BBC World Service dusts off ‘disproportionate’

I suspect that I am not the only one who had been wondering how long it would take for this to happen.

And so, less than 72 hours since the commencement of Operation ‘Pillar of Cloud’ and with 3.5 million Israeli civilians under rocket attack, it has: a BBC journalist has dusted the cobwebs off that tried and trusted old favourite – ‘disproportionate’. 

Here is Julian Marshall of the BBC World Service’s ‘Newshour interviewing a resident of Jabaliya, Lt Col Avital Leibovich of the IDF Spokesman’s unit and the BBC’s own Jon Donnison. Listen from 0:30 to the end of the item, but in particular at 8:05 when Marshall says:

“I think one of the observations made by critics of Israel is that you always respond disproportionately and – ah – in a way the figures tell the story. Since this offensive of yours began, 39 Palestinians have been killed, three Israelis. There’s a disproportionate use of force going on here.”

Despite the fact that the number of Israeli casualties is significantly reduced as a direct result of the incredible lengths to which Israel goes to protect its civilians, including the construction of air-raid shelters, the system of alerts warning of incoming missiles and the missile-intercepting Iron Dome – and despite the fact that the Hamas government in Gaza has never taken any remotely equivalent steps – it seems that for some journalists, Israelis will always be to blame until they begin dying in what outside observers consider to be large enough numbers. 

Even then, however, journalists such as Marshall will probably not be capable of making the all important distinction between tragic accidental deaths in Gaza which come as a result of the deliberate placing of terrorist infrastructure in residential neighbourhoods and the calculated targeting of civilians in Israel.

One cannot but wonder what sort of ‘proportionate’ response Julian Marshall would demand from his own government had his children been under constant attack for more than a decade. 

 

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26 comments on “BBC World Service dusts off ‘disproportionate’

  1. Just seen a bbc interview with British nutcase in gaza who the bbc allowed to claim that the blockade is the cause of rockets from gaza.

    There was no challenge by the bbc that the blockade is legal and worse, that the blockade began only after Hamas took over and began attacking

    Steve Cohen

  2. ‘Disproportionate’ joins ‘Lessons have been learned’, ‘Unacceptable’ and many other idiocies in the politico-media lexicon of the semantic delusional groupies that seem to have large megaphones but no professional ability or integrity.

    This ongoing attempt to put casualties in neat little morally equivalent boxes is as risible as it is the logic of a child wailing about fairness in the kindergarden playground.

    You poke another… they will poke back. You poke one with better motor skills, they will beat you. Hide behind your younger sibling… and they may get in the way.

    It seems that the only way for Israel can satisfy ‘reporting’ at this level of competence and objectivity is to switch off Iron Dome long enough to get the Israeli kid death count up to that of an Egyptian bus crash or an average day in Syria.

    • @Peter Martin. It is entirely appropriate to compare death and casualty figures. Or do you believe Palestinian civilian lives are worth less than Israeli civilian lives? Further, since Israel maintains control over Gaza’s electricity, water, sewage, telecommunications systems, land and sea borders and airspace, Israel remains widely considered to retain obligations under the fourth Geneva Convention as an occupying power and thus retain a similar responsibility for the welfare of the Gazan civilian population as it does towards Israel’s own.

      If you believe it is risible to wail about fairness, why are you even reading bbcwatch.org? Isn’t ensuring fairness in media coverage the purpose of this website? Isn’t a fair solution for Israeli and Palestinian people alike, keeping as many alive and healthy as possible, what we are all seeking? If not, what exactly are you seeking?

      • Similarly Skyman, it is not appropriate to equate the death of an Israeli pregnant woman with a terrorist, which is precisely what such lists do. They divorce the conflict from context, form cause and effect, and from intention. In other words, it does nothing to bring a deeper understanding of what’s going on – which suits Israel bashers fine.

        Look, it’s not complicated. No rockets = no Israeli reactions to protect their citizens. Just stop the rockets – is it really that hard?

