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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Zionism sees non-Jewish Refugees as Threat to Jewish State

The reason why Israel stands out amongst western countries in its hostility to refugees, to the extent that they tricked a group of refugees into leaving for Rwanda and Uganda, three of whom have been butchered by ISIS in Libya, is because they threaten the ‘democratic Jewish state’.

As Netanyahu explained:

T. appearing in ISIS’ execution video (L), and photographed in Tel Aviv (R) (photo courtesy of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants)

‘If we don't stop their entry, the problem that currently stands at 60,000 could grow to 600,000, and that threatens our existence as a Jewish and democratic state,… and threatens the social fabric of society, our national security and our national identity.’

The Guardian, 20.5.12. 'Israel PM: illegal African immigrants threaten identity of Jewish state.  Binyamin Netanyahu reignites row over fate of thousands of African migrants in Israel'
African refugees in Tel Aviv
This is another example of how a ‘Jewish’ state cannot be a democratic state.  It is a racist state though.

Tony Greenstein

Israel Sent African Refugees to Their Eventual Death at ISIS’ Hands

By Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam
April 22, 2015
Before Israel built a multi-billion dollar fence separating it from the Sinai frontier, 60,000 African refugees fled civil wars, famine and poverty to find a new life there. I wish I could say that Israel had learned any lesson from the Jewish history of suffering and exile, and that it treated these refugees with decency. But despite Bibi Netanyahu’s oft heard claims about Israel being the apotheosis of Jewish values, he seems to have learned none. His government has cast a cold, hard eye on the Africans from Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Israeli Jews in Tel Aviv have mounted pogroms against them replete with beatings and firebombing of African stores. The government built concentration camp-like facilities for them amidst the Negev moonscape. Israel deported some of the refugees to Sudan, where they were promptly arrested for traveling to Israel, a country to which travel is banned. The government sought desperately to find another African country that would accept them. It struck paydirt in the Rwandan dictator, Paul Kagame, the Butcher of Congo. In return for military hardware, Rwanda agreed to accept deported Africans. What happened to them after they left Israel and touched down in Rwanda was no longer the “Jewish state’s” problem.

Israel then set about persuading the Africans to leave Israel “voluntarily.” Given a choice between a desert detention facility with no hope of a normal life in Israel and a new start elsewhere, a few agreed to go. They were fed a $3,500 bribe and the false promise of work visas in Rwanda. Interior Minister Gil Erdan added more lies in a report from last month about his deportation plan:

Previous attempts at “voluntary departure” had come under fire after many of those who left of their own accord faced life threatening danger in their home country.

But this time is different, Erdan claims, saying that in the first few months, Israel will follow the foreign nationals intake process in the host countries to make sure they are properly treated.
Turns out for those who listened to Erdan’s blandishments, it wasn’t a smart choice.

ISIS in Libya released one of its terror-porno videos picturing 23 Africans, described as “Ethiopian Christians,” beheaded on the beach. The information was imprecise at best. At least three (and possibly more) of the victims were identified by family in Israel as their relatives, who’d been deported by Israel to Rwanda:

“I recognized my relative, T., from the photos published by ISIS that appeared on Facebook before the video was released,” says Mesi Fashiya, an Israeli-born Eritrean whose parents came to Israel in the ’70s. “I thought it was him, but then ISIS announced that it was a group of Ethiopians, so I began to look into it. The people at the Holot detention center also saw the photos — they hoped it was only photos, and that they didn’t really kill them. After they released the video there was no doubt…
T…came to Israel through Egypt in 2007. He lived with her for a period of time, and the two became close. According to her, T.’s mental state deteriorated after being sent to Holot, and despite her promises to try and do everything to release him, he eventually decided to sign a voluntary departure form and was deported to a third country — Rwanda or Uganda. T.’s brother, who lives in Norway, told Fashiya that T. attempted to reach Europe. He crossed Sudan and reached Libya, where he got on a boat to Europe that was turned back. The last thing they heard was that he was in a Libyan prison.
…“They [ISIS] are doing twisted things there, beheading them and then placing the heads on the bodies. It is terrible. It is difficult to believe that these things happen, even to people you don’t know. 

