BBC replaces its hostile online picture depicting Israel (& UN cancels Barenboim concert)

July 26, 2012

An Egyptian TV star hits a woman he thinks is an Israeli


* Iran tells UN security council: Israel killed its own citizens in Bulgaria last week

* UN cancels Daniel Barenboim-led Jerusalem concert because both Israeli and Palestinian musicians were going to participate

* Pop star Morrissey supposedly “courts controversy” by waving an Israeli flag in Israel

* Egyptian TV light entertainment show: “[Israelis] are all liars. They keep whining all the time about the Holocaust, or whatever it’s called. These people sawed off [the head] of John the Baptist. They are the slayers of the prophets. What else can we say about them? Allah did not curse the worm and moth as much as he cursed the Jews.”

* The European view of Barack Obama (video below)

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1. East Jerusalem concert cancelled by UN after Palestinian claims of “normalization”
2. Pop star Morrissey “courts controversy” by waving an Israeli flag in Israel
3. BBC replaces hostile picture depicting Israel
4. Video: Egyptian TV audience applauds violent anti-Semitism
5. Iran says Israel killed its own citizens in Bulgaria
6. Ehud Barak: A nuclear Iran is far more dangerous than a preemptive Israeli strike
7. Morsi meets Hamas
8. Turkish PM meets Meshaal in surprise visit
9. Revolutionary Israeli stem cell research breakthrough
10. Video: President Obama, as seen on Danish TV

[All notes below by Tom Gross]


The UN Middle East envoy announced yesterday that a joint Israeli-Palestinian concert planned to take place in eastern Jerusalem next week would be canceled, after the Palestinian Authority claimed this would represent an act of “normalization” with Israeli Jews.

The West-East Divan Orchestra, co-founded by late Palestinian academic and anti-Israel activist Edward Said and by Israeli maestro Daniel Barenboim, was to be held on July 31 concert on the Mount of Olives.

The UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry announced yesterday that the planned concert, would no longer take place. Serry’s office issued a statement saying: “Noting the objections of some groups it was decided – with regret – not to proceed with present plans for the concert”.

“Mr. Serry is disappointed that the concert will not go ahead at this stage and that Palestinians in east Jerusalem will not have the opportunity to enjoy such a unique cultural offering in their city,” the statement said.

With the UN succumbing to such prejudicial Palestinian demands, what hope is there for peace?



The real question, readers might ask, is why The Huffington Post (British edition) and others in reporting the fact that Morrissey – the former star of The Smiths – waved an Israeli flag at his concert in Tel Aviv earlier this week, described it as to “court controversy”?

Here is a video of Morrissey waving the Israeli flag in Israel:

Among recent related dispatches, please see:

* Video: Guns N’ Roses play Hatikva in Tel Aviv



Following sustained criticism by myself and others of the BBC’s constant denigration of Israel, the BBC yesterday finally changed the photograph representing Israel on its list of “country profiles page” on its website, to be in more in line with other countries.

The BBC replaced its photo of a very aggressive-looking member of the Israeli border police shouting at a Palestinian with a picture of Tel Aviv’s famed Bauhaus architecture.

Despite the fact that all these countries have been engaged in bloody crackdowns and appalling human rights abuses, the BBC has for a long time been using a picture of smiling children for its Syria country page, a mosque to represent Egypt on its country page, a storekeeper to represent Libya, and a race track to represent Bahrain. Only Israel was subjected to different treatment by the BBC.

Last week there was much criticism of the BBC after it listed the capital of every country in the world on its “BBC London Olympics 2012” webpage except one – Israel.

However, the BBC listed the capital of the non-existent state of Palestine on its website as east Jerusalem.

The BBC has now amended these prejudicial distortions on its Olympics website.

The anti-Israel bias is so engrained throughout the staff and culture of BBC News, the world’s biggest broadcasting network, that (as I noted in a dispatch last week) a BBC news anchor referred to last week’s deadly suicide bombing of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria as an “awful accident”. The New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune also wrote the day after the Bulgaria terror attack that it may have been an accident.

By contrast, they didn’t say that the shooting in a Colorado cinema of 12 people the following day “may have been an accident”.


Please also see the dispatch from earlier this year:

* “London 2012 Olympics official website: Jerusalem Capital of ‘Palestine,’ not Israel”

And among my past articles on the BBC, please see:

* Living in a Bubble: The BBC’s very own Mideast foreign policy


In an editorial today, The Jerusalem Post says that in recent days “The BBC has managed to flabbergast even those Israelis who hadn’t expected minimal fairness from it.” The paper adds “that while the BBC’s palpable anti-Israel predispositions, outright inaccuracies, mind-boggling omissions and other such shenanigans may damage Israel, they undermine the BBC’s own integrity.” The paper concludes: “For its own good, [the BBC] ought to desist from so flagrantly exposing its bias.”



