BBC Shame 80

BBC journalism hit a new low today. The BBC News channel devoted only a single sentence to Palestine’s diplomatic coup in gaining full membership of Unesco. It used that single sentence once at 18.23 and once during the following hour. And this is that single sentence:

“Israel says that Unesco’s decision to admit Palestine to full membership will damage the prospects for peace in the Middle East.”

No other view was given, We did not hear what Palestine says, or what Unesco says, or what any of the huge majority of 107 countries which voted for Palestine say. The only view we were given was the Israeli view, and there was no questioning or discussion of that view.

“Israel says” – what an astonishing opening two words to a report on a great day for Palestinian diplomacy. Everyone connected with BBC News should be utterly ashamed. Why don’t we just save the license fee and let Netanyahu’s office broadcast the news instead?

The vote incidentally was 107 to 14. It was a humiliating defeat for US diplomacy. Latvia, Tuvalu and Uzbekistan are among the states which did not follow the US lead against Palestine but which always have done in the past. The USA was also unable to coerce a single African state – I am proud of Africa, and Ghana in particluar.

Here is the list of the pathetic 14, the overwhelmingly defeated states which tried to block Palestine and which either have extreme neo-con governments or are completely susceptible to US aid blackmail – you can decide which are which:

Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu.

80 thoughts on “BBC Shame

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  • Larry Levin

    I remember watching one question time where the discussion was about terrorism and a wise audience member pointed out that Israel was established using terrorism. Governments don’t like terrorism because they want to keep it a monopoly for themselves.

  • Larry Levin

    We should organise a petition to have bbc disbanded, just leave radio 2,3,4,5L and world service alone,

    Why dont we all complain , write to the BBC, ask our MP to table some questions.

  • Iain Orr

    It’s worth remembering that UNESCO has form in its readiness to embrace controversy.
    The Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1981 (proposed by Jordan). On the WH List it is entered under Jerusalem rather than Israel or Jordan – the text is at

    The arguments over the site’s inscription – and being put on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1982 – involve the complexities of the convention’s wording and of UNESCO’s politics. In the case of Palestine becoming a member of UNESCO the UK decision to abstain rather than vote against may have been influenced by its own ( and the USA’s) fractured relationship with the organization. Coalition politics may also have come into it.

  • Komodo

    Agree with Glenn. The BBC is a house divided against itself, I think. It has always had a high proportion of Jewish staff; (in my grandfather’s day, as now) and alignment with Israel is almost inevitable. It is also forced to compete on uneven terms with the likes of Sky for any audience going, including the lowest common denominator. Radio Four did supply some details of the UNESCO vote, but with little commentary. The best bet with the BBC is to follow up any items of interest elsewhere, I find.

  • Parky

    Russia Today RT on satellite and freeview is worth a look for an alternative to the BBC/Sky rubbish. They at least have honest discussions with experts in their fields and don’t just interview their own reporters or establishment politicians with pre-arranged questions and answers. Can PressTV be banned by Ofcom? Surely Ofcom can’t control Astra who are based in Luxembourg, own the satellite and can do business with who they like.

  • mary

    Not Palestine but how they carried the message for war on Libya.
    Posted by the Medialens editors, David Cromwell and David Edwards.
    War in Libya – BBC News: Gallery of Rogues
    Posted by The Editors on November 1, 2011, 9:35 am

    BBC correspondents and news presenters:
    The same is happening for war on Syria as you will have heard and seen.

  • ingo

    Soo ashamed of the German vote against, thats the CDU for you.

    My second thoughts, interupted by extreme overhead flights of the RAF, on some positive moves possible in the ME.
    I have reposted it here as it does offer a great chance for us to get involved.

    It is now, that one should pressurise the Friends of Israel to make good for their dastardly deeds and their secret plans for war. Last nights Newsnight attendance of Mr. Moulton vouches for Liam Fox’s incincerity, Mr. Werrity is obviously some broker of information, Mossad or not, so why don’t the Friends of Israel join in with those influentual jews who are calling for the release of Marwan and try and make good their grave mistakes?