But when it happens to someone you do know, a relative who was promised a better life when he leaves, and this is what happens in the end

The surviving family told Haaretz that after landing in Rwanda, that country immediately sent them packing:

According to Mesi, T. “went back to Uganda or Rwanda – I think Rwanda – where they are not accepted. From there he went on to Sudan, and from Sudan to Libya.” She said that he was not able to remain in Libya, and tried to reach Europe by boat. “I understood that the boat was returned to Libya,” she said, “where they were arrested. Rumors have it that the extreme Islamic group snatched them from the jail itself.”

The rest is grisly history.

Today’s news is filled with the horrible story of the capsized Libyan ship which carried as many as 900 poor souls to their death in the Mediterranean as they tried vainly to reach Europe. But the infamy of the story I tell tonight should not be subsumed by this greater toll in grief and death.

Israel violates international refugee laws with impunity. It refuses to even consider most applications for refugee status and approves almost none. That way it can falsely claim that none of those who came there were legitimate refugees. It offers no rights or due process to those it detains. It ships them back to the misery they left without caring what happens to them.

I tried to reach the Interior Ministry for comment on this story, but it was closed for Israel Independence Day/Yom HaZikaron.

I spoke to Sharon Harel of the UN High Commission for Refugees in Tel Aviv and she expressed the organization’s deep concern for the treatment of asylum seekers in Israel. This included what provisions were made for returning them to third countries. She said that agreements with such countries (in this case Rwanda and Uganda–though the latter formally denies one even exists) should be “transparent.” They should provide protection and guarantee proper treatment of them once they arrive. If such agreements are successful, then we should see communities of Eritreans, Sudanese and Ethiopians deported from Israel, living in these countries. If we don’t, she said, it would mean that whatever program is in place is not working.

In fact, the Israeli Hotline for Migrants has published a report on precisely this subject. It finds that those deported to Rwanda and other countries are pressured to leave. There is no provision for them to be accepted on a long-term basis. In fact, just the opposite.

Thus far, the agreements, such as they are, are anything but transparent. In fact, they’re so secret that Uganda has denied one even exists. If the Haaretz report is correct, then Rwanda is merely serving as a fig leaf for Israel. It isn’t receiving the deportees in any fair manner. It’s merely serving as a way station for them to pass to yet a fourth or even fifth country as they seek refuge.

Further, a new policy, even more draconian than the current one, would allow Israel to deport Africans involuntarily. Those who refused would be put in Saharonim Prison and treated close to criminals, yet another grave violation of international law.

Now Israel knows that it has deported human beings who were slaughtered like cattle. It cannot wash its hands of this tragedy. It is an accomplice to murder.

If you’ve followed this blog for a number of years, you may remember this post I wrote about the ill-fated journey of the S.S. St. Louis with its cargo of Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis just before the outbreak of World War II. The ship made its way to the New World seeking a safe haven for its 800 souls. But it was turned away at Latin American ports, turned away from the U.S. and ultimately turned away from Cuba. The St. Louis eventually gave up and returned to Europe, where many of its passengers ended up murdered in Nazi death camps.

This is now Israel’s legacy: it has done no less than what FDR did to the St. Louis*. It has turned away the desperate fleeing mayhem in their homelands and sent them back into the lion’s mouth. This is a betrayal of Jewish tradition; a betrayal of Jewish values. A total schandeh.


The 'A' Word

video

Monday, 27 April 2015

A ‘Democratic’ Coup in Tower Hamlets by an Unelected Judge

Elected Leader of Tower Hamlet’s Council Lutfur Rahman is Overthrown as Electoral Judge Substitutes Himself for the Electorate

I have a letter in today’s Guardian condemning the removal of the leader.  In the same issue there is a typical Guardian handwringing leader which fails to grasp the serious constitutional and democratic issues involved.


