Channel 4’s relentless pursuit of Israel continues in Palestinian Paralympics doc.

Blind Palestinian practising throwing the discus while his son claps so he knows where to aim (

Blind Palestinian practising throwing the discus while his son claps so he knows where to aim (

Channel 4 continued its attacks on Israel in Friday night’s Going for Gold in Gaza documentary, which was meant to follow the efforts of the men’s Palestinian Paralympics team to qualify for London 2012. Their disabilities consisted of congenital blindness and physical disabilities caused by either work accidents or intermarriage.

But as I settled down to watch I found that presenter Aidan Hartley couldn’t resist repeatedly taking the documentary gratuitously off-track in order to demonise Israel.

Here are my thoughts, in italics, as I watched:

It opens on a Gaza street showing posters of dead Palestinian men holding guns and with Hartley saying:

“In Gaza it’s those who have died fighting Israel who are seen as heroes, not sportsmen.”

FREEZE FRAME: Oh, Aidan! These men were not soldiers “fighting Israel” but Hamas terrorists who had probably walked into Israeli restaurants to murder innocent people or they had helped plan such attacks and were subsequently killed by Israel.

The next 10 minutes were fascinating as we found out about the athletes, their families, how the athletes became disabled, how they trained, the medals they had previously won, their excitement about London 2012 and also their concerns. A blind athlete is upset as he may be required to have his eyes retested.

Then there’s a scene of another blind athlete and his son, Mohammad, who had his eyes tested and he now knows he won’t go blind like his father. Sinister music then follows and Hartley says:

“Gaza is effectively under siege. Israel controls the goods that go in and its hard for people to get out. Israeli gunboats control the coastline. Gunfire is an everyday sound. The Gaza strip has the atmosphere of a large prison. People are hemmed in and its claustrophobic and travel outside of Gaza is very restricted for any reason.”

FREEZE FRAME: Ok, starting to go off-track now but you have to mention Israel as it is part of the picture, obviously, but why is Hartley solely blaming Israel for Gaza’s deprivations when Egypt also borders Gaza? Hartley could also have explained why Israel takes these security measures (see “freeze frame” above).

Hartley then tells us that they found out there is a women’s Palestinian Paralympics team and he goes to see them training.

FREEZE FRAME: Ok, that’s the Israel bashing out of the way, hopefully, and to hear about Palestinian women athletes will be interesting.

But it didn’t last long. Fatma needs a special prosthetic leg without which she won’t be able to go to London 2012, so Hartley visits the Artifical Limbs Centre of Gaza where he interviews amputees on the waiting list.

Nine year old Yousef lost his left arm to cancer and has been waiting 10 months for a new prosthetic arm. The medical centre’s director tells Hartley that Israel has stopped sending materials directly and that a donation from Slovenia has been left in Tel Aviv since February. Hartley repeats:

“Let me get this right. Yousef, that nine year old boy, could have had a prosthetic limb months ago had the materials not been sitting in a warehouse in Israel for the last, nearly, eight months?”

We then get a flash of the security wall and Hartley says:

“Israel denies blocking medical supplies to Gaza. The sense that Gaza is under siege is never far away. And the conflict swells the number of injuries and amputations. Gazan civilians are killed or maimed by Israeli strikes, often in retaliation for rocket fire from Palestinian militants.”

FREEZE FRAME: Aidan, did you mean that Israel attacks Hamas and accidentally kills civilians or that Israel intentionally targets civilians as retaliation? It’s unclear but sounds like you meant the latter, which is untrue. And why didn’t you investigate the whereabouts of Yousef’s prosthetic limb and maybe even help obtain it for him? How mean of you.

Next Hartley visits a Palestinian home where he says “there are family members who are injured in recent violence”. A man tells Hartley how two weeks earlier his two nephews had been playing in the street. Israel, he said, responded to Hamas rockets with missiles from pilotless drones. Hartley finishes the story himself:

“Out of the blue a drone fired a rocket in amongst the children horribly wounding his two nephews. Saba wanted to show me where the attack occurred. In the weeks before we arrived dozens of civilians had been killed or maimed.”

Hartley is shown a narrow hole in the ground where the rocket, apparently, hit and the uncle shows Hartley pictures of his nephews lying horrifically injured in hospital. Hartley points to their amputations and says that one of them, Ibrahim, subsequently died.

FREEZE FRAME: Could these horrendous injuries possibly have been Hamas inflicted, a case of a Hamas rocket misfiring? It wouldn’t be the first time. Hartley doesn’t bother investigating.

Next Hartley meets another Palestinian man who “had lost his left leg when he was blown up by an Israeli missile”.

