Beware of the BBC

Its mission statement says: “Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.”

However, people are complaining bitterly to the BBC about its pro-Israel stance when reporting on the situation in the Holy Land.

Once renowned as the benchmark for fairness and accuracy, the BBC nowadays is careless with the truth when handling news from the Palestinian territories illegally occupied by Israel: the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

We were treated to a prize example earlier this week. The flagship Today programme, which goes out weekdays from 6am to 9am on Radio4, marked the anniversary of Israel’s blitzkrieg with a feature on the Gaza economy, in which I heard presenters claim at least three times that the purpose of Operation Cast Lead was to stop the rocket attacks across the border.

This is untrue. The rockets stopped months before Israel’s assault with the start of the ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which held from 19 June until 4 November 2008, when Israel deliberately dashed hopes for peace by staging an armed incursion into Gaza killing several Hamas men.

Under the ceasefire Israel had undertaken to lift the economic blockade, but didn’t do so. Nevertheless Hamas kept its side of the bargain and fired no rockets.

So 1,400 Gazans, including some 350 women and children, didn’t have to die under Israeli bombardment. All Israel needed to do was extend the truce by keeping the peace and lifting the evil blockade as promised.

But it’s not about rockets, is it? No rockets are launched from the West Bank, yet Israel keeps the West Bank tightly sealed and all movement cruelly restricted under a punitive military and administrative matrix of control.

The death and devastation inflicted on Gaza is really about Israel’s unquenchable lust for land and its criminal desire to subjugate, expel or annihilate the native population.

The BBC also failed to provide accurate context regarding the Israeli township of Sderot, the main target for Hamas rockets. Ed Sturton reporting from Sderot didn’t explain how the land on which Sderot stands was once a Palestinian village called Najd, whose residents were ethnically cleansed and put to flight by Jewish terrorists in May 1948. Many of them ended up in refugee camps in Gaza. Sderot is therefore a source of real grievance to the Palestinians.

Under UN Resolution 194 and also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the villagers of Najd, along with hundreds of thousands of others who were dispossessed at gunpoint, are entitled to return to their homes but have been denied their rights by Israel.

So, has our “trustworthy” BBC fallen under Zionist influence just like the British government? They certainly give a disproportionate amount of air-time to pro-Israel figures such as the Israeli ambassador, the regime’s spokesman Mark Regev, the Chief Rabbi and assorted politicians who wave the flag for Israel, all of whom speak good, clear English. On the rare occasions when the BBC interviews a Palestinian they choose someone who is unintelligible. I can’t remember when I last heard the Palestinian ambassador Manuel Hassassian, who speaks excellent English and can put the Palestinian case eloquently.

The BBC also adopts Israel’s language and definitions. Palestinians not Israelis are the militants. Hamas not the murdering occupiers are the terrorists. A single captured Israeli soldier is deemed more newsworthy than the 10,000 abducted Palestinians (some of them women and children) rotting in Israeli jails. It is imperative that Israelis not Palestinians feel secure within their borders. Israelis not Palestinians have a right of self-defence…

A few years ago a study of TV news coverage by Glasgow University’s Media Group showed how the BBC and others distorted the Arab-Israeli conflict and misinformed the British public by presenting the Israeli government perspective and featuring mostly pro-Israel politicians. Today the gap between the BBC and its mission pledge to be “independent, impartial and honest” seems just as wide.

Of course, none of this is news to the Palestinians. I make these points only for the benefit of western readers especially Brits and Americans who are victims of media bias, and for Israelis who live on a diet of fiction, and for Zionists everywhere who wouldn’t recognise the truth if it fell on them.

Stuart Littlewood, after working on jet fighters in the RAF, became an industrial marketeer in oil, electronics and manufacturing, and with innovation and product development consultancies. He also served as a Cambridgeshire county councillor and a member of the Police Authority. He is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and has produced two photo-documentary books including Radio Free Palestine (with foreword by Jeff Halper). Now retired, he campaigns on various issues, especially the Palestinians' struggle for freedom. Read other articles by Stuart, or visit Stuart's website.

17 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Shimshon said on January 22nd, 2010 at 9:39am #

    So I understand that news are only impartial, independet and honest if they are pro-palestinan?