Letter in Guardian today


 I don’t know whether or not Mr Rahman was corrupt (or more corrupt than other local authority leaders).  What I do know is that he was, despite the allegations re-elected and singled out by both major political parties - Tory and Labour for abuse.  Labour, whom Mr Rahman left, after the usual ‘democratic’ expulsion procedures and the Tories, who have virtually no support in the Wardleft it to the far-right Eric Pickles. Pickes, a Zionist neo-con to the tip of his belly, did the dirty work and sent in the Commissioners.
Sacked by New Labour he Successfully Won the Elections
Lutfur was singled out for attacks by both political parties and the subject of a witchunt by Panorama.  When you think of the major corruption in the City and among Defence Contractors Panorama of course picks on one of the poorest local authorities in Britain for an 'investigation'.  I watched it.  'Piss poor' is one of the milder accusations.  It proved nothing and was heavy on innuendo.  Real journalistic investigation as per Wiki Leaks or Edward Snowden is beyond it.
What is known is that the Police refused to take action on this ‘corruption’.  Mr Rahman was accused of using the race card (unlike the largely White Labour and Conservative Parties) or indeed unlike UKIP.  It beggars belief.
Lutfur & Supporters
Mr Rahman was accused of using unlawful religious influence.  Presumably unlike Protestant Unionist candidates in Scotland and Ireland or Catholic anti-abortionist priests in Liverpool or Jewish Zionist rabbis in Hendon and Finchley.  The whole issue stinks and it is British racism which is putrefying.

Tony Greenstein
Lufur Rahman and George Gallway

The smear campaign against Lutfur Rahman is an insult todemocracy

 'The story of Lutfur Rahman is a democratic success story.' Photograph: Graeme Robertson

Friday 30 May 2014

Lutfur Rahman had barely been elected for his second term as independent mayor of Tower Hamlets before an offensive began to delegitimise the results.

Lutfur and Peter Tatchell
This is to be expected. There had been a concerted effort by the media and political establishment to smear Rahman. This culminated in a Panorama exposé, followed by Eric Pickles sending in police to investigate the documentary's claims. And though the investigation turned up no credible evidence of wrongdoing, Labour insiders were confidently expecting victory. To be defeated by a convincing margin in an election where the turnout was London's highest must have hurt.

Now, claims of intimidation at polling stations have been made, by two local councillors hostile to Rahman. Given that there was a policeman stationed at each polling station throughout the election, such intimidation would be particularly brazen. Oddly, no complaint was received on the day, and no such allegations have been reported to police.
Ken Livinstone - one of the few major politicians who express his unease at what has happened
Let's consider the specific claims made. Mile End Labour councillor Rachael Saunders described "huge crowds" outside some polling stations, "shouting at people or encouraging them to vote in a particular way". Tower Hamlets Tory councillor Peter Golds also claims that at one polling station he visited, 11 supporters of Rahman were stationed inside the grounds and could be seen thrusting leaflets into the hands of Bengali voters and escorting them to the door of the polling station.
Handing out leaflets and even encouraging people to vote in a particular way is not a breach of electoral law. But whatever the truth of these claims, it is unclear that any voter was actually intimidated into changing their vote. The US-based rightwing website Breitbart, which investigated Rahman's "intimidation", found that there were also, in fact, Labour party volunteers who were crowding polling sites.

We've seen this before. In 2010, in Rahman's first run for mayor, the Labour party debarred him owing to accusations of electoral fraud, after he'd been chosen to be Labour's candidate. Rahman won as an independent and a subsequent investigation by the Electoral Commission found "no evidence" of membership abuse. However, while the accusations were widely reported, the commission's findings remained absent from the popular press.
Eric Pickles - who hates local democracy - has willingly done New Labour's work - a Zionist neo-con
Likewise, in 2012, there were accusations of electoral fraud against Rahman in two Tower Hamlets byelections. Of 154 allegations, the Electoral Commission found 151 to be without merit, but probed three. What followed was a wide-ranging investigation by the Metropolitan police and the Electoral Commission. A year later, the report found that "the vast majority" of complaints "were reported by local councillors" and that there was "insufficient evidence to prove an offence". While the accusations were reported by every major news source, the outcome of the investigation into them was not.

These claims can be seen as part of a wider political attack, intended not just to delegitimise the outcome of this vote, but to stigmatise Rahman's supporters. One of Golds' claims, for instance, is that in 2010 every Bangladeshi voter in the ward he was standing was stopped and told that he was gay and Jewish. It seems unlikely that Golds both speaks Bengali and was able to hear every conversation that took place. But Golds also implicitly assumes that Bangladeshi voters are homophobic and antisemitic. If this is true then Rahman is plainly not the mayor for them. Rahman has never hesitated to repudiate instances of antisemitism in the borough and has committed to restoring the East London Central synagogue. When the Old Ship, a local gay bar in Limehouse, was faced with the prospect of being unable to renew its licence, Rahman intervened to back a vibrant local campaign, ensuring it could continue to operate with a new 15-year licence.

