PSC patron’s Christmas smear of Israel promoted on multiple BBC platforms

The BBC Radio 4 programme ‘A Point of View’ is broadcast on Friday evenings GMT, with a repeat on Sunday mornings. Last week – December 20th the programme featured writer William Dalrymple on the subject of “Islamo-Christian Heritage”.

“In the week when Prince Charles has drawn attention to violence against Christians in the Middle East, William Dalrymple says it’s time to remember the “old and often forgotten co-habitation of Islam and Christianity”.”

A point of view R4

The programme is also available as a podcast.

A pint of view podcast

In addition, a written version of the item was featured in the ‘magazine’ section of the BBC News website, as well as on its Middle East page. 

A point of view ME HP

A point of view magazine

In all of those various versions of Dalrymple’s ‘point of view’, the following claim is made.

“On the West Bank and in Gaza, the Christians are emigrating fast as they find themselves caught between Netanyahu’s pro-settler government and their increasingly radicalised Sunni Muslim neighbours.”

All the Palestinian Christians in the Gaza Strip (0.7% of the total population) of course live under the rule of the Hamas regime. Well over 90% of the rest of the Palestinians live in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Christians make up some 8% of the total Palestinian population outside the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority controls traditionally Christian towns such as Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour

Persecution of Christians in both the Gaza Strip and in PA-controlled areas does not go undocumented, although it is consistently under-reported by the Western mainstream media, apart from some rare exceptions. Prominent journalist Khaled Abu Toameh has reported extensively on the subject  – see for example here, here and here – and in 2009 he wrote:

“Christian families have long been complaining of intimidation and land theft by Muslims, especially those working for the Palestinian Authority.

Many Christians in Bethlehem and the nearby [Christian] towns of Bet Sahour and Bet Jalla have repeatedly complained that Muslims have been seizing their lands either by force or through forged documents.

In recent years, not only has the number of Christians continued to dwindle, but Bethlehem and its surroundings also became hotbeds for Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters and members.

Moreover, several Christian women living in these areas have complained about verbal and sexual assaults by Muslim men.

Over the past few years, a number of Christian businessmen told me that they were forced to shut down their businesses because they could no longer afford to pay “protection” money to local Muslim gangs.

While it is true that the Palestinian Authority does not have an official policy of persecution against Christians, it is also true that this authority has not done enough to provide the Christian population with a sense of security and stability.

In addition, Christians continue to complain about discrimination when it comes to employment in the public sector. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority 15 years ago, for example, not a single Christian was ever appointed to a senior security post. Although Bethlehem has a Christian mayor, the governor, who is more senior than him, remains a Muslim.”

Hence, William Dalrymple’s claim of Christians emigrating due to “their increasingly radicalised Sunni Muslim neighbours” conceals the fact that conditions under the supposedly secular Palestinian Authority are little better.

As for Dalrymple’s claim of those same Christians being pressured by the Israeli government, the simple fact that the vast majority do not live under Israeli rule is enough to demonstrate the absurdity of that assertion, but of course many members of the BBC audiences listening to or reading Dalrymple’s piece will not be aware of its geo-political background. Neither will they be aware of Israel’s annual efforts to facilitate Christmas celebrations for the Palestinian Christians from the Gaza Strip and the PA controlled areas.

However, Dalrymple’s baseless smear does not come out of the blue. Although the BBC describes him merely as “a writer and historian”, Dalrymple is also a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a patron of Sabeel who has a long history of anti-Israel activism under his belt, including propaganda diatribes at the Guardian and participation in the BDS-supporting ‘PalFest’.

In other words, the BBC has yet again contravened its own editorial guidelines on impartiality which clearly state:

“We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities) are unbiased and we may need to make it clear to the audience when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint, if it is not apparent from their contribution or from the context in which their contribution is made.” [emphasis added] 

Needless to say, the BBC has also clearly breached its own editorial guidelines on accuracy by failing to edit out a gratuitous smear produced by a known anti-Israel activist to whom, for some reason, it elects to give multiple platforms. The timing of the appearance of Dalrymple’s piece is of course also significant, with the Christmas season being prime time as far as the activities of anti-Israel lobbying groups are concerned and hence it is highly unfortunate for the BBC’s reputation that it  jumps on the same opportunistic bandwagon as assorted ‘charities’ and NGOs, of which Sabeel and the PSC are just two of many.

