel is guaranteeing "Armageddon" lock, stock and barrel rather disposes any hope on my part that Israel has political balance at any level.

  • Comment number 84.

    Response to MeACoalPit 12:58 #82

    Israel existed in the same location several times in history; Babylonians, Romans and Islam have destroyed it in turn. Each time it was destroyed Jews rebuilt it. The 1948 incarnation is perhaps the third or fourth re-birth of Israel, depending on how you count. So yes is did exist before. It existed at a time before Islam, Christianity and when most Europeans were living in caves and the only people living in North America were indigenous tribes like the Apache. The only reason Israel did not exist in a modern form until 1948 was that Islam, through the Ottoman Empire, forcibly enslaved the Jews there and converted many to Islam; they even went so far as to expel all Jews from the Capital city and build the dome on the most holy of Jewish sites; Solomons Temple.

    All territory captured by Israel was obtained in defensive wars; in an attempt to prevent the Arab armies over-running Israel in their Genocidal wars against the Jews both before but mainly after 1948.

    There was no ‘sin’ committed; as the State of Jordan is an Arab country designed to be home for the Palestinians as Israel was for the millions of Jews displaced from Arab and Islamic countries at the same time. It is not a fault of the Jews that Palestinians are not free to represent themselves in Jordan.

    You need to learn to appreciate the difference between true terrorists like Al Quaeda (who hijack and then fly civilian aircraft into civilian buildings with no objective other than to create havoc, destruction and fear), from those military organisations in history like the partisans in France and freedom fighters in Israel, (who sought to recapture historical homelands from occupying foreign dictators, with the purpose of establishing freedom loving democracies rules by law).

  • Comment number 85.

    #75

    "There are degrees, even of terrorism"

    I reiterate that it depends on your point of view. Saying "our" terrorism isn't as bad as "theirs"as it is in a noble cause, we are more civilised about it, they started it, or whatever, is just special pleading.

    The circumstances leading up to King David are still contested. And the dead are just as dead whether a warning was given or not, and whether they are jews, arabs or neutrals.

    I'm not being disingenuous (is that really what you mean?), just honest. Something both sides of this debate refuse to be.

    The only people whose "side" I am on is that of the ordinary people: the Palestinian women and children who are being subject to collective punishment and their Israeli counterparts who fear the Hamas rockets.

    However, the fact remains that Israel is the "Occupying Power". Logically it must therefore be for Israel to make the first move towards a breakthrough, as the Palestinians have not got the means to do so even if they want to and have no effective government.

    I would imagine this means committing publicly to moving back to something close to the pre-1967 borders, with maybe some adjustments reflecting the reality of settlement blocks.

    But I have just read in the paper that Ehud Barak has recently approved 400 more housing units for "settlers" in the occupied West Bank. How is that going to help?

    Maybe it's true as a young Israeli told me that they don't want peace, they just want the land.

  • Comment number 86.

    #82. My granddad recieved fairly serious burns in the King David bombing so please don't lecture me about Jewish terrorism.

    'Israel' may not have existed pre-1948, but neither did an independent country called Palestine. Nor was Gaza a palestinian territory (it was part of Egypt) nor was the west bank (it was part of Jordan until 1967). Egypt and Jordan are strangely quiet about wanting their land back, presumably because the current inhabitants are more trouble than the land is worth.

    Please explain what could possible justify randomly killing the grandchildren of those who first settled in Israel in 48 too? They didn't blow anyone up. By your argument because my great-uncle bombed Dresden that mean an East German has the right to petrol bomb my house in reprisal!

    The problem is that people like you continue to choose sides and sympathise with random acts of murder based on very hazy historical 'justification', rather than do what is needed and smack the heads together of both parties and tell them ENOUGH!

    We managed to overcome 400 years of hatred in Ireland. It can be done in the mid east too.

  • Comment number 87.

    Response to MeACoalPit 1:02pm #83

    Not only do you fail to understand; your post demonstrates that you have not bothered to read or understand the posts in this thread; which is lazy. Armageddon is commonly understood to be the end of all human life on Earth; no one is silly enough to suggest that Israel will deliver this cataclysm, except the most ardent anti-Israel posters. Only Russia, China and America have this ability.

    You are also wrong to think that one hot head, as you call them, in Israel, could launch a nuclear attack. The democracies have strict command and control procedures on the use of nuclear weapons. However in Iran a theocratic dictatorship, a single hot head might be able to launch a nuclear strike; this is one reason why the modern democracies are absolutely determined to prevent archaic theocratic dictatorships from obtaining nuclear weapons.

    As with many posts that attack Israel your one-sided arguments betray your disability that we recognise as the psychological disease of Judeophobia.

  • Comment number 88.

    #84. Actually there is no legal difference between the French Resistance and Al Qu'eda.
    Under the geneva convention you can shoot any partisan on the spot quite happily. Thats why very few Germans ever faced trial for shooting resistance fighters.

