An Eye for an Eye and the Whole World will be Blind. (1st written on 01/07/14 – revised text, letter and news updates)
BBC – British Establishment-Serving Media in the eyes of many, me included – loves to tell us how balanced and meticulous it is. But for those willing to seek out facts and statistics - not made readily available on BBC - the favourable bias afforded to the Israeli government and military is astounding and sickening.
The recent killings of three Israeli children that no one with a TV or radio could have missed are horrific, whoever is proven to be responsible. In any sane and fair news provider they should prompt an honest and balanced look at the history of killings on both sides, the causes, and a concerted effort to highlight any paths available to bring lasting peace.
Instead the BBC stands once again firmly on the side of Israeli militarism, which is promising (UPDATED now in fact carrying out with over 80 Palestinians already killed 10/07/14; 214 on 17/07/14, over 500 Palestinians killed and 15 Israelis on 21/07/14, over 1900 Palestinians killed and 67 Israelis on 9/8/14) bloody collective retribution.
The BBC has carefully failed to highlight the herd of elephants in the newsroom: over 1,500 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli attacks since 2000, 1 Palestinian child killed every 3 days, yet Israel with BBC support still places itself in the role of the unique victim in BBC and mainstream reporting! http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/6185-one-palestinian-child-has-been-killed-by-israel-every-3-days-for-the-past-13-years
22 children's lives, of 81 civilians' lives, have so far been obliterated in the Israeli bomb and missile collective death sentence unleashed on the desperately poor and densely populated Gaza strip starting on 09/07/14. Yet for most of this time this hasn't reached the 'Main Stories' - at one point below football news - just Palestinians being killed relegating it to 'Other stories'.
NEVER have any of the 1,500 Palestinian children killed since 2000 - OR THE WHOLE NUMBER OF THEM TOGETHER - ever made headlines and received such extended in-depth personalised coverage as these 3 Israeli children have. The unique schedule-bending for the 3 Israeli killings has truly been like the special treatment reserved for British royals marrying or being buried. E.g.: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28112696 No bombed-to-pieces Palestinian children have been deemed worthy of such honours.
If they had, if every one of those 1,500 and fast rising murdered Palestinian children had appeared on our screens with personal photos and emotional family members, friends and political representatives the way these 3 special Israeli children have, PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF THE WHOLE PALESTINE-ISRAEL SITUATION WOULD HAVE CHANGED COMPLETELY and demands for a truly fair negotiated solution and the end of the siege of Gaza, would have replaced the misleading influence of the current one-sided hawkish Israel-leaning BBC narrative.
Even Palestinian children ACTUALLY FILMED BEING SHOT DEAD BY ISRAELI BORDER GUARDS recently (see links below) by a nearby shop's CCTV camera merited only a very quiet and doubtful half-nod from the corporation, causing a miniscule quickly forgotten ripple in its output (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27488135). Certainly nothing compared to the major news event on TV, radio and web the 3 abductions-killings-funerals - with no such video evidence - have merited. This is misinformation on an epic scale!
And the unreported-on-by-BBC Israeli response to video evidence of their soldiers shooting unarmed children? - Dismantle the camera! http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/israel-orders-dismantling-camera-captured-murder-palestinian-boys
What's more, the BBC is in no way criticising the collective mass death sentence promised by Israel (now being enacted) to inflict on Palestinians once again, but rather describes all Israeli attacks and future planned attacks as ‘defensive’ and 'responses', and gives far more air-time and a much freer reign to Israeli representatives to justify their actions. (e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28102253)
As witnessed previously: operation ‘Cast Lead’ (Dec 2008-Jan 2009) involved a massive air and land assault by Israel's cutting edge, and the world's 4th largest military, on Gaza – one of the world's most densely populated and most impoverished zones on earth, kept under an illegal and sadistic siege by Israel. (http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/11/22/israels-siege-of-gaza-is-sadistic-and-illegal-yet-us-support-continues/).
So densely populated that any missile or bomb is almost certain to kill civilians – and with no hi tech defence systems or even air-raid shelters to find safety The 3-week attack, including the illegal use of White Phosphorous which keeps burning through the skin to the bone, as witnessed by Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/video/2009/03/25/rain-fire-white-phosphorus-gaza), resulted in an estimated 1,417 Palestinians killed and 14 Israelis killed. A difference, unsurprising when the true picture is seen by looking outside the BBC, of over 100 to 1.
In November 2012 another Israeli military assault named "Pillar of 'Defence'" (the Israeli government is good at using the words ‘defence’ and ‘protection’) killed 102 civilians, including 30 children; 4 Israeli civilians were killed.
Did these gigantic differences in casualties and in weaponry register clearly in BBC coverage? On the contrary! Then as now the clearly closely Israeli-linked BBC marked out Palestinians as aggressors and Israelis as acting purely in 'self-defence' and 'in response', despite the huge and obvious differences in military might and the numbers killed.
