Tag Archives: CAABU

Former BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Llewellyn: “Zionists are scattered at strategic points throughout British business.”

Milne, Alibhai-Brown, Llewellyn, Rowland listening to Jenny Tonge's rant last night.

Milne, Alibhai-Brown, Llewellyn, Rowland listening to Jenny Tonge’s rant last night.

The reputation of the Jewish community was dragged through the gutter at last night’s book launch of The Battle for Public Opinion in Europe: Changing Perceptions of the Palestine-Israel Conflict. The event was staged by anti-Israel pressure group Middle East Monitor at the University of London’s Senate House.

The panelists were Tim Llewellyn (former BBC Middle East correspondent and now adviser to Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding), Jackie Rowland (Al Jazeera correspondent) and Seumas Milne (The Guardian associate editor). Yasmin Alibhai-Browne (The Independent) chaired the event.

Llewellyn and Rowland described a persistent manipulation of the British broadcast media by a well-moneyed pro-Jewish lobby. Llewellyn said, inter alia, that:

“The BBC is very sparing in the amount of delegations or visitors it allows from the Palestinian side. Whereas from remarks that have been heard from the head of BBC News, Helen Boaden, the British Board of Deputies (of British Jews), for example, practically lives at the BBC. They’re there all the time.”

And:

“I was there (at the BBC) when we weren’t interfered with. But the last 10-12 years, since the beginning of the second Intifada, has coincided with Israel’s decision  to mount a tremendously well organised, careful, assiduous and extremely well financed propaganda campaign in this country, especially in Britain.

The BBC has completely and utterly become feeble and has misreported, in my view; misrepresenting the situation in Israel-Palestine. It has done this maybe because of intense Israeli and pro-Israeli pressure from within this country, from political elements like the Friends of Israel of our three main political parties.

Also through the higher level of pro-Israel Zionists who are scattered at strategic points throughout the British establishment, throughout British business and among the people whose voices are respected.

The propaganda can sometimes be extremely intense, it can be bitter, it can be angry, it could be violent, it can be other forms of coercion. But it’s something the suits at the BBC find very hard to resist. So what has developed over the past 10 years at the BBC, and at other broadcasting institutions like ITN, not so much Channel 4, is a kind of self-censorship.

It is known now by the reporters if they are reporting on an atrocity by the Israelis, in the occupied territories or elsewhere, that they have to add on to the end of their story some kind of appeasing story of how terrible the Palestinians are or how the Israelis have suffered.”

And:

“The pressure of this Israeli campaign has had a tremendous effect, especially at the institutional level of the BBC and inside the political parties. These people are extremely tough, tough minded. I have just read a book by Anthony Lerman called The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist. If you studied the internecine warfare that goes on inside the Jewish community between the different groups; the anti-Zionists, the Zionists, the liberal Zionists, the non-Zionists, it is vitriolic, it is dreadful, I mean what chance have we got outside that community.”

Llewellyn even described Jews as “an alien people”. He said:

“The situation in Palestine now is the direct result of British deviousness, betrayal…dividing Syria in at least three parts; Lebanon, Syria as it is now, and Palestine, and setting the stage for the imposition and the implanting of an alien country, an alien people in that region.”

Rowland described how the BBC’s obligation for accountability, because it is publicly funded, has been “used and exploited by very well organised pro-Israeli, pro-Jewish lobby groups.”

She said that she knew someone who worked in the complaints department of the BBC who told her “that 85% of the complaints he dealt with were complaints by pro-Israeli, pro-Jewish lobby groups complaining about the perceived bias of the BBC’s Middle East coverage.”

She said this gives an idea of “how well organised, well funded people use the idea of public accountability to tie up a lot of BBC resources on one very narrow focus.”

Alibhai-Browne told of how she had been given a rent free home in England by Professor Hugh Blaschko for seven years after she fled Uganda and how he had said to her that “Israel will bring the worst out in us Jewish people”.

Alibahi-Browne also compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.

Milne said “there are well funded and well organised organisations that campaign in support of Israel. If you’re editing in these area you will find pressure and campaigning constantly by those groups.”

During the Q&A I couldn’t resist mentioning, seeing she was in the audience, that I took the footage that contributed to Jenny Tonge’s exit from the Liberal Democrats. In a bizarre outburst right at the end she took to the microphone to announce:

“I’d like to say, I hope he hasn’t gone, a big, big ‘thank you’ to Richard Millett, the Jewish Chronicle, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the entire pro-Israel lobby who have relentlessly attacked me for eight years but making sure that the Palestinian cause gets heard.”

I have no problem at all with the Palestinian cause getting heard. The main problem for the Palestinians is that it is heard via the likes of Tonge, Milne, Rowland, Alibhai-Browne and Llewellyn.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to clarify exactly what Helen Boaden did say that led to Llewellyn’s accusation that the Board of Deputies of British Jews “practically lives at the BBC”.

