1. Teenager murdered for looking like a Jew
2. BBC program last Sunday leads viewers to say they can't resist becoming Anti-Semitic
3. Guardian columnist says Liberals have crossed the line into Anti-Semitism when criticizing Israel
4. London Times defends what BBC refers to as Israel's Wall of Apartheid
“IT WAS BESTIAL”
[Note by Tom Gross]
I attach four items, with summaries first.
1. Teenager murdered for looking like a Jew. "Neo-Nazi youths murdered boy, 17, for looking like a Jew" (The Independent (London), May 27, 2003). Three young neo-Nazis went on trial in Germany yesterday charged with torturing and killing a teenager because he "looked like a Jew". "They are accused of killing Marinus Schoeberl, 17, a white German, whose mutilated body was discovered in a farm silage pit near the isolated village north of Berlin, last November, four and a half months after his death. The accused appeared in court to hear statements read out by their lawyers in which they confessed to the killing but showed no remorse... The chief state prosecutor, said: "The details of the murder are so cruel that I can hardly bring myself to describe them. It was bestial." [He was first tortured on a derelict pigsty] by the three who forced him to "confess" that he looked "like a Jew"." (TG adds: While the Independent should be credited for covering this story, it would also be welcome if this British paper – one of the most anti-Israel papers in the world – would occasionally gave names and details of those teenagers murdered in Israel for actually being Jews.)
“I, LIKE MANY OF MY FRIENDS AM BECOMING INCREASINGLY ANTI-SEMITIC”
2. BBC program last Sunday leads viewers to say they can't resist becoming Anti-Semitic. "Behind the Fence". The BBC welcomed Israel's endorsement of the Road map on Sunday night by broadcasting a 45 minute program, "Behind the Fence," made and presented by Inigo Gilmore, the Sunday Telegraph correspondent in Israel. On their website page following-up the program, the BBC yesterday posted comments such as:
Florence: "I am 73 and when Israel was created I felt it was a good idea for the Jews to have territory. Now when I hear and see the way they treat their neighbours I feel they treat others as they were treated in Nazi Germany."
Liz Bodman, UK: "Having just watched tonight's Correspondent about the security fence... and having watched a programme last week about the Gaza Strip ... can people not see that the Jewish State is quietly doing to the Palestinians what Hitler tried to do to them."
Ian Berry, UK: "I am trying to resist; but I find that at 53 years of age I, like many of my friends am becoming increasingly anti-Semitic."
[More comments from the BBC website are attached further down this email.]
The BBC text promoting the program, twice referred to a "wall of apartheid" and accused Israel of being "sinister". (It found it necessary to put the word "terrorists" in quotes, but not the words "sinister" or "occupied".)
The BBC program received high viewing figures after the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (a well-funded British organization) publicized and marketed it in advance.
Some British Jews have accused the program of giving viewers the impression that "the Israeli people are animals."
The Sunday Telegraph article on the same day, promoting the program, also by Inigo Gilmore was more moderate, but had the historically odd headline "There was peace here for 50 years – then the Fence came".
The BBC does occasionally respond in part to criticism. Last week, after calling Hamas "a group... accused of carrying out suicide bombings as part of its campaign for a Palestinian state," this was changed by the BBC, following complaints, to a "Palestinian group operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that carries out suicide bombings as part of its campaign for a Palestinian state" (which is itself only a half truth – Hamas operate in Israel, and aim to destroy Israel. Their leaders proudly proclaim this in almost every speech, pronouncement and press release they issue, and on their web site, but the BBC prefers to ignore this.)
“THERE ARE NO ELDERS AND THERE ARE NO PROTOCOLS”
3. Guardian columnist says Liberals have crossed the line into Anti-Semitism when criticizing Israel. The Guardian newspaper (like the BBC) has done much to stoke hatred of Israel in certain educated elements of British society. Even today (May 27, 2003) they continue to fill their letter pages with headlines like "How Rachel died (cont)". (Of course, all Guardian readers know without having to be told that "Rachel" is Rachel Corrie, the defender and protector of Palestinian terrorists and terrorism who tragically died in a bulldozer accident in Gaza earlier this year. It would be interesting to know whether Guardian readers can name even one of the hundreds of Israeli children deliberately killed by those Corrie did so much to defend.)