Indeed, the attacks on Rahman often imply that his supporters are the bearers of ideas not fit for a "mature democracy", as Nick Clegg put it. In recent days, several media outlets have alleged that Rahman's former adviser Kazim Zaidi is threatening street violence unless the outcome of the election is accepted. In fact, Zaidi's actual statement makes no mention of violence, but of a political battle between a grassroots old Labour politics and a machine-driven New Labour spilling "onto the streets". Surely a mature democracy is used to the idea of people taking their grievances to the streets?
The thrust of all this is quite plain. It is to depict a democratically elected politician as a sort of Asiatic despot whose supporters, far from being an energised democratic populace, are stigmatised as intimidating by sheer dint of their number and enthusiasm. There is a deep substrate of racism informing this.

Absent in this type of invective is any consideration of why, in spite of the frenzied mobilisation against Rahman, his own base mobilised even more ardently, putting him back in power with about 12,000 more votes than he received in 2010. The fact that his administration, with its modest means, has built more affordable social housing than anywhere else in the country, may not matter to Rahman's opponents, but it seems to matter to his voters. Tower Hamlets replaced the full education maintenance allowance after the government abolished it, expanded a living wage requirement for all contractors, and allocates a £1,500 grant to every university student. It was the first council in the country to ban contracts with firms that blacklist trade unionists, absorbed all cuts to council tax benefit, refuses to enforce the bedroom tax, and has avoided many of the cuts to vital services, such as libraries and youth clubs.

The story of Lutfur Rahman is a democratic success story. The fact that it seems dodgy to the political and media classes is indicative of how long they've been insulated from anything resembling real democracy.

Met considers criminal inquiry into Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman

Rahman is told to vacate post immediately after election court judge finds him guilty of widespread corruption in seeking office last May

Police are considering whether to launch a criminal inquiry relating to the former mayor of Tower Hamlets after he was found guilty of multiple corruption allegations by the high court and kicked out of office.

The mayoral election in the east London borough will be rerun after Lutfur Rahman and his supporters were found to have used religious intimidation through local imams, vote-rigging and wrongly branding his Labour rival a racist to gain power.

Rahman, who has been banned from seeking office again, was also found to have allocated local grants to buy votes. He was ordered to pay immediate costs of £250,000 from a bill expected to reach £1m.

Summing up, Judge Richard Mawrey said Rahman had sought to play the “race and Islamophobia card” throughout the election and would no doubt do so after this judgment. “He was an evasive witness – Rahman was no doubt behind illegal and corrupt practices,” Mawrey said.

He also faces being stripped of his profession as a lawyer after the judge claimed he told “a pack of lies” in the witness box.

The ferocity of the judge’s verdict provoked gasps in court. Friends of Rahman claimed he had been unfairly treated.

Police on Thursday struggled to react to the judgment, based mainly on evidence put together by local voters. Last April, detectives examined allegations of electoral fraud and corruption against Rahman but found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

A Met statement last night said the force has noted the judgment and will consider the 200-page report.


Rahman, who is no longer mayor and will be removed from the electoral roll, expressed shock at the judgment and said he was considering launching a judicial review – his only possible course of legal action.


A statement on his website said: “Today’s judgment has come as a shock – the mayor strongly denies any wrongdoing and had full confidence in the justice system, and so this result has been surprising to say the least.”

Even if he does challenge the ruling, he will not stop a new mayoral election, which is expected to be held in mid-June. Rahman is barred from standing again.
politics”.

However, Ken Livingstone, the former London mayor, said he was “distinctly uncomfortable” with a court’s ability to remove an elected mayor. “If there is any illegality, then surely that’s a matter for the police.

“I’m uneasy that a mayor who has taken on the political powers in a borough can be removed by someone who is essentially a bureaucrat. What I don’t understand is why he [Mawrey] found evidence of corruption that the police have so far failed to identify,” he said.

