11 August 2022

Why is it 27 years later, later, the Queen of Hearts strikes fear into the Monarchy & the British Establishment?

 The reason the BBC wants to bury Diana’s Panorama Interview has nothing to do with fake bank statements - it’s about protecting Charles

Martin Bashir Interviews Princess Diana for Panorama 20.11.95.

I don't expect the interview to remain up for long as Youtube has already placed this warning

Recently there was been quite a campaign about that famous Panorama interview that Martin Bashir conducted with Princess Diana on 20 November 1995. As the day of the Queen’s death approaches and Charles becomes King and Camilla ascend to the throne (assuming the people don’t rebel), determined efforts are being made to rewrite the history of Charles divorce with Diana and the fallout from that interview.

The BBC, whose film it is, might be expected to defend the interview. However, ever loyal to the British Establishment, the BBC has rolled over and issued an abject apology because Bashir apparently used forged bank statements to gain access to Diana via her brother Lord Spencer:

‘This led to a full-scale independent investigation by Lord Dyson, published in 2021, after which the BBC officially apologised for the way in which the interview had been obtained and the unacceptable standards of its journalism.’

We can expect no better of the BBC than this fawning apology for what was one of the best examples of BBC journalism. For ‘unacceptable’ journalism one need only look at its coverage of Palestine or its uncritical coverage of US imperialism in the Pacific.

The interview by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of Tony Hall and John Birt, two former BBC Director Generals about the Diana interview

Diana was not the first woman to enter the British Royal Family and be repelled by its archaic traditions and protocols, to say nothing of what she saw and experienced in this dysfunctional family. Nor was she the first woman to reject the role that she was expected to play as the bearer of a future king’s children.

That honour belongs to Princess Caroline of Brunswick who was Princess of Wales from 1795 to 1820 and Queen and wife of King George IV from 29 January 1820 until her death on 7 August 1821.

George IV was already illegally married to Maria Fitzherbert when he married Caroline. Theirs was not a happy marriage. In 1814, Caroline moved to Italy, where she was reputed to have taken a lover. In 1817 her only child Charlotte died in childbirth. Caroline heard the news second hand as George had refused to write and tell her.

Caroline refused George’s demand for a divorce and returned to Britain to assert her position as queen. George attempted to divorce Caroline by introducing the Pains and Penalties Bill 1820 to Parliament.

Caroline however was very popular with the London ‘mob’ whilst George was not. They surrounded the House of Lords every day; her coach was escorted by the cheering mob whenever she had to appear there. The evidence against her was that during a cruise she slept on deck in a tent with her servant Bergami and took her baths with him in full view of the other servants. In Italy she was in the habit of wearing dresses open to the waist!

Tim Davie, current BBC Director-General disowns Diana Interview

George lived a hugely extravagant life on the taxes collected by Parliament, whereas Caroline appeared to live modestly. Satirists and cartoonists published prints in support of Caroline and depicted George as debauched and licentious. She received messages of support from all over the country.

Caroline was a figurehead for the growing radical movement that demanded political reform and opposed the unpopular George. By August, Caroline had allied with radical campaigners such as William Cobbett, and it was probably Cobbett who wrote these words of Caroline's:

If the highest subject in the realm can be deprived of her rank and title—can be divorced, dethroned and debased by an act of arbitrary power, in the form of a Bill of Pains and Penalties—the constitutional liberty of the Kingdom will be shaken to its very base; the rights of the nation will be only a scattered wreck; and this once free people, like the meanest of slaves, must submit to the lash of an insolent domination.

The day before the trial was due to start, an open letter from Caroline to George, again probably written by Cobbett, was published widely. In it, she decried the injustices against her, claimed she was the victim of conspiracy and intrigue, accused George of heartlessness and cruelty, and demanded a fair trial. The letter was seen as a challenge, not only to George but to the government and the forces resisting reform.

After 52 days the Lords decided to drop it. George IV’s Coronation was to on 29 April 1821. Caroline asked the Prime Minister what dress to wear for the ceremony and was told that she would not be taking part.

