* Louise Bagshawe (British MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire): “Who is Tamar Fogel? The chances are that you will have no idea. She is a 12-year-old girl who arrived home late on Friday, March 11, to discover her family had been slaughtered. Her parents had been stabbed to death; the throat of her 11-year-old brother, Yoav, had been slit. Her four-year-old brother, Elad, whose throat had also been cut, was still alive, with a faint pulse, but medics were unable to save him. Tamar’s sister, Hadas, three months old, had also been killed. Her head had been sawn off… I found out about the barbaric attack not on BBC news, but via Twitter … As the mother of three children, one the same age as little Elad, who had lain bleeding to death, I was stunned at the BBC’s seeming lack of care. All the most heart-wrenching details were omitted. The second story, suggesting that the construction announcement was an act of antagonism following the massacre, also omitted key facts and failed to mention the subsequent celebrations in Gaza, and the statement by a Hamas spokesman that ‘five dead Israelis is not enough to punish anybody’.”
* “ Both I and another member or parliament asked about bias against Israel. Lord Patten denied any existed.” (Lord Patten is the incoming BBC chairman. When Patten was EU commissioner he was so viciously anti-Israel that in private even the French diplomats reportedly pleaded with him to tone down his comments.)
* What if a settler had entered a Palestinian home and sawn off a baby’s head? Might we have heard about it on the BBC then?
* Rich Lowry: “In the great Middle East whodunit, the verdict is in: The Jews are innocent. They aren’t responsible for the violence, extremism, backwardness, discontent or predatory government of their Arab neighbors.”
Mourners gather over five bodies of the Fogel family during their funeral in Jerusalem
1. Media seem uninterested in Scottish and American victims
2. Those Israelis and their crazy terms!
3. Elizabeth Taylor: “Trade me for Entebbe hostages”
4. “A family slaughtered in Israel – doesn’t the BBC care?” (By Louise Bagshawe, Daily Telegraph, March 24, 2011)
5. “The Threat to a British Liberty” (By Robin Shepherd, March 18, 2011)
6. Israel asks Zuckerberg to remove Facebook page encouraging terror against Israel
7. “The death of an illusion” (By Rich Lowry, New York Post, March 18, 2011)
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
MEDIA SEEM UNINTERESTED IN SCOTTISH AND AMERICAN VICTIMS
The woman murdered in the bomb attack near Jerusalem’s central bus station on Wednesday was Mary Jean Gardner, 55, from Scotland. Gardner was in Israel as a tourist. She was heading to a restaurant to meet a friend, and happened to be passing the bus on foot when the bomb exploded.
Six Americans were among over 50 people injured in the bombing, a U.S. State Department official said yesterday. In spite of this, many American and British news media seem uninterested in highlighting who the victims were.
THOSE ISRAELIS AND THEIR CRAZY TERMS!
In addition, many media refused to use the word terror, or when they did use it, newspapers such as The Times of London put it in inverted quotes.
The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, commented on the media reaction to the Jerusalem bus bomb as follows:
Those Israelis and their crazy terms! I mean, referring to a fatal bombing of civilians as a “terrorist attack”? Who are they kidding? Everyone knows that a fatal bombing of Israeli civilians should be referred to as a “teachable moment.” Or as a “venting of certain frustrations.” Or as “an understandable reaction to Jewish perfidy.” Or perhaps as “a very special episode of ‘Cheers.’” Anything but “a terrorist attack.” I suppose Reuters will mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by referring to the attacks as “an exercise in urban renewal.”
ELIZABETH TAYLOR: “TRADE ME FOR ENTEBBE HOSTAGES”
Several news reports yesterday and today have highlighted the fact that legendary American film star Elizabeth Taylor, who died two days ago, was outspoken in denouncing prejudice against homosexuals.
But the media has not, on the whole, mentioned that throughout her adult life Taylor also fiercely denounced prejudice and bias against Israel.
Among notable examples: in 1975, she co-organized a petition by prominent women against then-U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, condemning the U.N. General Assembly’s infamous Zionism-is-Racism resolution.
And in 1976, Taylor offered herself as a hostage when 104 hostages aboard an Air France plane were hijacked by PLO terrorists and held at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport.
Her strong support for Israel led Egypt to ban all her movies for many years.
I attach three articles and one letter below. The writers of these articles and the letter are all subscribers to this list, as are people mentioned in them, such as Aaron David Miller, the former American peace negotiator, Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator, and British commentator Melanie Phillips.