The judge handed down his verdict on Thursday after a 10-week hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice.

A group of four residents – defined as petitioners by the election court – had called for last year’s mayoral election, in which Rahman triumphed over Labour rival John Biggs, to be declared void.
Mawrey said: “The evidence laid before this court, limited though it necessarily was to the issues raised in the petition, has disclosed an alarming state of affairs in Tower Hamlets.

“This is not the consequence of the racial and religious mix of the population, nor is it linked to any ascertainable pattern of social or other deprivation. It is the result of the ruthless ambition of one man. The real losers in this case are the citizens of Tower Hamlets.”

Mawrey said the effect of his ruling was that “Mr Rahman’s election as mayor on 22 May 2014 was void – that is to say, it is as if it had never taken place”.

Rahman’s election agent, Alibor Choudhary, was also banned as a councillor with immediate effect.
The petitioners were praised by the judge for their courage and told that they had been fully vindicated.

They called for a criminal inquiry into Rahman but questioned whether it could be carried out by local police because of their “connections” to Rahman.

Azmal Hussain, a petitioner who said he would have lost his Brick Lane businesses if they had lost the case, dismissed concerns that the judgment would be seen as racist.


Sunday, 26 April 2015

Miliband’s Labour Seeks the Safety of Consensus Politics

Labour Says Yes to Austerity & Cuts – But They’ll Be Nice Cuts than the Tories

In last week’s Brighton Independent I had an article which suggested that Miliband was determined to lose.  Of course he’d like to win but he refuses to break from the consensus behind austerity.  Instead of boldly saying that austerity is the road to ruin and Labour is going to reverse the welfare cuts, tax the rich at 80%, reverse major privatisations and pay no compensation bar the price which was paid (minus  profits taken), Miliband tries to present himself as the safe alternative to the Tories.
Labour is going to face a wipe-out in its Scottish bastion because they are perceived as the ‘red Tories’.  Running a No to Independence campaign with the Tories has backfired on them spectacularly.  Labour in Scotland has been a by-word in corruption and nepotism.  It’s not as if the Scottish National Party is a particularly radical party.  It has failed to even use the power to increase income tax by 3p and has instituted its own cuts programme.  It has failed to increase spending on the NHS in Scotland but compared to Labour it is seen as a radical, socialist alternative.
Miliband - desperately seeking cover
The Tories are, of course, attacking Miliband because he is going to need their support to become Prime Minister.  Instead of fighting back and saying that the SNP have every right to have a say in the government of Britain (after all, isn’t that what the union with Scotland is about?) he has run for cover.  Even some Tories like Lord Forsyth and Malcolm Rifkind have been bolder.
Nicola Sturgeon of SNP - set the cat among Labour's pigeons
Miliband’s latest pledge is a milk and water scheme to have 3 year secure tenancies and rents rising by no more than inflation.  But although any reform would be welcome, this is puny and pathetic.  We used to have permanent security of tenure for people in furnished tenancies.  People were what they call sitting tenants.  There used to be full rent control.  That is the system we should go back to and taking a leaf out of the Tories book, Labour could propose the right to buy for private tenants and see what the Tory reaction to that is!  Taking housing out of the market and treating it in the same way as health.  Adopting a socialist policy that housing is a basic need and should not be subject to the market and speculation is what is needed, not tampering at the edges.

Bennett (Green), Clegg (opportunist LD), Farage (racist UKIP), Miliband, Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) Cameron (Tory sell your grandmother party!)
My prediction?  The Tories will be the largest party.  Labour plus the SNP should be within spitting distance of the magical 324 need for an overall majority.  Hopefully the Lib-Dems, the most disgusting and unprincipled party of all will suffer heavy losses.  UKIP is unlikely to gain more than 2-3 seats and the Greens will keep their one seat.  Who forms a government?  Miliband might unless he proves particularly stupid.


Tony Greenstein

John Humphries and the Bias of Today

Israeli lies go unchallenged on BBC’s flagshipcurrent affairs show

Amena Saleem 


A BBC correspondent displayed a fawning attitude towards Shimon Peres while Israel was attacking Gaza last year. (World Economic Forum/Flickr)
In March, the BBC’s flagship news program Today broadcast an interview with Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s defense minister.
John Humphries - Today's Zionist Interrogator-in-chief
Yaalon was given free rein to disseminate lies and propaganda with not a single interruption or challenge from Today presenter, Sarah Montague.

