Hatred in the air: The BBC, Israel and anti-Semitism

August 20, 2003

BBC ASKS HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS WHY THEY HAVE “NOT LEARNT THEIR LESSON”

[Note by Tom Gross]

This dispatch should be read in conjunction with today's other dispatch, titled Orwell's Warning. The BBC is blind to its bias.

I attach a chapter from a new book published in Britain ("A new anti-Semitism. Debating Judeophobia in 21st-century Britain.")

This chapter, "Hatred In The Air: The BBC, Israel And Anti-Semitism," by Douglas Davis, is an unedited version supplied to me by the author, and differs slightly from that in the book.

As Davis points out: How does the BBC fill the gap during intervals of live broadcasts of the Proms? The problem did not stretch the imagination of the Radio 3 producer on the evenings of August 13 and August 20, 2002. The gap was filled by a recitation of poems that compared the acts of Israelis to those of the Nazis and asked Holocaust survivors why they had "not learnt their lesson."

[Tom Gross adds The Proms are a jovial annual event at the end of the British summer during which classical favorites and tunes such as "Rule Brittania" and "Land of Hope and Glory" are sung by the audience to great fanfare and flag-waving at the Royal Albert Hall in London.]

Davis continues: It never occurred to me a journalist that I would ever apply the label "anti-Semitic" to a mainstream media organization; certainly not in the democratic world; most emphatically not in tolerant, multicultural Britain. But as a voracious consumer of news, that is the inescapable and professional conclusion I have reached after listening to, watching and participating in BBC coverage of the Middle East.

Davis gives many examples in his essay, below. More information on the BBC is available at www.bbcwatch.com. This includes British lawyer Trevor Asserson's report on the BBC coverage of the Israel-Palestine dispute, which I previously sent out on this list when it was released in December 2002. I would recommend reading it again to those journalists on this list, particularly in Britain, who are interested and have time.

-- Tom Gross



HATRED IN THE AIR: THE BBC, ISRAEL AND ANTI-SEMITISM

Hatred in the air: The BBC, Israel and Anti-Semitism
By Douglas Davis

How does the BBC fill the gap during intervals of live broadcasts of the Proms? The problem did not stretch the imagination of the Radio 3 producer on the evenings of August 13 and August 20, 2002. The gap was filled by a recitation of poems that compared the acts of Israelis to those of the Nazis and asked Holocaust survivors why they had "not learnt their lesson."

It never occurred to me a journalist and an Israeli that I would ever apply the label "anti-Semitic" to a mainstream media organization; certainly not in the democratic world; most emphatically not in tolerant, multicultural Britain. But as a voracious consumer of news, that is the inescapable and professional conclusion I have reached after listening to, watching and participating in BBC coverage of the Middle East.

My contention is based not only on poetry readings during intervals of the Proms, appalling though they were (on that occasion, the BBC took the rare step of responding to a complaint from the Board of Deputies of British Jews with an apology). [1] Rather, it is based on what I consider to be a systematic and systemic pattern of anti-Israel, anti-Zionist imbalance, bias and inaccuracy by the BBC over a protracted period of time, coupled with a seemingly obsessive focus on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I do not deny the BBC's right the right of any news organization to be critical of Israel. Criticism of politicians and political institutions is an integral part of the democratic process and our political discourse would be unthinkable without it. I have never shirked from criticizing a range of Israeli administrations and leaders, from Rabin and Peres to Netanyahu, Barak and Sharon, when I considered such criticism appropriate. Unlike the BBC, however, I have also been critical, when I considered it appropriate, of the Palestinian Authority chairman, Yasser Arafat, whose despotic rule has brought tragedy on Israel and impoverished the Palestinian people.

But the BBC's relentless, one-dimensional portrayal of Israel as a demonic, criminal state and Israelis as brutal oppressors responsible for all the ills of the region bears the hallmarks of a concerted campaign of vilification which, wittingly or not, has the effect of delegitimising Israel as the state of the Jews and pumping oxygen into a dark, old European hatred that dared not speak its name for the past half-century.

