Ben Bradshaw MP: ‘The BBC has to stand up to the Israeli authorities’
At present, the BBC (along with ITV and SKY) is refusing to show an appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee who wanted to run TV and radio appeals to help raise funds for people in need of food, shelter and medicines ‘as a result of Israel's military action in the Palestinian area’. The charity is an umbrella organisation for several major aid charities, including Oxfam, Red Cross, CAFOD, TEAR Fund, Islamic Relief and Save the Children.
The BBC is citing its commitment to impartiality as the reason for refusing to broadcast the appeal.
Mr Bradshaw, a former BBC journalist, said this it was ‘an inexplicable decision’ and that the appeal to impartiality is ‘completely feeble’.
Cranmer is inclined to agree with Mr Bradshaw to this extent – the BBC has been pathologically biased at so many levels on so many occasions (pro-EU, pro-global warming, anti-Conservative, pro-Blair, anti-Israel, pro-Obama, anti-McCain) that an appeal to impartiality over a charity broadcast is distinctly hollow. The BBC Director General Mark Thompson is concerned that the appeal ‘might jeopardise the public's confidence in the BBC's impartiality’. And the BBC's chief operating officer, Caroline Thomson, is concerned that such appeals should be made ‘without affecting and impinging on the audience's perception of our impartiality’.
Too late, Mr Thompson and Ms Thomson. That confidence was jeopardised decades ago, at least when a decision was made to recruit BBC staff solely through the pages of The Guardian. And any residual confidence that may have survived has been destroyed through the recent sagas of fixed phone-ins or the crude antics of ‘talented’ stars. And the concern with the ‘perception of impartiality’ is a ruse, for there has been no such concern over so very many issues of global importance, and the ‘facts’ have chronically been subsumed to the vague imaginings and rhetorical rants of its journalists’ Leftish, ultra-liberal obsessions.
If the BBC were ever to report some 'pro-Israel' facts, they would have to reveal that Israel is not the 'artificial state' it is so frequently referred to as being, but a wholly legitimate state founded by the international community in 1947. The view that this land belongs to the Arabs is also erroneous, since sizeable Jewish communities have lived in both the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza for millennia. As for Israel's 'aggression' and 'military action', the BBC might consider that many of the Palestinian sick and wounded are presently being treated in Israeli hospitals. And many Palestinians have been fleeing to Israel in order to escape Hamas oppression for years. And Cranmer cannot recall hearing from the BBC the condemnation of Hamas which was clearly articulated by some prominent Arab nations. By being anti-Zionist, the BBC is being anti-Israel; by being anti-Israel, it is being anti-Semitic. By refusing to refer to 'Islamic fundamentalist terrorism', or to the professed faith of Gaza's terrorists, it is shrouding the immense suffering of Israelis (of all faiths and none) in a cloak of relativist obfuscation.
But it is, in any case, no business of the Government to apply pressure upon the BBC to reconsider its position on this broadcast. There may be, as the Development Secretary opines, ‘great human suffering still taking place in Gaza’, but so there is in Darfur and the Congo. Indeed, the suffering there is far greater, and Mr Alexander ought also to be concerned with their common humanity, not simply that of the Gazans.
Before Mr Bradshaw dismisses the BBC’s judgement as ‘flawed’, ‘weak’, ‘nervous’ or ‘biased, he might just consider that these are the very attributes which have helped to keep him in a job for 11 years.
If, as he says, the BBC ought ‘to stand up to the Israeli authorities occasionally’, then a fortiori should the BBC stand up to Labour’s authorities – just occasionally.