[Published 19 December 2010]
The BBC and the History Channel stand accused of denigrating Israel by the use of factually incorrect statements or misleading and deceptive statements that are factually correct but only tell half the story.
Take this gem from the BBC:
“Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 war. It withdrew its troops from Gaza in 2005.”
No mention is made of the fact that Israel also simultaneously evacuated all 8000 Jewish civilians who had been living in Gaza as well. Was the omission of the words “and 8000 Jewish civilians” due to space constraints?
The BBC did not have to mention that such evacuation was done unilaterally to advance the peace process, such evacuation was subsequently followed by a Hamas takeover of Gaza that threatens any further progress in peacefully ending the conflict and that the civilian population of Israel has been subjected to incessant and indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza ever since the evacuation was completed.
However - failing to mention those 8000 civilians in this news item as part of Israel’s pull out from Gaza can only be viewed as an attempt to downgrade the extent and significance of Israel’s withdrawal.
The History Channel’s release for one of its programmes illustrates a similar bias that is ugly in its contemplation.
Consider these statements:
1. “Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.”
No mention is made of the fact that the UN also voted for the creation of an independent Arab State.
Again, the inclusion of just nine words “and an independent Arab state which the Arabs rejected” would have clearly indicated that the UN had not only offered the Jews a state but also offered the Arabs one as well - which the Arabs rejected.
The failure to insert those missing words carries the innuendo that only the Jews were offered a state in 1947 but the Arabs missed out and begs the question - isn’t it time the UN now rectified that injustice in 2010?
2. “The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory.”
Actually the conflict had started about thirty years earlier - so that chunk of history is either unknown to the History Channel’s researchers or was deliberately overlooked.
The territory was not “British-controlled” until the conclusion of World War 1. It was part of the Ottoman Empire until then.
Pity the poor students who use this material in their projects - and their teachers - who rely on this material as being accurate and reliable.
3. “The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state”
Really? Are the history buffs at the History Channel unaware of the following facts?
“The three main political organizations in Palestine-the Arab Club, the Literary Club, and the Muslim-Christian Association (the lack of mention of Palestine in their names is revealing)—all worked for union with Syria. The first two went farthest, calling outright for rule by Prince Faysal. Amin al-Husayni was president of the Arab Club; the extremism which later made him notorious as the leader of Palestinian separatism (and an ally of Hitler) already showed itself in 1920, when he instigated riots for union with Syria. A member of the Arab Club, Kamil al-Budayri, co-edited from September 1919 the newspaper Suriya al-Janubiya (“Southern Syria”) which advocated Palestine’s incorporation into Greater Syria.
Even the Muslim-Christian Association, an organization of traditional leaders-men who expected to rule if Palestine became independent-demanded incorporation in Greater Syria. Its president insisted that “Palestine or Southern Syria-an integral part of the one and indivisible Syria-must not in any case or for any pretext be detached.” The Muslim-Christian Association held a Congress in early 1919 to draw up demands for the Paris Peace Conference. It declared that Palestine, a “part of Arab Syria,” is permanently connected to Syria through “national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic, and geographical bonds,” and resolved that “Southern Syria or Palestine should not be separated from the independent Arab Syrian government.” Musa Kazim al-Husayni, Head of the Jerusalem Town Council (in effect, mayor) told a Zionist interlocutor in October 1919: “We demand no separation from Syria.” The slogan heard everywhere in 1918-19 was “Unity, Unity, From the Taurus [Mountains in Turkey] to Rafah [in Gaza], Unity, Unity.”
4. “Beginning in 1929, Arabs and Jews openly fought in Palestine”
Staggeringly the History Channel seems to be unaware of the 1920 riots which saw four Arabs and five Jews killed, while 216 Jews were wounded - 18 critically - and 23 Arabs wounded - one critically.
5. “Radical Jewish groups employed terrorism against British forces in Palestine,”
Since when is fighting the armed forces of your adversary - not its civilians - described as “terrorism”? The History Channel’s biased slip is surely on display for all to see.
6. “At the end of World War II, in 1945, the United States took up the Zionist cause,"
The United States had taken up the Zionist cause on 30 June 1922 when both Houses of Congress unanimously endorsed the Mandate for Palestine.
On 21 September 1922 President Warren Harding signed the joint resolution of approval to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine
7. “The Jews were to possess more than half of Palestine…,
It is a pity the History Channel could not have added:
“more than 70% of which was the arid and sparsely populated Negev Desert”
8. “The Palestinian Arabs, aided by volunteers from other countries, fought the Zionist forces”
Strange that the History Channel should be unaware that these “volunteers” comprised the “Arab Liberation Army” set up in Damascus under the command of Fawzi Kaukji. Seven of these detachments with a strength of about 5000 had made their way into Palestine by March 1948. They were divided into four commands.
9. “The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.”
Oops - the History Channel forgot to include Saudi Arabia - a small oversight.
The History Channel then has the gall to state at the end of this outrageous release:
“Fact Check. We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us!"
Creating myth instead of stating fact is one of the greatest impediments to securing a resolution of the conflict between the Arabs and Jews.
The next time you watch the History Channel (if you ever do so again) - don’t take what you hear and see as the truth. There are apparently a lot of dunderheads employed there or - perhaps more insidiously - persons deliberately bent on misleading the public.