Given the paper's record, it marks something of a change that The Guardian has also begun running pieces giving another view. Writing today, columnist David Aaronovitch (The Guardian, May 27) warns that many on the political left are crossing the line into anti-Semitism when criticizing Jews and Israel. He says: "Too many leftwingers and liberals are crossing the magic line right now. Let me spell it out for you. There is no all-powerful Jewish lobby. There is no secret convocation. Most journalists with Jewish names do not write the things they do because of loyalty to their race or religion. Nor can you simply change the word 'Jewish' to 'Zionist' and somehow be exempt from the charge of low-level racism. And it's no good wiffling on about your Jewish friends or trying to slip your prejudices past the guards by boldly proclaiming your refusal to be intimidated. There are no Elders and there are no Protocols."
Also in The Guardian (on Saturday May 24, 2003), columnist Julie Burchill writes: "But, in my experience, liberals are just as fearful as reactionaries... Recently, it's been the Jews once more... As an unashamed lifelong philo-Semite, I always knew, growing up in the 1970s, that the relative restraint shown by Gentiles concerning their ceaseless obsession with the Jewish Plot To Rule The World was a purely temporary tongue-curbing exercise brought about by the horror of the full revelation of the Shoah, and that sooner or later it would be back in the most apparently unlikely of places – and here's Tam Dalyell, of all people, talking about a Jewish "cabal" that controls the planet! How can they control the bloody world? There's only about six of them left! The Gentiles have seen to that."
THE FENCE WILL SAVE THE PALESTINIANS FROM THEMSELVES
4. London Times defends what BBC refers to as Israel's Wall of Apartheid. Today in the Times of London, in an implicit criticism of the BBC, columnist David Rudnick writes: "The fence will bar West Bank-based terrorists from crossing into Israel on shooting or suicide-bombing missions. Every time an Israeli bus, bar or boutique falls victim to a terrorist bomb, peace is also a victim. Carnage on the streets of Israel, followed by fearsome retaliation, have a multiplier effect in throwing the whole peace programme back into limbo. But the Palestinians stand to gain more from a strong fence that will keep their desperate gunmen and suicide-bombers out of Israel. Every atrocity they commit plays into Ariel Sharon's hands, providing an excuse to tear up the road map before it's even unfolded... The Palestinians are historically their own worst enemy; the fence will save them from themselves as well as saving Israeli lives... Far from enforcing apartheid, an anti-terror fence could help long-term economic integration and its constructive political fallout. A project wrongly seen as repressive and the brainchild of hawks could yet help the doves to take wing." [Tom Gross adds: This characterization as the border fence as "the brainchild of hawks" is typical of the way that even those commentators that are supposedly pro-Israel misrepresent the truth. The decision to construct a fence was taken by a Labor-Likud government of national unity, and was then placed by the Israeli Labor party under the dovish leadership of Amram Mitzna as a main item in its election platform in January 2003.]
-- Tom Gross
NEO-NAZI YOUTHS MURDERED BOY, 17, FOR LOOKING LIKE A JEW
Neo-Nazi youths murdered boy, 17, for looking like a Jew
By Tony Paterson in Berlin
May 27, 2003
Three young neo-Nazis went on trial in east Germany yesterday charged with the "bestial murder" of a schoolboy. The teenager was tortured and killed after his attackers decided that his baggy trousers and dyed blond hair made him "look like a Jew".
The men aged 17, 18 and 24 faced charges on separate counts of causing grievous bodily harm, coercion, attempted murder, and murder by a court in the town of Neuruppin. They are accused of killing Marinus Schoeberl, 17, a white German, whose mutilated body was discovered in a farm silage pit near the isolated village of Potzlow, north of Berlin, last November, four and a half months after his death.
The accused, named only as Marcel, Marco and Sebastian, appeared in court to hear statements read out by their lawyers in which they confessed to the killing but showed no remorse.
Gerd Schnittcher, the chief state prosecutor, said: "The accused are part of an extreme right-wing scene. Acts of violence are nothing new, but we are dealing with a new dimension here. The details of the murder are so cruel that I can hardly bring myself to describe them. It was bestial."
The court was told how in July last year, Schoeberl had joined a group of young people in a flat in Potzlow where they got drunk. The three neo-Nazis in the group took exception to the boy's dyed hair and trousers. "They saw this as a provocation," state prosecutors said. Schoeberl was punched and kicked by the three who forced him to "confess" that he looked "like a Jew". The boy was taken to another flat in the village and beaten further before being dragged to a derelict pigsty on a deserted farm.
There, the prosecution said, Schoeberl was tortured according to methods shown in the film American History X, in which a neo-Nazi brutally murders two black men. In their confessions yesterday, the accused admitted to kicking Schoeberl's head repeatedly, which was propped up against a stone block.