This so-called 'public-service' broadcaster which continues to wave through almost unquestioned the dismantling and passing to private wealthy hands of great swathes of the UK's public services, in favour of focussing on UKIP, has been pinpointed for pro-Israeli bias for many many years (it even recently had to admit using a staunch pro-Israeli as a 'neutral' pundit - http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/blog/item/5620-bbc-finally-admits-bias-over-pro-israel-commentator).
As licence-payers we expect as a bare minimum that the numbers killed (children, civilians generally and fighters) be reported accurately in a balanced manner to avoid one-sided misinformation. The BBC has undoubtedly been highly deceitful and misleading in this.
In failing to afford the over 1,500 Palestinian children confirmed killed by the Israeli military since 2000 anywhere near as much attention as the 3 Israeli children killed by so far unknown assailants, the BBC breaks every journalistic guideline ever written, unless we’re talking the likes of Goebbels’ ‘big lie’.
They are guilty of grossly misinforming the British public and also the wider world where BBC News is consumed widely, and have made a complete nonsense of their own proudly flaunted ‘how good we are’ list of documents. (“Impartiality lies at the heart of public service and is the core of the BBC's commitment to its audiences.” – from its ‘Editorial Guidelines’ that have clearly been shredded.)
As well as misinforming an estimated 250 million people regarding the numbers killed, given the long bloody and unresolved conflict in Palestine-Israel, the BBC's consistent condoning and justification of Israel's use of collective punishment on the Palestinian people is nothing short of a war crime. By repeatedly opting to paint Israel as an ‘innocent peace-loving victim simply defending itself’ – both in what the corporation presents to the public, allows Israeli representatives to present unchallenged, and what it hides from us – the BBC is complicit in paving the way for more bloodshed.
If, alternatively, it questioned and strongly challenged the Israeli government position, pointing out that it holds the record for breaking 100s of UN resolutions by, in brief, illegally occupying and expanding into Palestine and enforcing a medieval siege on 1.657m people in Gaza – this would surely NOT give the Israeli government the green flag to carry on as the BBC currently does so repellently.
Finally, in its complete failure to highlight all the possible paths to peace, it is choosing to be at least a tacit advocate for ongoing war and killing. The BBC has made a conscious decision not to raise the fact that citizens of all countries in the world, Palestine and Israel included, want a lasting peace, and that because of that politicians need to work all the hours in the day and night if necessary to achieve it.
Rather than mildly, sometimes apparently keenly, accepting war as most people accept a rainy day, the BBC could point out very firmly to politicians and the public that it is incumbent on all political leaders to explore and follow through steps to peace, otherwise they will have failed in their elected roles.
SHOW PEOPLE THE REAL STATS IN THEIR TRUE CONTEXT BBC; DON'T CONDONE ANOTHER COLLECTIVE DEATH SENTENCE; SHINE A LIGHT ON PATHS TO PEACE INCUMBENT OF POLITICIANS!
Peace and mutual respect will come when rather than a pro-hate one-sided blame narrative, the truth is allowed to shine.
DRAFT PROPOSAL FOR DEMANDS TO BBC:
1)GUARANTEE TO HIGHLIGHT OVER 1.5K PALESTINIAN CHILDREN KILLED SINCE 2000, AND CLOSE TO 200 PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS IN CURRENT MASSACRE, WITH EQUIVALENCE TO THE 'STATE FUNERAL' TYPE BROADCAST AWARDED TO THE 3 ISRAELI CHILDREN RECENTLY, AND GUARANTEE TO ALWAYS IN FUTURE GIVE ACCOUNTABLY MEASURED FAIRLY REPRESENTATIVE TIME TO THOSE KILLED ON EACH SIDE.
2) GUARANTEE TO STOP REPEATEDLY JUSTIFYING ISRAELI ATTACKS (using 'in response' / 'in defence') WHILE CONSISTENTLY BLAMING PALESTIAN ONES ('started the current violence').
3) GUARANTEE TO HIGHLIGHT DETAILS OF WORLD'S 4TH ARMY COMOARED TO THE PALESTINIAN REGUGEE MILITANTS, AND NOT TO PAINT THIS AS A 'WAR' WITH TWO RELATIVELY EQUAL ADVERSARIES.
4) GUARANTEE MEASURABLY EQUAL TIME FOR PALESTINIAN REPS AND ISRAELI.
5) GUARANTEE TO HIGHLIGHT THE CORE ISSUE OF ILLEGAL OCCUPATION, COLONISATION AND STARVATION RATION SIEGE AS THE BASIC OBVIOUS REASON FOR TENSION, AND THE RESOLUTION OF THIS BEING THE ONLY PATH TO PEACE, INCUMBENT ON POLITICIANS TO ACHIEVE.