Official spokesmen for the Israeli Government, who generally have a sophisticated appreciation of the way the media function, prefer to adopt a policy of quiet diplomacy when they perceive patterns of imbalance and bias. But even the diplomatically savvy former press secretary at the Israeli Embassy in London, D.J. Schneeweiss, found the BBC's coverage too much to stomach. In a rare official letter of complaint, he detailed specific instances of imbalance and bias, while noting in general terms that, "across a range of BBC outlets, we have encountered what appears to be an almost system-wide failure to grasp key and salient aspects of the events on the ground, and a pronounced and clear tendency to presume the culpability of one side while ignoring the other's contribution to the escalation." [2]

A similar conclusion was reached independently by a senior British lawyer, Trevor Asserson, and his assistant, Elisheva Mironi, an Israeli lawyer who was awarded a masters degree in human rights law and media law by University College London. Asserson and Mironi monitored and analysed the BBC's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over a period of seven weeks, from November 12 to December 30, 2001, and concluded that "whilst some errors of judgement will inevitably occur, we detected a consistent trend which demands an explanation beyond mere error." [3]

In assessing the BBC's adherence to its own guidelines, particularly its obligations to impartiality and accuracy, they found that the cumulative effect of the breaches highlighted in their report indicate "a marked and consistent pro-Palestinian bias within the BBC".

"Some breaches are minor and would not be worthy of note in isolation," they stated. "Taken together, however, we believe that even these subtler or more minor breaches reveal a clear and significant trend of bias."

However, they added, "some of the breaches are in our view quite glaring. At times, by mere selection or omission of facts, the BBC provides a report which portrays the very opposite of the truth. Frequently, the BBC report is misleading. At times, it appears to invent material to suit its own bias."

I am not suggesting that the BBC is anti-Israel or anti-Zionist as a matter of stated policy. I do contend, however, that a powerful anti-Israel, anti-Zionist bias has become systemic; that it has become woven into the fabric of the BBC, and that it is now an indelible a part of the BBC corporate culture, as reflected in its output. When it comes to coverage of Israel, the BBC's customary pursuit of the impartial ideal is abandoned, exposing a blind hatred. Nor am I suggesting that the BBC is propagating anti-Semitism as a matter of deliberate policy. But anti-Semitism is the inevitable, inescapable byproduct of the relentless anti-Zionist and anti-Israel culture that has become intrinsic to the BBC's output.

With a reach that extends into almost every British home, I believe that the BBC is now the principal agent for injecting of anti-Semitism into the national bloodstream. And with a global reach through the World Service, the burgeoning BBC satellite television channels and the BBC website, it has the potential to become the most potent purveyor of anti-Semitism on an international scale.

Reasoned and reasonable criticism of Israel is perfectly legitimate. I am neither offended by it or equate such criticism with anti-Semitism. But I am profoundly uneasy when I encounter the sort of persistent, obsessive anti-Israel, anti-Zionist sentiment that has become the convenient refuge for many who feel constrained from openly ventilating their antipathy towards Jews. It is, moreover, the critical point of intersection not only for the far-left and the far-right within the conventional political spectrum, but also for radical elements among anti-globalisers, environmentalists, ecologists and animal rights activists, and, not least, Islamic extremists.

