Tag Archives: BBC

BBC Correspondent Tim Franks Departs In Sadness!

Tim Franks was assigned by BBC to cover the Middle East with particular focus on Israel and Palestinians. He was surprised when people in his London synagogue assumed since he was Jewish his task was to present a “Jewish version” of events. During his years in Israel, critics have charged Franks was an agent of the Jewish lobby, he has been charged with being sympathetic to Palestinians, and he has experienced Jewish violence and Palestinian “victimhood” being displayed in the name of truth and righteousness. He confesses being upset that Israeli worshippers in his Jerusalem synagogue “did not show signs of being upset by videos in which Jewish rioters wrecked their vengeance on Palestinians” because the army had evicted them from illegal West Bank settlements. ” I do not believe I had covered the story for radio or TV differently because I was a Jew. But, was I feeling more bleak the following day because this was violence perpetrated by Jews? Well, perhaps.”

As a Jew, the feelings of Frank are my own. I was raised in a liberal Socialist east European Jewish neighborhood where a dominant feeling was that Jews must work with other oppressed people if we are ourselves to be free from death and destruction. It remains a shock to me when Jews are the oppressor who kill the innocent in the name of “security.” Every demagogue and tyrant has used the defense of “security” to explain away killing defenseless people. I expect Jews, given our experience with death and destruction, to never kill the innocent.

Farewell, Mr. Franks, you did a good job.

BBC Slammed For Refusing Gaza Appeal

Over eleven thousand complaints have been sent to BBC over its refusal to allow an appeal for aid to Gaza from the Disasters Emergency Committee. Fifty MPs are ready to introduce a resolution in support and many senior members at BBC have voiced their displeasure. Archbishop of Canterbury, Rev. Rowan Williams, simply said: “My feeling is that the BBC should broadcast an appeal.” The BBC defends its stand on ground the entire issue of Gaza is a volatile political issue and by broadcasting an appeal for humanitarian aid it somehow would be taking sides in the dispute.

The fact 1,300 humans have died and thousands are without food, shelter or medical care is not an issue about being or not being “impartial”–whatever that means. People are hungry, and children need medical care, that is the only important consideration. John Snow, of the BBC, news staff, put it succinctly: “It’s a ludicrous decision. This is what public service broadcasting is for: I think it was a decision founded on complete ignorance and I am absolutely amazed they have stuck to it.”

As one who believes in the existence of Israel, and has helped found a Holocaust Museum, the Israel, I believe Gaza operation was a human and political disaster. The innocent must not be allowed to suffer. Put on the damn plea for aid!

BBC Poll–War Against Al-Qaeda Is Failing

BBC World Service took a poll around the world of how people feel about the success or failure of the war on terrorism. The majority made clear they regard the Bush initiated war on terrorism has failed to obtain its goal of crushing al-Qaeda. Thirty percent of those polled said Bush’s campaign had only resulted in strengthening al-Qaeda, 29% said it had no effect, and 22 percent said it had weakened terrorist organizations. Despite the overwhelming power of America’s military forces most people find scant evidence the effort has achieved any of its aims to crush al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden was never captured, his forces reside in safety in border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The survey of 23,937 people was conducted by BBC’s World service between July 8 and September 12 by GlobeScan Ins. and the University of Maryland’s program on International Policy Attitudes. In the United States 56 percent said neither the United States nor al-Qaeda was winning.

The heady days of the fall of 2001 when American troops ripped through Afghanistan and the George Bush boasts of May, 2003 have been replaced by a sadness, a fatigue and misgivings concerning the war on terrorism.

Hitler “Doll” That Never Was: The Media In Inaction

The recent story which hit the world media about sale of “Hitler dolls” in the Ukraine is a classic example of how the media spreads misinformation. The story began two weeks ago when Andriy Kapustin wrote an article in a Ukranian newspaper under the deliberately shocking headline: “Undress Hitler or BarbieFuhrer as a gift.” He claimed to have found the doll in a Kyiv shop and said the price was “1200 hryvnias” which is rather expensive. It appears a few such dolls were made in Taiwan but there is no evidence Ukrainians were actually buying them. Kasputsin was being ironic since such a doll would hardly be sold for such a high price in a city that lost 60% of its residents in WWII.

