THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Catherine Shakdam – Days into Israel’s unwarranted aggression on Gaza, angry protesters gathered before the offices of the BBC in Britain to denounce what they called BBC’s bias against Palestine.
Thousands took to the streets on Saturday, keen to denounce BBC’s propaganda against Palestinians, urging top management to have the decency of portraying the truth as opposed to spinning Israel’s media wheel by demonizing and belittling Palestinians and their inherent rights.
Solely focusing on the “misery” inflicted upon Israelis, the BBC drew a complete blank when it came to reporting on the death of over 130 Palestinians, the majority of which – about 70% according to the United Nations – civilians.
The fact that dozens of women and children have died in the most atrocious way possible, stroke by an Israeli missile at their home, appeared to trouble not the BBC as its journalists continue to cry for Israel, urging viewers to empathize with Tel Aviv’s right to self-defence, even if it meant breaking a few international laws along the way, as only Israel can be found worthy of existence before Palestinian’ scum.
BBC’s message was actually heard loud and clear, causing thousands of British nationals to vent their fury at the TV channel, which once upon a time was known for its objectivity and journalistic integrity.
Brian Eno, a former BBC correspondent for the Middle East stood amid the protesters. He told reporters on the ground how very ashamed and saddened he was by the BBC’s blatant lack of impartiality.
On July 11th, Eno wrote an open letter published in the Guardian in which he denounced and exposed BBC’s penchant for defending Israel, to the point where its reporting had become phantasmagorical. It read, “The most recent incident concerns the killing of three Israeli teenagers in Hebron. This admittedly disgusting crime has received an entirely disproportionate treatment: listening to the BBC one would be left with the impression that killing children had never happened in [the West Bank] before. But it has. And it happens with monotonous regularity. Not, by and large, to Israeli children, but to Palestinians. And not only killing, but imprisonment and torture and day-to-day harassment and brutality. This goes on all the time – and I see little reaction to it from the international media. Unfortunately, that increasingly includes the BBC, which now, like many others, seems to regard Palestinian lives as less valuable, less newsworthy.”
According to Gideon Levy, an Israeli columnist with the Haaretz, Israel has been responsible for the death of one Palestinian child every four days.
In 2013, the UN Report “The Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children,” has shown that in 2013, Palestinian children suffered abuse disproportionately and eight Palestinian children were killed in conflict-related violence. No Israeli children died.
Spinning the media wheel
Rather than making it clear to its audiences that this is a grossly mismatched struggle between Israel, a heavily armed occupying power, on the one hand, and the Palestinians, a stateless, refugee population with no military might at all, on the other, the BBC prefers to obfuscate with false balance.
It does its best to present the two sides as equal. In its coverage of the last five days of relentless Israeli bombardment of Gaza, in which homes and families, cafés, mosques and charities have been targeted and wiped out, the BBC has not informed its audiences that Israel as the occupying power in Gaza has held the 1.8 million people there under a strangling siege for the last seven years.
Instead, the occupation is presented as a “conflict” or even a “war.” In its coverage of the West Bank, the BBC has taken to using the term “sectarian tensions” to hide the reality that what is taking place is illegal occupation and colonization.
The result, of course, is to convey a completely false picture that there are two groups fighting each other who are both under equal threat.
Resisting state propaganda
But Britain is not taking state propaganda lying down. Organizations in support of Palestine – Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War Coalition, among others – have sworn to speak the truth on Israel’s crimes, however inconvenient and politically challenging such truth might prove to be for Britain’s government.
On 15 July, Palestine Solidarity Campaign is taking all that anger to the heart of the BBC, with a planned major protest outside the corporation’s national headquarters in London’s Portland Place. The message is that it is time for the BBC to stop whitewashing Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.
This Saturday, a rally was organised by the Stop the War Coalition in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens, in protest at what the group says is “the brutal intensification of violence” at hands of the Israelis.More than 20 anti-war protests were planned around the country over the weekend, according to Stop the War Coalition’s website.