The late American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jnr was unequivocal in identifying the link in 1967: "Anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever will be so... What is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the globe. It is discrimination against Jews... because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-Semitism." [4] More recently, the Israeli essayist Hillel Halkin declared bluntly: "The new anti-Israelism is nothing but the old anti-Semitism in disguise." He noted that, "one cannot be against Israel or Zionism, as opposed to this or that Israeli policy or Zionist position, without being anti-Semitic. Israel is the state of the Jews. Zionism is the belief that the Jews should have a state. To defame Israel is to defame the Jews. To wish it never existed, or would cease to exist, is to wish to destroy the Jews." [5]

The close correlation between relentless anti-Israel media reportage and manifestations of anti-Semitism in Britain is well documented. The daily demonisation of Israel and Israelis has a direct, quantifiable response in tangible anti-Semitic acts: in verbal and physical assaults, in the desecration of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries. [6] And yet, when a deputy director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry suggested that BBC coverage had become "tinged with anti-Semitism," BBC correspondent Fergal Keane dismissed this as "contemptible" and "ludicrous." One British journalist was moved to remark that, "England seems to be a country where to accuse somebody of anti-Semitism is far more impolite than being one." [7]

The reason for the Foreign Ministry official's ire was the broadcast of a tendentious BBC Panorama programme entitled "The Accused," in which the presenter, Fergal Keane, suggested that Ariel Sharon, the democratically elected prime minister of Israel, should face a war crimes trial for the massacre of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila camps by Christian Phalangists during the Lebanese civil war in 1982. [8]

While the programme was ostensibly a piece of investigative journalism, it was in reality the BBC's very own war crimes trial of Ariel Sharon; a trial in which the verdict had been reached even before the evidence had been heard. The BBC programme-makers were not distracted by the fact that the Phalangist militia chief who led the massacre, Eli Hobeika, was in fact a minister in the Lebanese goverment at the time the programme was aired. Nor were they apparently deterred by Ariel Sharon's own protestation of innocence: "Not for a moment did we imagine that they would do what they did." For Fergal Keane, the prime minister of Israel was "potentially... a war criminal."

It is inconceivable that the BBC would commit itself to a critical appraisal of Yasser Arafat, despite abundant evidence that he has been directly implicated in terrorism over recent years, as indeed he has been for more than thirty years. There has been barely a word of the rampant corruption within the Palestinian Authority; of the failure to create transparent political institutions and accountable economic structures; of the failure to halt incitement; of the terrorism that has been permitted to flourish; of the abuse of aid funds that have been used to promote hatred of Israel and Jews via the Palestinian television station and educational materials. The BBC was not moved to mount a serious investigation of Yasser Arafat even after the United States president, George W. Bush, refused to meet him, even after his departure from the political scene was deemed an essential pre-requisite to further negotiations.

This BBC double-standard was also evident in the run-up to the 2002 festive season when Jeremy Bowen, the former BBC's Middle East correspondent no less, presented a major documentary which examined the role of God in the biblical Moses story, no less. While Bowen was able to find scientific and historic corroboration for the event, the possibility of divine intervention was discounted. The biblical account of Moses and the Exodus was a "fanciful tale... the stuff of fairy tales" [9].

But the subtext of the documentary revealed an agenda that transcended pure inquiry into the origin of the Jews: "If the Hebrews never were in Egypt," Bowen intoned, "then perhaps the whole epic was a fiction, made up to give the Jewish people a history and a destiny." And while scientific evidence was found to explain the miracles that presaged the Exodus, the critical "burning bush" encounter of Moses and God what Bowen described as "the religious justification for the State of Israel" was airily dismissed as a matter of faith. Clearly not an event to be taken seriously.

I have no problem with a documentary that proposes scientific explanations for seemingly miraculous events, but I do object when I suspect that the purpose of the investigation is to delegitimise the fundamental basis of Judaism and undermine the claim of the Jewish people to national expression in its ancestral home. Once again, it inconceivable that the BBC would devote an hour-long, prime-time documentary to a critical investigation that served to delegitimise the Prophet Muhammed and undermine the basic tenets of Islam.