  2. MichaelKenny said on January 22nd, 2010 at 10:07am #

    Indeed. None of this is news. But it is not just a problem in regard to Israel or the BBC. All media outlets, including internet sites, are owned and financed by someone and that someone calls the shots. It has always been so, but what has changed is the morality of the owners. And, indeed, of pressure groups. Scruples have gone out of fashion. Being able to “get away” with something is assimilated to a right to do it. The BBC is no better and no worse than anyone else, and the drop in standards is no greater there than anywhere else. Because of anonymity, undeclared pseudonyms, false flagging, etc, the internet is a liar’s paradise far beyond anything the BBC could ever get away with. In terms of the media, therefore, you should distrust the BBC to same extent, and for the same reasons, as you distrust, for example, Stuart Littlewood. Or, for that matter, me!

  3. Ismail Zayid said on January 22nd, 2010 at 11:44am #

    There is nothing new in that. The BBC like our Canadian and US media, amongst others, have to obey the Zionist lobby and their superiors’ orders, not to mention the bias evident in their political leaders’ statements and policies.

    The reference to the study by Glagow University’s Media Group, about the role of the BBC and other media in reporting on the Arab-Israeli conflict, was very interesting. That survey of the sudents at the University reeported that the majority of the students were not sure whether it was the Palestinians or the Israelis who were the occupiers of the others’ territory, thanks to the media coverage.

  4. Rehmat said on January 22nd, 2010 at 5:54pm #

    The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is supposed to be a publically owned multi-media company – but in reality most of its top management and decision-making positions are held by pro-Israel Jews. The latest addition to BBC executive board is Marcus Paul Agius (b. 1946) born into a Jewish family and married to the daughter of Edmund de Rothschild, the family known to be the founder of Israel.

    It was Marcus, who allegedly influenced BBC decision not to broadcast British MP and former Moyor of London, George Galloway’s appeal for humanitarian aid for the Gazan victims of Zionazi thugs……

    BBC’s Jews

  5. Shimshon said on January 23rd, 2010 at 5:27am #

    That the Jews control the media is a Far Right Myth recently adopted (but often adjusted to “Zionists control the media”) by the far left as well. Media control is one part the antisemitic conspiracy theories that Jews control the world, something pushed by the protocols of the elders of Zion and used by both Tzarist Russia and the Nazis to justify attacks on Jews.

  6. Danny Ray said on January 23rd, 2010 at 7:00am #

    One of my favorite stories is the one about the Jew who is going into the barracks at Dachau, he sees his friend reading the SS party newspaper and says what in the hell are you reading that rag for, his friend says I like to read about how powerful we are.

  7. Rehmat said on January 23rd, 2010 at 8:12am #

    Frankly, this ‘anti-Semitism WMD’ coming from the Khazarian Jews now occupying Palestine never impressed me – even tough our prime minister, Stephen Harper, told Canadians a few months ago: “Criticism of Israel is the olf-fashioned anti-Semitism”.

    Israel’s deadliest weapon

  8. Shimshon said on January 23rd, 2010 at 8:56am #

    Anti-Zionism has become the most dangerous and effective form of anti- Semitism in our time, through its systematic delegitimization, defamation, and demonization of Israel. Although not a priori anti-Semitic, the calls to dismantle the Jewish state, whether they come from Muslims, the Left, or the radical Right, increasingly rely on an anti-Semitic stereotypization of classic themes, such as the manipulative “Jewish lobby,” the Jewish/Zionist “world conspiracy,” and Jewish/Israeli “warmongers.” One major driving force of this anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism is the transformation of the Palestinian cause into a “holy war”; another source is anti-Americanism linked with fundamentalist Islamism. In the current context, classic conspiracy theories, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, are enjoying a spectacular revival. The common denominator of the new anti-Zionism has been the systematic effort to criminalize Israeli and Jewish behavior, so as to place it beyond the pale of civilized and acceptable conduct.

  9. Melissa said on January 23rd, 2010 at 10:11am #


    Do Jewish texts, Torah and Talmud, call the Jewish people the Chosen Ones? Do the texts promote a specialness to this group of humans? Does Isreal recognize the right of non-Jewish humans to move freely, vote, access education in their country?

    My questions are genuine, I have not read these texts, nor have I visited Isreal.

    In the interest of context, does the Christian bible portray Christians as special, above others? Does the Koran elevate Muslim humans above others? Does Vatican believe Catholics are most special? Do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they have the only “truth”?