    Its a simple case of one mans terrorist being anothers freedom fighter and is the mistake that most people on this board are making: choosing sides and putting positive spin on 'their' terrorists actions while condemning the other side for doing exactly the same.

    The US, USSR, China etc do exactly the same so I suppose I shouldn't expect more sense from individuals either.

  • Comment number 89.

    Reply to badgercourage posted 00:46am #13.

    You post is grossly mistaken, probably intentionally. The rocket attacks were a result of an Israeli military action to prevent Hamas digging under the Israeli border in a new attempt to kidnap Israelis in Israel. This tunnelling was the initiating cease-fire breach.

    Interesting that you and none of the posters against Israel here mention Galit who was kidnapped by Hamas in Israel and is still held prisoner. You are all such caring humanists; until it comes to having compassion for Jews when you are found wantonly lacking.

  • Comment number 90.

    zeneds #84
    "You need to learn to appreciate the difference between true terrorists"

    Please furnish everyone with an impartial legal definition of terrorism as I requested in post #48. People can then do a point-by-point analysis of an extensive impartial legal definition and conclude what constitutes "terrorism" and who has carried it out.

    Why haven't you engaged with post #48?

  • Comment number 91.

    Reply to Peter_Sym 1:33pm #88

    If you cannot distinguish the ethical difference between French Partisans in world war two and al Quaeda now; then you have truly lost all ability to reason in a sane manner and should not post on a blog for you have no judgement left at all: All you can do is frighten and confuse small children.

  • Comment number 92.

    #91. I didn't say ethical- I said legal.

    Legally the French resistance were terrorist.

    Ethically it depends on whether your allegiances lie with the nazi's or not. The french resistance (or rather resistances as there were many diffferent groups with different politics) were quite capable of kidnapping German soldiers and threating to execute them (usually with fairly medieval methods) unless their demands were met. The french resistance planted bombs in cafe's used by German soldiers and normally killed more Frenchmen in the process.

    Do those tactics remind you of any other group?

    While I quite sympathise with the French using any means neccessary to get their country back I can appreciate that the Stern gang and Hamas probably think the same way and doubtless justify murder in the same easy way.

    The 'confused' children are those on the board that think killing Jewish kids = good & killing Arab kids = bad or vice versa.

  • Comment number 93.

    #90

    Yes please, can we have a watertight legal definition of terrorism from someone?

    #91

    I partially agree with you here: French partisans cannot be equated with al-Qaeda, who are not fighting in defence of their country.

    But the original blog is about Gaza, and we have all been drawn of the point, me included.

    Armed resistance in defence your land and home is a continuum, and where do you draw the line? When does that become terrorism in the eyes of the netural?

    And #88 was not saying he equated the two, merely that international law treats both the same.

    Simply abusing someone who you disagree with does not advance the debate.

  • Comment number 94.

    Reply to _Marko 1:44pm #90 aka #48

    _Marko I am only responding to you as you are begging for attention:

    You and everyone here are aware of the impossibility of a universal agreement on the term terrorist, unless you propose a new law of though-crime. Even a United Nations conference could not begin to agree a definition. The best we can hope for is a moral or ethical relativism, a sensible balanced judgement on the subject at hand. You declare that only with a legal definition of terrorism can people demonstrate BBC bias against Israel. However you do not ask those attacking Israel to stop their platitudes. Again you represent the one-sided: The side against Israel that is.

    By demanding impossible agreement on the definition of terrorism, you try to take the debate up an intellectual cul de sac. It is simply your attempt to impose a self-defeating circular argument on those who believe that the BBC is indeed biased against Israel.

    To illustrate what I mean I could say to you: Define the Palestinian nation. Then I could say: Until you can define the Palestinian Nation, you cannot argue that Israel is squashing anyone’s national aspirations. Arabs are free to leave Israel, the only Jewish state on the planet, for any number of Islamic countries. However my argument like yours before it would be fatuous.

    This is why I, and no one else, has engaged post #48, as it contributes nothing to this debate about the bias of the BBC. Post #48 simply seeks to derail proponents of one side of the argument and not the other.

  • Comment number 95.

    A terrorist does is not legally employed by a sovereign nation. He does not fight in uniform and they use acts of violence against primarily civilian or other soft targets to force political change by non-democratic means.

    Al Qu'eda think (or at least claim) they are fighting in self defence of their homeland. They believe that all Islamic land should be united and want 4 things: A return to the Caliphate with the abolition of borders and state governments in the mid-east, the west out of the middle east, the Palestinians running Israel (not that that word would be around for long) and the house of Saud specifically deposed.

    Where the borders of the Caliphate would end are pretty debatable because a few who sign up for the franchise would view Bradford as Islamic land and their right to speak for any Palestinian is pretty debatable seeing as Hamas have told them to stay out of it.