After Egyptian celebrity actors were (for a joke) fooled into thinking they were on an Israeli television show (rather than a German one they had been told they would be on), they flew into a rage and assaulted presenters.

The program, broadcast on Egypt’s Al-Nahar channel, was meant to be a “Candid camera” style comedy.

One of the Egypt actors, Ayman Kandeel “Tuhami,” after being led to believe he was speaking to Israelis, struck a female presenter across the face, sending her flying to the ground.

One of the guests on Egyptian TV makes his feelings known

Another guest, actress Mayer El Beblawi, launched into an anti-Semitic diatribe. “[Israelis] are all liars,” she said. “They keep whining all the time about the Holocaust, or whatever it’s called. These people sawed off [the head] of John the Baptist. They are the slayers of the prophets. What else can we say about them? Allah did not curse the worm and moth as much as he cursed the Jews.”

Another Egyptian on the show, Mahmoud Abdel Ghaffar, after being told he was on Israeli TV, grabbed a presenter’s head and shook it violently, before kneeing him in the head.

The show was recorded by the non-profit group, The Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), whose senior staff subscribe to this email list. Memri’s recording can be viewed below. The clip is 10 minutes long for those without time to watch it.



Iran’s UN envoy has accused Israel of plotting and carrying out the suicide bomb attack on a bus in Bulgaria a week ago in which five Israeli tourists were killed and over 30 were injured, some very seriously.

During yesterday’s UN Security Council debate, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, accused Israel of committing last week’s suicide attack.

Referring to Israel, he said: “Such a terrorist operation could only be planned and carried out by the same regime whose short history is full of state terrorism operations and assassinations.” He continued: “I could provide many examples showing that this regime killed its own citizens and innocent Jewish people during the last couple of decades.”

Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Haim Waxman, responded: “These comments are appalling, but not surprising from the same government that says the 9/11 attack was a conspiracy theory and denies the Holocaust. As I said today in the Security Council, Iranian leaders don’t just spread hate with words. They advance it with actions. Iran’s fingerprints are all over last week’s horrific attack in Bulgaria – and in dozens of other terrorist plots in recent months that span five continents and at least 24 countries. The time has come for the world to put an end to this campaign of terror, once and for all”.


Tom Gross adds: In recent months, Israelis have been targeted in terrorist attacks and attempted terrorist attacks in India, Azerbaijan, Thailand, Kenya, Turkey, Cyprus and South Africa, among other places. In most cases Iranian or Lebanese Shia operatives have been arrested by the local police for these attacks. Cyprus continues to hold a member of Hizbullah with a Swedish passport, who is accused of attempting to carry out a terror attack against Israeli tourists in Cyprus earlier this month.

Hizbullah and Iran also continue provide weapons, ammunition, training, intelligence, and logistical equipment to the Assad regime.

Last week, Hizbullah’s leader gave a speech in Lebanon praising the Assad regime, calling it “a real military partner.”


For more on the attack on Israelis in Bulgaria, please see:
* Her final call: “I just found out I’m pregnant at last”



Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak declared again yesterday that the cost of any hostilities resulting from preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is not nearly as great as the cost for Israel, and for the West, of living with a future Iran in possession of nuclear weapons.

Barak suggested that any attack on Iran’s nuclear sites would only come if sanctions fail to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program.

Barak added that the conclusions Israelis had drawn from the Arab Spring, in particular from what the population of Syria is suffering at the hands of its Iranian-armed and -supported regime, reinforce the belief by Israelis that the international community cannot be relied upon to come to its assistance if attacked.

Barak reiterated that Israel’s red-line – the point at which Iranian nuclear facilities are so well-entrenched that an assault could not work – is not far off.



Hamas’s Gaza-based Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh yesterday became the third Palestinian leader to meet Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, in Cairo this month.

Morsi has already met Hamas’s overall head Khalid Meshaal, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Egypt’s former president, Hosni Mubarak, had refused to meet the leaders of Hamas, saying he would not meet with terrorists.

Despite having elected an Islamist president, Egypt continues to receive $1.3 billion in aid from the American tax-payer.



Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal made a surprise visit to Ankara on Tuesday, meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner during which the pair discussed the deadlocked reconciliation process between the Palestinian Hamas and Fatah factions.

The visit, which had not been listed on Erdogan’s official schedule, followed Meshaal’s talks in Cairo with Egyptian President Morsi on July 19. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, National Intelligence Organization chief Hakan Fidan and Erdogan’s top foreign policy adviser, Ibrahim Kalm, all attended the lengthy dinner, which lasted for five hours, according to Turkish media reports.

In January, Gaza’s Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, visited Erdogan at his Istanbul home.



This is the latest in a long line of Israeli medical breakthroughs that the supporters of Peter Beinart and the like, add to their boycott list.



[All notes above by Tom Gross]

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