I have appeared on dozens of BBC news and current affairs programmes as an analyst, commentator and debater on events in the Middle East. I never ceased to wonder at the intensity of the BBC's coverage of the region. Nor have I ceased to be surprised by the robustness of its interviews with those who are invited to provide an "Israeli perspective", compared to the "soft" approach that is invariably adopted with Arab interview subjects. The first "question," for example, to a senior Palestinian official in a recent BBC television interview was (and I paraphrase): "We can't really expect Yasser Arafat to rein in the suicide bombers now that Israel has destroyed his security infrastructure, can we?" It bears mentioning that the BBC-2 "Newsnight" presenter Jeremy Paxman offers a rare and honourable exception to the supine approach of many of his colleagues when interviewing Palestinians.

Although the BBC had always been harshly critical of Israel at times its coverage made me somewhat queasy I defended its right to be critical. That was the democratic way. And besides, no one could accuse the Israeli media itself of being timorous. I contended that the Arab-Israeli conflict, anchored in a heady mixture of religious, territorial, political, social, economic and historical issues, presented an eye-crossing challenge to even the well-informed observer, let alone to the neophyte BBC reporter from London intent on establishing a reputation in this media-rich hot spot.

If I had been more candid, I would have agreed that attacking Israel is a cost-free exercise, whether the attack is directed against the prime minister of the state or the legitimacy of Judaism or the right of Jews to a national state. Such an approach in an Arab environment would almost certainly have the most painful personal and professional consequences for both the journalist and the media organization concerned. In Israel, there are no consequences. So while I defended the BBC, it was also a matter of increasing professional concern that I observed the BBC's persistently partial approach to coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Nothing neither the most callous acts of terrorism nor the most carefully constructed arguments seemed capable of budging the central "story line".

But for me, the BBC crossed the Rubicon on September 11, 2001, shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. Within minutes, the BBC's favourite Arab commentator was being wheeled into the BBC television studios to declare that the event was most likely a Mossad operation because, in his bizarre view, no one had more to gain from such an attack than Israel. But even if Arabs and Muslims were shown to have perpetrated the attacks, he said, was it not obvious that America itself was the real culprit? After all, it was America that was pursuing a pro-Israel foreign policy; it was America that was ignoring the occupation and turning a blind eye to the settlements; it was America that was contemptuous of Arab sensibilities. Was it not the pro-Israel lobby that dominated policy-making in Washington? Was it not the United States that was guilty of double standards in supporting the insupportable Zionist state? Could there be any doubt about why Muslims hate America? Could anyone blame Arabs for wanting to vent their humiliation, frustration and rage at this one-sided American foreign policy?

Forget the apparently inconsequential fact that the then-Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, had only three months earlier offered to disgorge 97 per cent of the West Bank, grant the Palestinians a share in Jerusalem, permit a limited return of the refugees and recognise a sovereign, independent Palestinian state (which no previous ruler in the history of the area had ever done). Forget also that the Palestinian response to the offer was an armed uprising, using territory under exclusive Palestinian Authority control for launching acts of unspeakable terror against Israel's heartland. In the Newspeak of the BBC, a direct, causal link had been established between the attack on America and the occupation of the West Bank.

The inmates, it seemed, had taken over the asylum. Logic had been turned on its head. Disbelief had been suspended at Television Centre. More shocking than the repeated ventilation of the claim that America and Israel were the real culprits for September 11 was the fact that the fantasy went virtually unchallenged by the BBC's interviewers. In retrospect, I should not have been surprised or shocked that such mad conspiracy theories, like so many others from the Arab perspective, were quickly embraced within the BBC environment. It fitted the "story-line."

Did the BBC make a conscious policy decision to allow such arrant nonsense to take root on its airwaves? I doubt it. Rather, I believe such phenomena are a function of the profound anti-Israel, anti-Zionist bias that has become so ingrained in the BBC's culture that almost any calumny, no matter how fantastic, can be heaped unchallenged on the Jewish state.