    What isn't debatable is that Al Qu'eda members think they're fighting for a just (to them) cause. In their heads they're not killing for the fun of it.

  • Comment number 96.

    Reply to badgercourage posted 2:14pm #93.

    It is not a surprise that you too want the impossible to be provided (a definition of terrorism) before allowing anyone to attack the BBC for bias, as post #48 attempts; and as I have explained away as an attempt to derail one side of the argument.

    You too need to read the posts and to be sensible.

    Jordan is the so-called Palestinian State. Go and whine at the Hashemite King who is Dictator of that country about Palestinian rights before you ask Israel to either dissolve itself or leave itself territorially indefensible against genocidal barbarians.

    Hamas in Gaza are not defending their territory as you disingenuously claim. They are on the contrary openly and explicitly engaged in a war of annihilation against Israel. Israel left Gaza and only defends the air space and sea borders to prevent more unwarranted and illegal attacks on itself and its territory.

    The land of Gaza is not legally occupied, although many Judeophobes peddle this misnomer. The land of the West Bank and Gaza are legally disputed. This is not my opinion but the legal position in international law. To call Gaza occupied when it is disputed is the mark of a Judeophobic. It is like telling me black is white or up is down, or that the Holocaust never happened. This is just another simple act of self-deception by minds that are full of hate for Jews.

    How can you expect any agreement when you misrepresent the truth?

  • Comment number 97.

    Reply to Peter_Sym 2:30pm #95

    Peter you must be very please with yourself to be arguing for Al Quaeda on a BBC website in light of what they did on 9/11.

    Do not satiate yourself with Sophism. Al Quaeda uses an extreme interpretation of Islam that determines all non-Islamic land as ‘the state of war’. That is a place in perpetual Jihad awaiting conversion (including you). There is no conception of reciprocity, equality or social justice in their minds or policy.

    This is what separates them from French Partisans or those who fought for independence in the USA and Israel. The Israelis, Americans and French all recognise the right of the other, the foreigner to exist.

    This is developed from a critical pillar of the international community: Sovereignty is strictly reciprocal. You cannot receive it if you do not give it. This principle was established in the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648. The Caliphate that you attempt to argue Al Quaeda seeks to set up would not recognise sovereignty of any other territorial entity outside its own borders. This would be a denial of all the established norms of international society; as such all other non-Islamic peoples would be free to enter a state of perpetual war against it. A type of war fought before 1648; a war of complete religious annihilation. For before 1648 genocidal wars were the norm.

    Whether you think it is foolish or not; your last post is absurd, surreal and quite ignorant: Now you really are scaring the children.

  • Comment number 98.

    zeneds: You are totally blinded by your own predjudice. My point is that to a Frenchman the French resistance were heroes. To a German conscript soldier they were terrorists. To a person in the twin towers Al Qu'eda were terrorists. To a Saudi who's living in poverty in the shadow of a Royal palace they're heroes.

    Do you understand that whether someone is a terrorist or a hero depends totally on ones point of view? MY point of view is that Al Qu'eda are terrorists, not least because I'm the sort of person they'd be targetting for my shameless habit of using the right to free speech.

    What I most certainly was not doing was defending Al Qu'eda. What I am attempting to do is bludgeon into the brains of the terminally stupid that both sides in the mid-east think that they are right and that both sides will use this to justify more killing.

    Oh... if we're digging up the treaty of Westphalia it also specifically prohibits war for regime change. Al Que'da aren't the only ones to ignore that little point. However rather than consider this you'll doubtless resort to more personal abuse about confused kids.

  • Comment number 99.

    To zeneds #94:

    How will your impartial legal definition derail only one side of the argument (if you agree that terrorism is enacted by both sides)?

    I conclude that you're just lobbying for israelis and have no interest in impartiality.

  • Comment number 100.

    #96

    Read what I wrote.

    I did say that branding someone or some group as "terrorist" when you can't say what a terrorist is not logical, except as an act of political spin.

    I did not say that Gaza was occupied; it clearly is not. But it is blockaded, and ordinary women and children are suffering as a result.

    I did not say that Palestine is a state; it clearly is not. Whether it should be is a whole different argument. And Israel IS the Occupying Power (under the Fourth Geneva Convention and various UN resolutions, if you're interested) in both the West Bank and Gaza (the latter by virtue of the blockade of air and sea space, as I understand it). This brings responsibilites as well as rights.

    All I have been asking for is that both sides of this argument step back and listen to the other side's point of view. You clearly are not interested in doing that as you sure you are in the right and no other opinion is worthy considering.

    And attacking me as a Judophobe is despicable and cowardly as you know nothing of my ethnicity or religion. Still, avoids having to address the issues, I suppose.

    I did not comment on this blog to be accused of this and if it's the best you can do I pity you.

    I withdraw and leave you the field. Enjoy your victory!

 

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