BBC Today Programme
I submitted a complaint to the BBC two days ago about the following, 3 minute rant by John Humphries on the Today programme, the flagship news programme on BBC Radio 4.
The level of prejudice and ignorance is quite simply amazing. Below is a transcript of the broadcast and here are some of my comments and my appeal, which was word restricted at the end. My complaint was rejected with a standard pro-forma response so I have submitted an appeal. The BBC appeal process is designed to wear you down with its may stages and pedantic responses.
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i. The number of dead is about 50. However over 40 of them were Palestinians whereas Humphries says it is only Israelis who have suffered casualties.
ii. There is no mention of the death by lynching the previous night of an Eritrean refugee, or the death of Fadi Alloun having been chased by a lynch mob in Jerusalem was executed by the Police.
iii. No mention of the execution of an 18 year old Palestinian student, Hadeel Hashlamon, in Hebron by Israeli soldiers. She was literally frozen in fear by them barking at her, made no move at them (despite lies about a knife) and was mowed down by fully armed soldiers. here and here
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iv. There is a continuing murder spree by the Israeli Occupation Forces including two children Israeli Forces Kill 5 Palestinians, Including 2 Children, Bashar Nizam Jamil al-Ja'abari (15) and his cousin Hussam Isma'il Jamil al-Ja'abari (17), which the BBC has failed to cover.
v. There is mention of ‘a wave of stabbing attacks in Hebron & Jerusalem’. No mention of the violence of the settlers in Hebron, the Israeli army killings in Hebron, the history of settler violence in Hebron (so well documented that even the BBC must occasionally have noted, e.g. the Baruch Goldstein killings which led to the division of the Ibrahimi Mosque – yes that’s right – the Palestinians were punished for 29 of them having been killed! The daubing of ‘Arabs to the gas chambers’ on the walls of Palestinian homes. No background at all to the most viciously racist and violent settlers of all on the West Bank or the closing down of the Palestinian centre of Hebrwon and Shehuda street to accommodate these messianic Zionists.
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vi. Connolly, who would frankly be better reporting on the Cruft’s dog show in Britain than the Middle East states that ‘The Israeli government frankly is casting about for a convincing answer because the nature of the acts of violence still appears to be random and spontaneous. The decisions of individuals at a given moment to stage an attack are not the work of organised extremist groups. For that reason it’s been very tough to formulate a convincing security answer’. Well one answer could be an end to the Occupation. Another could be the arrest of those who set fire to the Dawabsheh family in Duma in July, murdering 3 out of 4 members of the family, including an 18 month old infant. Moshe Yalon, the Defence Minister has admitted that the security forces know who the killers are but that they have to ‘ protect sources’.
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vii. Perhaps the Israeli Occupation Forces could demolish the homes of settlers who murder Palestinians, since they do that to Palestinians who kill settlers? Or maybe he could ask why they don’t do this or raid settlements where the killers emerge from? Or is it too much for the BBC to ever question the normative, the ongoing occupation that is the daily life of Palestinians? If he was being really bold Connolly might question what it is that makes Israeli Palestinians also kill Israeli Jews and could it have something to do with the fact that they are guests, outsiders in the Jewish state?
viii. John Humphreys demonstrates his ignorance by first asking whether it is intifada or not and then going on to say that ‘There is talk of more powers for the Police to stop and search but that seems to be fairly inadequate in a way doesn’t it?’ Perhaps the lynchings that have been taking place, the abuse of a bleeding child on the walkway, telling him to die, is more to Humphries liking?
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ix. And then there is the classic ‘the fact that individuals are taking the decision to stage these attacks for reasons which we are often left to guess at. Because the attackers often die in the course of the attack.’ Yes it must be hard, if you only watch or listen to the BBC to work out what the reasons for the violence are. Nothing to do with racism, occupation, settler violence, land confiscations and theft, water deprivation, frustration, no hope. Nope. None of these. Israel is a normal society with abnormal Palestinians. Simple really isn’t it?
Transcript 20.10.15. Today Programme 6.39 a.m.