When the BBC called later in the day to invite me to be interviewed, I declined. And I continued declining its invitations to participate in news and current affairs programmes. It seemed clear to me that the BBC agenda for the Twin Towers had been established, and a juicy package it was. Responsibility for the atrocity would belong to America and Israel, and the price would ultimately be paid in Israeli currency. My participation would not repudiate that objective; it would simply perpetuate it. And by extension, I reasoned, my appearance on any other programmes would simply serve as a cover for the BBC to continue propagating its distorted "story line" on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I would no longer provide the excuse for "balance."

The BBC's reaction to September 11 crystallised and clarified the "story line" as no other single event: Israel had been born in sin, supposedly at the expense of the "original Palestinian inhabitants" (even though the emergence of Palestinian nationalism was, in fact, a direct response to Zionism). And Israel's continued existence remains a profound affront to the fine sensibilities of a Sixties generation which now occupies the high table of establishments like the BBC. It is a generation that was nurtured on virulent anti-Americanism, grown fat at the trough of anti-Vietnam demonstrations and wallows in post-colonial guilt.

Never mind that Israel is the only state born after the Second World War to have a thriving democratic and economic system; never mind that no other postwar state has had to contend with the same massive challenges its very existence. In the collective BBC worldview, Israel is the imperial outpost of power-crazed, oil-hungry America; a bastion of white, American hegemony in the Middle East; a proxy to be vilified; an illegitimate, artificial state to be trashed, just as the kids of the Sixties trashed their university campuses in a frenzy of anti-American violence. Could such a mindset have animated the BBC Director-General, Greg Dyke, to declare that the BBC was "hideously white"? Could it have animated the former Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain to advocate, in a previous incarnation, the violent destruction of Israel? "The present Zionist state," he wrote, "is by definition racist and will have to be dismantled." Such a task, he continued, "can be brought about in an orderly way through negotiation... or it will be brought about by force. The choice lies with the Israelis. They can recognise now that the tide of history is against their brand of greedy oppression, or they can dig in and invite a bloodbath." [10] Perhaps it is that the very success of Israel and the Zionist enterprise that gives greatest offence.

Melanie Phillips, in an account of her bruising encounter with a post-September 11 "Question Time" audience on the subject of her alleged "dual loyalties" (as a Briton and a Jew), noted that "the establishment... and in particular the BBC are dominated by the thinking of the New Left, the Marxist revisionism that that replaced the class struggle by the culture war." The New Left, she contended, "is characterised by an abiding hatred of Israel, America and a self-loathing about Western values. The result is that the British intellectual classes are an all-too willing conduit for anti-Jewish and anti-Israel poison and propaganda." [11]

The supposed bastardy of Israel's birth appears to justify the most egregious acts against it, as far as the BBC is concerned. For if Israel bears "original sin", an indelible stain that can never be removed, it must be innately evil, indefensible, entitled to neither sympathy nor understanding. Israel's very existence is an affront to the tolerant, multicultural BBC. In the view of the BBC, as expressed to me in scores of television interviews, Palestinian terrorism is invariably a response to a supposed prior Israeli misdeed, real or imagined. And if Islamic terrorism is ultimately a response to Israeli "provocation", it is Israel that must bear ultimate responsibility for all terrorism even when the atrocities are perpetrated on Israeli streets against Israeli citizens. The symmetry of moral equivalence is established. The victim becomes the perpetrator. George Orwell would have enjoyed it. Columnist Andrew Sullivan observed presciently: "It is simply routine at this point to see 'balanced' news reports from the BBC... that morally equate the actions of Israeli self-defence with the deliberate murder of civilian Jews by Palestinian terrorists." [12]

Indeed, the very terminology of the BBC reporters has been massaged to suit the BBC agenda (and appease the Palestinians). Suicide bombers who target Israeli civilians for mass murder are no longer terrorists but "militants". Islamic extremists have been translated into "radicals". Killers of Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza are "gunmen". One can only speculate on when (not whether) the BBC will adopt the terminological preference of the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, and describe the headquarters of terrorist organisations in Damascus as Palestinian "press offices." [13]

The absurdity was not lost on the Conservative Party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, who denounced the BBC for offering "platitudes" to terrorists in its coverage of the Middle East and accused broadcasters of using "euphemisms such as 'radical' and 'militant'" to describe Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The BBC loftily and disingenuously denied the claims, insisting that it reported events in the Middle East "neutrally and impartially" [14].