        And Israel provides Gaza with food, power (even when the Palestinians bomb the power station inside Israel which is supplying their own electricity, killing workers there) and medical supplies – indeed, last year, around 10,000 Palestinians from Gaza received free medical treatment in Israel (paid for by Israeli taxpayers). Israel more than meets its obligations (personally, I think Israel owes them nothing at all), whilst the Palestinians refuse to take any responsibility for their actions, or themselves.

  3. It’s time to level the accusation of disproportionate AT the BBC for its disproportionate coverage of this conflict.

    It seems as if the BBC reports coming out of Gaza are supplied both by native Gazans, as well as BBC staffers, both of whom seem to have a ‘dog in the fight’, as Mel Gibson put it – i.e., there is no objectivity here.

    Where are the BBC reports from Israelis in Ashqelon, Ashdod or Sderot? Where are the BBC reports from BBC UK staffers from any of those towns?

    You only have to compare BBC reports with those from SKY, to see how SKY gives equal coverage and analysis to both sides, while the BBC clearly and apparently unashamedly focuses its interest on the Gazan side and virtually ignores the effects the conflict is having on Israel and Israelis.

    This conflict is being disproportionately covered by the BBC.

  4. Even after Auschwitz there will never be enough dead Jews for individuals like Julian Marshall. Perhaps he would be happier if we arranged for 30 or so Israeli Jews to be lined up against a wall and shot?

    Has anyone ever heard the same charge being laid at Britain’s door as regards, Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq? It is one rule for Jews and another rule for everyone else. Mark Steyn put it best some years ago (link now dead):

    “If, say, some fellows in Mexico had kidnapped California State Troopers and were lobbing rockets randomly into residential areas of San Diego and Los Angeles, even La-La-Land libs would be demanding the US respond. It’s only the Israelis the world wishes to deny the conventional rights of sovereignty. In other words, it’s the legitimacy of the state that’s at issue. In effect, Israel has become the geopolitical version of the European Jew who’s allowed to operate a store in the town but not to exercise full ownership rights: in the old days, Jews faced property restrictions; now they face sovereignty restrictions.”

  5. @Josua. Israelis are not Jews, 20% are Arabs, 4% other. It is factually wrong, and also disingenuous and unhelpful to conflate Israelis and Jews. It is also shocking to invoke the terrors of Auschwitz as justification for the deaths of Palestinian civilians in order to save lives of Jewish civilians, as you appear to do here.

    • @Josua I might add that neither Britain’s nor the US’s abysmal foreign policy records (such as more than 100,000s excess civilians deaths in Iraq) – nor the BBC and other media’s failure to report objectively on the same – count as justification for Israeli or Palestinian military activity. There is no ‘sovereignty’ rule that justifies state killing of foreign civilians – which is not the same thing as saying that powerful states like the UK and US have got away with it in the past.

    • Tell that to the Palestinians Skyman, who revere Hitler (Mein Kampf is a particular favoutite in Palestinian bookstores), whilst official Palestinian media spew forth vicious antisemitism on a regular basis. By the way, they use the word Jew (Yahud), not Israeli, when attacking Israelis.

  6. “Hamas government in Gaza has never taken any remotely equivalent steps (i.e. construction of air-raid shelters, the system of alerts warning of incoming missiles and the missile-intercepting Iron Dome)”

    Perhaps that’s because it takes (banned) cement to build shelters and high technology plus vast amounts of (US) money to identify and intercept missiles. These things are in rather short supply in Gaza.

    • @Sencar. It’s a fair point. Given the blockade on Gaza, it seems disingenuous of Hadar to suggest that the reason Gazan civilians are not better protected, is because of a failure by the Hamas government.

      Israel also controls much of Gaza’s taxation (http://www.gazagateway.org/2011/11/the-tax-system/) and has regularly withheld taxes from the Palestinian authorities, giving various excuses, causing fiscal pressures or crisis. For a topical example, see http://www.timesofisrael.com/finance-minister-threatens-to-withhold-tax-revenues-if-palestinians-make-un-statehood-bid/

      @Hadar. How can you justify blaming the Gazan authorities for the predicament of Gazans, at the same time as Israel has Gaza blockaded, controls Gaza’s essential utilities, and also controls the flow of revenues into Gaza?