In January 1820, George became King and Caroline was nominally queen. However when Caroline arrived at the door of Westminster Abbey demanding to be admitted she was refused entrance. She shouted “The Queen…Open” and the pages opened the door. “I am the Queen of England,” she shouted and an official roared at the pages “Do your duty…shut the door” and the door was slammed in her face.

Caroline died 19 days later and was buried in Brunswick, and on her coffin was inscribed…CAROLINE THE INJURED QUEEN OF ENGLAND’.

See Queen Caroline of Brunswick, wife of George IV

Another unhappy princess was Empress Elisabeth of Austria, (Sisi) consort of Emperor Franz Josef. Elisabeth was a 19th-century Diana: both were beautiful and charismatic, had unhappy royal marriages and met violent deaths.

Both married very young after what were portrayed as fairytale romances. Both felt ill at ease in their husband’s families – especially Elisabeth who found the rigid protocol of the Austrian court difficult after her informal upbringing – and disliked many of her royal duties.

Both women shared a love of fashion and beauty. Elisabeth’s obsession with keeping slim led to an extreme diet regime which some modern commentators have interpreted as a form of eating disorder, akin to Diana’s bulimia.

Both were also famous for the causes they espoused.  Elisabeth was a strong advocate for the rights of her Hungarian subjects. Diana was famous for the campaign to ban landmines and also her association with gay people and open espousal of the victims of aids.

See The Little-Known Empress with Striking Similarities to Princess Diana

See Elisabeth of Austria - the Hapsburg Princess Diana

ABC - Allegations that Special Forces killed the princess surfaced during a court-martial.

There have been repeated suggestions that Diana was murdered by the British state on 31 August 1997. However proving this has always been difficult since British intelligence are rather coy about what they do! Certainly the father of Diana’s boyfriend, Dodi, Mohamed al-Fayed believed that she and his son were murdered.

However what is not in dispute is that the Royal Family were not exactly saddened by what had happened. Diana had been a running sore and embarrassment while she was alive. She cast a shadow over the future king Charles and his adulterous relationship with Camilla.

3 in a marriage was ‘a bit crowded’

Diana had openly embraced causes such as landmines and Aids that the royals steered clear of but then there was that interview with Martin Bashir and the accusation that there had been 3 in what was a ‘crowded’ marriage.

The reaction of the Queen to Diana’s death was to carry on as normal. The Royal Standard could not be flown at half mast at Buckingham Palace because the Queen was not in residence. Their reaction was very much out of cync with the popular mood and we had the spectacle of the likes of the Mail and Express, who saw popular support for the monarchy draining away, beseeching the monarchy to make it clear that they weren’t celebrating Diana’s demise (at least not openly).

The Queen had apparently been initially opposed to the use of an aircraft of the Queen's Flight to bring Diana's body home, much to the alleged frustration of her advisers. Her deputy private secretary, Sir Robin Janvrin, is said to have asked the Queen: 'What would you rather, Ma'am, that she came back in a Harrods van?' (Harrods was then owned by Al-Fayed.)

Journalists were also briefed that the Prince of Wales had decisively countermanded the original decision for Diana to remain in a public mortuary in Fulham, West London. Instead, according to his aides, he'd ordered that the princess should rest in the Chapel Royal.

But Andrew Morton, whose 1992 book Diana: Her True Story began the whole drama, (revealing in a later version that Diana had been the main source for the book) wrote:

public anger was also directed at the Royal Family, not only for their slow and muted response to the tragedy but also for their indifference to her during her lifetime. Downing Street officials feared that rioting could break out.

Courtiers tried in vain to convince the Queen and Prince Philip to recognise the increasingly precarious situation and fly back from Balmoral.

After the Queen had realised the public mood

she travelled back to London a day earlier than planned and, for the first time in history, allowed the Union Flag to fly at half-mast at the palace.

As a senior aide explained:

At Balmoral, she hadn't taken it in. You never know what it is like until you are actually there.

All the remarks and people hugging each other, sobbing — the whole nation seemed to have gone bananas. The Queen and Prince Philip felt utterly bewildered.

Nor did they fully appreciate the impact of Diana's death on the national psyche. Along with her family, the Queen was mourning the flawed individual she knew rather than the saintly icon.

In only the second special televised address of her reign and

‘With a nod to the criticism of herself and her family, the Queen conceded: 'I for one believe there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death.'