Even more pernicious, however, is the appearance that the BBC itself has become part of the story and is playing a role in the conflict. Once again the press secretary at the Israeli Embassy in London, D.J. Schneeweiss, was moved to formally complain when he perceived the BBC to be "deliberately downplaying Palestinian celebrations" in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks." [15] Noting reports that the Palestinian Authority had threatened the life of an Associated Press photographer if images of Palestinian festivities were broadcast, he asserted that BBC reporters in Israel appear to have either "succumbed to similar intimidation" or to have unilaterally decided to "limit the damage to the Palestinian image abroad."

Schneeweiss asserted that the BBC's Jerusalem correspondent, Orla Guerin, "went to great lengths to put the pictures 'in context', and insisted that the celebratory pictures did not reflect the sentiments of the majority of Palestinians. This effort to guide viewers to a conclusion distinct from the pictures broadcast was repeated almost verbatim later on BBC News 24 by your correspondent Barbara Plett," he wrote.

"My question is whether these blatant and apparently co-ordinated attempts to guide the British audience away from making its own judgements about the pictures on their screens did not derive from the BBC's correspondents bowing to Palestinian pressure. If this is not the case, then it would appear that we have an equally grave situation in which the BBC's correspondents willfully and of their own accord see themselves as champions of the Palestinian cause, mobilising at a time of a [Palestinian public relations] crisis to limit the damage to the Palestinian image abroad."

A more crass example of the BBC's intrusive involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was provided by the Sunday Telegraph's former Middle East correspondent Tom Gross, who reported that "Fayad Abu Shamala, the BBC's Gaza correspondent for the past ten years, told a Hamas rally on May 6 [2001] that 'journalists and media organizations [are] waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people'... The best the BBC could do, in response to Israel's requests that they distance themselves from these remarks," wrote Gross, "was to issue a statement saying: 'Fayad's remarks were made in a private capacity. His reports have always matched the best standards of balance required by the BBC'." [16]

For eight months after Sept. 11, I refused scores of requests to appear on the BBC, and I kept my counsel. But private reluctance to treat with the BBC turned to public protest in May 2002 when I received a call from a researcher on the BBC's Radio Five Live Nicky Campbell programme inviting me to participate in a debate the following morning. The question to be debated, she told me sweetly, was whether Israel was "a morally repugnant society". By the end of the month I had ended my personal protest with a "J'accuse" published in the Spectator. [17]

The reason I refused and continue to refuse to appear on BBC news and current affairs programmes is not that I wish to avoid a debate, but rather that I believe the BBC has crossed a dangerous threshold. The volume, intensity and stridency of the unchallenged diatribe have transcended mere criticism of Israel. Hatred is in the air, and I am no longer prepared to play this game (even if, as one BBC researcher assured me, my interview fee far exceeded that of my Arab colleagues an outrageous piece of racism that I, as an exile from apartheid South Africa, found repugnant).

On a professional level, I have a problem with the BBC's propensity to select, spin, manipulate and massage the news in order to reduce a highly complex conflict to a monochromatic, comic cut-out, whose well-worn script features the brutal, baby-eating Ariel Sharon and the plucky, bumbling, misunderstood Yasser Arafat, benign Father of Palestine in need of a little TLC (plus $50 million a month) from Europe.

But it was not just over the lamentable professional standards of journalism that I chose to part company with the BBC: its advocacy, by commission or omission, of the most extreme and most hysterical Palestinian conspiracy theories and calumnies had become intolerable. It is an advocacy that has, since September 11, transmogrified into a distorting hatred of a "criminal Israel" and contempt for Jews who support it.

