Media Friends of Israel

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By Mike Small

Whether it’s Boris Johnson’s commitment to withdraw from Europe, or Britain’s trade in arms to Israel and around the world, the myth of British security, and the infallible ‘strength’ of the Union is a lie as well as a moral failure.

But let’s not pretend this is an issue just for the Tories, it’s an issue for Labour too.

Only last year Douglas Alexander spoke to the Labour Friends of Israel praising them to the hilt. With his default “As the son of a Presbyterian Minister, raised hearing my father read the scriptures” line duly inserted – he noted that Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown and, of course Tony Blair had also been recent speakers before continuing:

“So let me say very clearly – especially to those within our own Labour movement – desist from a language of de-legitimisation; stop the movement to sever academic and trade union links; now is the time to deepen, not weaken, our economic and cultural ties across the region.”

Read his full speech here ‘Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander Asserts that Israel Should Be Celebrated’)

Our understanding of our place and role in the world is essential in making a calculated choice on September 18th.

The media, particularly the broadcast media, is key in allowing us to get an understanding of foreign affairs. Ignorance of our ow history, never mind our role in current affairs, is essential in continuing placid support for Britain.

Whilst the Unionist parties emphasise the humanitarian efforts of Britain, they downplay and evade the reality of billions, not millions in arms sales to the region ‘Britain Admits Selling $12 Billion in Weapons to Israel’. 

The reality is that whilst Better Together trumpet the generosity of DFID: “UK to provide additional £2m in emergency assistance to Gaza bringing to £7m the amount released this week”. This looks rather different if put in the context of that figure being less than 0.1% of value of UK current arms sales to Israel.

One of the ways in which this media coverage is skewed is by constant pressure against journalists doing their job. This week the BBC has been accused of removing its chief Middle Eastern correspondent from Israel under extreme pressure, an act it denies. In 2005 Orla Guerin, the BBC Middle East correspondent was accused of bias by the Israeli government, and had to be withdrawn from the region.

Back in 2002, John Pilger’s film ‘Palestine is Still the Issue’ came under attack by chairman of Carlton, Michael Green, the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Board of Deputies, the Conservative Friends of Israel and the Israeli embassy. He remarked then:

 

“At the heart of this is a failure to acknowledge the overwhelming imbalance in the British media in favour of the Israeli point of view. ITV deserves great credit for funding and broadcasting my film, which sought to redress a little of this. The BBC would have never dared to incur the wrath of one of the most influential lobbies in this country, as Tim Llewellyn, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent for many years, says in a letter in today’s Guardian. He accuses the BBC of “continuing to duck” its public service duty to explain “the true nature of the disaster [of the occupation] and Israel’s overwhelming responsibility for it”. This general bias is verified by a remarkable study of the television coverage of the Middle East, conducted last May by the Glasgow University Media Group. The conclusions ought to shame broadcasters. The research shows that the public’s lack of understanding of the conflicts and its origins is actually compounded by the “coverage”. Viewers are rarely told that the Palestinians are victims of an illegal military occupation. The term “occupied territories” is rarely explained. Only 9% of young people interviewed know that the Israelis are both the occupiers and the illegal “settlers”.

The reality is that the Unionist case for security and safety in foreign affairs falls apart under the briefest scrutiny. Media coverage of the ‘conflict’ in Palestine is pivotal and so it’s great to see Russell Brand repeatedly take on America’s far-right Fox News coverage in a despite that’s escalating week by week:



Categories: Commentary

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18 replies

  1. Russell Brand, can’t say I was ever a fan but after watching that I’d quite happily buy him a beer or two.

  2. What puzzles me is the way that the right-on left and fellow liberal travellers are obsessed by the Israel/Palestine issue. Yes, Hamas provoked this by firing hundreds of rockets (once again) into the Jewish state and yes, the Israelis’ reaction has been both disproportionate and bordering on the barbaric. It is tragic to see the number of civilian casualties, especially women and children, on the Palestinian side. It is also blatantly obvious that Israel does not care.
    The next point is that Israel does not occupy Gaza. The country/statelet is self-governing. The problem is the blockade which stops proper supplies getting in and reaching the right people.
    What amazes me and many others however, is why the media, and the thousands of protesters and those calling for a boycott of Israel, why there has been dead silence on every other issue in the Middle East. Why the silence on Syria? Why was Assad’s massacres against his people not condemned. Why were/are the no marches and protests against both Assad and that barbaric mob, ISIS? And why are’nt they asking about Iraq. And the Killers of Hezbollah, and the coup in Egypt, and the civil war in Libya?
    The ME is in chaos and it isn’t just the Israelis and the Yanks that are to blame, it is the Arabs themselves who, as a people, are going back the way in the terms of human development, not forwards.

  3. Jordan excluded.

    • It’s not puzzling at all. There’s plenty of the Scottish left quite plainly saying that if we want independence we have to be anti-Israel. OK, if that’s the way they want to play it they can have it their way. If they want to wave the flag of people determined to drive the Jews into the sea, people who consider the Protocols of the Elders of Zion suitable material for secondary schools, then good luck to them. On the grounds that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, that’s me signing back up with Flipper and Crash Gordon.

  4. i have yet to see the death damage and destruction caused by how many rockets no one knows who verifies this daily barrage where are the injured and dying from this onslaught are we to believe the only state in the world to break and defy so many UN resolutions even the UN have given up counting why are we letting a rogue state commit murder on a daily basis the answer as always is the good old USA maybe without them the israelis would have to get on with their neighbours just a thought its great what money can do it corrupts peoples moral compass and the media seem blind and deaf and totally embarrassed to mention the thousands of people demonstrating against this slaughter same as the “YES” campaign it doesn’t exist so dont mention it i know its not on the same level as this carnage its just how the media manipulates the news it makes you sick at how we are deceived daily we need a change this is not right

  5. Why do folk keep on saying Hamas ‘start’ trouble?
    They are fighting a foreign invader. That is what most people would do.

  6. Hamas is an extreme Islamist group that controls the territory with utter ruthlessness. They are guilty of many crimes against humanity, which is not to condone the over-reaction of Israeli military actions. They have got to understand that if they fire hundreds of rockets into their neighbour there will be retribution and they and the people of Gaza will pay a very heavy price, though that is maybe what they with their warped islamist ‘martyr’ ideology want.
    The children of course do not have that choice of surviving and becoming martyrs. It is time the Left started facing reality and condemned Islamic Fundamentalism for the cancer that it is today, for it is spreading and the evidence is there for all to see.

    • They aren’t firing rockets at their ‘neighbour’. They are firing rockets at illegal settlements on Palestinian land. Their ‘neighbour’ has forced them from their own houses and land, and they are fighting to get them back. I would do the same.

  7. Hamas are the the Palestinians elected government they are not terrorist they are defending their people and their land ,i will say one thing to Gonzalo ackba 1948

  8. Ah! #Tim Fenian. ‘Drive the Israelis into the sea’. A chance would be a fine thing, since the Palestinians are on the seashore with no escape in an overcrowded prison camp. It’s more likely to be the other way around, which would suit the Israelis fine. Israel was known as Palestine before the Jews moved in in 1948 with the help of the well-armed terrorist Irgun and Stern gangs.
    As for Islamic fundamentalism – what about Jewish fundamentalism which rules the Knessit? The Jews see the Palestinians as racially inferior and want the land for themselves. The idea is to make life so intolerable for them in Gaza that they will all want to leave. Interesting to learn that Britain is giving aid to the Palestinians, but also to learn that this amounts to 0.1% of the arms sales to Israel. Salves our consciences, the aid.
    You’re welcome to go back to supporting those two losers who brought the UK to its knees. It’s you who will end up the loser. As for the BBC, I lost all faith in its integrity during the jingoistic reporting of the Falklands war. I listened to their justifications of the Blair government’s advocacy for going into Iraq. And lately it has become the spokesman for yet another government. It is in the pocket of the London Establishment now. Time for a Scottish Broadcasting Company.

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