    • @sencar: Over recent years the Gazans, under Hamas’ jurisdiction, have found both the financial wherewithall and the building resources to build shopping malls, luxury hotels, 5 star restaurants and waterparks, all apparently subsequently highly successful, despite the strangely paradoxical claims that all Gazans are impoverished and destitute victims of starvation (although I have to say, I’ve never seen any particularly thin ones, but have seen many who could do with shedding a few pounds). In their time as ‘government’ (a.k.a. gangland rule) of Gaza, Hamas have also overseen, financed and provided necessary resources for the building of hundreds of smuggling tunnels and underground weapons bunkers.

      If Hamas must insist on perpetrating missile attacks against Israeli civilians from within Gaza’s public and residential areas – despite such actions in fact being war crimes on two counts – perhaps they should at the very least have better considered their priorities regarding the use of Gaza’s supposedly meagre resources, and their responsibilities towards the people they purport to govern, and built a few bomb shelters for the general population, in preference to some civil projects.

      Currently, the only such safe facility seems to be the basement of Al Shifa Hospital (largely built by Israel, incidently), but unfortunately I’ve little doubt the average Gazan currently has no likelyhood of access to this basement, as it is most likely currently full of Hamas’ Top Brass, (including the morally chellenged Ishmael Shaniye, currently stated to be ‘in hiding’), as indeed it was all through Operation Cast Lead.

  7. prize for anyone who knows an enemy who supplies its for with electricity, water & supplies in time of conflict ! frankly the BBC, who have enough home problems, should employ more mature & ale reports to the current odd rabble

    • @Uta. If you consider it fair play to deprive Gazan’s civilian population of electricity, water and suppliers in times of conflict – you see them as the “enemy”? – how on earth can you consider it foul play for Palestinian militants to fire rockets into Israel killing Israeli civilians? By your own logic, don’t you see that as fair play too?

      Your argument comes across as a case of both having your cake and eating it.

      • Skyman, the Israelis give the Palestinians all these things, yet owe them nothing. The Palestinians have a history of a centurty of outright Jew hatred and genocidal intent, at which they have failed, bringing their own misery on themselves.

  8. Perhaps that’s because it takes (banned) cement to build shelters …
    Only luxury hotels…
    …and high technology plus vast amounts of (US) money to identify and intercept missiles.
    The Iron Dome system has been developed and manufactired by the Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems…
    Vast amount of US money?! The Palestinians got much more aid per capita than Israel.
    Every other words in your posts are correct.

    • @Peter Are you truly suggesting that Gazan authorities, who are not allowed by Israel to import even cement, would be allowed to spend their aid on developing their own Iron Dome system?

      • Luke maybe they built the newest luxury hotels, government buildings and the villas of the new millionaires and Hamas hacks using cowshit? And why should they spemd their money to anti-rocket systems? Is anybody launching or ever have launched rockets at them?
        BTW maybe you should take a look at a map before posting… Gaza has a border with Egypt governed ny the Mislim Brotherhood the ideological brothers of Hamas.

  9. Luke Skyman arrives here with his hatred and his many prejudices. He then fires off his verbal salvoes even though they bear little or no relation to arguments that have been made:

    “Israelis are not Jews, 20% are Arabs, 4% other. It is factually wrong, and also disingenuous and unhelpful to conflate Israelis and Jews.”

    In this particular instance, in a war being led by Jewish Israelis and being carried out for the very geatest part by Jewish Israelis, in the defence of Jewish Israelis, then Jewish Israelis are the only Israelis that count.

    “It is also shocking to invoke the terrors of Auschwitz as justification for the deaths of Palestinian civilians in order to save lives of Jewish civilians, as you appear to do here.”

    I have done no such thing. I am merely pointing out that alone among the peoples of this world only the Jews are expected to fight a deadly enemy with one hand tied bet their back. During the Holocaust BBC journalists deliberately ignored that genocide. Today, the are most upset when not enough Jews are being killed to satisfy their ancient blood lust.

    “Josua I might add that neither Britain’s nor the US’s abysmal foreign policy records (such as more than 100,000s excess civilians deaths in Iraq) – nor the BBC and other media’s failure to report objectively on the same – count as justification for Israeli or Palestinian military activity.”