-- Tom Gross
“AS A MOTHER, I AM SHOCKED AT THE BBC’S SILENCE”
A family slaughtered in Israel – doesn’t the BBC care?
The corporation’s coverage of murder in Israel reflects apparent bias against the state
By Louise Bagshawe
The Daily Telegraph
March 24, 2011
Who is Tamar Fogel? The chances are that you will have no idea. She is a 12-year-old girl who arrived home late on Friday, March 11, to discover her family had been slaughtered. Her parents had been stabbed to death; the throat of her 11-year-old brother, Yoav, had been slit. Her four-year-old brother, Elad, whose throat had also been cut, was still alive, with a faint pulse, but medics were unable to save him. Tamar’s sister, Hadas, three months old, had also been killed. Her head had been sawn off.
There were two other Fogel brothers sleeping in an adjacent room. When woken by their big sister trying to get into a locked house, Roi, aged six, let her in. After Tamar discovered the bodies, her screaming alerted their neighbour who rushed in to help and described finding two-year-old Yishai desperately shaking his parents’ blood-soaked corpses, trying to wake them up.
I found out about the barbaric attack not on BBC news, but via Twitter on Monday. I followed a link there to a piece by Mark Steyn entitled “Dead Jews is no news’. Horrified, I went to the BBC website to find out more. There I discovered only two stories: one a cursory description of the incident in Itamar, a West Bank settlement, and another focusing on Israel’s decision to build more settlements, which mentioned the killings in passing.
As the mother of three children, one the same age as little Elad, who had lain bleeding to death, I was stunned at the BBC’s seeming lack of care. All the most heart-wrenching details were omitted. The second story, suggesting that the construction announcement was an act of antagonism following the massacre, also omitted key facts and failed to mention the subsequent celebrations in Gaza, and the statement by a Hamas spokesman that “five dead Israelis is not enough to punish anybody”.
There were more details elsewhere on the net: the pain and hurt, for example, of the British Jewish community at the BBC’s apparent indifference to the fate of the Fogels. The more I read, the more the BBC’s broadcast silence amazed me. What if a settler had entered a Palestinian home and sawn off a baby’s head? Might we have heard about it then? On Twitter, I attacked the UK media in general, and the BBC in particular. I considered filing a complaint.
The next morning, the BBC’s public affairs team emailed me a response that amounted to a shrug. The story “featured prominently on our website”, they said. It was important to report on the settlements to put the murder in context, they said. In reply, I asked a series of questions: for how long did the massacre feature on TV news bulletins? On radio? On BBC News 24, with all that rolling airtime? Why were the Hamas reaction and Gaza celebrations not featured? And what about the omission of all the worst details?
It was only when I tweeted about their continued indifference that the BBC replied. Then they informed me that the Fogel story had not featured on television at all. Not even News 24. It was on Radio Four in the morning, but pulled from subsequent broadcasts. The coverage of Japan and Libya, they said, drowned it out. Would I like to make a complaint?
Do you know, I think I would. The BBC has long been accused of anti-Israeli bias. It even commissioned the Balen report into bias in its Middle Eastern coverage, and then went to court to prevent its findings being publicised. As a member of the select committee on culture, media and sport, I was at the confirmation hearing of Lord Patten of Barnes as chairman of the BBC Trust. I asked him about political neutrality. In reply, he said that he would give up his membership of a Palestinian aid organisation. Both I and another member asked about bias against Israel. Lord Patten denied any existed. What would he do if shown an example of it? He would ultimately take it to the BBC Trust, he said.
The day after Lord Patten uttered those words, the Fogel children were butchered to almost complete silence from the BBC.
I have asked the corporation to let me know why, if the story was “prominent on the website”, it was not deemed of sufficient merit to broadcast on television, and barely on radio. I have asked them to explain the inaccuracies and omissions in the reporting. And I have asked them what non-Japan, non-Libya stories made it to air, in preference. Twenty-four hours later, I have yet to receive a reply.
Like many of us, I consider the BBC to be a national treasure. I am not a BBC basher; I have never before complained. I do not support nor do I condone the Israeli settlement building. But none of that matters. This is a story about three children and their parents, slain with incredible cruelty, and its effect on the peace process. As a mother, I am shocked at the silence. As a politician, I am dismayed at the apparent bias and indifference. Yes, I will be filing a complaint – about a story I never heard. I hope Daily Telegraph readers will join me.