The “story” was picked up by a Russian newspaper where Oles Buzina, who is known for his dislike of the Urkraine, wrote that what else could one expect from Ukrainians and sonn every child will be given a Hitler doll. The BBC then picked up the story from Buzina and presented it as though factories in the Ukraine were producing Hitler dolls.

Within days stories were appearing in British newspapers about Ukranian toy manufacurers who most probably were going to put out a toy version of a concentration camp. The BBC was told by Ukranian sources its story was spurious and it did remove the story but never issued an apology. The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail which printed the story have never issued a retraction.

Naturally, the story is still circulating on Internet and other such media outlets, and, given time, it will live on as an example of how Ukranian manufacturers were willing to use Hitler to make a buck.

Bush: America On High Moral Ground- We Torture!

In an interview with BBC, President Bush said waterboarding was not torture. “To the critics, I ask them this: when we, within the law, interrogate and get information that protects ourselves and possibly others in other nations to prevent attacks, which attack would they have hoped that we wouldn’t have prevented? And so, the United Stsates will act within the law. We’ll make sure professionals have the tools necessary to do their job within the law.” Even as he spoke, Steven Bradbury of the Justice Department was saying: “There has been no detmination by the Justic eDepartment that the use of waterboading, under any circumstances, would be lawful under current law.” Perhaps, the president has seen too many episodes of the TV program, “24” in which ticking bombs allow use of torture.

The President said America was a defender of human rights and had established the Guantanamo Bay prison as part of its moral crusade to spread democracy to the world. “Now, there’s great concern …that these people be given rights. They’re not willing to grant the same rights to others. They’ll murder. but, you gotta understand, they’re getting their rights. And, I’m comfortable with the decisons we’ve made.” His comments on Guantanamo undoubtedly will earn him a page in history for the most distorted anti-legal expression by an American president about the nature of our judicial process. To hold people for years without charging them with anything and to refuse them a day in court is NOT the American constitutional manner of conducting trials.

President Bush boasted about “being the first president to propose a two-state solution on Israel and Palestine.” He apparently forgot that President Clinton, shortly before leaving office, had been working with Arafat and Israel leaders on a proposal to create two states. As always, the Bush conception of freedom, democracy and morality would most readily be accepted by al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations as an expression of their own distorted view of the world.

Given the Justice Department has publicly stated waterboarding is illegal and the President has publicly stated it can be used, will the Justice Department institute criminal prosecution proceedings against George Bush for violating the law?

US 200% Behind Me, Claims Musharraf

After concluding meetings with US envoy, John Negroponte, President Musharraf told the BBC that he had the complete support of the United States in his actions to fight terrorism. “they are liking me because we are fighting terrorism together. They show concern on the democratic front, they show concern over my uniform, they think what we are doing is the right directions.” As he spoke, the Pakistan army was launching a major effort in the Swat Valley against insurgents led by Mualana Fazullah. The Pakistan army issued its regular reports about dead militants and claims they were advancing in the valley. Most Pakistan experts believe the forces of Fazullah wiil allow the Pakistan army to kill some militants and the game will go on, the army advances, a few dead militants, and normality continues with Fazullah retaining power. It is apparent the only way Musharraf can continue ruling Pakistan is the presence of a war against terrorism.

The great mistake of the Bush administration is casting the struggle between the United States and forces opposing creation of stable governments as one against terrorism. The word “terrorism” describes an action of people, and one can not be against “terrorism” anymore than one can wage war against “crime.” These are abstractions, not realities. Bush has confused the entire situation emerging from 9/11 because he fails to grasp the nature of the struggle. It is not between democracy vs terrorism, it is a struggle to create stable viable governments committed to working slowly to foster vibrant economies that focus people on the importance of avoiding war and conflict. China is not a democracy, but it does not aid terrorism. We need more nations like China which eventually will become democracies, but in the meantime work for world stability.