Wednesday, May 14, 2008

BBC on Israel at 60

Their website has (or at least, had) a very large banner with the optimistic headline Israel at 60. When you click on it, it leads here, to a full page of menus and features relating to Israel.

Or not.

I expect one could spend an hour or two going through all the materials collected on this section. Some of it, no doubt, must be balanced, fair, and informative. But it's the BBC, remember, the place where the favorite newspaper among the staff is The Guardian. So all you really have to do is take a good look at this introductory screen, and you'll be left with no doubt about the BBC's line on Israel.

Top bar: "Israel at 60". And two images, one of Israel's flag,the other of the Palestinian one.

Next line. A picture of Ben Gurion, perhaps declaring the creation of the state, and a title: "60 Years of Middle East Division". Not, say, 60 years of creation in the face of adversity, or 100 years of Middle East Division (90 would probably be the most accurate number). The main theme, you see, is the conflict with the Palestinians.

Next is a bar with 3 items. A brief history of Israel, statistics, and maps. I peeked. The maps are reasonable. The statistics start all right but then veer sharply into the Israel-Palestinian issue, with lots of purportedly accurate but actually misleading data from - inevitably - Be'tselem. After all, there's no one else around, is there? The link to the history of Israel is actually a link to the history of the conflict. After all, what is Israel if not its wars.

Next line, three links with pictures. The story of a Palestinian refugee, the story of a Palestinian camp, and the story of a mixed city in Israel. No, not mixed Russians-Moroccans-Yemenites-Americans-French-Algerians-Ethiopians. What were you thinking? Jaffa. Mixed Jews-Palestinians, of course. Again, I peeked. Jaffa is the site of Yehuda Poliker's powerful song about starting a new life in a foreign country, based on a letter by his father. No mention of the Bulgarians on the BBC's story, alas.

Next line: A title that indicates Israelis are weary. Then one about the issues that fuel the conflict. Finally, off to the right of the screen, a series of pictures of Palestinians.

Bottom row, three links with images: A British soldier remembers; a Christian Palestinian remembers; and finally, an Arab Israeli has problems.

You don't image there's a pattern here, do you?


Morey Altman said...

60 Years of Division, eh? By coincidence, that's the exact same headline used by Al-Jazeera. Of course, we are talking about the BBC.

Lydia McGrew said...

Israel Matzav has shameful quotations from an article, presumably somehow connected with the 60th anniverary, by a Haaretz reporter bragging that he doesn't pass the "lynch test"--that is, that he can't bring himself to criticize the Arabs even in the face of actions like the Ramallah lynching. It's an amazing article. Self-hating and proud of it.

Anonymous said...


I don't imagine you have a group of young students who could put together for the IBA a similar collection of web pages about the UK, which dedicates 85 percent of its content to British colonialism, with picts and interviews of those who'd suffered under the British Mandate. Or do you?

P.S. You could also adorn such pages with statistics on all the British Royals' scandals, picts of British soccer hooligans, testimonies by former members of the Sinn Fein, etc.