BBC audiences get Israeli PM’s Congress speech through the Bowen filter – part one

Regular readers would of course have had few expectations of receiving a wholly impartial report on the Israeli prime minister’s speech to the US Congress on March 3rd from the BBC’s Middle East editor but even they might have been surprised by the tone and content of some of the comments made by Jeremy Bowen as he live-tweeted the speech to his 121 thousand followers – especially in light of the fact that BBC editorial guidelines – including those on accuracy and impartiality – also apply to its staff’s Twitter accounts.

Bowen tweets speech 1

So what did the man who only the day before had alluded to himself as a “serious student of the Middle East” mean by that (small H) “holocaust card” jibe? The accepted definition of the idiom ‘play the card’ is to exploit a specific issue for political advantage. In other words, Bowen is accusing Netanyahu of cynically making use of the memory of six million murdered Jews for his own political gain and his use of the words “once again” indicates that Bowen is of the opinion that this is a regular practice on the part of the Israeli prime minister.

Netanyahu’s actual words were as follows:

“My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, “never again.”

And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace.

But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.”

Clearly any real “serious student of the Middle East” would have an understanding of the place of the Holocaust in Jewish collective memory just as he would be familiar with the Iranian regime’s record of anti-Israel rhetoric and practical support for terrorist groups seeking the destruction of the Jewish state. Bowen, however, put whatever knowledge he may have aside – instead allowing his personal political prejudices to dictate his commentary.

The same practice was evident in other tweets:

Bowen tweets speech 2

In fact, Netanyahu did not “conflate” Iranian Shiism with Sunni Jihadists as Bowen claims. What he actually did was point out that both those separate and competing ideologies are equally important problems.

“Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of “Death to America,” that same America that it calls the “Great Satan,” as loud as ever.

Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.

Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.

So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.”

Bowen also commented:

Bowen tweets speech 3

He neglected to clarify that – unlike Iran – Israel is not party to the NPT and of course failed to note that Iran was declared non-compliant to the treaty it did sign as long ago as 2003.

Another Bowen tweet read:

Bowen tweets speech 4

If readers are wondering what Bowen meant by “politics of fear”, that point is clarified in his ‘analysis’ included in two subsequent BBC News website reports on the topic of Netanyahu’s speech.

“The speech was classic Netanyahu. He mixed the politics of fear with the politics of bravery in adversity. Iran was gobbling up Middle East states – a reference to its influence in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen – while Israel stood strong, never again allowing the Jews to be passive victims.”

Of course Iran’s active role in the Syrian civil war and its supply of funding and weapons to terrorist organisations such as Hizballah means that it has rather more than just “influence” in those locations and others throughout the Middle East. However, Bowen’s intent is clearly not to inform audiences of the objective facts, but to persuade them that the Israeli prime minister uses unfounded threats to elicit the political response he seeks by means of emotion.

Bowen’s jaundiced and openly disdainful view of the Israeli prime minister’s speech to Congress was not only communicated to BBC audiences via Twitter. As we will see in part two of this post, BBC reports on the issue were notable for similar inaccuracies, half stories and lack of impartiality. 

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44 comments on “BBC audiences get Israeli PM’s Congress speech through the Bowen filter – part one

  1. Bowen’s report and comments on Netanyahu’s speech are even more anti-Israel than every Jew was anticipating. They prove beyond all doubt that the man is planted by the BBC hierachy with the sole purpose of discrediting Israel in front of their Arab friends. Pass the sick-bag, Alice (c Private Eye)

  2. Bowen’s tweets are no more than to be expected based on his track record. Unfortunately truth takes a back seat in many of his analyses. His comment on the nuclear weapons issue ignores the point that, unlike Iran, Israel has not threatened to ‘wipe another state off the map’.
    It really is impossible to debate rationally with Bowen and his ilk.

  3. “With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

    Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, “never again.”
    ——–

    If that isn’t the ‘holocaust card’ I don’t know what is.

    Perhaps the PA should use the ‘Nakba card’ to show how the world ignores Jewish aggression.

    • What Netanyahu meant was that Jews will never again allow another genocide like the Holocaust to be perpetrated against them. The Nakba was not a genocide. It was the result of a war that Arab nations instigated.