    Would you promote the state of Wyoming as a Christian only state? Or perhaps Missouri a Christian of Baptist flavor state? -meaning these humans have sole right to property, voting, holding official office, protection under law?

    Please help me understand.

    Peace, Resistance, Hope,

  10. Shimshon said on January 23rd, 2010 at 10:33am #

    Contrary to popular belief, Judaism does not maintain that Jews are better than other people. Although we refer to ourselves as G-d’s chosen people, we do not believe that G-d chose the Jews because of any inherent superiority. According to the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 2b), G-d offered the Torah to all the nations of the earth, and the Jews were the only ones who accepted it. The story goes on to say that the Jews were offered the Torah last, and accepted it only because G-d held a mountain over their heads! (In Ex. 19:17, the words generally translated as “at the foot of the mountain” literally mean “underneath the mountain”!) Another traditional story suggests that G-d chose the Jewish nation because they were the lowliest of nations, and their success would be attributed to G-d’s might rather than their own ability. Clearly, these are not the ideas of a people who think they are better than other nations.

  11. Shimshon said on January 23rd, 2010 at 10:35am #

    Judaism – twice as old as Christianity, thee times as old as Islam – was the call to Abraham’s descendants to create a society of freedom, justice and compassion under the sovereignty of God. A society involves a land, a home, somewhere where the “children of Israel” form the majority, and can thus create a culture, an economy and a political system in accordance with their values. That land was and is Israel.

  12. kalidas said on January 23rd, 2010 at 11:34am #

    You left one out, Samson.
    (where’s Delilah when you need her?)

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain said on January 25th, 2010 at 4:17am #

    Right, Shimson, so when Rabbi Kook the Elder the former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Palestine said, ‘There is a greater difference between the soul of a Jew and the soul of a non-Jew…than there is between the soul of a non-Jew and that of animals’, he was wrong was he? Or misquoted? One could add voluminous similar references all of which point to a literal belief in Jewry as a higher form of existence than non-Jews. Perhaps you are not aware of the Yesha Council of Rabbis and Torah Sages declaring, during Israel’s vicious onslaught against Lebanon in 2006 that murdering civilians in time of war was not merely acceptable under Judaic law, but in fact was a ‘mitzvah, or good deed.
    The assertion that anti-Zionism is equivalent to anti-Semitism is a lie, a putrid and vicious lie put about by the Zionists and their Sabbat Goy employees in Western politics and the media, to vilify,intimidate, and, if they get their way, criminalise criticism of the Holy State. After all, Judeophilia is far more valuable than free speech, at least in pecuniary terms, as the corrupt Western political elite know. In fact many Jews, the decent ones as it happens, are also anti-Zionist, as they see Zionism as the moral equivalent for Jews of Nazism for Germans, fascism for Italians or Phalangism for Spaniards. In other words a fascist, racist and intensely aggressive philosophy at odds with the better currents of Judaic thought and belief.
    And I must say I do admire your chutzpah. When the political systems of the West are as plainly controlled as they manifestly are, by Zionists, when no dissenting voices are allowed in politics to criticise Israel as it truly is, when the media are 99% biased to Israel and the Palestinians, save for a few Quislings, are completed banished from the mainstream discourse, to assert that Judaic control of the West is a myth, takes some gall. But that is one quality that Zionists have never been short of.

  14. Maryb said on January 25th, 2010 at 4:56am #

    Stuart Littlewood wrote critically and correctly about Stourton speaking from Gaza on the Today programme.

    I watched a Panorama replay last night about the takeover of Palestinian property and land in E Jerusalem. The reporter was by Jane Corbin and in the credits noticed that Fiona Stourton was the producer of this programme outsourced to a production company Blakeway. She used to work for the BBC and lo and behold it turns out that she is Stourton’s second wife.