In earlier evidence, one of the accused admitted to "feeling sick". One of the group admitted yesterday to "finishing off" their victim by hurling a heavy stone against his head. Schoeberl was then dumped in a disused silage pit. The dead boy was discovered last November after one of the assailants boasted of the killing to friends. One of the group then told police.
Police said they suspected that people in the village who knew about the killing might have closed ranks because of threats issued by the ringleader, a scaffolder with a record of neo-Nazi violence.
COMMENTS ON BBC WEB SITE ABOUT “CORRESPONDENT – BEHIND THE FENCE” – SHOWN ON SUNDAY
Comments on BBC web site about 'correspondent – behind the fence' – Shown on Sunday
[These have been edited down for space reasons. The majority of comments were anti-Israeli, and some were arguably anti-Semitic. Only a few pro-Israeli comments were allowed by the BBC]
What I find so totally depressing is that the state terrorism of Israel, a nation founded in terrorism and sustained by terrorism – and I don't think there is an alternative description of these appalling acts – is endorsed by America in that they continue to pour funds and weapons into Israel. Equally depressing is that no nation seems prepared to condemn Israel. – Roger Smith, UK
[The following comment was highlighted by the BBC in a specially colored box]
The fence is an abomination – Susan Hannis
I would like to mention that the segregation of humans with a physical barrier has failed in the past, and the hatred and anxiety created will fuel more of what the creation of this fence is trying to prevent, 'terrorism'. – Hasan Kalaji, United Kingdom
The programme did not fully explain the reasons behind the need to erect a fence. Unfortunately, it is there for the protection of Israelis and not, as implied, to 'steal' Arab land. – H Conway, UK
We commend the BBC Correspondent programme for bringing this matter to the attention of the viewers at a peak viewing time. The many issues surrounding the fence were well presented from the various viewpoints involved. Perhaps now more people will understand the frustrations of Palestinians at the continual erosion of their land and human rights. The attitude of the Israeli government (and the world leaders who refuse to challenge it) makes us feel physically sick because we are so angry – why can't they see that their policies are increasing the danger to themselves? – Anita, Meg and Brian Wilkins, England
We need more programmes like this, showing the real cruelty and warmongering of the Israeli government and the suffering to both communities. The fence is an abomination. – Susan Hannis, UK
[The following comment was also highlighted by the BBC in a specially-colored box]
The treatment of the Palestinians is shameful – Connelly
Stealing land by creating fences (which are not even on recognised borders), stealing olive trees from poor Palestinians, killing innocent journalists and aid workers (and then claiming they are armed terrorists), these are the security methods of a democratic country? – Mr S Hasaragi, England
I am 73 and when Israel was created I felt it was a good idea for the Jews to have territory. Now when I hear and see the way they treat their neighbours I feel they treat others as they were treated in Nazi Germany. And, against all my natural emotions I am aware of growing hatred for them – the Israelis. I don't want to suffer such emotions at my age but I cannot deny them. I never knowingly buy anything imported from Israel and never will again. They have become bullies and criminals. – Florence, England
Whilst some points that you have made did have some truth in them, the program was completely one sided. Even though you claim that the program represents Israelis, it represents a great minority. I am not going to discuss political issues with you at this time, but all I would say is that your programme was offensive, prejudiced, and anti-Semitic – to a level, anti Israeli and completely one sided. I am guessing that since not enough substantial information has been gathered in the research for the making of the programme, you probably have nothing to say. But go on, prove me wrong, show me that the Israeli people are animals and that the programme is justified. – Mo, UK
A very good programme with a clear message.. Why does Israel have the right to do what it likes when others cannot? – Nik Read, England
Having just watched tonight's Correspondent about the security fence I cannot understand how the world is standing by and letting the Israeli Gov treat the Palestinians in this way. Having watched a programme last week about the Gaza Strip I felt so utterly frustrated that no one seems able to stop Israel doing what it wants, is this some ongoing atonement for the holocaust, can people not see that the Jewish State is quietly doing to the Palestinians what Hitler tried to do to them, they of all people should have more compassion and understanding and not allow their government to carry out this in their name. – Liz Bodman, UK
Your report was totally biased against the Jews. They have suffered unremitting terrorism for years that has killed hundreds and wounded thousands. They build the fence to keep out murderers. Your report did not highlight this. You depict the Jews as the terrorists and the Palestinians as the victims. This is biased reporting and distorts the truth. – Philip Lumley, UK
I never cease to be appalled by the ruthless brutality of Israel and its illegal settlers. What a disgrace that the British government stands by and does nothing. – Alan Bruce, UK