Tom Gross adds: for more please see: As Israelis have their throats slit, can anyone explain this BBC headline?
BRITISH UNDERSTATEMENT IS A WONDERFUL THING
The Threat to a British Liberty
By Robin Shepherd
March 18, 2011
British understatement is a wonderful thing. Here is how Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator, introduced a posting on the magazine’s website (see link above) last weekend: “It’s a funny old world,” he said, “I have now been contacted by two journalists informing me that Bedfordshire Police are investigating The Spectator”. The reason? Because a group called, wait for it, “Muslims4UK” took exception to a piece by Melanie Phillips on her Spectator blog in which she referred to the Arabs who had murdered five members of a Jewish family in Itamar the week before as “savages”.
The story was reported in the media, but if you’d blinked you’d have missed it, and the slant of the reporting was that Israel was at least as much to blame for the killings – due to settlement policy – as the killers themselves. Melanie’s column was a typically robust effort to point out the moral depravity of news outlets such as the Guardian, the New York Times, CNN and the BBC who, if the situation had been reversed – if five Arabs including a three month old baby had been knifed to death in their beds in a lethal racist attack by Jewish “settlers”, for example – would have given it saturation coverage.
So not so much a “funny old world” as a “brave new world”: a prominent British columnist does what prominent British columnists are supposed to do – she attempts to shift the terms of the debate back on to a more rational and principled footing – and the net result is that the police have been called in, with the Guardian newspaper cheerleading on the sidelines, because she has offended Muslim sensitivities.
As Nelson summed it up, the train of events went like this:
“1) Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4UK, gets angry about what he reads on Melanie’s blog.
2) Complains to the PCC [The Press Complaints Commission].
3) Complains to the police.
4) Phones up The Guardian and says “The PCC are investigating The Spectator!! Story!! Police too!!
5) The Guardian duly writes it all up, on its website.
6) The Independent follows up The Guardian.
7) An inverted pyramid of piffle is thus constructed.”
It isn’t yet clear on what grounds the investigation is being conducted, but you can bet your boots that it is the following paragraph from Melanie’s piece that they are salivating over:
“So to the New York Times, it’s not the Arab massacre of a Jewish family which has jeopardised ‘peace prospects’ – because the Israelis will quite rightly never trust any agreement with such savages – but instead Israeli policy on building more homes, on land to which it is legally and morally entitled, which is responsible instead for making peace elusive. Twisted, and sick”.
An “Arab massacre”? What all of them? “such savages”? So all Arabs are “savages”? Oh, come off it. It is quite clear that she is referring to the “savages” who slaughtered a family in their beds, and it is “such savages” and those who incite them with whom peace cannot be made. It is also clear that in this instance the thrust of the argument is against the New York Times, itself being used as a proxy for the liberal left media in the West, and not the killers as such.
And it is precisely because the multi-culturalist assumptions underpinning the western liberal left media lead consistently to a downplaying or sanitisation of crimes, however appalling, committed by non-white, third-world perpetrators designated as “victims” that Melanie Phillips employs such strong language to jolt western readers out of their dogmatic slumbers. Again, that’s what columnists are supposed to do, and in any other situation this affair would have passed off without notice.
But, as Nelson makes clear, changes are afoot in modern Britain that threaten to rip apart the fabric of one of the world’s most developed free societies: “Freedom of expression is under attack in Britain, from our notorious libel laws to this new phenomenon of police forces being asked to investigate what people put on their blogs,” he said.
And as we know from cases involving Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and others across the continent, all of this is starting to look like a depressingly common feature of the new European politics. To those who value freedom, merely sitting on one’s hands is no longer an option. We all hang together, or we all hang separately, as Benjamin Franklin is said to have averred at the signing of the American Declaration of Independence.
ISRAEL ASKS ZUCKERBERG TO REMOVE FACEBOOK PAGE ENCOURAGING TERROR AGAINST ISRAEL
March 23, 2011
From: MK Yuli Yoel Edelstein
Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs
To: Mr. Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook Founder and CEO
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,
During these past few days a Facebook page entitled “Third Palestinian Intifada” has been garnering attention on the web by calling for a third intifada against the State of Israel to begin on May 15th, 2011.
