politinfo

Trying to make sense of a meshuga planet

Do we have enough Jews?

Regarding this recent news story: Italian ship captain: Israeli security officers drove Somali pirates away

Israeli private security guards exchanged fire with pirates who attacked an Italian cruise ship with 1,500 people on board far off the coast of Somalia, the ship’s commander said Sunday. Cmdr. Ciro Pinto told Italian state radio that six men in a small white boat approached the Msc Melody and opened fire Saturday night, but retreated after the Israeli security officers aboard the cruise ship returned fire.

This reminded me an old anecdote:

At the Russian War College, the general is a guest lecturer and tells the class of officers that the session will focus on potential problems and the resulting strategies. One of the officers in the class begins by asking the first question, “Will we have to fight in a World War Three?”
“Yes, comrades, in all likelihood, you will,” answers the general.
“And who will be our likely enemy, Comrade General?” another officer asks.
“The likelihood is that it will be China.”
The class looks alarmed, and finally one officer asks, “But Comrade General, we are 150 million people and they are about 1.5 billion. How can we possibly win?”
“Well,” replies the general, “think about it. In modern war, it is not the quantity, but the quality that is key. For example, in the Middle East, 5 million Jews fight against 50 million Arabs and the Jews have been the winners every time.”
“But sir,” asks the panicky officer, “do we have enough Jews?”

The incident with the pirates did not go without a controversy. Tom Gross notes in NRO:

But one organization — and no surprise, it is the BBC — despite running a 23-paragraph story about the incident, went out of its way not to mention that the saviors of the ship and its 1,500 passengers were Israelis. Is the BBC ever willing to portray Israelis in a positive light?

UPDATE: Following criticism, on Monday night the BBC subtly added the word “Israeli” into the eleventh paragraph of their article — but its time stamp remains unchanged, despite the update. This is not the first time the BBC has subtly updated pieces without telling readers. See here for example, or here.

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Piracy | , , , | Leave a comment

BBC editor hired to correct anti-Israel bias was found to be perpetrating it

Back from the USSR, I perceived the BBC radio as a voice of freedom. These days I find it deeply disappointing because at least in one respect – its coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict – the Beeb is nauseatingly biased against Israel. Today the Editorial Standards Committee of the BBC Trust admitted bias.

Jonathan Hoffman, co-Vice Chair of the UK Zionist Federation guest posts at Z-Word:

The BBC is a unique institution. It is the largest broadcasting organisation on the planet (with an annual operating expenditure over £4 billion) and it is a public service broadcaster. The former gives it tremendous power.

The combination of size with 100% public ownership means that the BBC has very clear Editorial Guidelines.

They state: “The BBC’s commitment to accuracy is a core editorial value and fundamental to our reputation… Impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences.“

In November 2003 in response to criticism (from both sides) about its Middle East coverage, the BBC appointed Malcolm Balen as Senior Editorial Adviser on the Middle East.

He wrote a long Report which was supposed to be internal. Reportedly it found anti-Israel bias.

Since then, the BBC  spent hundreds of thousands of B. pounds of taxpayer money on a long legal battle against making it public. This is especially hypocritical because the BBC frequently uses the Freedom of Information Act for its own reporting.

Also in response to criticism the BBC appointed its first Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen.

What happened today was the publication of a landmark decision. The highest level of the BBC’s complaints-handling structure – the Editorial Standards Committee of the BBC Trust – has ruled that Jeremy Bowen breached both the guideline on accuracy and that on impartiality.

Read the whole post, and CAMERA (which made the complaint) promises more details.

It is not easy to distinguish the cause and effect here, but it is no surprise that UK is European center of anti-Semitism.

Of course it will take much more than this to correct the problem, but today’s step is in the right direction.

UPDATE:
JPost’s article Complaints of BBC bias partially upheld says in part:

However, the Trust’s ruling contains no sanction, and a BBC spokesman played down its significance. In respect to one of the findings, the spokesman said that Bowen had merely been “exercising his professional judgment on history.”

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Media bias | , , , , , , | Leave a comment