[It is perhaps telling that the maker of the following comment felt the need to remain anonymous – TG]
The BBC is pro-Palestinian, whatever it decides to talk about and excuses the murder of people by Palestinians, insinuating that land is a sufficient excuse. – Anon
I am trying to resist; but I find that at 53years of age I, like many of my friends am becoming increasingly anti-Semitic. It is so easy and a long term danger for Israel. Sharon must go – or Israel will be destroyed. – Ian Berry, UK
About 120 suicide bombers entered the Israeli territory to murder more than 800 men women and children. Don't you think that this by itself is a good reason for the fence? Have you seen a suicide attack result? Can you imagine a screaming child with his guts spilled on the road. – Joe, Israel
How one can judge this wall as a security fence, given that Israel already has claimed to have its forces and hi-tech monitoring radars all over the Palestinian areas. Are the Israelis getting too carried away with the world's attention on other issues? It is an appalling fact that Israel does not even allow access to essential aid workers into affected/destructed Palestinian areas, let alone journalists. – M Siddiqui, UK
"Wall of apartheid"? When I began my study of the Arab/Israeli conflict, I was amazed that three Arabs were elected to the first Israeli Knesset. Mind you, this was just several months after five Arab countries went to war against her vowing her complete annihilation. I remember pondering this for the longest. Would I – I'm speaking as a non-Jew, now – have been so charitable? – Fred Garcia, Bronx, New York USA
Yet again the BBC distorts the truth regarding anything to do with Israel. Are the railings at Downing Street an instrument of Apartheid? Would the wall be built if Arafat hadn't declared the 2nd intifada? When was the last time you showed some true apartheid, i.e. the Australian policies to Aborigines? You would if Australia was a Jewish State. Wouldn't you? – John Klineberg, England
I think it about time that the world took a stance on this issue. This clearly violates International Law. Now that the so called roadmap is due to be accepted by the Israeli government, my fear is the clear reservations that they want enforced within the roadmap. They either accept peace and live side by side with the State of Palestine or it should be forced upon them. The Palestinians have made all the concessions so far, it's about time Israel does the same. – Fiaz Hussain, England
Sounds like another Israel bashing from the "unbiased" BBC. When will your reporters recognise that all little Israel wants is to live in peace without having to compromise its very security and existence which has been under threat for 50 years. If the Arab sovereign states would contribute in some way to peace rather then training terrorists (eg Syria-Hamas & Hezbolah) then there wouldn't be a need for a wall. When was the last time you heard a Syrian or Iranian leader offer to sponsor a peace process? It's about time the BBC got rid of its pet hates and concentrated on issues reporting honestly and balanced. – Lee Kauffman, UK
[The following comment was also highlighted by the BBC in a specially-colored box]
Wasn't the Berlin wall built to keep people from leaving – not prevent them from entering – Atilio
Why do you describe what is obviously a wall – 30ft high, concrete, hundred's of miles long – as a fence? Does a unique, inverted from of English apply to your coverage of the Middle East? Assassination = targeted killing – Military assault = Incursion – Held without charge or trial = administrative detention. Is it coincidence that all these perversions of language paint the illegal Israeli occupation in a better light? - Ron F, UK
COMMENT SENT TO THE BBC NOT PUBLISHED
Here is one of the comments sent to the BBC, which they chose NOT to publish on their website.
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Behind the Fence very clearly made the point that Israel should withdraw to the pre 67 Green Line as "the internationally recognised border under UN resolutions". Yet it is on record that Lord Caradon, one of the architects of UN resolution 242, said "It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions are undesirable and artificial"
Your programme failed to address where the responsibility lies for around four potential terror attacks each week; in the past 12 months 35 suicide attacks have been successfully carried out and 145 foiled. Until the Palestinians effectively stop terror and start to work towards peace, the Israeli government has every right, and indeed has a duty, to protect its population. Although your programme examined the effect of the measures needed to counter this avalanche of terror attacks, it dismally failed to address the reason why such measures have had to be introduced.
In the interests of balance maybe you will consider a programme showing the effects of the terror attacks on the Israeli population. I suggest a 'day in the life' of one of the religious Jews who attend the scene of the Palestinian bomb outrages, in discos, pubs and shopping malls. They scrape the flesh and blood from the scene of the bomb, gathering limbs, heads etc, in order to afford a dignified burial to the remains of the children and the elderly deliberately targeted. I would appreciate a specific response to this suggestion.
It is all very well to be sympathetic to the perpetrators of the bomb outrages, but how about extending the same compassion to the victims?