    Such a move would be akin to a jolt, a politcal earthquake, change would be guaranteed. Barghouti would ‘really’ re-unite the two factions and Jews, once again, could share their neighbourhood with Palestinians, once again could their children play and go to school together.

    Israel, by its own policies, has for decades imported their diaspora, although they failed to entice Irans jews with $10.000/head. In refusing the shekel they made a point for their rights, enshrined in the Iranian Constitution, a vital part of their society Israel can’t provide.

    Israel must realise that it is as multicultural as the rest of us and that it will have to accomodate all that live in Palestine, fair and equal.
    Whatever Israel is planning in future, they will be better served with Marwan Barghouti being a free man. He respects his people like they respect him and the day of his release would mean an end to Hamas hardline policies. That said, he will have some dangerous month ahead of him and I can think of many reasons why settlers/Hamas would like to get rid of him, he is a uniter.

    Israel has historically calmed those behind its back before it went to war, so it is very likely that they want to release Marwan. This does not mean that he’ll agree to do their calming, but it would throw a buoy into rough seas, for others to cling on.

    Further, for the first time in seven years, according to Sharon’s hardline deputy Dov Weinglass, who attacked Bibi for his pathetic record of doing nothing, there would be a chance to please their great big sponsor in the sky, the US, who is exasperated into following up one stupid veto in the UN Sec. with another withdrawl of Unesco cash.

    For decades now the US has paddled against the stream of many UN decisions, for its allegiance to Israel, despite hardline policies and its ignorance of UN resolutions, two naughty boys thumbing it at the whole class. Thuis is changing, they are being told off, on their way to the corner.

    If Mr. Murphy wants to make a mark within his own Labour party, or just as shadow defense minister, then he can give a telling sign to Israel, that he wants to see a more peacefull relation between all that live there.
    If Mr. Murphy has any balls and/or peacefull policy ideas, then he speaks up for Marwans release NOW!

    This goes for any other FoIsrael who has yet not grasp the idea that it takes two to Tango and that its not good to refuse negotiations.

    Thanks Ian for clarifying UNESCO’s attitudes of the past, maybe the Russian Federation would like to pick up the US tab. Off course, this would mean less influence for uncle Sam and grind somehow, but such pettyfoggery needs addressing.

    Mary, you are right, the same blueprint and the same denial of involvement by NATO, at first.

  • mary

    Excerpts from Glenn Greenwald’s new book,
    With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful
    ‘The members of the political and media establishment do not join forces against the investigations and prosecutions because they believe that nothing bad was done. On the contrary, they resist accountability precisely because they know there was serious wrongdoing — and they know they bear part of the culpability for it. The consensus mantra that the only thing that matters is to “make sure it never happens again” is simply the standard cry of every criminal desperate for escape: I promise not to do it again if you don’t punish me this time. And the Beltway battle cry of “look to the future, not the past!” is what all political power systems tell their subjects to do when they want to flush their own crimes down the memory hole.
    In the long run, immunity from legal accountability ensures that criminality and corruption will continue. Vesting the powerful with license to break the law guarantees high-level lawbreaking; indeed, it encourages such behavior. One need only look at what’s happened in the United States over the last decade to see the proof.’

    The same here of course except I don’t think we hear any apologies, certainly not from Blair, Brown or Cameron.

  • Barry Whooshing Oboombang

    Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya all voted for Palestine.

    Order more bombs!

  • glenn

    Radio-4’s most-important-story-in-the-world? The cricket scandal, of course. This led the 12:00 news, playing for the first 1’20” of the under three minute bulletin. It began with a breathless, “Just in the last few minutes, news has come in…” What’s the betting on the main story for the World at One?
    It seems whenever there’s anything the BBC would rather not report, out come the cricket correspondents. Full details, background, comments from various (usually foreign) players/ managers, and then over to the sports correspondent to pad it out further. Unbelievable.

  • Komodo

    “It seems whenever there’s anything the BBC would rather not report, out come the cricket correspondents.”

    Or Robert Peston. He’s good for a quarter of an hour of drivel at the drop of a cheque.

  • Tom Welsh

    “The USA was also unable to coerce a single African state – I am proud of Africa, and Ghana in [particular].”

