Beyond the BBC’s narrative on Israel

This video, showing a recent discussion hosted by the Hudson Institute between Lee Smith and Israeli diplomat George Deek is titled “What Does the Latest Wave of Violence in Israel Portend?” but goes way beyond that subject matter and is well worth the 90 minutes of viewing time for anyone who wants to see beyond the narratives promoted in BBC coverage of the current wave of terrorism. 

 

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Weekend long read

1) At the Jewish Chronicle, Yiftah Curiel presents his analysis of the recent BBC programme ostensibly relating to the Jerusalem light rail system in an article titled “Why Panorama went off the rails“.Weekend Read

“When Wishart visits an East Jerusalem neighbourhood he witnesses a violent attack on an Israeli checkpoint; a young boy praises in Arabic those who are “attacking the soldiers, the Jews”, translated to BBC audiences as “attacking the soldiers”. In what has become a worrying trend recently at the BBC, rather than see these statements for what they are – symptoms of widespread institutional incitement within Palestinian society – editors make do with telling us that “when they say ‘Jews’, they mean ‘Israelis'”.”

2) Tablet magazine has an interesting interview with Israeli diplomat George Deek.

“He spoke slowly and softly, as someone who had given much thought to the issue. He said that his grandfather’s choice should be a model for the Arab minority in Israel as a whole: “Unfortunately, Arabs in Israel today are forced to choose between two bad options. One is assimilation—young Arabs look at their Jewish peers and decide they want to speak like them, walk like them, and behave like them. This attempt is a bit comic but also sad, since it is doomed to fail. In the end they are not Jews and will never be.

“On the other hand, and this is a far more common choice, there is an option of separatism, which is promoted by the Arab political and religious leaders. They say that we are not really Israelis, only Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, but this nuance creates dissociation. They speak about Arab cultural autonomy and about separation, which I think lead to extremism and animosity with the Jews. According to this version, a loyal Arab-Israeli must define himself first and foremost through being anti-Israeli.

“With the first choice, you lose who you are; with the second, you lose who you can become. But I believe that there’s a third way. We can be proud of our identity and at the same time live as a contributing minority in a country who has a different nationality, a different religion, and a different culture than ours. There is no better example in my view than the Jews in Europe, who kept their religion and identity for centuries but still managed to influence deeply, perhaps even to create, European modern thinking. Jews suffered from the same dissonance between their own identity and the surrounding society. Their success was not despite their distinctiveness, but because of it. I am talking about Marx, Freud, Einstein, Spinoza, Wittgenstein.”

3) Another very interesting interview took place when the President of the Technion sat down recently with Dr Qanta Ahmed to talk about Islamist extremism, BDS, the Lancet and more.

4) An epidemiological assessment of the casualties and missile attacks during last summer’s conflict between Israel and Hamas which was complied by the Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention and Hebrew University Hadassah Genocide Prevention Program and was submitted to the United Nations ‘Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict’ can be found here.

“Timelines for cumulative death tolls in Gaza and missile attacks from Gaza from the start of Operation Protective Edge steadily rose during the war. Both stopped when Hamas accepted a ceasefire under terms virtually the same as other previous ceasefires. Ninety one percent of the 2127 deaths in Gaza and one hundred percent of those in Israel would have been prevented had Hamas accepted the first ceasefire.”

The Israel not seen on the BBC

Readers no doubt recall that – despite the BBC’s subsequent protestations – Jeremy Bowen recently told listeners to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme that the Israeli government constitutes a threat to Middle East Christians on a par with that presented by “extreme Islam”. As was noted here at the time:

“Bowen of course provided no fact-based support for his fallacious claim that Palestinian Christian communities are “threatened” by Israel and neither did he inform listeners that the Christian community in Israel is both safe and thriving.”

The caricature portrayal of Israel so often presented to BBC audiences by the BBC’s Middle East editor of course erases from view the realities of what is in fact a much more complex, nuanced and interesting story. A glimpse of that story – and of the real country behind the BBC headlines – can be seen in this recent speech given in London by Christian Arab-Israeli diplomat George Deek.

Related Articles:

Beyond the BBC caricature of Israel

 

Beyond the BBC caricature of Israel

As readers may be aware, the deputy chief of mission at Israel’s embassy in Norway is George Deek – a Christian Arab Israeli from Jaffa. In a speech given in Oslo on September 27th, Mr Deek told the extraordinary story of his family and gave some interesting insight into Israel as it really is.

The sound quality of this video begins poorly, but improves about five minutes in. A transcript of the speech is available here.