It cannot be denied, however, that she'd been slow to change direction when it became clear she was out of step with the nation.

What then explains the public reaction to Diana, who was hardly a radical figure? Compare the reaction to her death to that of Prince Philip, the husband of Elizabeth. When he died last year the BBC was flooded with complaints because it had decided to stage the same tributes to him on every TV channel! 

Viewers switched off their TVs in droves after broadcasters aired blanket coverage of Prince Philip’s death, audience figures revealed on Saturday, and the BBC received so many complaints it opened a dedicated complaints form on its website.

Phillip was hardly a figure of adoration. I suspect that when the Queen dies that the BBC will go in for more overkill and thoroughly alienate the one-third of the British people who aren’t take in by all the nonsense about the Royal family.

Why then did Diana and before her Caroline and Elisabeth of Austria attract such adoring crowds and mass popular affection? Why did so many people identify with Diana?

To understand this one has to understand the role of the monarchy itself. For the ruling class it has immense benefits in symbolising in their person the British state itself. It acts as a unifying force. However rich or poor you are you can identify with the monarch.

However the monarchy, by its very nature, must retain its distance from the masses if it is to command their respect. As Walter Bagehot, wrote in The English Constitution (1867) ‘mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic.

So people are encouraged to identify with the royals at the same time as the monarchy must keep its distance from them. And in these days when the popular press go over every aspect of their lives it is difficult to retain much mystery. For most people the royals are aloof and  remote. In the case of Andrew Windsor there is mass loathing and contempt for what is reputed to be the Queen’s favourite son!

In the case of Diana, as her own personal situation worsened with the breakdown of relations with her husband she increasingly took on a public persona of her own. The sheer volume of press coverage of her private life, a coverage that she both detested and courted, increased peoples’ identification with her as the embodiment of what they would like to be. When it was revealed that Charles had been carrying on an adulterous relationship with Camilla when Diana was supposed to be faithful (to the extent of having been tested for her virginity prior to marriage) then many women in particular identified with her.

It was all very well Charles telling Diana that ‘I refuse to be the only Prince of Wales who never had a mistress.’ but the public was more likely to sympathise with the wronged woman. In fact Charles seems to have had a string of mistresses. Spare Rib in the week of their marriage carried the headline ‘Don’t Do it Di'!

In some ways the Royal Family, which is the icing on the cake of a very ugly class riven society, functions as religion, a source of consolation or in Marx’s words the ‘soul of a souless world.’ People are encouraged to identify with what is a protocol riven, parasitic bunch of sociopaths and to imagine that they have something in common. When someone like Caroline or Diana comes along they can create a mass following because people see in them a reflection of themselves.

That is another reason why the Establishment and the BBC want to bury the Panorama interview. According to John Birt, the former BBC Director-General, it was ‘an absolute horror story’. If Charles is to gain the support of his ‘subjects’ then it is necessary that people are taught to forget Diana and pretend that that interview was not what it seemed at the time. Diana had been tricked into it and her paranoia fed by tales of malfeasance by the rest of the royals.

The fact is though that Diana never expressed any regrets over the interview, quite the contrary. She made it clear that she approved of the fact that she had been allowed at last to tell her side of a marriage in which she had been expected to produce an heir and a spare but otherwise to keep quiet.

So her eldest son and second in line to the throne, Prince William, comes out with the statement that the BBC had used ‘deceitful behaviour’ to obtain the interview and that the 1995 Panorama interview led to Diana's “fear, paranoia and isolation”.

Martin Bashir attacked by the fawning, forelock tugging MPs with their synthetic outrage at his 'methods'

Interview Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Committee 15 June 2021

Chair: Without the benefit of hindsight, but considering what you knew at the time, why did you report to the BBC board of governors that you believed that Mr Bashir was an honest and honourable man?

Lord Hall: Uppermost in our minds then was: had the interview with Princess Diana, the decision that she made to be interviewed, been done fairly or not? That was absolutely uppermost in our minds. The first investigation we did before Christmas under Tim Gardam talked to all the people concerned and produced a letter where she said very clearly that she had been shown no documents by Martin Bashir, she was not made aware of anything by Martin Bashir that she didn’t already know and she had no regrets, underlined, by the interview. It is quite interesting that Lord Dyson himself says that an interview of some sort would probably have taken place anyway. At that point in our inquiries, in our investigations with Tim Gardam, we came to an end that there was no case to answer.