Click HERE for Jonathan Hoffman’s view of last night.

Click HERE for MEMO’s version with photos.

MEMO Talk audio

Norman Finkelstein: “Israel could nuke Lebanon.”

Norman Finkelstein (New Jersey Jewish News Online)

Norman Finkelstein (New Jersey Jewish News Online)

Last friday I attended a round table discussion at CAABU (Council for Arab-British Understanding) with anti-Israel polemicist Norman Finkelstein.

Mr Finkelstein was coming to the end of his week’s speaking tour of British Universities.

Before he arrived CAABU’s education officer detailed CAABU’s recent trip to Gaza. They took two Lib Dem MPs, one Conservative MP and a Labour Lord and crossed into Gaza via the Rafah crossing.

There are two sets of schools in Gaza; those of a higher standard run by the UN and those run by “the government”. The government schools have their own syllabus which has a strong religious theme with no emphasis on human rights, unlike the UN run schools.

The CAABU party left behind “an expensive piece of medical equipment” which they are now trying to retrieve via the smuggling tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt. Basically, one of the politicians left his dentures behind.

Eventually Mr Finkelstein walked in with the air of Norman Bates and proffered his theory on where the Middle East could be going in the next 12 to 18 months.

It centred on Lebanon.

He thinks there is a United Nations plot brewing to wipe out Hezbollah as follows:

Israel had recently left the town of Ghajar in Lebanon only so it could claim that as it was now in full compliance with UN Resolution 1701 Hezbollah should be fully disarmed.

Michael Williams, the UN’s representative to Lebanon, has reiterated this call.

Israel will now try to escalate resolutions at the UN which call for Hezbollah to be disarmed.

Sanctions against Lebanon will be announced and once they start to bite the Lebanese people will call for Hezbollah to be disbanded.

Conveniently, the UN’s Special Tribunal on Lebanon is about to indict several members of Hezbollah over the killing of Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri in 2005.

This will ratchet up sectarian tensions in Lebanon as Hariri was a Sunni Muslim while Hezbollah is Shia.

Finkelstein’s own sources tell him that Hezbollah was not involved in the killing of Hariri, but it could have been Sunni extremists.

Meanwhile, CBC has just played a documentary in Canada, approved by the Harper government, detailing evidence linking Hezbollah to the assassination (view here).

Inevitably Iran will want to support Hezbollah.

But Hezbollah will be portrayed as a demonic power and a threat to international security making it impossible for Iran to support Hezbollah.

It will be similar to before the 1991 Gulf War when Sadaam was made to look like Hitler.

But the Lebanese will want to avoid 2006 again and so will comply with demands to disarm Hezbollah.

But Israel won’t want Hezbollah to disarm. They will want to show they have militarily defeated Hezbollah.

Israel is reconciled to Hezbollah rockets hitting Tel Aviv. There could be several hundred casualties but Israel will then destroy everything in Lebanon. It could be Armageddon.

Nasrallah thinks that Israel cannot absorb significant civilians lossed but he is mistaken. After the bungled operations on the Mavi Marmara and in Dubai Israel needs to prove its military prowess to deter others.

Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria and Turkey are tightening the noose around Israel. It is like the build up to 1967.

But Israel will deliver a big blow to cut the Muslims and Arabs, who only understand the language of war, down to size.

In 1967 Israel was fighting radical Arab nationalism. Now it is Islamic fundamentalism.

Israel has already stated it will apply the Dahiya Doctrine. This is “the use of pulversing force against a civilian population” as happened in Dahiya in 2006 when Israel destroyed the poor Shia town.

The first application of this doctrine was in Gaza.

Israel will then gloat that “we beat Hezbollah” and it will be like the miracle of the 1967 war again.

The war will probably come one June as June seems to be Israel’s “favourite month for raining death on neighbouring Arab countries”.

But it won’t come for a while yet as the UN resolutions will take time. The “UN lends legitimacy to these outrages” as in the Balkans, Iraq 1990-91 and Iraq 2002.

Nasrallah is “smart, competent and incorruptible”, exactly the sort of person the West doesn’t like.

Mr Finkelstein said he can understand why the Lebanese will want to avoid their country becoming like Gaza. In Gaza there were 650,000 tons of rubble and you’d have to multiple that several times for Lebanon next time.

“Israel will want to smash Lebanon to show the Arab world not to mess with us. Therefore, it won’t work by disarming Hezbollah.”

The 2006 war was unavoidable as Israel had been planning it since 2001 and is again working to re-establish its deterence capacity. Their mentality is to be patient and to slowly build up the facts like they did when they came to Palestine at the turn of the nineteenth century and in 1967.

Israelis are “crazy” and they will “send in everything. If everything doesn’t look like it is working and it looks like Israel is losing it won’t accept a third defeat. They will threaten the ultimate”.

He confirmed this as meaning nuclear.

In the meantime, if anyone finds a set of dentures in Gaza please contact CAABU……