FREEZE FRAME: Again, Hartley doesn’t investigate how he tragically lost his leg.

Eventually, Hartley, again meets up with the paralympians that he had started the programme telling us about, one of whom had just lost his mother to cancer. She passed away in an Israeli hospital but, we are told, her son had not been allowed by the Israelis into Israel to be at her bedside when she died.

FREEZE FRAME: This has now become a programme demonising Israel, while occasionally concentrating on Palestinian paralympians.

Hartley signs off with:

“The Palestinians who make it to the London paralympics in 2012 will be amongst the most remarkable athletes at the games”.

FREEZE FRAME: These Paralympians are incredible and I have full respect for them and wish them every success next year but ALL paralympians are incredible. I don’t know how they do it. I couldn’t.

It’s a shame Hartley wasted so much of this short programme gratuitously attacking Israel. But after Channel 4’s War Child and The Promise nothing surprises me.

49 responses to “Channel 4’s relentless pursuit of Israel continues in Palestinian Paralympics doc.

  1. Gunfire is an everyday sound.

    Is it true that it is part of their culture to fire guns in celebration on all kinds of occasions?

    If so no wonder, gunfire is an everyday sound.

    As to IDF-attacks I advise to subscribe to the IDF’s newsletter to stay informed on IDF-operation.

    I very much prefer it to Newspaper pieces

  2. Is it true that it is part of their culture to fire guns in celebration on all kinds of occasions?

    Oh, absolutely. They fire guns up in the air, forgetting (or not caring) that according to Galileo and a little thing called gravity the bullets will come raining down on bystanders. People get killed as a result.

  3. I just can’t bear to watch or listen to any mainstream programme about Israel or the “Palestinians”, knowing the bias and irrationality that will permeate it. Full marks to you for your patience!

  4. And let’s not forget the hatred and contempt for those upstart Joos, Philip.

  5. I watched the programme on Friday night and had to LOL that this was part of the ‘Unreported Worlds’ strand. If ever there is a region constantly being reported at the expense of Israel it is ‘Palestine.’ The programme gave me high blood pressure; who is this Aidan Hartley? His bias was sickening. The bit that really got me was his reporting that the sick mother had to be treated in Israel. Considering that many Muslim countries are Judenrein, can one imagine a Jew beign offered free medical care in any Muslim country?

    • Hi Silke
      To be honest , Jews are not at the top of their game when it comes to competitive sport . However when it comes to the greatest of all cerebral challenges ie chess is where we come into our own
      World chess champions more or less in order stretch back to Steinitz , Lasker , Botvinnik , Tal , (not sure about Petrosian ) Fischer ( lost his mind and became a notorious antisemite ) Kasparov . Lost track after that but I believe Gelfand is contesting the current world title series .

      • Harvey

        OK so if nothing but No. 1-ship allover the world all through times counts then I give up –

        but being German (i.e. living in the country that is current world-champion in commemorating culture;-() I hear quite often stories of Jewish sportsman/women (what about artisans and artists including painters and sculpturers?) which, while reading your “protest”, made me wonder whether given your rather small number compared to all of those doing sports in the world you’d do so bad in all those fields percentage-wise.

        But then I’ve recently been told that when a Jewish kid comes home and tells that he passed his exams at 97 % he/she’d be asked “what went wrong?”


      • Fischer wasn’t Jewish.

        Jews are as good at competitive sport as anyone. Hodorov in his time was the best goalie in the world (even Lav Yashin said so). It’s simply that through centuries of persecution, those talents lay dormant. Do you want a tiny country to produce as many record holders as the USA or USSR?

      • Lev Yashin, sorry.

  6. How strange that the word intermarriage has opposite meanings one of which inflicts our Arab cousins, and the other inflicts us.

    I note the fact that the discus thrower and all other drivers and passengers were unbelted. Might this be another reason for the many Palestinian paraplegics?

    Regarding the Palestinian sporting prowess I can personally testify as to their notable throwing skills, or should I say striking throwing skills. Surely the transformation from a rock to a discus cannot be that tough.

    I observed these talents first-hand as early as the mid-80s when doing reserves service in Rafiah . For three not unpleasant weeks this commentator, and the brave lads of my battalion found ourselves at the receiving end of some remarkable Palestinian stone hurlers. Our task was to “demonstrate our presence” or in other words to serve as targets for these budding athletes, occasionally being hit, less occasionally catching the perpetrators.

    There came a Saturday morning when nobody felt like playing the game so somebody suggested that rather than “demonstrating our presence” in the downtown Rafiah, we might park in a nearby field and enjoy the sun and our battle rations of canned meat loaf, olives and dry bread – verily a feast.