For oral interview see here

To download the Diana interview click here

10 August 2022

Israel’s excuse for attacking Gaza, ‘Self Defence’, is no different from Hitler’s Excuse for Invading Poland – in both cases it was unprovoked

The real reason for the attack on Gaza lies not in immediate events but in the logic of Zionism – ethnic cleansing

Last Monday 1st August Israeli soldiers arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a prominent figure in Islamic Jihad in Jenin refugee camp. Failing to provoke a response Israel decided anyway to restrict traffic around Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza-Israel boundary, an area known as the "Gaza envelope" in order to create the appearance of an imminent threat.

Bassam al-Saadi

One cannot however look to immediate events and who did what as the explanation for Israel’s latest murderous attack on Gaza and the Palestinians of the West Bank.

Since 2007 Gaza has been living under a sea, air and land blockade as punishment for having voted for Hamas in the last free Palestinian elections and in response to the removal of a corrupt Fatah administration which had been planning a coup in tandem with Israel.

Since then Israel has repeatedly attacked Gaza.  In 2008/9 in Operation Cast Lead Israel killed nearly 1,400 Palestinians. In 2012 Operation Pillar of Defence killed 174 Palestinians with hundreds wounded.

In 2014 in its most murderous attack to date Operation Protective Edge Israel killed 2,310 Palestinians and wounded nearly 11,000 including 3,374 children, over 1,000 of whom were left permanently disabled.  550 children were killed compared to 67 Israeli soldiers and  6 civilians (including one child).

Israel’s strategy for Gaza has always been very simple.  To make life as difficult as possible for those living there as a prelude to their forcible displacement.  As Efaim Inbar and Eitan Shamir wrote in a 2014 article for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies

“Against an implacable, well-entrenched, nonstate enemy like the Hamas, Israel simply needs to ‘mow the grass’ once in a while to degrade enemy capabilities. A war of attrition against Hamas is probably Israel’s fate for the long term.”

In 2005 Israel withdrew from Gaza, not in order to facilitate peace with the Palestinians but in order to prevent peace. As Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weissglass explained:

"The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda.

This has been the Israeli strategy ever since which is why those who call for the two state solution do it knowing that Israel will never agree to a Palestinian state. The two state solution is a smokescreen for continued Israeli occupation and it is an apartheid solution.

As Mouin Rabbani explained, Israel’s siege has nothing to do with security but in keeping Palestinians on the verge of starvation:

‘The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.’

He was not speaking metaphorically: it later emerged that Israel’s Defence Ministry had conducted detailed research on how to translate this into reality, and arrived at a figure of 2,279 calories per person per day – some 8 per cent less than a previous calculation because the research team had originally neglected to account for ‘culture and experience’ an exercise in colonial racism Israeli style.

Israel thus calculated the bare minimum number of calories needed for the average inhabitant to survive. This was not an original idea. The credit for that lies with Hans Frank, the Nazi governor of Poland who was hanged at Nuremberg.

5 year old Alaa Abdullah-Riyad Qaddoum was the first child to die as part of Israel's 'right to self-defence'

What are Israel’s real reasons for the attacks on Gaza and Palestinians in the West Bank?

We can of course list the chronology leading up to Israel’s latest bombardment of Gaza beginning with the arrest of Bassam al-Saadi followed by a wave of airstrikes killing Tayseer Jabari, the military commander of Islamic Jihad along with seven other people, including a 5 year old girl, Alaa Abdullah-Riyad Qaddoum.

Naturally the the US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, stated that “the United States firmly believes that Israel has a right to protect itself.” It would be remarkable indeed if the Ambassador had spoken about the right of Palestinians to defend themselves. Suffice to say that there is nothing that Israel does which will merit US condemnation.

We only have to look at Israel’s excuse for bombing residential areas. That Hamas use civilians as human shields. However when Amnesty International recently condemned Ukraine’s army for doing exactly in a Report Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians the right-wing media went ballistic. In the words of the Telegraph’s Stephen Pollard (ex-Jewish Chronicle Editor) ‘Amnesty is now utterly morally bankrupt’. The hypocrisy of these people beggars belief.

