December 11, 2004

Jewish Chronicle lauds "enhancement"

Yesterday's Jewish Chronicle. opened in high spirits in the (probably justified) belief that the BBC will be even more pro-Israel in future than it has been in the past. This follows the completion of Malcolm Balen's (the BBC's Zionism tsar's) report into BBC coverage of the Middle East. The report is secret, that is, it is being kept from the public, but the JC. has been crowing for months about what it clearly sees as a Zionist victory by having the tsar imposed on the Beeb in the first place. The BBC itself has done nothing to distance itself from the Zionist belief that the recruiting of Malcolm Balen has been a victory for Zionism in the UK. For its part, the BBC has announced, somewhat enigmatically, that it is to "enhance" its coverage of Middle East issues. What the JC. has been hoping for is that any Israeli atrocity will either not be reported at all or will be put into "context". What "context"? Well they want any report on Israel to be accompanied by reports on suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. Now, there should be a problem here. If they report the suicide bombing, what about the context? If the bomber comes from Jenin will the BBC say that Jenin is a refugee camp? If they say it's a refugee camp, will they say where the refugees came from? The answer to that one is Haifa. Will they say that Haifa was ethnically cleansed in order to give Israel a Jewish majority that it wouldn't have without said ethnic cleansing? Would the JC. be so thrilled with the appointment of Malcolm Balen and the proposed "enhancement" if this was the case? I think not.

Archbishop of Canterbury defends Israel

Inside the paper there is a report from Simon Rocker. that Dr Rowan Williams has warned Christians not to challenge Israel's right to exist. Apparently "the suggestion that Israel does not have a right to exist because it is not good enough is a dangerous one". So what's he saying? Is he saying that Israel is not good enough to exist but Christians must not say so? Is he saying that Israel is not good enough but must continue to exist even though it's not good enough? Or is he saying that Israel, an apartheid state based on colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing, is good enough for him and his fellow Christians? If so what kind of Christians did he have in mind: Christian Phalangists?

JC. in denial

Last week the JC. reported on the conference "Resisting Israeli Apartheid - Strategies and Principles" at SOAS. As I reported, they were far more even handed in their report than The Guardian's. sorry effort. It wasn't to last. This week the JC. reporter Gaby Wine. is aghast that, "the keynote speaker was poet Tom Paulin, who at one point alleged that an Israeli army general has said that military operations in the West Bank should be like those in the Warsaw Ghetto". And that this caused Union of Jewish Students (not an interest group for Jewish students in general but a specifically Zionist group) leader Danny Stone to complain that "I could not believe that in a room of 300 students and academics, no one challenged the comparison with Nazis." Now, as far as the report goes, Tom Paulin was simply saying what the Israeli daily Ha'aretz had reported when covering the re-occupation of the refugee camps. Why didn't the JC. say so? What could anyone challenge here? If Danny Stone was there, why didn't he object to Tom Paulin making a simple statement of fact? I'm sure that even the Jewish Chronicle. reported the Israeli commander's "Warsaw Ghetto" speech at the time (though I could be wrong). So what's happening here? Is the JC. deliberately misleading its readers? Or is it agreeing a party line with a readership it assumes to be overwhelmingly Zionist? Whatever it is, an Israeli commander called on his troops to study the Nazi liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto. Yes, this is horrifying, but to express horror, not at the fact that the commander could say such a thing, but the fact that anyone should report on such a thing, represents a state of denial so characteristic of the Zionist movement.

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