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16 comments on “PSC patron’s Christmas smear of Israel promoted on multiple BBC platforms

  1. After speaking to several students, it’s seems clear that the manipulated ignorance of Muslims persecuting Christians in Yesha is not confined only to the UK, but is also evident in other parts of Europe. Of course, the BBC wouldn’t want Christians in Europe to know that. It contravenes their servicing the arabist agenda.

  2. It’s very interesting how you complain about an organisation being biased , in this instance the BBC , yet fail all the criteria that would be required to provide an honest assessment of impartiality concerning them. I could list all the BBC pro Israeli bias but I’ve no need to. Even though Steve Lendman wrote this piece over five years ago , it paints a real picture of the BBC’s blatant support of Israel which clearly has a long history.

    http://sjlendman.blogspot.co.uk/2008/06/bbcs-pro-israeli-bias.html

    • It is neither interesting, nor surprising that some individual would make a comment like that. What Hadar reports on is the lack of reporting, gratuitous and irrelevant references, and double standards. What you and Lendman whine about is that the BBC doesn’t always use the same garbage as Electronic Intifada. Note that’s his first source of information.

    • I could list all the BBC pro Israeli bias but I’ve no need to.

      Do give it a try. It might be interesting to watch you fumbling around in the dark trying to find something to suit your prejudice.

      • I didn’t want to fill the responses page up with details that have been argued over many times before. Steven Lendman wrote a very good, if not perfect assessment in the url that I posted. Prejudices? I don’t have any particular dislike or liking for any type people , I try to take as I find because being beat up by an Italian is no different to being beaten up by an American or any other nationality. It hurts.
        I spent a considerable amount of time supporting the Israelis because of my limited knowledge of the conflict and because of media distortion relating to it, the BBC being the main culprit. It wasn’t just the Arab/Israeli conflict they distorted, they had considerable influence over what most British people knew about the troubles in Northern Ireland too. The BBC has promoted government policy ever since it’s inception and British support for Israel over the years has been reflected in their broadcasts.
        Eventually, I concluded that something wasn’t quite right, despite the BBC version of events . Why would the Palestinians attack the Israelis with terrorism for no apparent reason ? Furthermore , why would they attack Israel who have the most up to date equipment and a well trained army? Then I researched a little further and discovered that the fundamental problem was that a large group of people, with significant support had decided that they were going to create a new homeland, the problem being that other people already called it home. The claim that some ‘higher being’ had conveniently promised this ‘promised land’ to them does not make the ethnic cleansing that followed any more justifiable or legitimate. We cannot refer to the writing of someone hundreds of years ago to condemn millions to refugee status today. To claim land in similar circumstances here in the UK and then reinforce it with violence would result in quite rightly being sectioned under the mental health act.
        The BBC do not report the events in a manner more likely to gain sympathy for the Palestinians. It’s all very clever. Jane Corbin made a documentary that turned the Israeli army into victims of peace activists despite the fact that Israel attacked the Mavi Marmara and executed several on board before imprisoning the rest and relieving them of personal valuable items. Were they returned?

        • You know absolutely nothing. First, you call Lendman’s blog “perfect” only because i parrots the Arabist narrative, clearly showing your own prejudices. What I posted above was to show the absurdity of what you both claim. “Denial” isn’t a river in Egypt. It’s what you practice when you claim to be unprejudiced.

          You concluded that something wasn’t right? It isn’t because the BBC’s under-reporting of what goes on in the Middle East is just that. However, like Lendman, you ignore thousands of years of history, including the fact that Jews have inhabited the land in its entirety for thousands of years, well before there were any Arabs whatsoever. You both just ignore that. You both just ignore that Jews around the world have repeated the same thing year after year ever since being exiled: next year in Jerusalem. It’s only the totalitarian attitude that you and others like you have that purport to deny that.

          Arabs have attacked Jews ever since arriving. One example is the Hebron massacre of 1929 which wiped out the Jewish community there, something that you and Lendman ignore. It’s too inconvenient.