It would be wrong to ignore the Zionist dimension of Israel’s attack. Middle East International ran a piece stating that The logic behind Israel's Gaza attack, if any, is anyone's guess’ suggesting a variety of reasons such as Israel’s forthcoming election or Iran. MEI said that The unprovoked bombing campaign makes little to no sense’. This simply misses the point.

It does however make sense if you are a Zionist. There is indeed a logic but it will not be found in Israel’s elections or a geopolitical stand-off with Iran. Israel’s goal in the Occupied Territories is and always has been maximum land with the fewest possible Arabs.

Josef Weitz

The person who articulated this best was Josef Weitz, the Director of the Jewish National Fund’s Land Settlement Division. Weitz was responsible for the nuts and bolts of Zionist colonisation and he was obsessive about the necessity for the transfer of the Palestinians.

In 1937 he formed the first Transfer Committee, following the Peel Commission’s recommendation to Partition Palestine and exchange its populations. In all he formed 3 Transfer Committees, the last in 1948. Weitz wrote in his diary on December 20, 1940:

it must be clear that there is no room in the country for both [Arab and Jewish] peoples . . . If the [Palestinian] Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us . . . The only solution [after the end of WW II] is a Land of Israel, at least a western land of Israel [i.e. Palestine since Transjordan is the eastern portion], without [Palestinian] Arabs. There is no room here for compromises . . . There is no way but to transfer the [Palestinian] Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for [the Palestinian Arabs of] Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one [Bedouin] tribe. The transfer must be directed at Iraq, Syria, and even Transjordan [eastern portion of Eretz Yisrael]. For this goal funds will be found . . . And only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb millions of our brothers and the Jewish problem will cease to exist. There is no other solution. (Benny Morris, p. 27 & Expulsion Of The Palestinians, 131-132)

Weitz was frustrated in his objectives in 1948, because Israel did not conquer all of Palestine. Transjordan occupied the West Bank. So although Israel expelled 85% of Palestinians from the areas it controlled it was not until 1967 that Israel completed the conquest of the whole of Palestine.

Yet even in 1967 Weitz was not satisfied. Although all of Palestine had been captured and although around 300,000 Palestinians had been driven over the Jordan, the majority remained where they were. He expressed his feelings in Davar, the Labour Zionist paper that:

When the UN resolved to partition Palestine into two states, the [1948] War of Independence broke out, to our great good fortune [sic!], and in it there came to pass a double miracle: a territorial victory and the flight of the Arabs. In the [1967] Six Days’ War there came to pass one great miracle, a tremendous territorial victory, but the majority of the inhabitants of the liberated territories remained ‘attached’ to their places, which is liable to destroy the foundation of our State. The demographic problem is the most acute, especially when to its numerical weight is added the weight of the refugees.

Yosef Weitz, ‘Solution to the refugee problem: The State of Israel with a small Arab minority’, Davar, 29.9. 67. [Moshe Machover, Reply to Sol Stern, 1.1.73. Matzpen

The ‘problem’ that Israel faced was the fact that although they had achieved one ‘miracle’, the capture of the West Bank, god had not seen fit to grant them a second miracle like in 1948. The Palestinians had stubbornly remained on the land.

It is this ‘problem’ which has bedevilled the Zionists ever since and it explains everything in both the West Bank and Gaza. Circumstances are not right to enable them simply to deport 5 million Palestinians. Their only option is to make life so uncomfortable that the Palestinians will want to leave. And for some Palestinians, in particular Christian Palestinians, this has had some success.

It is this, not one or other incident or shooting, which explains the recurrent attacks on Gaza and the military repression coupled with violent settler/army attacks in the West Bank.

This is why those who posit ‘solutions’ such as two states entirely miss the point. The Israeli state is a settler colonial state whose founding goal of a Jewish state means inevitably that the number of Palestinians must be reduced to the absolute minimum. 

Weitz put the figure at 15% at the most and in Israel already the number of Israeli Palestinians is over 20%.  Coupled with the Palestinian majority in the West Bank that is the ‘existential question’ that Zionism has had to face and that explains everything that follows.