Humphries – 21 minutes to 7 - Yet another attack on Israelis last night. This time an Arab man with a gun and a knife killed a soldier & wounded 10 people. The number is mounting, it’s about 50 now isn’t it?
Kevin Connolly: We think about 50 in the past month. Sharp uptake of violence – Not just that attack in Beer Sheba inside Israel itself. On Saturday a wave of stabbing attacks in Hebron & Jerusalem. No sign that this wave of rising tension & rising casualties is going to abate. The Israeli government frankly is casting about for a convincing answer because the nature of the acts of violence still appears to be random and spontaneous. The decisions of individuals at a given moment to stage an attack are not the work of organised extremist groups. For that reason it’s been very tough to formulate a convincing security answer
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Humphries It is not Intifada is it?
Kevin Connolly: It’s a very difficult question part of the problem is that media organisations begin asking that question very early in these upsurges of violence. Whatever we call it, it’s an extraordinarily difficult situation for the Israeli government to deal with because its own people look to it for security. That very random and spontaneous nature of the attack has left many Israeli citizens feeling that any Palestinian passing them in the street might be carrying a knife, might be planning to attack them and any passing car might at any moment be used as a vehicle against Israeli civilian pedestrians. So although it’s not at all at the level of critical mass of violence that you would need to use the word Intifada, it doesn’t have the leadership perhaps that an Intifada might require it has achieved an extraordinary change in the atmosphere of daily life here, hence the political urgency for the Israeli government.
Humphries: There is talk of more powers for the Police to stop and search but that seems to be fairly inadequate in a way doesn’t it?
Kevin Connolly: I think that is true. They are reviving a plan which existed a few years ago to expand stop and search powers so the Police wouldn’t need reasonable suspicion that a crime was being committed before they stopped and searched somebody. I think that was actually originally formulated to deal with a wave of night club stabbings. So they have that on the books, they have erected a concrete screen between an Arab and Jewish area of Jerusalem, not far from where I’m talking to you, that also has a bit of an ad-hoc feeling to it and they also of course have armed reinforcements in the West Bank. You have Police reinforcements here in Jerusalem. So they are doing what they can with visible security. But you can’t get away from the fact that they are struggling with the nature of this upsurge of violence. And that’s also a problem for the politicians. Because you will be having Benjamin Netanyahu meeting John Kerry later this week. Probably Kerry also meeting Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. So the big politics is beginning to kick in here. But it’s hard to see where the connecting wheels are between those big political meetings and the fact that individuals are taking the decision to stage these attacks for reasons which we are often left to guess at. Because the attackers often die in the course of the attack.
Humphries: Kevin, many thanks.
It’s 17 minutes to 7. 19th October 2015
Grounds for Complaint by Tony Greenstein
Humphries interview with Kevin Connolly re violence in Israel. Mentions 50 dead but not that 40 are Palestinians. No mention mob violence against Palestinians or murder of Fadi Alloun, chased by lynch mob, executed by Police. No background to events eg firebombing of Dawabshe family in Duma. 3 dead. No prosecutions - culprits known. No mention that West Bank is Occupied. No mention of 'Death to Arabs' marches in Jerusalem. And no mention of murder of Eritrean refugee last night though other reporters picked it up. All of these are documented by video footage Connolly doesn't report.
Connolly says 'individuals are taking the decision to stage these attacks for reasons which we are often left to guess at.' Let me see, what might be the reasons:
i. An occupation for 48 years. ii. settler violence that is abetted by Military. iii. That this is not a question of law and order but one where the law is in the hands of one party which deprives the other party of basic human rights. iv. Israel is in breach of perpetual breach of international law. vi. The attack by Police on the Al Aqsa mosque and the Temple Mount Institute and similar messianic groups which openly call for the Mosque's demolition, its replacement by 3rd Temple. Groups r funded by Israeli gov. Connolly mentioned Hebron, where violent settlers repeatedly attack Palestinian civilians. No mention of death of Hadeek al-Hashlamon last month killed by army.
In other words a complete lack of context