Palestine – the BBC and the History Channel Bias Distort Debate

December 19, 2010 by David Singer
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The BBC and the History Channel stand accused of denigrating Israel by the use of factually incorrect statements or misleading and deceptive statements that are factually correct but only tell half the story.

Take this

gem from the BBC:

“Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 war. It withdrew its troops from Gaza in 2005.”

No mention is made of the fact that Israel also simultaneously evacuated all 8000 Jewish civilians who had been living there as well. Was the omission of the words “and 8000 Jewish civilians” due to space constraints?

The BBC did not have to mention that such evacuation was done unilaterally to advance the peace process, such evacuation was subsequently followed by a Hamas takeover of Gaza that threatens any further progress in peacefully ending the conflict and that the civilian population of Israel has been subjected to incessant and indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza ever since the evacuation was completed.

However – failing to mention those 8000 civilians in this news item as part of Israel’s pull out from Gaza can only be viewed as an attempt to downgrade the extent and significance of Israel’s withdrawal.

The History Channel’s release for one of its programmes illustrates a similar bias that is ugly in its contemplation.

Consider these statements:

“Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.”

No mention is made of the fact that the UN also voted for the creation of an independent Arab State.

Again the inclusion of just nine words “and an independent Arab state which the Arabs rejected” would have clearly indicated that the UN had not only offered the Jews a state but also offered the Arabs one as well – which the Arabs rejected.

The failure to insert those missing words carries the innuendo that only the Jews were offered a state in 1947 but the Arabs missed out and begs the question – isn’t it time the UN now rectified that injustice in 2010?

“The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory.”

Actually the conflict had started about thirty years earlier – so that chunk of history is either unknown to the History Channel’s researchers or was deliberately overlooked.

The territory was not “British-controlled” until the conclusion of World War 1. It was part of the Ottoman Empire until then.

Pity the poor students who use this material in their projects – and their teachers – who rely on this material as being accurate and reliable.

“The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state”

Really? Are the history buffs at the History Channel unaware of the following facts?

“The three main political organizations in Palestine-the Arab Club, the Literary Club, and the Muslim-Christian Association (the lack of mention of Palestine in their names is revealing) — all worked for union with Syria. The first two went farthest, calling outright for rule by Prince Faysal. Amin al-Husayni was president of the Arab Club; the extremism which later made him notorious as the leader of Palestinian separatism (and an ally of Hitler) already showed itself in 1920, when he instigated riots for union with Syria. A member of the Arab Club, Kamil al-Budayri, co-edited from September 1919 the newspaper Suriya al-Janubiya (“Southern Syria”) which advocated Palestine’s incorporation into Greater Syria.

Even the Muslim-Christian Association, an organization of traditional leaders-men who expected to rule if Palestine became independent-demanded incorporation in Greater Syria. Its president insisted that “Palestine or Southern Syria-an integral part of the one and indivisible Syria-must not in any case or for any pretext be detached.” The Muslim-Christian Association held a Congress in early 1919 to draw up demands for the Paris Peace Conference. It declared that Palestine, a “part of Arab Syria,” is permanently connected to Syria through “national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic, and geographical bonds,” and resolved that “Southern Syria or Palestine should not be separated from the independent Arab Syrian government.” Musa Kazim al-Husayni, Head of the Jerusalem Town Council (in effect, mayor) told a Zionist interlocutor in October 1919: “We demand no separation from Syria.” The slogan heard everywhere in 1918-19 was “Unity, Unity, From the Taurus [Mountains in Turkey] to Rafah [in Gaza], Unity, Unity.”

“Beginning in 1929, Arabs and Jews openly fought in Palestine”

Staggeringly the History Channel seems to be unaware of the 1920 riots which saw four Arabs and five Jews killed, while 216 Jews were wounded – 18 critically – and 23 Arabs wounded – one critically.

“Radical Jewish groups employed terrorism against British forces in Palestine,”

Since when is fighting the armed forces of your adversary – not its civilians – described as “terrorism”? The History Channel’s biased slip is surely on display for all to see.

“At the end of World War II, in 1945, the United States took up the Zionist cause,”

The United States had taken up the Zionist cause on 30 June 1922 when both Houses of Congress unanimously endorsed the Mandate for Palestine.

On 21 September 1922 President Warren Harding signed the joint resolution of approval to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine

“The Jews were to possess more than half of Palestine…,

It is a pity the History Channel could not have added: “more than 70% of which was the arid and sparsely populated Negev Desert”

“The Palestinian Arabs, aided by volunteers from other countries, fought the Zionist forces”

Strange that the History Channel should be unaware that these “volunteers” comprised the “Arab Liberation Army” set up in Damascus under the command of Fawzi Kaukji. Seven of these detachments with a strength of about 5000 had made their way into Palestine by March 1948. They were divided into four commands.

“The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.”

Oops – the History Channel forgot to include Saudi Arabia – a small oversight.

The History Channel then has the gall to state at the end of this outrageous release:

“Fact Check. We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us! “

Creating myth instead of stating fact is one of the greatest impediments to securing a resolution of the conflict between the Arabs and Jews.