In Israel itself Judaisation and the Prawer Plan in the Naqab/Negev, ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem and the Koenig Report, the Judaisation of the Galilee, coupled with planning processes that ensures Arab villages and towns within Israel are surrounded by Jewish towns and communities are one solution. But even they don’t reduce Arab numbers. 

The real problem is Zionism itself and its goal of an ethnically pure Jewish state. To that there is only one solution. The dismantlement of the Zionist state itself.

Merav Michaeli of the Israeli Labor Party has given full support to the attack on Gaza

And just in case you thought that the Israeli Labor Party might live up to its name you might be reassured that its leader Merav Michaeli gave full backing for the attack on Gaza tweeting that “The residents of Israel deserve to live in security. No sovereign state would accept a siege on its residents by a terror organization’ (my emphasis) No mention of the fact that it is Gaza which has been under siege for over 15 years. These are the racist double standards of the Zionist ‘left’.

The other ‘left’ Zionist party in Israel’s far-Right coalition, Meretz, has not opposed the attacks and as is normally the case has given the government its support.

However it is good to know that in Britain Palestine Action has once again occupied the factories of Elbit and its subsidiaries. Elbit supplies over 80% of Israel’s drones and missiles.

I have also sent an open letter/complaint to the BBC asking about their double standards. They broadcast Israeli Prime Minister Lapid’s justification for the attacks on Gaza but somehow failed to do the same when it came to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tony Greenstein

Palestine Action Strikes Back At Elbit Factory in Kent

On Monday 1st July, activists walked calmly through security gates at Discovery Park, an industrial estate near Sandwich in Kent, and entered the grounds of Instro Precision which makes scopes for drones, guns and surveillance equipment amongst other things.

The company is one of four UK based companies owned and controlled by Elbit Systems – a massive Israeli arms company with close ties to the Israeli state government. Elbit make 80% of the drones that were used in Operation Protective Edge, an Israeli operation from 2014 in which thousands of Palestinians were killed (including more than 500 children) and over 10,000 were injured. Amnesty research showed that there was a failure to avoid excessive harm to civilians and was therefore a war crime.

The activists put D-locks on both vehicle entrances to the factory and some climbed on top of a shipping container while others sprayed graffiti on the windows at the front of the building and on a shutter door at the rear of the building.

Police arrived and entered into long discussions with senior managers, including Carl Miller the Operations Director. After several hours, a cutting team arrived with police reinforcements, and once the front gates had been freed, dozens of staff (who had been inside the building on an early or overnight shift) were escorted from the premises while activists chanted, held banners and handed out leaflets.

Mr Miller then locked up the building and police communicated to the protesters that they were free to leave at any time without arrest.

After a total of six and a half hours, and satisfied that the action had closed Elbit-Instro for the day, the activists, some of whom were from East Kent Campaign Against the Arms Trade, left together.

The big question is surely that if Instro’s business is entirely lawful, why on earth would they instruct police not to make any arrests, given that lock-ons, graffiti and disruption of business all have clear legal ramifications?

In a synchronised action on the same day, activists in Oldham targeted another Elbit factory there and some remained in occupation for three days, temporarily closing it down.

The Kent action was the sixth in Thanet, but the first at Instro’s new site on Discovery Park, making it clear that arms manufacturers are not welcome in Kent.

It seems that Elbit is such a dodgy company that even HSBC, who aren’t exactly known for their moral rectitude, have decided to divest their $600k shareholding due to concerns over illegal cluster munitions.

Credit: Jerusalem Post

Palestinians have called for an international embargo on the trade of weapons to and from Israel, and urge individuals and groups to take direct action to shut down Elbit factories across the UK. 

More info via #StopArmingIsrael and @BlockTheFactory

UPDATE: We’ve heard that the Oldham activists, although originally arrested when they came down after three days, have all been released without charge. Elbit are seemingly very forgiving at having their Oldham factory closed down for two whole days.

See Activists target packing firm over ‘transportation of Israeli weapons ’ | Morning Star (morningstaronline.co.uk)

The BBC Carried Israel’s Justification for Bombing Gaza but not Putin’s Explanation for Invading Ukraine – Why?

