Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tragi-Comic Relief, Again

The BBC is in major trouble since the top honchos there decided not to broadcast a call by various so-called human rights organizations to help the populace of Gaza. The Guardian is FURIOUS, and since many of the staff of the BBC read the Guardian as their paper of choice (hmmm...), the fury is apparently expressing itself in internal clashes at the BBC. The New York Times tells the story in a comparatively calm tone, here.

According to the NYT, the BBC has in the past broadcast similar appeals for the victims of genocides in Rwanda, Darfur and Congo. A curious line-up, don't you think? Was the operation in Gaza a genocide? Why not broadcast similar humanitarian pleas for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka, Kashmir, Thailand, Burma, Nahr-el-Bared in Lebanon, Somalia, and all sorts of other places where the number of civilian victims in armed conflicts in 2008 all significantly surpassed those in Gaza, without being genocides? I know, I'm becoming tedious, sorry.

Of course, the real debate is about the impartiality of the BBC: everyone agrees it isn't, but different people think it isn't in different directions. Some think the BBC is anti-Israel, others think it's controlled by the Elders of Zion. Which is interesting, because a few years ago the BBC ran an internal investigation into precisely this question, and has never agreed to publish its results.

Personally I think that if the BBC were scrupulous about telling the truth, there wouldn't be a problem in broadcasting this particular plea for assistance: in a world in which everyone knew the realities of the Israel-Arab conflict, because the BBC reported on it well, there wouldn't be any problem in a call for aid to the civilians who suffered so severely (they really did) from the most recent round of violence, which was carefully planned and then provoked by Hamas which booby-trapped thousands of homes that now need to be replaced by tents.


Anonymous said...

The other day I read a report about an ongoing single-staffed sailboat race non-stop around the globe.

Yaacov, don't you feel like that: a single man in the small boat of rational discourse on the huge ocean of irrational belief?

Anonymous said...

Yaacov, you might be interested in this piece on Siegman at Engage:

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