    Huh? I have referred to a certain type of racist hypocrisy which enables nations like
    Britain to travel thousands of miles in defence of its interests in wars in which countless civilians are killed with little or no mention of proportionality, and yet Israel is attacked for having the temerity to defend its citizens against the depredations of a virulently anti-Semitic and evil regime.

    “There is no ‘sovereignty’ rule that justifies state killing of foreign civilians – which is not the same thing as saying that powerful states like the UK and US have got away with it in the past.”

    No war, whatever the justification, can possibly take place without civilians being killed. In the circumstances in which Israel finds itself, no nation could have acted with more concern for the civilians involved. No nation has been more justified in going to war.

    And now, I draw upon the eloquence of Melanie Phillips to complete my answer:

    “Among British reporters and commentators, there is a pronounced obsession with the numbers killed on either side. The three Israelis killed this morning were all but brushed aside by reporters hastening to tell us that (at that stage) eleven Palestinians had been killed.

    The implication is of course as odious as it is irrational — that Israel cannot be considered the victim of aggression unless more of its citizens die. It is also odious to suggest some kind of moral equivalence between those killed by acts of aggression in the cause of exterminating a country, and those who are killed by that country in its own self defence.

    The implication of the numbers game is that there is no moral difference between aggression and defence. That’s why so much of the reporting seeks to suggest a ‘cycle of violence’ or ‘tit-for-tat’ attacks. But there is no tit-for-tat cycle. There is aggression, and there is defence against aggression; there is attempted mass murder, and there is the attempt to prevent mass murder. Those who claim a ‘tit-for-tat’ cycle are effectively sanitising, and thus helping promote, mass murder.

    But there’s something even worse than this which I believe runs like a poisonous sewer beneath this bizarre numbers game. After all, this preoccupation with numerical imbalance in the casualty figures occurs in the reporting of no other conflict in the world. So what explains this obsession when it comes to Israel’s military actions?

    The sustained dismissal of Israeli victimhood by the British media surely represents a desire at some level of the British mind to stamp out once and for all the idea that Jews are victims. For over and over again, and expressed in a myriad different ways, you hear in British educated discourse an unmistakeable and savage fury: that these wailing Jews are always waving the shroud of the Holocaust in our faces; that they seem to think they have some kind of monopoly on suffering, for heaven’s sake, as if the rest of us have no right to claim any suffering for ourselves; that they make themselves untouchable because of their wretched history; if only they would just shut up and go away and end these interminable accusations; and so of course we cannot allow them to be victims in Israel — because unless we successfully recast them as latter-day Nazis, they will always be on our own conscience as the victims of us.

    When you look in horror and astonishment at the British media’s coverage of the onslaught upon Israel from Gaza and Israel’s actions in self-defence – and from the messages I am receiving, there are still many, many decent Brits who are indeed appalled beyond measure by the eye-watering bias of the coverage from the BBC, Sky and much of the press – you might well conclude that more, much more, is actually going on here than standard knee-jerk prejudice or ignorance. This is the ugly sound of a very old score indeed that is being settled.”

    http://melaniephillips.com/pallywood-and-the-stench-of-an-ancient-score-being-settled

  10. As the BBC dusts off “disproportionate”, Duvidl finds it appropriate to versificate, thus:

    Beeb coverage ne’er proportionate
    With Isra-hate distortionate.
    Licence-fee payers unfortunate;
    Beeb news is an abortion-ate.

  11. Ben Brown was pushing the “disproportionate” line in an interview with Avital Leibovich today. There seems to have been a disproportionate amount of airtime given today to interviewees sympathetic to Hamas – and Maxine Mawhinney has just warmly welcomed old BBC favourite Abdel Bari Atwan, the one who’d dance in Trafalgar Square if Iran shelled (nuked?) the Zionist Entity.

    • Duvidl on Maxine – Cheap old frump prepared to front evening and weekend “graveyard shifts” with few viewers, which are rejected by the pricier dolly-bird newsreaders, who subsequently jump ship to the better-paying commercial channels, leaving Maxine as the BBC’s ageing and wilting wallflower.

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