          You further display your ignorance with your charge of “ethnic cleansing.” Yes, Arabs fled Israel during the War of Independence, but Arab leaders told them to do so, saying that they would eradicate the Jewish state in two weeks, so they shouldn’t be in the way. Under Israeli rule, Palestinian population has expanded, infant mortality has dropped, and life expectancy has increased. If that’s what you call “ethnic cleansing” then you need to take remedial lessons in English.

          You ignore all of that and falsely claim that BBC is pro-Israeli because it’s just so much easier to pick the low-hanging fruit and graze with the rest of the gullible, mindless herd.

          • Michael , I have been nothing but polite to you and other users on this website and despite my disagreement with you, I see no reason to drag this discussion into the gutter. I did not say Lendmans web site was perfect , I stated that I felt the BBC subject matter item was in actual fact ‘not perfect’. I haven’t looked at the rest of his website.
            Your post exposed some extraordinary perceptions of the conflict Michael, the most basic being that Jews have some kind of divine right to areas of the Middle East. With the greatest respect , this is a preposterous idea. To even think this could be true is frankly, quite astonishing
            Another misconception you seem to have is that Arab’s attacked Jews prior to the conflict beginning. Whilst I’m sure some disagreements between Arabs and Jews weren’t so amicable, there are countless statements from both Jew and Muslim that there were many friendships between the two ‘soon to be’ enemies.
            The idea that if someone flees their home because they fear for their safety and the attackers can then either destroy that building and build their own home or just live in it themselves is a worrying theory.

            Your quote:
            You further display your ignorance with your charge of “ethnic cleansing.” Yes, Arabs fled Israel during the War of Independence, but Arab leaders told them to do so, saying that they would eradicate the Jewish state in two weeks, so they shouldn’t be in the way. Under Israeli rule, Palestinian population has expanded, infant mortality has dropped, and life expectancy has increased.

            If I were to tell you that similar surveys before and after the second world war regarding Jews were not too dissimilar to your own view of thriving Arab communities despite being driven away ethnically cleansed, you would no doubt call me a ‘denier’.

            Your quote:
            If that’s what you call “ethnic cleansing” then you need to take remedial lessons in English.

            My English is far from perfect but the generally held view is that large parts of Palestine had it’s inhabitants removed by force or by the fear of being killed by Jewish soldiers/militants/terrorist’s/Zionist’s. Many of these men will have been of European descent clearing out the indigenous people …Ethnic cleansing

          • @duplicitousdemocracy
            I could be much, much more vulgar than I have been, however being direct and perhaps painfully honest is not dragging a discussion into the gutter. Perhaps another of your faults that you feel fit to criticize, but cannot take criticism. Furthermore, posting a link to a site which disseminates the kind of disgusting vitriol that Lendman carps has already dragged the discussion to a low level.

            This is exactly what you posted above: Steven Lendman wrote a very good, if not perfect assessment in the url that I posted.

            “the most basic being that Jews have some kind of divine right to areas of the Middle East. With the greatest respect , this is a preposterous idea.”

            Check the Bible. It was written 3,000 years ago and it repeats the principle that the Almighty has granted the land of Israel to the children of Israel in many places. The fact that you don’t believe in it, is your own business. You have no business dictating that others cannot believe in it. That is what I call your totalitarian attitude. And if you don’t believe that Arabs had already started then check your history. Some were expelled, but many fled due to the war that was coming. Furthermore, your misperception that relations were friendly between Jews and Muslims is also false. Jews were forced to be dhimmi, the underclass. They were forced to pay special taxes and there were laws such as a Jew could not ride a horse next to an Arab because the Jew had to be in a lower position.

            “If I were to tell you that similar surveys before and after the second world war regarding Jews were not too dissimilar to your own view of thriving Arab communities despite being driven away ethnically cleansed, you would no doubt call me a ‘denier’.” Are you comparing this to the Holocaust. Did Arabs flee because of Jewish-run gas chambers? The very notion reveals a sick mind.

            “My English is far from perfect but the generally held view is that large parts of Palestine had it’s inhabitants removed by force or by the fear of being killed by Jewish soldiers/militants/terrorist’s/Zionist’s. Many of these men will have been of European descent clearing out the indigenous people …Ethnic cleansing”
            Yeah, the generally held view of the misinformed and disinformed.