In response, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and many individuals complained to the BBC about the substandard level of interviewing. The replies received from the BBC have revealed the extent to which the organization is prepared to make a fool of itself in order to justify and protect its soft interviews with Israeli spokespeople.
A view of Today at work
Many had complained that Yaalon was allowed to deny the occupation and the siege on Gaza, and had falsely claimed the Palestinians have “political independence” with Israel not wanting to “govern them whatsoever” — and had done so without any challenging interventions from Montague.

In fact, as Yaalon told lie after lie, there was absolute silence from Montague as the minutes ticked on, with not a sound to indicate she was still present.
Despite a reputation among politicians as a fierce interrogator, Humphries goes soft on Mark Regev
The BBC complaints department sent this collective response to those who contacted it about the broadcast: “Please note that it’s always going to be difficult in a live environment against time constraints to challenge each and every comment made, given the amount of other questions and points to cover.”

A quick look at some of Today’s interviews with Palestinian spokespeople is enough to demonstrate just how ludicrous this statement from the BBC is.

And a comparison with Today’s interviews with Israelis during the same time period is sufficient to reveal the unswerving nature of the BBC’s pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian bias.

Patronising and aggressive

Take, for example, interviews conducted by Today during July and August 2014.
On 3 July, with the occupied West Bank almost totally shut down by Israel following the disappearance of three Israeli teenagers, Today presenter John Humphrys interviewed Abdullah Abdullah, chairperson of the Palestinian Legislative Council’s political committee.

Humphrys ignored the alleged difficulties of a live environment and time constraints and instead challenged “each and every comment” made by Abdullah, to the extent that the senior Palestinian politician was effectively denied the opportunity to comment at all.

This is part of the interview:

Humphrys: “What I’m trying to do is ask you where we go from here.”

Abdullah: “From here? This racist Israel is exposing itself once more…”

Humphrys [interrupting]: “Can you just cut the rhetoric for a moment and try and deal with the practicalities?”

Abdullah: “This is a government of gangsters. It’s got to be exposed…”

Humphrys [interrupting]: “A bit less rhetoric perhaps and a bit more thought to what is actually going to take place in the Middle East.”

Abdullah: “This is the lack of resolution in the international community…”

Humphrys [interrupting]: “To do what?”

Abdullah: “Israel has been created by your country some 66 years ago…”

Humphrys [interrupting]: “Can we talk about now instead of fifty years ago? That’s what I’m trying to do, talk about what should happen now.”

Abdullah: “If we go to the root cause of it, we would be able to solve everything…”

Humphrys [interrupting]: “We’ve been going to the root cause of it for fifty years. It hasn’t got anywhere has it?”

The interview continues in the same vein for another thirty seconds, with a patronising, aggressive Humphrys continually interrupting and refusing to allow Abdullah the time to complete any of the observations he is trying to make.

At one point, he even puts words into Abdullah’s mouth, saying: “If you’re saying this morning that nothing can move forward until Israel is destroyed, well, at least we know what your position is.”
Abdullah has said nothing of the sort and, when he attempts to make his position clear — “What I say is that Israel…has to be held accountable for its violations of international law” — he is interrupted again by the BBC presenter.

Compare this aggression to Montague’s passive encounter with Yaalon, where the Israeli minister decides what he’s going to say and says it uninterrupted, and at no point is asked to “cut the rhetoric” — despite referring to Gaza as “Hamastan.”

Easy ride for Israel

Immediately after Humphrys spoke to Abdullah on 3 July, he interviewed the Israeli government spokesperson, Mark Regev — Palestinians aren’t interviewed by Today without an Israeli to counter them. The same isn’t true in reverse, and Israelis are continuously interviewed — as Yaalon was — with no Palestinian present to give an alternative viewpoint.

Regev was given his customary easy ride on the BBC. Humphrys was polite and non-challenging, and allowed the Israeli to blame Hamas for all the violence that takes place in the West Bank and Gaza without daring to question him on Israeli army violence against Palestinian civilians.

Six days later, Humphrys interviewed the head of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Raji Sourani, who was on the phone from Gaza.

