BBC’s Peter Allen: “Israel always wreaks its revenge”

Several people have written to us (thank you all) to bring the following BBC radio broadcast to our attention.

On Wednesday, November 14th 2012, at 16:00 GMT, BBC Radio 5 broadcast an edition of its programme ‘5 live Drive’ with presenters Peter Allen and Anna Foster which can be heard here.  

Sections of the broadcast dealt with the subject of Operation Pillar of Cloud, which had commenced less than two hours previous to the start of the programme.

At the beginning (01:18), one can hear the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Wyre Davies talking about the “targeted assassination” of Ahmed Jabari and speculating as to the likelihood of further “assassinations”. 

The correct term is of course ‘targeted killing’ – which is the intentional killing of a targeted person who is taking part in terrorism. Assassination, on the other hand, is defined as “to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons”. 

In electing to use the word ‘assassination’, Davies is clearly attempting to impart an air of illegality to the action of targeting the head of the Izz ad Din al Qassam brigades terrorist militia.

At around two hours into the broadcast, one can hear a Mr El Hadad from Gaza being interviewed by the BBC without any context whatsoever being given for the strikes in the Gaza Strip which he describes. El Hadad is also allowed to make an entirely speculative remark about the supposed connection of the timing of the operation to the upcoming Israeli elections: a theme which the BBC has been promoting vigorously throughout its coverage of the current operation and before. 

At 2:05:37 Peter Allen conducts an interview with Gil Hoffman of the Jerusalem Post. Bearing in mind that Operation Pillar of Cloud had at that time been underway for less than four hours, here are Allen’s ‘contributions’ to the interview:

“We’re all aware of the arguments that a lot of rockets have been fired at Israel and that the retaliation was both necessary and just, but from the outside it just looks like part of this never-ending cycle of violence. It won’t stop anything, this, will it?”

“Yeah – but it’s not just this man [Jabari] who’s been killed. There’s a lot of innocent people getting killed at the same time.”

“Yeah – but nevertheless, if you count it up – the casualties – it’s those inside Gaza who are suffering rather than those inside Israel.”

“Yeah. You can count up the casualties. I’m sorry, you know, but the outside world would count up the casualties and see – you know – that Israel always wreaks its revenge and the revenge it takes is greater than the original – erm – suffering in this war. It does it all the time.”

Impartial? Balanced? Accurate?

Allen is not even pretending to try to meet any of those supposed BBC standards. 

8 comments on “BBC’s Peter Allen: “Israel always wreaks its revenge”

  1. ““Yeah. You can count up the casualties.”

    Not just the BBC, but the entire Western MSM seems to have some kind of rose-tinted, PC-game view of war that only dedicated XBox-tickers could see as rational.

    It all highlights an entirely new, false and risible accounting system based on numbers to judge what is ‘proportionate’.

    Will he feel things are ‘fair’ if Hamas unleash a WMD attack and take out, say. 6 million Jews?

    There’s a mindset at play here that of all things was addressed in an episode of the original Star Trek:

    “…the entire war between the two planets is completely simulated by computers which launch wargame attacks and counterattacks, then calculate damage and select the dead. Citizens reported as “killed” must submit themselves for termination by stepping inside a disintegration booth.”

    Nice an clean… and ‘fair’.

    Only war really isn’t. It’s dirty and messy and has a fog, where even the most surgical strike can claim innocents. And negotiation with a fractured collection of vying powerbases is impossible.

    So for the life of me, when media can only put up ‘activists’ from the Gazan side to ‘speak for’ the poor people (who oddly seem to number guys with access to and ability launch at will serious rocketry in the vague direction of Israel) against elected government representatives with a duty to protect their people, I can’t but help feel the wrong people are asking the questions and holding a highly targeted collection of folk of their own to constantly be held to account based on either professional ineptitude or personal agenda.

    When that gets facilitated too often by their employer via tolerance, omission, lack of censure or even censorship of critique, that becomes support of propaganda and an institutional issue that needs addressing PDQ. Poor historical precedents.

    As if the BBC is not spinning enough plates in this regard already, from UK domestic politics to climate reporting.

    If this is taken to the BBC complaints system, after the near year it would take dancing through hoops to get a ‘Trust’ view, I’d be fascinated what their eventual judgement may be.

  2. Melanie Phillips puts it best:

    “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.”

  3. It seems the world will never forgive us for being the victims of the holocaust. Their guilt is negated by an unprecidented bias in favour of the palestinians. We as jews can only be the victims in the eyes of the world. That makes them all feel good. Of course we are not victims and never will be again. If that means we have to stand up and defend ourselves with words and guns so be it. In essence we as jews are a peace loving people who can and do contribute to the arts and sciences etc. What a complete mess humanity is making of this god given wonderful world.

  4. Audrey,

    It was an Israeli Prime Minister, perhaps Golda Meir, who once said something like, “The world has never forgiven the Jews for the Holocaust”.

    The Holocaust forced, and still forces, the world to have some sympathy for the suffering of the Jews.

    The BBC and much of its Guardian reading target audience have great sympathy for dead Jews prior to 1948 and even produces reasonably good programmes on them and the few survivors. But none of these people can stand the thought of Jews defending themselves.

    Throughout history Jews have been the ones cruelly massacred, executed and expelled. The ones who quietly climbed onto the trains and queued to enter the “showers” – these are the Jews the world is used to and Jews who fight back is something their minds can’t get around.

      • The solution is to keep fighting. Just because the rest of the West has decided to give up and commit suicide doesn’t mean Israel should…Israel will outlive all its current detractors.

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