    ‘Fiona Stourton joined Blakeway as an Executive Producer from the BBC in 2006, bringing an expertise in current affairs to Blakeway’s documentary portfolio. Since joining Blakeway, Fiona has been responsible for a slate of high profile current affairs commissions. In 2008 Fiona was appointed Managing Director of Blakeway Productions while Denys Blakeway remains Chairman of the company he founded fifteen years ago, concentrating on creative development and programme production.’ (

    Personal life
    Stourton is a descendant of the 19th Baron Stourton and in very distant remainder to this barony presently held by his cousin Edward Stourton, 27th Baron Mowbray. He is the son of Nigel Stourton CBE, who worked for British American Tobacco, and Rosemary Abbott, being brought up near Patrick Brompton. He first married Margaret McEwen in 1980 in Kensington, the daughter of Sir James Napier Finnie McEwen, a Baronet. They had three children together.
    He married Fiona Murch on 8 November 2002 at Chelsea Register Office. She was an editor for BBC2 (producing the Correspondent programme, in which Edward featured, although he left the programme) with whom he had lived from 2001. They live in Balham, London. He is a Roman Catholic[5] and has an extensive knowledge of the Roman Catholic faith.
    Stourton’s Eton/Cambridge educated son Ivo James Benedict, born 1982, has recently published his first book: a fiction novel entitled “The Night Climbers” (Doubleday 2007). His other two children are Thomas Edward Alexander (born 1987, and went to Eton) and Eleanor Mary Elizabeth (born June 1984). He has a stepdaughter, Rosy.

    Here is John Hilley’s excellent analysis of the Panorama programme. He is a contibutor to mediialens and is renowned for his expert knowledge on the BBC bias for Israel. His correspondence with the BBC is in the medialens forum.

    It seems that we have had two biased programmes from both Stourtons. Shocking.

    PS Ms Corbin is married to John Maples MP (Con) who achieved notoriety recently when it was discovered that his expenses claim included the RAC Club in Pall Mall for his second home allowance. The Palestinians are having their ONLY homes demolished and taken off them.

    You get the drift here. Chips off the old blocks.

  15. jon s said on January 25th, 2010 at 9:04am #

    In answer to your questions: Yes , Israel recognizes the rights of its non-Jewish citizens to move about, vote and attain an education.
    On the” Chosen People” issue here’s part of something I wrote a while ago on this forum:

    On being “Chosen”: the concept itself exists and is undeniable : observant and traditional Jews include in their prayers a blessing to God who “chose us from among the nations”. Also the well-known “Aleinu” prayer gives thanks for creating us different, “and our destiny is not the same” [as that of other nations].
    However – and this is the main point – “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “superior”. In the Bible, Abraham is chosen to be the father of the nation, but God doesn’t make him King of the World. Instead, he is required to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. No power over others , no superiority, only an agonizing sacrifice. The Torah is also quite clear on equality: “One law shall be unto him that is homeborn and unto the stranger…” (Exodus 12:49); “Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger as for the home-born” (Leviticus 24:22) , and elsewhere.
    Sadly, over hundreds of years , including the 20th century, being “chosen” has meant being singled out for discrimination, persecution and annihilation.
    (There’s a heart breaking Hebrew poem by Nathan Alterman , from 1942, on Jewish children , “chosen from all the children in the world ” , chosen to be murdered. I haven’t been able to locate an English translation.)
    I recall a discussion I had with my father (of blessed memory) on the “Chosen People” topic. He said that being “chosen” doesn’t entail any kind of privilege in relation to other peoples, only obligations : to live an exemplary moral life, to stand up for good against evil, which, for him, meant fighting for social justice and against racism and fascism. It also entails a feeling of pride in our traditions and heritage.
    Of course there are other interpretations , we all know that there are Jewish extremists, chauvinists and racists, as there are among other peoples. Their brand of Judaism is by no means the dominant one.
    I wouldn’t presume to answer the question about other faiths.

    The myth of ” Jewish power” and ” Jewish control” has been a favorite Anti-Semitic theme from way back , a myth which should have been laid to rest after the Holocaust when it turned out exactly how weak and helpless the Jews really were in reality, as opposed to Nazi-propaganda-land.

  16. Maryb said on January 25th, 2010 at 9:33am #

    Stourton has committed his covert Zionist view of Gaza to paper in the Catholic ‘The Tablet’. Almost as good at dissembling as Blair, that other good Catholic.

    The article is sly but loaded against the people of Gaza.

  17. bozh said on January 25th, 2010 at 11:15am #

    Hebraic difference as per torah are: hebrew shall be light onto the world; they shall have servants but not serve others; they shall be lenders and not borrowers[from hated aliens?]

    And nobody gets rich by working?