      The Nakba, the ‘catastrophe’, was for them, that they lost, and those Arab states have been SO sympathetic to their Palestinian Arab ‘brothers’, that they do not grant them citizenship, passports or meaningful employment in any Arab state. They have deliberately created a stateless people to use against Israel and have kept them as refugees for 65 years.

      By contrast, the 850,000 Jews from Arab states have been absorbed, largely by Israel. There are no refugee Jews.

      Perhaps you would be better off railing against Arab inhumanity to their ‘brother’ Arabs, than Israel’s so called aggression, which only stems from Palestinian terrorism, as I’m sure you consider yourself to be a humanitarian.

      • “The Nakba was not a genocide. It was the result of a war that Arab nations instigated. ”

        No, Even in 1937 Jewish were making lists of Palestinian villages and the populations therein.

        In 1948 Jewish militia embarked on a program to ethnically cleanse Israel of Arabs, destroying hundreds of villages and driving out the inhabitants. Thousands of Arabs were massacred. The Arab countries then attacked but the Israeli militia , who for the main part had been trained in tactics and weapon use by the British in the preceding years, being better organised prevailed.

        Remember that Israel was born of terrorism. Several of their leaders were indeed terrorists : Begin, Shamir ..

        Holier than Hamas just doesn’t wash.

        • “No, Even in 1937 Jewish were making lists of Palestinian [sic] villages and the populations therein.”
          Please provide a link to the hate site.

          • www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=Tb33vZzPMCU

            It’s not Palestinian .. it’s Benny Morris et al … Israeli historian.

            Watch and learn Jewish history that they didn’t teach in school. Wonder why?

        • Farmer – so the Jews were up to their nefarious plots even in 1937? The original sin in the struggle for Jewish sovereignty begins even before 1948. I wonder what your grandparents and great grandparents were up to at this time? – if anything like you, projecting their dark fantasies onto the innocent Jews of Europe in preparation for their annihilation. At least Israel exists today as a triumph of the Jewish national liberation struggle – to protect and preserve the remnant of those your culture – in its tradition of all-consuming hate and barbarity – tried to destroy.

          • “so the Jews were up to their nefarious plots even in 1937?” … Yes.

            My Grandparents were bringing up my mother and father who would later fight against Germany to liberate Europe …. what does Israel ever do the help other countries? Nothing … with them it’s me, me, me.

            “At least Israel exists today as a triumph of the Jewish national liberation struggle” Israel, which has a right to exist, was born of Jewish terrorism and has continued to use force, suppression and brutality ever since.

            ” your culture – in its tradition of all-consuming hate and barbarity ” My culture is British. Israel is the perpetrator of land theft and attrition against the population of Palestine. I will take no lectures on decency from Israeli supporter. At least twice Israel has installed a terrorist as it’s leader … think on that.

    • Perhaps the PA should use the ‘Nakba card’ to show how the world ignores Jewish aggression.
      Yes they do it everytime when their population is growing.
      Obama should use the “slavery card”, the crusader card”, the “muslim terrorists are random shooters” card… Certainly he never dit any of them…

    • “Perhaps the PA should use the ‘Nakba card’ to show how the world ignores Jewish aggression.”
      You must have been asleep for the past 45 years or so. That phony issue is and has been their primary propaganda M.O. for the entire ten minutes of their national existence.

        • Farmer, isn’t Jeff such an incorrigible idiot? The catastrophe is that Israel exists – that’s a reality any humanitarian, progressive thinking European like yourself can understand. The world was so much better when defenceless Jews could be slaughtered on the altar of European culture without the protection of a nation state. For an anti-Semite like yourself, the Jewish emergence from powerlessness is the kind of catastrophe that you just can’t stop talking about.

          • ““For an anti-Semite like yourself”? you’re confused … and incorrect.”
            Yes, Michael, everyone is confused. You are no certainly no anti-Semite, as the following quotes can attest:

            “what does Israel ever do the help other countries? Nothing … with them it’s me, me, me.”
            “Watch and learn Jewish history that they didn’t teach in school. Wonder why?”

            So you know Jewish history? And tell me, who is this “they” that didn’t teach me and that is supposed to cause me to wonder?