    Maybe the first chickens are coming home to roost after Africans saw what the USA and NATO did to Libya.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Uzbekistan voted ‘yes’. Karimov is probably trying to balance his weight on both chairs (US vs China-Russia). And also learning from previous mistakes not to keep all eggs in one basket. Or probably US/Israel did not bother to pay Karimov few million quid so he decided to vote ‘yes’.

  • ingo

    Glenn, the cricket scandal of last year has also made number one on the 1 o’clock news, second item, George catnip Osborne desperate to make last three month figures of 0.5% sound grand and important, good news.

    Radio 4 and the BBC at large should pick up the debate and let it grow, not bury it amongst wannabe news. Managing consent at its most obvious.

    Tom, I agree with you, Africa has spine and I hope it stays that way.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    It’s a familiar pattern, actually. Overwhelmingly, the first report they hear or read is the one people will remember. Often one will find more complex reportage in later bulletins; this may be partly because the team has had time to write something up and partly for the reason outlined above. The BBC will argue – and I have spoken to BBC producers who do argue this – that they get lots of letters, etc. complaining about the BBC’s alleged ‘pro-Palestinian bias’, and they use this to argue that coverage must be reasonably balanced. They ignore the fact that the Zionist lobby has massive, organised groups of letter/e-mail, etc. writers who are primed to flood the BBC with letters, ‘hone-calls, e-mails, etc. whenever an aggressively pro-Israel message is not adhered to. So, far from being a sign of the BBC’s impartiality, it’s actually simply a manifestation of the way in which the BBC is lobbied by a group with a particular agenda to adhere to a specific bias while allowing it conveniently to beleive/argue its neutrality in the matter.

  • Mike Wine

    The US bullied a number of countries to abstain? OK.

    Now for the other side’s POV. The Arab states bullied how many countries exactly?

  • angrysoba

    Here’s who voted for, including Uzbekistan:
    Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Sant Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe
    I can’t find out which way Taiwan voted.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Lets all stop paying TV Licence fee. Why should we if we do not get impartial news anyway? Do we just pay so that their CEOs can hire personal limos and have their travel expenses paid? Let them advertise and let us spend our 130 quid onto something that benefit us more.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Mike, the USA are withdrawing funding for UNESCO because of this decision, because they do no like the democratic decision reached by UNESCO. “The Arab countries” – for all their many faults, they are not a monolithic as your turn of phrase might be taken to suggest – did not threaten to withdraw funding if the decision went again them. And what evidence do you have that “the Arab countries” “bullied” countries? They bullied the People’s Republic of China??? Russia??? India??? Brazil??? Come on, Mike, you can do better than that!

  • Larry Levin

    Its easy to avoid paying the licence fee, just send a letter to tv licensing saying you are removing he implied right of access to your property to tv licensing and any of its agents. Never speak to them at the door, the offence is “watching a tv without a licence” how do they know who is watching, only by you incriminating yourself can they know you have broken the law.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Larry Levin,
    If only it was as easy as you say. If you owe a taxman 100 quid he will come for you and take you to the court and make you pay much more than you owe him. If you owe a taxman 100 million quid he will be powerless to do anything to you because you spend 1 million quid for lawyers and they will make sure that there is a loophole in the law that allows you to a taxman. Is not it fascinating?

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Arab countries certainly have no guts to bully countries like China, Russia, India etc. But they have influence over other smaller nations (they can at least bribe them) BUT they did not need to bully anyone because Israel has enough enemies around the world and not at least for their close alignment with the US and its foreign policy.
    And for what it takes Arabs as Suhayl pointed out are not united. There are over 200 million Arabs who speak the same language, have common ethnic roots, common history, common culture, common religion BUT divided over dozens of countries and partially thanks to colonialism.

  • Komodo

    R4 at 1800 –
    18 minutes of some irregularity involving cricket (lead) and the painful death of the Euro (second feature, with added Peston) Then a quick mention of St.Paul’s, and a descent into stuff we already knew. Oh, and G4S has decided not to buy a cleaning firm. Who? What? Did anything happen anywhere today?

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