    Presently, several local youths joined us, but no stones were thrown and instead someone suggested we might do battle with a game of soccer. I have never been a lover of the game and read a book instead, but I could not help but be reminded of the infamous Christmas Truce of 1914. I have no recollection as to who won, I’m not sure I even knew then, but the next day they were back throwing stones and we were once again heroically demonstrating our presence. Eventually a stone found my knee, but that is another tale for another day.

    I have good reason to believe that the blind Palestinian discus thrower acquired his expertise while using IDF boys as his targets. If I am right, and if we were those who inspired him to hurl further and harder, I feel nothing but pride. I further forgive Channel 4 for not mentioning our role in motivating the subjects of their excellent program.

  7. Thanks Richard for the showing us the depths to which apologists for Israel will go to justify its actions. Bravo.
    If whataboutery was a sport in the Olympics you would undoubtedly win gold.

  8. I do not hear any one apologising for Israel-
    Every country has its paraplygists, whether through birth defects, war, or accidents. So whats the big deal with these-
    My problem is what flag to do they want to compete under- A Gaza flag or the Flag of the Palestinian Authority-

  9. If not quite anti-Semitic, I’ve always considered the Olympic Games to be culturally biased against the “Chosen People” forever requiring us to negotiate tasks for which we are quite unsuited, such as running fast, jumping high or lifting heavy objects.

    As regards hurling, I know of few outstanding Hebrews since King David, though it did transpire quite recently, that a close friend of mine apparently has a hitherto unknown talent for throwing Ultra-Orthodox Jewish gentleman.

    Truth be told, I myself only learned of the matter last year, after hearing Nick characterized on this excellent blog as a “…dos tosser”.


      plus as best I know football aka soccer owes a lot of its having taken root and flourished in Germany to Jewish initiative and prowess both in organising it and playing it. Also I was told recently that the supposedly most gifted mountain climber ever was a Jew.

      Thus I assume you have a reason for downplaying the physical side of the achievements of your kind? What is it?

      Natural modesty?

      • Hi Silke,

        I assume you understood my comments to be somewhat tongue in cheek, though Israels Olympic record since its inception, in all the Olympic games since 1952 consists of seven medals, if I’m not mistaken, one gold (men’s sailboard), one silver (ladies’ Judo) and the rest bronze. By point of comparison there are many individual athletes who have done far better than that.

        I have never claimed any talent at chess for the simple reason that I have none. I defy Leah to find such an instance.

        Israel’s achievements in this sport of kings are unquestionably more impressive than those in football or the like, and our own Boris Gelfand is currently the World Chess Contender. I suspect he may lose, but even reaching the finals is indeed a remarkable feat.

      • Daniel

        the idea that anybody could read my question “Natural modesty?” as anything else than an attempt at mocking you in the most friendly way possible never occurred to me.

        I don’t know the English word for “selbst-bewußt”. The literal translation of self-conscious isn’t it, since we use it as a compliment to somebody who is aware of the exact size and shape of his own worth and talents and achievements which I prefer a lot to people boring me with moans about their short-comings. (Being always eager to learn I am forever talent-scouting.)

        And in this context let me confess that I felt deep frustration when you didn’t tell us in detail what the food was at your lunch with Rubin. Some lyricals about the wine served would also not be amiss.


        it isn’t an olympic sport but Reinhold Messner who is a celebrity in Germany is besides himself with praise for the man.

      • Hi Silke,

        Actually the food was a mixture of Jewish and English.

        Local wine (blush)

        First Course – Chopped Liver (a Jewish version of liver pate, though made with broiled then fried onions for reasons of kashrut)

        Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls – It always tastes better the day after Shabbat.

        Main Course – Shepherd’s Pie with various salads.

        Dessert – Date Cake and Lemon Tea.

        I made the first two courses and Roxy the last two. The Katzes are a lovely couple. He looks in his sixties and she looks about my age. They are both excellent conversationalists and as is the way of the Chosen People, we soon discovered several mutual friends. You were discussed and Rubin explained to me that your name is pronounced Zilk not Silk as I had thought. You would have blushed to hear the praise.

        We booked Rubin to speak at my wife’s school for Holocaust Day and exchanged invitations to their grandson’s and our youngest son’s Bar-Mitzvahs.

      • I wonder how long it will take my mouth to stop watering –

        now try the lyrical part about the wine –

        nothing like local in wine-growing areas – drinking out of area is for snobs. Connoisseurs know better. Of course Connoisseurism is OK for people who have to suffer through life in non-conducive to wine areas.

