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The BBC and Impartiality

We’re in the age of the policy, the charter and the mission statement. One can hardly buy a product or service these days without being bombarded by meaningless drivel on an individual, company or government body’s ethical principles.

Most of it is bollocks.

Click Here for some of the endless knots the BBC ties itself up in, in the pursuit of “impartiality” Click Here for more. The Beeb says it is simply maintaining impartiality by not allowing an appeal for humanitarian aid for Gaza to be broadcast. And yet by their refusal, have they not just declared their support for the Israeli government who claim there is no humanitarian crisis?

One can impartially judge whether there is a humanitarian crisis here:

The Disasters Emergency Committee are the organisation behind the Gaza Humanitarian Appeal. They have been around since 1963 and encompass 13 aid agencies including the British Red Cross, Christian Aid, Save the Children, Oxfam and Help the Aged. They too of course have a mission statement and critera for intervention. The three principles which govern their intervention are interesting.

1. The disaster must be on such a scale and of such urgency as to call for swift international humanitarian assistance.
2. The DEC agencies, or some of them, must be in a position to provide effective and swift humanitarian assistance at a scale to justify a national appeal.
3. There must be sufficient public awareness of, and sympathy for, the humanitarian situation so as to give reasonable grounds for concluding that a public appeal will be successful.

All I would suggest much more concise and helpful than the hand wringing rubbish currently emanating from the BBC. I will be donating to the DEC today and their address is on the clip below should you wish to help. (NB other broadcasters are mentioned on the clip. They have all, even Sky*, since agreed to broadcast the appeal)

*edit, actually Sky have refused to broadcast it after all. File them with BBC.


19 Responses

  1. I share your disgust with the BBC’s attitude Ben-Lo, but I go back to postings I made some time ago on this blog about the insidious and extremely powerful pro-Israel lobbies which exist both here and the USA.

    A recent cursory glance at the letters page of the Glasgow Herald would have given a local hint of the situation; reams of aggressive bile from people in Newton Mearns who’ve never witnessed anything more violent than a Tesco checkout queue.

    In my opinion this craven action by the BBC is merely further evidence, whilst the recent mealy-mouthed utterances of messrs Obama and Brown whilst tiny children were being shelled in Gaza were simply disgusting. Cut off the supply routes for arms to Hamas by all means – but stop supplying Israel too.

    Ask yourself just why so many individuals in positions of responsibility as well as a host of organisations are so cowed and afraid to offer any criticism of the Israeli Governement’s actions. And ask yourself why Obama was forced to very publicly stand four-square behind Israel well before the US election even took place.

  2. Its very difficult to comment in G.B. or U.S.A. without being accused of anti -semitism as they always take the moral high ground but I am going to take the chance
    Can someone explain the difference between the warsaw ghetto and gaza strip
    both have walls round them keeping people in have the people inside not got a right to fight back????

  3. Find out more about British Red Cross work in Gaza at
    or to donate to our appeal go to http://www.redcross.org.uk/gazacrisis

  4. The BBC and Sky may have taken the decision not to screen the appeal having viewed it and decided that it went beyond its remit. What guarantee does anyone have that money they donate does not end up in the hands of Hamas.

  5. The Israeli government are a law unto themselves and although I have sympathy for their civilian population being attacked ,if this was any other nation in the world our friends across the atlantic would not be slow to retaliate

  6. Fine posting, Rab … and some damn good comments from yir regulars too.

    There have been some astonishing reactionary articles supporting the Israeli massacres in Gaza, from those who should know better, and one recent notable inclusion in The Guardian which stated, quite categorically, that if you were critical of the present attack on Gaza then you were, without question, anti-semitic


    My anger and frustration at this present situation, and this level of emotive, irrational argument has literally left me in tears

    Well done Rab

  7. To Ham Ass I would say this; what guarantee does any of us have that our donations don’t fall into the wrong hands ? On this occasion I’m willing to take a punt that mine won’t – are you willing to put aside your facile cynicism and join me ?

    As regards the BBC’s remit, surely there now exists a glaring inconsistency in that it has a very long and honourable record in broadcasting appeals which involved war-torn populations, Africa being an obvious and frequent example.

    The truth is that post-Gilligan the BBC is a very scared and defensive broadcaster, and that serves no-one except those who would wish to subvert democracy, decency and justice. Let’s though be very clear; the recent actions of the Israeli Government do not command universal support within either the Israeli state or the wider Jewish community., and for that we should be thankful.

    Meantime, I hope very many people reading this blog make a donation but also actively do everything in their power to ridicule and reduce the next annual broadcast of ‘Children In Need’ – after the last few days what a hollow f***ing title that has become .

  8. I actually attempted to be “impartial” in my posting. When I listen to the arguments about bias etc. from these knobs at the BBC I feel like screaming “Which part of humanitarian is it you don’t understand?”

    I’ve made my donation and you can too at http://www.dec.org.uk/donate_now/

    Donating won’t make you a supporter of Hamas or Hezbollah as the Beeb seem to think.