On this Facebook page there are posted many remarks and movie clips which call for the killing of Israelis and Jews and the “liberating” of Jerusalem and of Palestine through acts of violence.
It is important to note that this page’s inflammatory calls are supported by over 230,000 “friends” at the time of the writing of this letter.
As Facebook’s CEO and founder you are obviously aware of the site’s great potential to rally the masses around good causes, and we are all thankful for that. However, such potential comes hand in hand with the ability to cause great harm such as in the case of the wild incitement displayed on the above-mentioned page.
I turn to you with the request that you order the immediate removal of this Facebook page. I write to you not only in my capacity as Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs who is charged with monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, but as someone who believes in the values of free speech, and knows that there is a difference between freedom of expression and incitement.
I am sure that you too hold fast to these values and would prefer that all of the pages on your site operate according to them.
MK Yuli Edelstein
Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs
IN THE GREAT MIDDLE EAST WHODUNIT, THE VERDICT IS IN: THE JEWS ARE INNOCENT
The death of an illusion
By Rich Lowry
The New York Post
March 18, 2011
In the great Middle East whodunit, the verdict is in: The Jews are innocent. They aren’t responsible for the violence, extremism, backwardness, discontent or predatory government of their Arab neighbors.
The past few months should have finally shattered the persistent illusion that the Israeli-Palestinian question determines all in the Middle East. In an essay in Foreign Policy magazine titled “The False Religion of Mideast Peace,” former diplomat Aaron David Miller recounts the conventional wisdom running back through the Cold War: “An unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict would trigger ruinous war, increase Soviet influence, weaken Arab moderates, strengthen Arab radicals, jeopardize access to Middle East oil, and generally undermine U.S. influence from Rabat to Karachi.”
Behind these assumptions has long stood a deeply simplistic understanding of the Arabs. Professional naif Jimmy Carter insists, “There is no doubt: The heart and mind of every Muslim is affected by whether or not the Israeli-Palestinian issue is dealt with fairly.” This is reductive to the point of insult. Carter thinks that Muslims have no interior lives of their own, but are all defined by a foreign-policy dispute that is unlikely to affect most of them directly in the least. He mistakes real people for participants in an endless Council on Foreign Relations seminar.
The Israeli-Palestinian issue certainly has great emotional charge, and most Arabs would prefer a world blissfully free of the Zionist entity. But the Israelis can’t be blamed – though cynical Arab governments certainly try – for unemployment and repression in Arab countries. Monumental events in recent decades – the Iranian revolution, the Iran-Iraq War and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait – were driven by internal Muslim confessional, ideological and geo-political differences. Israel has nothing to do with the Sunnis hating the Shia, or the Saudis hating the Iranians, or everyone hating Moammar Gadhafi.
Adam Garfinkle muses in his book “Jewcentricity”: “Imagine, if you can, that one day Israelis decided to pack their bags and move away, giving the country to the Palestinians with a check for sixty years’ rent. Would the Arabs suddenly stop competing among themselves, and would America and the Arab world suddenly fall in love with each other?”
Yet the pull of the illusion is so powerful that even those who don’t profess to believe in it, like George W. Bush, eventually get sucked in. Barack Obama came into office ready to deploy his charm and fulfill the millennial promise of the peace process once and for all. He couldn’t even get the Palestinians to sit down to negotiate with the Israelis, in an unintended “reset” to the situation decades ago.
According to the illusion, the region should have exploded in rage at Jewish perfidy and American ineffectualness. It exploded for altogether different reasons. We witnessed revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt without a hint of upset at the Israeli settlements or America’s continued failure as a broker of peace. We’ve seen the Arab League petition the United States – whose sole function is supposed to be monitoring Israeli housing developments and paving the way for a Palestinian state – to undertake a military operation against another (recently suspended) member of the Arab League, Libya.
It’d be easier if the key to the Middle East really were sitting around a negotiating table with a couple of bottles of Evian, poring over a map adjudicating a dispute so familiar that people have built diplomatic, academic and journalistic careers on it. The current terrain of the Middle East as it exists – not as we assume it should be – is hellishly disorienting by comparison: What to do when an ally invades another ally to knock around protesters in violation of our values? When a tin-pot dictator thumbs his nose at us and the rest of West and crushes his opponents with alacrity despite our earnest protestations? When popular uprisings threaten our allies more than our enemies?
It makes the old peace process seem alluringly comfortable and manageable. No, the illusion will never die.