        I had no doubt that the Katz-es would be lovely company but as to my name – Rubin is right, it is pronounced with a soft S at the beginning but he mislead you as to the end. The “e” is pronounced as something between kettle and herd. Possibly for anglos it is hard to do as my anglo colleagues way back then either called me Zilk of zilky.

    • If not quite anti-Semitic, I’ve always considered the Olympic Games to be culturally biased against the “Chosen People” forever requiring us to negotiate tasks for which we are quite unsuited, such as running fast, jumping high or lifting heavy objects.
      Those murdered at Munich were more than proficient in those disciplines.

  10. Silke
    Close but it’s 99%, at least where my wife was concerned with the kids exam results . I was a far more laid back father ( 75 % ) 🙂

    Sorry to call you out on this one , but as someone who has played and followed chess for a considerable time including traveling to Iceland to watch and report on the Fischer – Spassky world championship , I can assure you that Fischer was certainly a Jew .
    His mother Regina Wender was of Swiss Jewish descent . His father or at least the name on the birth certificate was Hans Gerhardt but there is also a possibility that Paul Nemenyi a Hungarian Jewish physicist was the father following an on off affair .

    • only 99 % – quelle horreur – I hope your wife shaped up for the next kid in line


    • Hi Harvey,

      Though doubtlessly lacking your expertise and experience, I have also reported some chess in my time and played a few games too.

      My information regarding Fischer’s Jewish roots is similar to yours, and I believe the doubts regarding his Jewishness might be the result of a confusion between him and Kasparov. The latter was born of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother, so would not qualify as a Jew halachically, but I believe could immigrate to Israel by virtue of the Law of Return.

      Like many of my generation I was enraptured by Fischer’s games as a child, I think it was his celebrated Evan’s Gambit against Reuben Fine that caused me to fall in love with the game. I was heartbroken to learn of the crazy anti-Semite (he famously denied being one saying he had nothing against Arabs) he had become.In researching an background article about his celebrated rematch with Spassky I interviewed a friend of his who was both a Grand Master and a Physician. I asked him whether he considered Fischer to be mentally ill and he replied that it would be impossible to answer that question. “How about, off the record?” I continued. “Of course he is totally mad!” he replied.

      Even now I still feel a little guilty playing the Fischer variation of anything, as I do adopting the Alekhine Defense, which I have long loved.

      • Hi Daniel
        It’s important to compartmentalise . Distinguish between the chess colossus and the mad man he became . Same as listening to Wagner .
        Would love to talk more chess with you but it’s detracting from Richards excellent blog . Maybe ask him for my email address .

  11. I agree and I believe that I do compartmentalize as much as I can. That is why I play the Alekhine’s Defense, but feel guilty for doing so.

    Regarding Wagner’s music, that’s a wholly different question. I’m practically tone deaf and have but the most rudimentary appreciation of music. Therefore, not hearing Wagner is no great sacrifice for me.

    However, I believe that the music a man composes represents his thoughts and reflects his soul much more than the chess moves he makes.

    Regarding chess, next time you’re in Israel, pop round and we’ll play. I don’t believe I’ve as yet lost to someone called Harvey.

    • I agree on Wagner – I don’t know about my tone hearing qualification but I consider myself to be very good at rhythm appreciating.

      I realise that lots of what Wagner wrote is very seductive but still there is way too often a kind of pomposity to his music that makes me laugh in an angry “come off it” way.

      His anti-semitism not being enough there is also a quote by him where he rants about begetting heroes. I can’t find the exact quote but ABIR it made clear that those heroes would have to be “pure”-blooded.

      And no the times in which he lived are no excuse. In all likelihood he was not kind.

  12. ““Gaza is effectively under siege. Israel controls the goods that go in and its hard for people to get out.”

    The not being able to get out aspect is what does trouble me about Gaza. Does anyone have any details or specifics on that part of life for Gazans?

    • Are you forgetting Gaza has a border with Egypt!

    • Don’t believe the hype and propaganda, Gaza is paradise on earth, they have shopping malls, cars, food and water. Seriously what difference would it make if they were allowed to leave. They don’t WANT to leave.

    • I once read a report that made me conclude that they have a much easier time of it than Eastern Germans ever had. All they have to do is go through a tunnel.

      The problem seems not to be to get out as a body but where to get residence and as long as “they” behave the way “they” do i.e. export terror it is no wonder that there seems to be a scarcity of welcoming arms.

  13. richardmillett

    Well i went to listen to Jayyab Abusafia speak last week at King’s. He is from a refugee camp in Gaza and he is now working in London, so Mostly’s argument seems pretty much bogus.