    Stu, did the Guardian really say that? *shakes head*

    Fern Cake, I remember our agreement on Children in Need.

    It’s here https://bigrab.wordpress.com/2008/11/14/children-in-need/

  9. Children in need –in the world -which believe it or not is awash with money ,there should not be any children in need.
    how much has been spent on the “war against the axis of evil”
    enough to feed and clothe every child in the world
    all we are saying
    is give peace a chance
    but capitalism thrives on war -betcha hussein obama has to deal with Iranian “weapons of mass destruction” in his first term
    I am getting tired of this since viet nam demos in the 60s right though to the present day
    nothing has changed except the “enemy”
    As John Winston Lennon said IMAGINE

  10. Campbell, have you checked out Stu’s blog yet?


    You’ll find a kindred spirit there, and have a good laugh while your musical horizons are widened!

  11. Just checked it out Rab kindred spirit right enough

  12. Hi Rab

    The Guardian mention was in an article from a US correspondent ,,, in what I believe was an attempt to show both sides of the argument, but the torrent of criticism it drew was well-deserved and incredibly eloquent

    I’ll try to find it


    ps Thanx for the nice mention via sonsdiary

  13. There ya go


    Read it and despair … but read the comment replies and see that it actually brought many differing shades of opinion closer together in their condemnation of her piece

  14. Yeah I read the article, thanks for posting Stu – very interesting. I would be surprised if this were a typical Guardian article but I can only take that newspaper in small doses. The chattering classes examining their own navels and disappearing up their own arses can make occasional interesting reading but not on a daily basis!

    Ms Wurtzel will not find much favour with readers of that organ as the comments illustrate.

    Her American view of Europe being an “unbearable” place to be since 9/11 because of anti-American and anti-Semitic sentiment is astonishing.

    The view of some Jews that the holocaust somehow excuses any post war Jewish and then Israeli behaviour, and that anyone who says otherwise is an ant-Semite is as false as it is tiresome.

    I am no apologist for Hamas or Hezbollah. Indeed they are the first cousins of Al Queda. However if the Israelis wish to examine the reason that Hamas is the elected government of the Palestinians they need only look at themselves and the way they have treated the people of Gaza since occupation in the six day war of 1967.

    Richard Dawkins made a succinct point in the God Delusion. He maintained that if the apartheid system in South Africa had had a religious dimension to it, it would not have mattered how much people opposed it internationally, other governments would have steered clear of any condemnation. “They would have simply tiptoed away” he hypothosises.

    The situation in Israel/Gaza perhaps lends creedance to that view.

    I see that Obama is sending George Mitchell, Clinton’s envoy to Northern Ireland, to the Middle East. The 400 years or so of Irish conflict will seem like a Sunday school picnic compared to the biblical hatred he’ll find on his latest mission.

    Nonetheless I wish him luck. Solutions can only be found when people talk.

  15. George Mitchell?

    “Obama is sending George Mitchell!

    For a second, Rab, I read that as George Michael … !!!

    Now THAT would be interesting … but not if he started off by singing:

    “Well I gotta have FAITH, FAITH, FAITH”

    ‘Cos, like Norn Ironland, religion is the irrational motivation used by both sides for their own political ends

    Capitalislam, as ever, is the problem

    Good stuff here, Rab … I’m using yir posting on ma own site … cheers!!

  16. Just read the article by Elizabeth Wurtzel – she sounds like our own Nick Cohen or David Aaronowitz in drag. Despite taking around 800 words she fails to make any coherent point, indeed the sarcastic tone betrays the fact.

    Her attempts to belittle Chomsky remind me of Denis Healey’s savage put-down to Geoffrey Howe regarding being ‘savaged by a dead sheep’. Ehud Olmert and Co would be well placed to heed Chomsky’s observation that ‘you don’t eliminate terrorism by indulging in it’.

    The Israelis will never achieve a peaceful outcome in the Middle East by brute force. And maybe that’s the whole point, deep down they don’t really aspire to peace. The laager mentality ensures millions of dollars annually and a conveyor belt of weaponry, whilst their powerdul patron applies the thumbscrews to the UN and world opinion.

    All of which leaves dilettantes like Wurtzel to whip up synthetic indignation over their skinny latte. Let her stay in the USA; the most over-entertained and ill-informed nation on earth is where she belongs.

    One last point re my earlier point about the petrified BBC. On last night’s BBC News Nick Higham reported that Email reaction to the Appeal decision had been ‘mixed’. By 9pm it was standing at 15000+ to 200…..mixed indeed.

  17. Well YEEEEEHAH … Mr Cake, or can I call ye Fern?

    Hope yir no presenting “This Morning” and have a gastric by-pass, by the way … ???

    Just a word of respect for your very fine contributions to this item, sir

    Top stuff, and damn well expressed


  18. The problem about USA is its insularity they have one of the biggest populations who do not hold passports
    they dont believe in the origin of the species and have the largest flat earth society in th world
    The vikings knew more about the wider world than the average Yank

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