Open Letter and Complaint to the BBC

Once again when Israel attacks Gaza or the Palestinians in the West Bank the BBC does its best to obscure the origins of the conflict and present the situation as if it is a contest between equals.

Naturally being even handed the BBC is anxious to present both sides of the ‘conflict’ so it carried without comment the ‘explanation’ of Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapide that Israel was undertaking the bombardment of Gaza with a ‘heavy heart’ and Israeli government spokespersons explained that they mourned the death of every Palestinian  they murdered. Of course they don’t mourn enough to stop the killing.

And naturally the BBC gives full coverage to the hundreds of ‘rockets’ that Islamic Jihad had fired at Israel, thus giving the impression that it wasn’t Gaza but Israel that was under attack and that Israel had no alternative but to hit back.

There is no explanation that these ‘rockets’ are unguided, crude missiles which a limited range and velocity and thus easy to shoot down.

During the broadcast of the Voice of Israel aka the BBC, a thought occurred to me. Why is it that the BBC’s determination at even handedness didn’t extend to offering Vladimir Putin the opportunity of explaining the Russian case?

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the BBC has no difficulty in taking sides. There is no ‘both sidism’ there. The BBC is opposed to the  occupation and furthermore it portrays the Ukrainian resistance in a positive light whereas Palestinian resistance is portrayed as ‘terrorism’ and the fighters are described as ‘militants’ (as opposed to Israeli moderates).

Well you may criticise me for my naivety but I thought I should pen a complaint to the BBC.  In fact, because the BBC limit complaints to 2,000 characters I had to submit it over 5 complaint submissions!

Yolande Knell, the BBC's racist correspondent in Jerusalem

And as I explain in my complaint the BBC’s correspondent in Jerusalem is none other than Yolande Knell, who in her coverage of the Jerusalem Day pogroms by thousands of Israeli settlers, managed to describe the pogroms and the resulting attacks on Palestinian civilians, as a festive party.

With racists like Knell ensconced at the BBC there really is no need to interview Israeli government spokespersons at all.

Tony Greenstein

Dear BBC,

With the latest Israeli attack on Gaza the BBC has once again done its best to justify Israel’s false narrative that it is defending itself against Palestinian aggression. And who better to help it in its task than its racist reporter in Jerusalem, Yolande Knell. Knell is the woman who last May 19 found it impossible to tell the difference between a party and a pogrom in East Jerusalem.

Lest one forget this is how she described a march through Arab East Jerusalem             in which dozens of Arabs were physically attacked by thousands of nationalist demonstrators shouting ‘Death to the Arabs’

there are just thousands upon thousands of young Israelis like this that I’ve seen around the city the mood of them is really jubilant, it’s festive, it feels like a party.

On 1 August, in Jenin refugee camp, Israeli soldiers arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a prominent figure in Islamic Jihad. Failing to provoke a response Israel decided anyway to restrict traffic around Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza-Israel boundary, an area known as the "Gaza envelope" in order to give the appearance of an imminent threat.

Despite no missiles being fired on Friday afternoon Israel launched an attack by air on various points in Gaza. The main target was a residential building in Gaza City. Several missiles landed with precision on three apartments in that building.

The barrage killed Taiseer al-Jabari, the commander of the northern division of al-Quds Brigades (Saraya al-Quds), the military wing of the PIJ. It also killed Alaa Qaddoum, a five-year-old girl, together with a 23-year-old woman and seven other Palestinian men.

By Sunday afternoon, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported 31 people had been killed since Friday, including six children. More than 265 have been wounded. There are to date no Israeli casualties.

The attack on Gaza was therefore an unprovoked attack on a defenceless population. Although the BBC can be relied on not give any background to what has happened the facts are clear enough.

The Israeli blockade of occupied Gaza Strip has been in place since June 2007, when Israel imposed an airtight land, sea and air blockade.

Israel controls Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters, as well as two of the three border crossing points.

Gaza is subject to a suffocating blockade that restricts the entry of food, medicine and anything that Israel decides might make life more comfortable. 95% of the water is undrinkable and electricity is limited to 3-4 hours a day.