    • This guy must be out of his head to leave Gaza. You know what they are saying? Jabalia is the new Cannes.

      • when I grew up I was told that Brits were exceptionally good sportsman, the proof being that they acknowledged when they had lost and did it with good grace.

      • Not being funny, Mostly, but is there any chance of engaging in discussion without phrasing your remarks in a snide or contemptuous manner? This is something I’ve observed in many pro-Palestinian commentators and does nothing to encourage civil debate, but polarize the two camps. If you’re going to represent the concerns of the Palestinian Arabs, at least pay them the respect of doing so without the playground sarcasm.

      • Good grief GH!

        Have you just landed from Mars? Yes, It’s “mostly” and his sarcasm that are “polarizing debate”. I dare say that without his cynical quips there might have been a solution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict decades ago. It’s just that simple.

        Since you’re both anonymous bloggers I assume that you won’t take this personally or think that I have any sympathy for MH and his crack-pot views, but let’s not lose our sense of proportion.

        This is a blog, an excellent one for sure, but it is neither a battle field or even a negotiating table. The conflict, let me remind you, is between the Israeli citizens as represented by their democratically elected leadership and between the Arab world. Peace will not come when MH talks in a less sarcastic way, or even if he says everything you want him too.

        If that’s his writing style, live with it. Attack the content of what he says, heaven knows that’s easy enough – but not the fact he is sarcastic.

  14. “”FREEZE FRAME: This has now become a programme demonising Israel, while occasionally concentrating on Palestinian paralympians.””

    But every channel 4 programme involving the M.E will some how or other demonise Israel- After all it has a close connection to the BBC-

  15. Here’s another one of those disgusting programmes from the anti-semites at the BBC, care to do a review Richard?

    • Or has Hasbara central told you to steer clear of this one?

      • Mostly gormless
        I viewed it in real time . It was one of the most balanced and natural programmes I have ever seen on the Israel Palestine conflict . It needs to be prescribed viewing for all the nasty little documentary producers and journalists who go out there and present a one sided diatribe of their own personal animosity and palestinian propaganda . Maybe the balance came from the fact that she had both a Jewish and Muslim parent and had a Jewish family in israel
        Her story and production was worthy of an award .
        Thanks for highlighting it and for being so dozy that you saw it as a some sort of propaganda victory . Or maybe anything will do as long as it has a foam flecked Hamas terrorist telling the camera what needs to happen to the Jews .

      • richardmillett

        I also enjoyed it and noticed the two scenes of Jew hate from two different people, one in Ramallah and one in Gaza. Possibly award winning for her balanced response though.
        Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

      • I was amused when she pondered to herself that it was not fair to impose a curfew on a whole village because of the murder of one family. She explained that the UK would never practice collective punishment, even if it would be effective.

        And I wondered where the good lady had been over the past decade as the US and the UK invaded two sovereign states, killed thousands and brought about the downfall of their governments because of the actions of a few individuals hijackers of US planes. This wasn’t hear deceiving us or twisting the truth – she really never made the connection.

        I don’t think she is an evil propagandist, just a not very knowledgeable kid repeating a many old cliches and one or two new ones.

        She was shocked that tear gas hurts one’s eyes and dressed up like something from Fiddler on the Roof to meet her Israeli family. I don’t think she was aware of her own bias, and there was nothing she said that was worse than the kind of thing that our moderate Left say every day.

        All in all I, by UK standards, I thought it was reasonable.

  16. But this is just typical of the BBC ever since the Left Wing took it over-
    The jobs for the BBC are all advertised in the Guardian and we know its input on the subject- Again a newspaper that use to be pro Israeli , suddenly a Michael White takes over the Political editorship -and hey ho another extreme Lefty on the scene-

  17. Dankeschoen Silke und Daniel.

    Whilst on holiday I rarely look at the Blog, as interesting as it is, hence the late response.

    First of all, flattery will get you both everywhere!!
    On the other hand Silke, Himmelkratzmillionen! Would I mislead a friend?
    I know sufficient German to be able to pronounce it correctly as ‘Zilkeh’. And what I don’t know I ask my French wife who spoke German with her Grossmutti from a young age. Daniel, on the other hand, as a true Englaender, he cannot possibly appreciate the subtle sound of the “e” at the end of a German word, which in English remains mute, hence Silk! For the same reason, the German word ‘bitte’ for instance, would come out sounding like a pint of ale! No hard feelings Daniel, and thanks for a lovely afternoon in the company of ‘quality folk’, good food and breathtaking Judaean scenery.