The BBC Gets it Wrong, as Usual

In their report on the Crete synagogue arsonists, the BBC snuck in a tiny slap on the wrist to Israel. While rhapsodizing over the multi-culti worshippers – “Muslims, Christians, Catholics and Orthodox believers” (wait, aren’t Catholics Christians??) – at the Etz Chayyim synagogue, they stress that “many of the Jews who worship there are opposed to Israel’s settler program and frequent incursions into Gaza.”

What this has to do with arson is anyone’s guess, especially in light of the fact that in the next breath our BBC journalist claims, “according to police sources, the arson attacks have no connection to right-wing or Muslim political movements.”

So WTF, BBC?  Are we to suppose that, had all those worshipping Jews – which were no more than a dozen people at any time back in 2008 when I myself asked that question at the synagogue – been fervent supporters of Israeli settlers, they deserved to have their synagogue burned to the ground? That is the implication, after all. Otherwise, why bother mentioning it?

This is the latest in a seemingly endless campaign of British and European snobbery, which assumes hatred of Jews is somehow tied to Israel’s actions (or inactions) with regard to its neighbors. Even when this is explicitly not the case. But even if it were – anyway – somehow – they deserved it.

This is morally obtuse reportage, which insists on drawing parallels where there are none for the sake of  moralistic punditry.

8 thoughts on “The BBC Gets it Wrong, as Usual

  1. Very, very typical and not at all egregious by their usual standards. Death, taxes, BBC’s scorn for Israel — all things to be counted on.

  2. BBC may harbour bias, however, there is no doubt in my mind that Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and the actions of Jewish settlers in these occupied territories do much to increase anti-Semitism in Europe.

    1. David, what I was trying to get at was the weak logic of :

      1. reducing anti-Semitism to Israel’s questionable actions in the West Bank (the BBC mentioned Gaza, but you do not) and

      2. the idea that anything that happens to Jews anywhere is somehow tied to the positions of the government of the State of Israel. To follow this thought, might we not write off the burning of a Chinese restaurant in Texas as the natural outcome of the Chinese government’s treatment of the Tibetans (or the Chinese, for that matter)? This is the logic of academic boycott or, “Don’t buy from the Jews!”

      Anti-Semitism existed in Europe before the occupation of the West Bank, before the Palestinian refugee problem, and before the State of Israel. To point out the BBC’s bias by no means endorses the madness of Israeli settlers. It does, however, attempt to draw a distinction. The belief that an entire people are culpable for the actions of a few is utterly disastrous.

  3. I am not suggesting that it is justified. Anti-Semitism never is.

    However, I believe that Israel’s government, that condones and supports illegal and immoral acts by a minority of Jewish fundamentalists, is to blame for an increase in anti-Semitism.

    1. I think we can agree on that (though the rise in anti-Semitism may or may not be attributable to said actions), but it remains outside the scope of the BBC’s article. My point is that it’s not correct to shlep in criticism of Israeli policy every time there is a story about Jews. To mention the victims’ being for or against Israeli policy is doing what Andrew Sullivan does (and which is why Wieseltier bothered writing his furious article): dividing Jews into two camps, one good and one bad, based on the politically correct ideology of the moment. I don’t wish to make excuses for the government’s policies, but I resent the tendency to manipulate the complexities of an endless political conflict in order to reduce an entire people to “goodniks” and “badniks.”

    2. I’m going to disagree. An excuse is always provided for anti-Semitism, from the medieval rabbis who stole Christian children to drain their blood, the the thieving usurers who stole good Christian money to today’s bogeymen: the fundamentalist Juden settling on the West Bank. You really think if they disappeared tomorrow, anti-Semitism would decrease sharply? I believe it would get far worse. Read the stated goals of Hamas, of Fatah – they don’t decry Jewish settlements, they insist the very state of Israel is invalid and must be obliterated. The settlements are a convenient plaint.

      1. And if Israel is to “make peace” – assuming it could do it unilaterally, which is unlikely – it would have to be with Hamas-run Gaza as well as the Fatah-run West Bank. But there is no possibility of this happening unless Hamas were to drastically change its entire character. We can’t really just wish it away and get on with the business of making peace with Ramallah.

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