The next time you watch the History Channel (if you ever do so again) – don’t take what you hear and see as the truth. There are apparently a lot of dunderheads employed there or – perhaps more insidiously – persons deliberately bent on misleading the public.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network

Comments

9 Responses to “Palestine – the BBC and the History Channel Bias Distort Debate”
  1. david singer says:

    #Pounce_uk

    Many thanks for giving me the web site which deals with BBC bias.

    I recommend J Wire readeres take the time to have a look.

    http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/

    Bias is certainly alive and kicking at the BBC. All that is demanded is that reports be factually accurate and not misleading or deceptive. It is a simple standard for the media to apply. Why is it so difficult to put into practice?

    Perhaps the BBC and all other media should engage the services of volunteer Jewish and Arab scrutineers to whom articles are submitted prior to publication to check their factual accuracy with a deadline being required for any objections being required.

    The editorial policies of the BBC and the History Channel have clearly failed to prevent the publication of the offending articles I have taken objection to. Maybe independent review as suggested above is now required to try and ensure this unfair practice is ended.

    Once published it is very difficult to undo the damage.

  2. david singer says:

    I am pleased to note that the BBC has now changed the offending article referred to in the above story to include the words “and settlers” .

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11993166

    This does set the record straight and ensures that readers researching this particular article in future will get the full story.

    Two little words can make a difference.

    Well done BBC

    Now we will have to wait and see what the History Channel does.

    Thanks J Wire for running first with this story. It shows that even in far away Australia we can make a difference in ensuring fair and accurate reporting by the world media.

  3. david singer says:

    #Rita

    Thank you for referring us to Melanie Phillips article. It is a brilliant exposition detailing the success that Arab propaganda has wrought and points the way to countering such lies and misinformation. It is a wake up call to Israel and those who support the right of the Jews to have their own national home and to ensure it prospers in the future..

    Everyone should read and digest its contents.

  4. Pounce_uk says:

    Just to inform you guys, some of use folks over in the Uk are sick to the teeth of the blatant leftwing agenda of the bBC which is why we blog about its biased reporting over at biased bBC.

  5. david singer says:

    # Richard Joachim

    You are not so bad yourself and are to be admired for your outspokeness. Keep writing and get others to join you.

    Invariably those who write anonymously hold views that would damn them in the eyes of their friends, families and associates if they outed themselves publicly. They are gutless individuals living double lives. The internet has given them a platform to spew their hatred. Where they are openly avowed Jew-haters I simply don’t commun icate with them. Their posts stand to condemn them without me having to say a word.

    I would rather spend my time in dicussions which seek to resolve the Jewish-Arab conflict – not promote its continuation by using false and misleading propaganda.

  6. Rita says:

    Melanie Phillips writes in this article below :

    “We are living through a global campaign of demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel in which the western media are playing a key role…”.

    http://www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?p=786

    4000 words, but worth reading each one of them.

  7. Richard Joachim says:

    I think that in all these comments, no ‘anonymous’ submissions should be accepted. If persons wish to make their views known publicly, they must have the moral fortitude to do so, as Mr David Singer does so well. One always suspects that those who hide behind anonymity do have something to hide. I’ve seen other articles by Mr Singer and seen some very nasty, even threatening, responses to them but Mr Singer doesn’t hide and his courage is commendable. He is an inspiration to us all. Mazel tov.

  8. david singer says:

    Like so much Arab propaganda that is spewed out in the media – you fail to mention that the King David Hotel was the headquarters of the British Army and the attack was aimed at that military target.

    At least you have the decency to acknowledge that warnings were given to vacate the building but were ignored by the Britiish. The carnage that resulted could have been avoided if those warnings had been heeded.

    Ugly things happen in war and unintended consequences occur. This was such an event.

    To equate this incident with the attack on 9/11 on two commercial buildings containing thousands of civilians – carried out without any warnings – indicates that you may be one of those Arab propagandists who seek to spread misinformation with the intention of misleading public opinion. Is that why you choose to remain anonymous?

    “The fear and xenophobia of Jews in Palestine” was alive and kicking in Palestine well before 1946.
    Try the Arab riots in 1920 and 1929 and the Arab revolt between 1936-1939. The Jews returning to their biblical and legally sanctioned homeland were never welcomed into Palestine by the Arabs. That attitude was to subsequently cause – and is still causing – death, suffering and untold misery for hundreds of thousands of Jews and Arabs.

    Your comments – like those of the History Channel – do nothing to assist in a resolution of the conflict. Rather they inflame and incite with the intention of prolonging the conflict by creating a series of myths which are aimed at denigrating Israel and justifying attempts to seek its elimination.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If I recall correctly, there were right-Zionist groups that had bombed a hotel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_David_Hotel_bombing may not be accurate due to it being Wikipedia)
    which led to a lot of fear and xenophobia of the Jews within Palestine. Not only from Administrative people in Britain, but as well as amongst civilians throughout the Palestine. There were Jewish Palestinians who were killed as well. After all this is very similar to something that happened 9 years ago. After the 9/11 attacks there was a growing fear that most Arab or Muslim was a terrorist, just because of the actions of a few people. Us Arabs made a mistake in blaming all Jews as terrorists which led to our xenophobia of you, but couldn’t this all have taken a different route if that right-wing Zionist group didn’t bomb those hotels. I however much of the deaths could’ve also been avoided if the British did listen to the warnings that were given. So it is also there fault.