6) GUARANTEE TO DETAIL PRECISELY ALL BBC LINKS AND MEETINGS WITH BICOM AND ALL OTHER ISRAELI PR/LOBBY/INTEREST GROUPS, AND INDIVIDUALS ( eg VISITS AND DISCUSSIONS WITH THE ISRAELI AMBASSADOR) WITH ACCESS TO BBC STAFF (see especially chapter 5: bit.do/BICOMREPORT )
The pro-Israeli stance of the BBC is one of the, if not the, most documented biases in the history of British media analysis, forming the basis of some of the most famous works in the field (eg 'Bad News from Israel', Philo and Berry 2004) whatever the reality of the reasons for that bias is.
However you want to take that, this petition is certainly not about religion and not even much about politics: it is about children's and adults' lives and about blatant and undeniable misinformation that perpetuates hatred, conflict and murder.
There is no arguable doubt that you - the BBC - have dedicated far far more key news airtime to the three sadly abducted and killed Israeli teenagers than to vastly higher numbers of Palestinian children killed. You have no excuse for that imbalance. It is plain inexcusable bias; a cherry-on-the-cake bias which grossly misinforms British citizens and BBC users worldwide - 250m pus - of the true figures on the bloody balance sheet in this conflict.
Over 1,500 Palestinian Children have been killed by the Israeli 'Defence' Force since 2000 but we defy you to point to anything dealing with those Palestinian children killed that comes anywhere near close to the solemn in depth emotional extended reports afforded to the three Israeli teens.
The feared/expected Israeli assault on Gaza is now in full flow. Perhaps it should be someone else reminding you other than me; it hardly registers on your news output! Could that be because all the victims - 81 at last count - are Palestinians?
A friend pointed out to me that 'Brazil's Despair' featured earlier today on your news site (following the football team's 7-1 defeat) above a less important 'Other News' mention of the 'conflict' - in reality, as Owen Jones has described it, the world's 4th army (Israeli) using air land and sea power against Gaza, which has none bar fighters with largely home-made weapons, is not a 'conflict'; it's more "like Mike Tyson punching a toddler".
We ask you to look to the future for Israel and Palestine - a saner and much happier future where children and grandchildren of today's hawkish decision makers live peacefully, together, or side by side as peaceful neighbours with Palestinians; not one oppressing the other with continual hatred and violence. What steps taken now could deliver us there?
A truthful and balanced representation of the suffering of each community will surely be essential to enable mutual understanding and compassion to develop. This means that at the moment the BBC's complete failure, due we must assume to internal partiality among senior staff or influence from outside, to provide a fair and accurate bedrock for a peaceful future is actively serving to prevent its growth, and planting in its place a hate, violence and murder -filled future for the next generations.
So we urge you to act now for the growing children and misinformed adults of both communities - and for misled citizens of the world - by reporting loudly and clearly that:
1) Over 1,500 Palestinian children have been killed since 2000; 1 every 3 days! The effect of not reporting this absolutely crucial data, worsened dramatically recently by the 'state funeral' treatment of the 3 murdered Israelis, amounts to mass misinformation. Please amend this as best you can, in an extended series of reports naming those killed and interviewing Palestinian family members, as well as acceptance of and apologies for past bias.
2) It needs to be expressed publicly in news reports that it is wholly unacceptable for collective punishment to be meted out at any time by anyone; but especially not by the Israeli army, the world's 4th largest, on one of the world's poorest and most densely populated zones, Gaza, kept under a middle age type siege by the occupying power, Israel. Bloody retribution is what happened in intensive air and land attacks on Gaza in 'Cast Lead' 2008-2009 and in November 2012. We are witnessing a very bloody repetition of that right now - not so much on the BBC of course, until an Israeli is injured or killed, one expects.
It is time to move forwards to a better future: please speak out against violent collective retribution.
3) Instead of the BBC continuing to condone further Israeli violence, steps along the route to a lasting peace need to be shown to be not only possible but emphatically incumbent on leaders to follow, or else be classed as political failures. The route forward needs to be lit up, not obscured, by the BBC, and the continuation of tit for tat violence and revenge, with the Israeli military inflicting hugely bloodier TITS AND TATS needs to be shown as neither acceptable nor inevitable. There are steps to peace available, starting with ending the key causes of grievance - primarily occupation, expansion and a starvation-ration siege on 1.6m people.
The world is waking up ever more to the lies that maintain the injustices of Israeli occupation and apartheid. The 'defence' force 'defending' Israel in operation 'X defence / protection' is a cheap big lie that the BBC will soon regret having had a key part in peddling.
It's time those with some sanity left at the BBC, if they want it to regain some public respect, wake up too. And it is time those with a wholly partial exploitative view step beyond their artificial tribal boundary and consider other humans' lives and accept these recommendations for a better future.
Shalom / Salaam