Drones patrol the airspace 24 hours a day presenting an ever present threat to the inhabitants as well as emitting an unbearable high pitched noise.

When it wants to, which is often, Israel attacks Gaza, an area of Palestine of 365sq km, the size of Cape Town or  Detroit knowing full well that it lacks the capability to retaliate. None of this information is provided to viewers by way of background information.

The ‘missiles’ that the BBC talks about are in reality little more than fireworks, unguided, unsophisticated and incapable of significant damage, especially as Israel is able to shoot down over 90% of them. By way of contrast Israel has an airforce, drones and guided high explosive missiles and other ordinance which it can use to devastating effect.

The BBC however refuses to portray the fight as a David and Goliath struggle preferring instead to portray it as a fight between equals. This is just one of the dishonest ways in which the BBC deliberately misinforms its audience.

Although the BBC did report the murder of a 5 year old girl in Gaza it immediately carried the lying justification of Yair Lapid, Israel’s Prime Minister that it was acting in ‘self defence’.

I can’t help wondering why it is that when Russia attacked Ukraine, with far better justification than Israel, that the BBC did not immediately carry Vladimir Putin’s explanation as to why he attacked Ukraine. After all NATO has been expanding up to Russia’s borders since 1999 despite repeated assurances at the time of German reunification that no expansion into Eastern Europe was contemplated.

Or to use another analogy. I wonder whether the BBC would have carried Hitler’s ‘justification’ for the invasion of Poland that it too was an act of self-defence. This is certainly what Hitler claimed at the time.

Once again the BBC has acted as an apologist for Israel’s claims that it was justified in launching an unprovoked attack on Gaza.

Of course the real reasons for Israel’s attack are not hard to fathom. Since its creation Israel has embarked on the systematic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Most of Gaza’s population are refugees from what is now Israel. Ethnic cleansing was the way to ensure that in a ‘Jewish’ state the majority of the population were Jewish.

Israel embarked on the colonisation of the West Bank since 1967, with the settler population now standing at over 600,000. Of course the BBC never describes the apartheid nature of the occupation with the settlers subject to Israeli civil law with the Palestinians living under military rule with no say as to how they are governed. After all the word ‘Apartheid’ is verboten.

It is abundantly clear that in Israel’s eyes the solution to its ‘demographic problem’ of too many Arabs in what is now Greater Israel, is their expulsion. Ethnic cleansing. Another phrase that is not part of the BBC’s lexicon.

What better way to achieve this than the theft of land in the West Bank accompanied by terror from the army and settlers. This is the explanation for the assassination of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, whose reporting of such violence caused Israel considerable political embarrassment. Extra-judicial executions are part and parcel of Israel’s military occupation.  Another fact the BBC choses not to report.

As the Middle East Monitor reported in August 2019:

“There has been an increase recently in Israeli projects seeking solutions to what it calls the "Gaza problem". They have been focusing on Egypt's Sinai, and appear to be foreshadowing a potential population transfer of Palestinians to the Sinai peninsula. Such a move would relieve Israel from the security burdens of managing Gaza and instead transfer it onto the Egyptian authorities.”

Of course the BBC treats all Israeli ‘explanations’ in good faith despite the fact that Israel has pursued a policy of ethnic cleansing and Judaification of the Negev, Galilee and East Jerusalem since its inception.  The Koenig Report and the Prawer Plan are somehow never mentioned by the BBC because this would undermine its narrative.

I expect no better of the BBC because at the end of the day it is the mouthpiece of British foreign policy. That is why it is why the BBC should come clean. Up till 2014 the World Service was directly funded by the government via the Foreign & Commonwealth Office before being transferred to the license fee .

Given its role as a NATO propaganda station it is clearly unacceptable that the BBC should be funded by the licence fee.

As the government’s press release last March declared: The government is giving the BBC World Service emergency funding to help it continue bringing independent, impartial and accurate news to people in Ukraine and Russia in the face of increased propaganda from the Russian state. What the government calls impartial is propaganda to most people.

There is really no reason why people should buy a TV license when all they are doing is funding a service that should properly be the responsibility of the government or NATO itself.

Since the BBC does not recognise its responsibility to fairly report affairs in the Middle East or Ukraine there is no obligation on people to buy a licence.