            The truth of the matter is this: An ideologically trained seal such as yourself knows nothing about education.

  4. This article may be interesting for you, it cites some Israeli news about Netanyahu, showcasing some of his absurd lies in the last years. There is also some interesting news about Iran in that article:
    https://100wordz.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/christian-science-monitor-israeli-sources-on-netanyahus-track-record-of-lies-and-war-mongering/

    My other link is about why NoDeal is the by far worst option:
    https://100wordz.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/sanctions-cannot-stop-the-iranian-nuclear-program-only-a-deal-can/

  5. Pingback: More Purim turnabouts: Arab reactions to Netanyahu’s speech | Anne's Opinions

  6. Only we Jews have to suffer the indignities of having the phrase ‘playing the Holocaust card’ thrown at us time and time again. What other minorities can you name, who have lost 6 million through gassing, who are blamed and shamed for being victims, for being executed and for making the world feel guilty that the Holocaust is forever linked to the murders of our race? It is as if it is OUR fault that the world ‘Holocaust’ even exists!

    Each time the Holocaust is mentioned we Jews are accused of playing a guilt trip on the world. And once again, this repugnant phrase was used by Bowen. Bowen is one of the crudest and most disgusting antisemites that I have read and witnessed in the media. Such a pity I have no way of prosecuting him for using that phrase against the very victims themselves.

    • No one says that the Holocaust, in which the disabled, the Gypsies and the Jews were persecuted and murdered, was not a terrible crime that should not be forgotten.

      Mention of the Holocaust is used in many contexts. Some correct, and some questionable.

      To be thrown out as a remark to gain support for a beligerent line against a country that has broken no nuclear agreements, is a signatory of the NPT and is more honest than others in the region in regard to that, is a use in the wrong context.

      The groups murdered in such a systematic fashion had no fault in what happened whatsoever and no blame is being apportioned.

      All countries are criticised for actions that others view as wrong. However in Israel’s case the words ‘holocaust’ and ‘anti-semite’ are frequently used as shields to deflect comments.

        • “a country that has broken no nuclear agreements, is a signatory of the NPT and is more honest than others in the region in regard to that”

          I stand by this statement!

          Israel constantly breaks ceasefires too.

          • You can stand by your ridiculous statement till the cows come home. It doesn’t make it true. “Honest”? LMAO! “Broke no nuclear agreements”? ROFL!

            Iran fails to keep agreements says IAEL

            As for Israel breaking ceasefires, that is provably false.

            Israel “hitting back first” at a ceasefire violation does not constitute a ceasefire violation.

            in any event, it is a red herring. What have ceasefires got to do with Iran breaking nuclear agreements with world powers?

          • I must apologise . It seems you are correct in your Nuclear violation point.

            I shall now go and shoot myself … or I could dress up as a Gazan farmer and approach an Israeli watchtower on the Gazan side of the fence.
            Thankyou.

      • Mr Farmer:

        “No one says that the Holocaust, in which the disabled, the Gypsies and the Jews were persecuted and murdered, was not a terrible crime that should not be forgotten.”

        Funny how you placed the Jews as the last group even though they were by far the largest of the three you described. Also strange that you forgot the gay and political activists and other undesirables from various ethnic origins.

        “Mention of the Holocaust is used in many contexts. Some correct, and some questionable.”

        Couldn’t agree with you more. For instance Iran’s International Holocaust cartoon competition and a seond one cming now.

        BTW, the seond link will provide you with the Iranian judges terminology of the Holocaust and exactly how sometimes its use is, as you put it, questionable, if not out right racist!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Holocaust_Cartoon_Competition

        http://www.irancartoon.com/the-second-holocaust-international-cartoon-contest-2015/

        http://irancartoon.com/120/holocaust/index.htm

        “To be thrown out as a remark to gain support for a beligerent line against a country that has broken no nuclear agreements, is a signatory of the NPT and is more honest than others in the region in regard to that, is a use in the wrong context.”

