BBC lets right-wing Israeli write for its website
By Nureddin Sabir
Editor, Redress Information & Analysis
The BBC has abandoned all pretence of impartiality and let a prominent journalist for a right-wing Israeli newspaper write for its website.
On 23 July an article by Gil Hoffman, an Israeli Wehrmacht reservist and chief political correspondent of the Jerusalem Post, appeared in the Middle East section of the BBC’s website justifying why Israelis are rallying behind the onslaught against civilians in the Gaza Strip.
The Jeruslaem Post is “the hard-line voice in conversations regarding Arab-Israeli and Israeli-world affairs”, according to the New World Encyclopaedia (NWE). It also “espouses economic positions close to those of neo-liberalism: tight fiscal control on public spending, curbing of welfare, cutting taxes and anti-union monopoly legislation”, NWE adds.
Defying the public
The BBC’s Middle East section is headed by an Israel flag-waver, Raffi Berg.
In August 2013 Berg was caught in flagrante instructing his staff to report sympathetically about Israel. He is also suspected of distorting a number of BBC reports – see “BBC misreports John Kerry on talks failure” and “BBC News website editor strikes again for Israel”.
Last week, on 15 July, 5,000 demonstrators rallied outside the BBC’s headquarters in London, protesting at its one-sided coverage of the Israeli Wehrmacht’s assaults on Gaza.
The protest culminated in the handing over to the BBC’s director-general, Tony Hall, of a petition signed by 45,000 people, including Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Ken Loach, Brian Eno and Jeremy Hardy.
It accused the corporation of pro-Israeli bias and said it would “like to remind the BBC that Gaza is under Israeli occupation and siege [and] that Israel is bombing a refugee population”.
Speaking on Radio 4’s “Today” programme on 16 July, Glasgow University professor Greg Philo, co-author of More Bad News from Israel and research director of the university’s media unit, claimed he had been told by senior BBC journalists that they were unable to get the Palestinian viewpoint across.
I think the protestors are doing the BBC a favour, they will help the journalists get a better perspective…
Many times senior journalists at the BBC have told me they simply cannot get the Palestinian viewpoint across, the perspective they can’t say – which is the Palestinian view – is that Israel is a brutal apartheid state.
The Palestinian perspective is just not there. The Israelis are on twice as much. The issue is the roots of the conflict. The problem with the coverage is that it doesn’t refer to the history of it, that the Palestinians are a displaced people.
For a while, it seemed that the BBC might be starting to take notice. The day after the demonstration it ran an unprecedented item on the “Today” programme examining the accusation that it is biased towards Israel.
But it was not to last.
Now, by letting a right-wing Israeli author an article for its website it seems that the BBC is trying to make up for the temporary lapse in its lopsidedness in favour of Israel by stooping to previously unexplored depths.
I heard Hoffman speak a few years ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He repeatedly stated that Israel had “always opened its arms to Palestinians” by offering the West Bank in return for peace but was always repudiated. He also said that Netanyahu had a messiah complex “in the good sense of the term”. When I asked him about all the documentary evidence culled from Israeli state archives from “revisionist” historians, such as Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim, etc., that showed he was incorrect in his claims, his absurd response was “Well that’s why they call them revisionist.” He could not answer a single intelligent question with intelligence or honesty.