It is astonishing that little more than half a century after the Holocaust, the BBC should provide the fertile seedbed for the return of "respectable" anti-Semitism which now finds expression not only in the smart salons of London but across the entire political spectrum. Equally astonishing, though no longer so surprising, is that the Oxford University poet Tom Paulin continues to be an honoured guest on the BBC's culture corner, "Late Review", even after he pierced the fragile anti-Israel/anti-Semitic membrane telling the Egyptian daily al-Ahram that Jewish settlers "should be shot dead. I think they are Nazis, racists. I feel nothing but hatred for them." [18] One can only guess at the BBC's reaction if his sentiments had been directed at Bradford Asians rather than at Israeli Jews.

I am prepared to debate the issues at any time. But I am not prepared to defend Israel's legitimacy and its right to exist, as Nicky Campbell's researcher suggested I do, just as I am not prepared to defend to the BBC or anyone else my own right to exist as a Jew and an Israeli. Such a proposition carries chilling echoes of a blood-rich Jewish history in Europe.

Israeli essayist Hillel Halkin, whose critique on anti-Semitism specifically includes the BBC, noted that, "Jewish leaders and friendly Jewish intellectuals have until now hesitated to raise the charge of anti-Semitism against persistently unfair criticism of Israel. They have not wanted to appear alarmist or whining. They have feared muddying the waters by stirring up an issue that seemed quiescent... They have questioned the idea that anti-Semitism is a 'cultural reservoir so powerful that it cannot be emptied [but] lies there irreversibly, latent at best, like a reservoir not of water but of gasoline waiting to burst into flame'. They I have been wrong. Israel is only the match. Fighting the flames means knowing where they come from. [19]

(Douglas Davis is the London Correspondent of the Jerusalem Post.)


1. "BBC upholds Board's poetry complaint". Press release of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. 4 October 2002

2. Letter to Greg Dyke, Director-General of the BBC, from D.J. Scheeweiss, 5 October 2000

3. "The BBC and the Middle East: A critical study", by Trevor Asserson and Elisheva Mironi, March 2002

4. "Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend", by Martin Luther King Jr. Saturday Review_XLVII. August 1967

5. "To be against Israel is to be against the Jews", by Hillel Halkin, Wall Street Journal, 5 February 2002

6. "A taste for Israel bashing", by Douglas Davis, The Jerusalem Post, 26 April 2002

7. "New Prejudices for Old: The Euro press and the Intifada", by Tom Gross, National Review, 1 November 2001

8. "The Accused", Panorama documentary presented by Fergal Keane, BBC-1 Television, 17 June 2001

9. "Moses", documentary presented by Jeremy Bowen, BBC-1 Television, 1 December 2002 (8 pm).

10. "Peter Hain: A man of conviction", by Douglas Davis, The Jerusalem Post, 6 August 1999.

11. "British Polite Society Has Found a Not-So-New Target", by Melanie Phillips. The Wall Street Journal (Europe), 15 December 2001

12. "Spreading the greater lie about Israel", by Andrew Sullivan, Sunday Times (London). 23 December 2001

13. "Assad describes Damascus terror HQs as 'press centers'", by Douglas Davis, The Jerusalem Post, 17 December 2002

14. "Tory leader attacks BBC coverage of Middle East", by Ben Russell, Independent, 10 December 2002

15. "Embassy in London blasts BBC reporting", by Douglas Davis, The Jerusalem Post, 20 September 2001

16. "New Prejudices for Old: The Euro press and the Intifada", by Tom Gross, National Review, 1 November 2001

17. "Why I won't talk to the BBC", by Douglas Davis, Spectator, 25 May 2002

18. "Oxford poet 'wants US Jews shot'", by Neil Tweedie, Daily Telegraph, 13 April 2002

19. "To be against Israel is to be against the Jews", by Hillel Halkin, Wall Street Journal, 5 February 2002


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.