  3. Oh, and by the way I could point out many of yours and Lendman’s prejudices, but here is one example:
    — Intifada – more fudging when referring to causes; value judgments are avoided; so is truth; don’t say Ariel Sharon’s September 29, 2000 Haram al-Sharif provocation incited a popular uprising; package his visit with Palestinian frustration over a failed peace process and say it “sparked the (second) intifada (rather than it) led (to it or) started (it);

    Except Suha Arafat has already admitted that her husband (may he rot in hell) decided to launch it after not getting EVERYTHING he wanted at Taba.

    Facts are just so inconvenient, aren’t they?

  4. Hello, I am the alter ego of Steve Lendman and duplicitousdemocracy and I feel a need to disseminate truth and refute Arabist lies:

    They don’t call killing of terrorists “terrorist elminations.”

    -They don’t mention that the separation barrier is only a wall for 5% of its length and they seldom mention that the purpose was stop attacks.

    They never say that all of Jerusalem is Israel’s indivisible, eternal capital.

    Gaza – they seldom mention the incessant rocket attacks (btw, at the time of this writing one had struck Israel yesterday) and they don’t mention that Israel trucks in hundreds of tons of aid every week.

    The Green Line – The BBC doesn’t mention that Lord Cardagan called the Green Line a cease-fire line.

    — Intifada – see above

    They don’t acknowledge Jewish connection to the land through the Torah. Anti-Semites are given free will to use the anti-semitismcard card in order to demonize Israel. They never mention that “Palestinians” are really an invented people.

    — settlements and outposts – BBC never mentions that San Remo deeded all of what today comprises Israel and Jordan as the Jewish homeoand.

    — Palestine – BBC doesn’t acknowledges that a state of Palestine has never existed and never has; unmentioned is that negotiations are fake and their reports try to hide it; so do deceptive words to appease pro-Palestinian critics; BBC obliges them;

    — “relative calm” or “quiet” periods – It seldom mentions the constant rocket attacks and attacks on civilians; when it does, it’s always in passing.

    — right of return – BBC ignores that there is no such right

    — “terrorists” – a term they never apply to Palestinians;most often other words are used like “bomber, attacker, gunman, kidnapper, insurgent (or) militant;” Palestinian aggression is never called such, and Israeli self-defense is never acknowledged as such.

    Media “Rules of Engagement” in Covering the Middle East

    In December 2013, so-and-so listed “The Media’s Middle East Rules of Engagement.” BBC’s Israeli-Palestinian coverage adheres to them rigidly:

    Rule 1 – “View the Middle East (ME) through Palestinian eyes;” Israelis are terrorists and aggressors; Palestinians are victims who retaliate; self-defense is their motive; so is avoiding the truth;

    Rule 2 – “Treat American and Israeli governmental statements with as lies;” avoid any information that supports them;

    Rule 3 – “Ignore the historical context;” avoid mentioning six decades of terrorism and war and thousands of preceding years during which Israel was the Jewish homeland; also don’t contradict suppress the arabist lie that a Jewish homeland first originated with Zionism’s late 19th century’s founding and didn’t exist prior to that;

    Rule 4 – “Avoid the fundamental legal and moral issues inherent in the Israeli rights to the land;” say nothing about San Remo, the Balfour Declaration, history, and all other recognized international human rights laws;

    — Rule 5 – “Suppress or minimize news unfavorable to the Palestinians;” this rule is ironclad and unforgiving; open debate isn’t tolerated; facts are suppressed; aggressors are called victims; self-defense is called aggression; news is carefully “filtered,” minds manipulated, and truth conspicuously absent; BBC excels at it and lets Palestinians get away with murder;

    — Rule 6 – “Muddy the waters when necessary;” major US media do it; so do human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; they tread lightly on Israeli-Palestinian issues and slant their views accordingly; so does BBC;

    — Rule 7 – “Credit all Palestinian claims (as fact), even if wholly unfounded;” if Palestinians say it, it’s true; BBC approves;

    — Rule 8 – “Doubt all Israeli assertions, no matter how self-evident;” if Israelis say it, it’s false or at best an unsubstantiated claim; most often ignore, downplay or fudge it;

    — Rule 9 – “Condemn only Israeli response Palestinian violence;” treat it as a crime against innocent Palestinain victims; ignore any reference to self-defense against Palestinian aggression and rule of law violations; and

    Rule 10 – “Disparage the international consensus supporting Israeli rights to self-defense;” better still – ignore it or condemn it as biased or “Zionist” which will be painted in a bad light.