        Laughable at best! Sad at worst!
        You already admitted that you got it wrong about Iranian not lying so give us a break.
        As for why bring it up when discussing Iran? It’s precisly because Iran was lead with a clear Holocaust deniar and is still showing no remourse and about to grace it’s state with another Holocaust cartoon competition (as if you can compare to Israeli Arab conflict to the Holocaust) which beggers the mention of the Holocaust.
        We must make them realise that never again means just that.
        As for your defence of Iran I’d like you defending the amount of people Israel executed (including people that were bombed) taking into acount that Israel was and is under was since 1948, and compare it with Iran’s records since 1979 taking into account that Iran is not under war since 1988.
        You’d be surprised what you are defending.

        “The groups murdered in such a systematic fashion had no fault in what happened whatsoever and no blame is being apportioned.”
        Now you’re just being stupid.
        For starters had Israel systimatically executed the Arabs their numbers would grow.
        Second the Arab’s irregulars leader was one of the persons thought to be involved in the convincing of Hitler to reach towards the Final Solution.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haj_Amin_al-Husseini

        I’d say the Jews had very much a serious grievence with them.
        So Palestinians have increased their population since 1948 5 folds.
        Jews still did not make up for the 6 million murdered.
        See the difference between a Hollocaust involving Ethnic cleansing and a war that does not?

        “All countries are criticised for actions that others view as wrong. However in Israel’s case the words ‘holocaust’ and ‘anti-semite’ are frequently used as shields to deflect comments.”
        I disagree on the terminology.
        Frequently is not correct in my opinion.
        As for all countries criticised: Israeli actions have been criticised in a disproportionate manner by the UN over the past decade and a half.
        What could be the reason?
        Lobbying pushing for this criticism is one option. Racism is another.
        But you already have your mind set so why bother…

        • “Funny how you placed the Jews as the last group even though they were by far the largest of the three you described. Also strange that you forgot the gay and political activists and other undesirables from various ethnic origins.”

          Sorry … I didn’t know it was a competition. Any omissions were not deliberate.

          “Iran’s International Holocaust cartoon competition” …yes, disgusting.

          If Iran is racist, Israel is no less so.

          “Iran was lead with a clear Holocaust denier”. Denying is ridiculous …. but surely not a thought crime. (as in 1984 George Orwell). Is Nakba denial a crime?

          “For starters had Israel systematically executed the Arabs their numbers would grow.” I don’t understand this sentence.

          “Frequently is not correct in my opinion.” Thankyou for YOUR opinion.

          “Israeli actions have been criticised in a disproportionate manner by the UN over the past decade and a half.” I think ‘disproportionate’ is the clue here.

          Mindsets and perceptions are partly formed by viewing, reading, listening …

      • “No one says that the Holocaust, in which the disabled, the Gypsies and the Jews were persecuted and murdered, was not a terrible crime that should not be forgotten.”

        You insult peterthehungarian’s English skills and then drop this tortured sentence, with its Freudian slip, on the rest of us.
        What did the English language ever do to you?

        • ““No one says that the Holocaust, in which the disabled, the Gypsies and the Jews were persecuted and murdered, was not a terrible crime and should be forgotten.””

          Better? I’ve just had a stern word with my fingers.

          By now you should know I feel that both the Holocaust and the Nakba were both abominable and that neither should be forgotten.

      • Farmer – the Holocaust was something that happened to Jews, perpetrated by Europeans who justified it through a long history and tradition of anti-Semitism. But you think its Europeans who hold the moral high ground and can dictate to the remnant of a devastated culture and people brought to the brink of extinction on your dark continent, when, where and how they can talk about it.

        • Britain took the lead in the fight against the perpetrators of the holocaust. Much of Europe and the Russians fought to defeat Germany, the Russians themselves lost many millions more than perished in the camps, whereas today Israel’s iron fist is used against powerless Palestinians as you occupy and destroy their infrastructure.
          You are a military state.

          • Watch and learn British history that they didn’t teach in school. Wonder why?

            Not to mention Palestinian history. The name Palestine is thousands of years old I’m told. Could you please list some of the leaders of the Palestinian people through the ages? What were some of their achievements?

            Or is this really all about you…you…you ?

  7. Pingback: Commentary on BBC ME editor’s ‘Holocaust card’ Tweet widens | BBC Watch

  8. Pingback: BBC audiences get Israeli PM’s Congress speech through the Bowen filter – part two | BBC Watch

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