Gaza, by then, was under day and night attack by Israel.

Sourani explained this, to which Humphrys replied: “Couldn’t you stop it if you stopped firing rockets at Israel?”

Sourani: “I think Israel initiated that for several years before…”

Humphrys [interrupting, and incredulous]: “Israel initiated you firing rockets at them?”

Sourani: “No, I’m talking about before this, Israel was attacking for seven nights, bombing Gaza from south to north, and nobody slept for seven days before that, and they were bombing for seven days before that…”

Humphrys [emphatically]: “Three Israeli teenagers have been murdered.”

Sourani: “Eleven has been killed by Israel, including four Palestinian teenagers, and nobody has mentioned that and that’s a great shame. There is no holier than holy blood. Every blood is holy, even Palestinian one.”

The minute-long interview ends here and Humphrys goes on to interview Daniel Taub, Israel’s ambassador to the UK. The rudeness and hectoring disappears and Taub is given four minutes to tell lies about Gaza, such as this —“It’s an area that’s clearly not under occupation” — unchallenged.
Humphry’s interview with Sourani, as well as demonstrating yet again the hostile atmosphere of the BBC for Palestinians, reveals how deeply ingrained the Israeli narrative is within the minds of BBC presenters.

Humphrys sounded genuinely incredulous at Sourani’s suggestion that Israeli violence may have preceded Palestinian violence, rather than being, as Israel always maintains, a defensive reaction to it.
His attitude is that of the colonial-minded journalist, wedded to the belief that if the natives would only stop firing their rockets the colonizer could live in peace.

The theft of land and freedom by the colonizer doesn’t come into it, and Humphrys even implies that Gaza deserves the fatal collective punishment it is receiving because three Israeli teenagers were killed in the West Bank.

Breathtaking 

Such unbalanced, biased interviewing continued through July and August, as Israel was pounding much of Gaza to rubble and wiping out entire Palestinian families.

The lack of impartiality was replicated on BBC television news and BBC Online, where pro-Israeli commentators were presented as “independent” and brought on to defend Israel’s actions.

On the 31 July episode of TodaySarah Montague, true to form, interviewed two Israelis — and no Palestinians — on whether Israel’s assault on Gaza was legal.

Her guests — a retired colonel from the Israeli army, who greenlighted massacres in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead five years before, and a former spokesperson for the Israeli government —enjoyed nine minutes of gentle conversation in which they were able to assert that Israel had no other option but to attack and did so only with great sorrow. 

Today continued to provide a willing platform for Israeli propaganda into August.

On 13 August, former Israeli president, Shimon Peres, was given airtime in an interview with Middle East correspondent, Wyre Davis, for the stated reason than his was “one voice that we haven’t heard much of during this crisis.”

Davis allowed him to tell one astounding lie after another for four minutes.

This was his first lie: “Look, we left Gaza willingly, unilaterally…We handed over to the Palestinians a free, open Gaza, which is a beautiful strip of…a beautiful beach. They could have developed it for tourism, for fishing, for agriculture. We don’t understand, frankly, why are they fighting? What are they shooting? We left. What is the purpose? They want to be free. They are free.”

And this came towards the end: “When we left Gaza, Gaza was open. No restriction, no closure, nothing whatever. We helped them even, to build a new modern agriculture. We would like to see them a normal nation, living in peace, developing their country.”

To which a compliant Davis replied: “Your position is clear. You obviously pursue peace from a position of strength.”

The lies were breathtaking, the fact he was allowed to tell them unchallenged, extraordinary. Compare this to Abdullah’s interview on Today a month earlier, when he wasn’t given the space even to complete a sentence, or Sourani’s interview when he was hectored to justify Gaza’s rockets, the BBC interviewer’s concern, as it always is, being only for Israel, not for the Palestinians under occupation.
The BBC complaints department can fire off as many email messages as it likes, arrogantly declaring the impartiality of the BBC or trying to pretend interviewers don’t have time to “challenge each and every comment made” by an Israeli interviewee.

But an analysis of just one BBC program’s interviews with its Palestinian and Israeli guests shows those claims to be as big a lie as any told by an Israeli spokesperson appearing on Today. And that is truly shameful.