    ADD ONE MORE RULE FOR GOOD MEASURE. REPEAT ANY LIE OFTEN ENOUGH AND MOST PEOPLE WILL BELIEVE IT. IT’S FOOLPROOF AND WORKS EVERY TIME.

    BALEN REPORT MISSING. THE INFORMATION IS NOT PUBLICLY AVAILABLE.

    Glasgow University Media Group Study of Middle East News Coverage – It’s “Bad News from Israel” and BBC

    Hadar Sela has maintained a blog in which she consistently and valiantly points out the BBC’s shortcomings.

    Melanie Phillips has also written extensively on how the BBC whitewashes aggression against Israel and paints Palestinians in a positive light.

    Morris is sympathetic but sides with the soldiers. “You can’t blame (them, he says) for being jumpy at checkpoints….because there are Israeli victims too, children among them, killed by snipers and suicide bombers from the West Bank. What would you have done? Would you have taken the risk? Or would you have played it safe, fearful of a trap? And so it goes on – another week in the Middle East.”

    Even worse, the greater issue is ignored – an instance reflecting daily life in Israel for most Arabs plus regular attempts at murder. Morris valiantly shows what Israelis must endure, revealing suicide bombings- “A Palestinian mother in her early 20s blows herself to bits and takes the lives of four young Israelis, after tricking them into believing she was ill.” He continues – “A Jewish settler is killed on the West Bank, leaving five children without a father, including triplets just three months old.” Reports like his are all too infrequent on the BBC. Palestinian lives matter. Israeli ones don’t. Sela and Phillips document the evidence.

    Their study covers what media should report, a content analysis of their coverage, and how focus group interviews show how viewers are ill-served and left uninformed. Below are some results that apply to today:

    — little or no historical context was provided; origins of the conflict were omitted; in the 2000 timeframe covered, BBC (and ITN) devoted 3500 lines of text to the Intifada, but a scant 17 to context or history;

    — reporting consistently was pro-Palestinian and justified the most extreme actions and lawlessness; at the same time, Israeli self-defense was highlighted and condemned as aggression;

    — in the authors’ words: “There (was) no evidence from our analysis to suggest that Israeli views were given preferential treatment on the BBC. The opposite (was) in reality the case;”

    — BBC justified Palestinian violence as “militancy” in contrast, Israeli self-defense was called “horrific,” an “atrocity,” “terrorism,” or even “mass murder;”

    — some BBC reports were rife with errors whether intentionally or from ignorance;

    — reports focused on Palestinian inconvenience and right to “resistance”; Israeli rights to exist; nor did their living under constant threat, or a brutish six-decade terrorism campaign;

    — Palestinian deaths were highlighted; ones Israeli played down or ignored; regular Palestinian attacks got little mention or weren’t reported;

    — as a result, very few people are aware that Jews have continuously inhabited all of what today comprises Israel for thousands of years; few are aware of the Jewish connection to Israel and especially Jerusalem; more knowledgeable respondents had access to books and other material that dispel BBC bias and inaccuracies;

    — senior BBC journalists interviewed told researchers that they were instructed not to give explanations; to dumb-down the news for easy listening and do it in “20-second attention span” segments; researchers believe BBC has it backwards; this type reporting alienates viewers; accuracy and more context enhances viewership; under heavy Arabist Lobby pressure, BBC and other major media report propaganda; truth is the first casualty, and viewers remain uninformed; today it’s worse than ever.

    • Nothing wrong with self-determination, provided its aim is not genocide. Until the arabs decide they want to build their own state rather than destroy someone else’s then they will not be allowed to have a state – as if they could run one anyway.

    • History has invented most people. Politics directed against a single country have invented only one, the so-called “Palestinians.” There is something wrong with genocide in the guise of “self-determination.” What’s even worse is the dissonance shown by many in supporting that goal all in order to belong to the rest of the mindless herd.

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