BBC Betrays Jeremy Bowen

Beeb betrays Bowen

After witnessing his local colleague and driver, Abed Takkoush, being incinerated by an Israeli tank near the Lebanese border in 2000, Jeremy Bowen was shot at himself. Andrew Balcombe, Zionist Federation Chair, immediately wrote to the BBC Trust demanding Bowen’s removal as Middle East Editor claiming that this incident – a ‘tragic mistake’ – ‘may have coloured (his) views about Israel.’ Ever since, the zionists have been gunning for Bowen, unearthing internal emails in which he carried out his remit of reviewing the situation in the Middle East for fellow staffers, and claiming in the Jerusalem Post, ‘Jeremy Bowen faces Mecca while he writes for the BBC.’

New efforts to undermine him have resulted in the BBC Trust caving in to the ZF and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (Camera).  Complaints that Bowen’s online analysis, How 1967 defined the Middle East and his report From Our Own Correspondent BBC Radio 4, 12 January 2008 were ‘chronically biased’ came from Jonathan Turner of the ZF and from Camera. Even though the Trust only upheld three out of 24 specific complaints, this has been spun as a huge victory and Turner called Bowen’s position ‘untenable.’ The 118-page report published by the BBC Trust was lambasted for ‘failing to offer correctional steps.’  The complainants even claimed BBC editorial guidelines are ‘illegal.’

For describing Jebel Abu Ghoneim (Har Homa) as ‘a big concrete housing development,’ when the complainant insisted that the buildings were faced with Jerusalem stone, Bowen was accused of using language that ‘appears to be calculated to promote hatred of the Jewish state and the Jews.’

His statement: ‘For Palestinians, the settlements are a catastrophe, made worse every day by the fact that they are expanding fast’ was upheld as accurate, even though the complainant argued that the settlements were ‘beneficial economically’ to the Palestinians, are ‘not expanding’ and they are ‘militarily necessary for Israel’s security.’ Another of Bowen’s statements that annoyed the ZF was that Israel was ‘in defiance of everyone’s interpretation of international law except its own.’ This time, the Trust found that Bowen’s language was ‘imprecise’ and suggested he should have qualified ‘everyone’ with ‘nearly everyone.’

The BBC Trust claims that Bowen’s online piece ‘breached the rules on impartiality’ because readers might come away from it thinking that the interpretation offered was the only sensible view of the1967 war. As Robert Fisk commented: ‘…I suppose the BBC believes that Israel’s claim to own land which in fact belongs to other people is another “sensible” view of the war.’ The Independent journalist admits feeling nauseous every time he types ‘Trust’ into his laptop. ‘…That word,’ he wrote, ‘which so dishonours everything about the BBC.’

Anthony Lerman observed in the Guardian: ‘There’s something faintly distasteful about the whole exercise…one wonders whether people behaving like vexatious litigants should really be given such credence.’

The ZF submitted that the number of complaints to the BBC from pro-Palestinian groups has reduced over the past three years; hence, the BBC must be pro-Palestinian.

The BBC Trust’s report can be read in full at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/appeals/esc_bulletins/2009/mar.pdf

Meanwhile, the long-running Freedom of Information case between Steven Sugar and the BBC over publication of the Balen Report is back in the High Court. The ZF manufactured a storm over an internal document produced by a senior editorial adviser hired in 2004.  They are hopeful that Malcolm Balen, appointed to appease the zionist lobby, found the BBC was biased against Israel.  The corporation is appealing a House of Lords ruling that overturned a previous decision that the report was ‘for the purposes of journalism’ and therefore exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

None of Balen’s public comments indicate his report would be anything other than bland. The Thomas Report, an independent inquiry commissioned by the BBC Governors in 2006, took Balen’s findings into account. They concluded, far from being biased against Israel, the BBC had work to do to make their coverage more even-handed.

BBC news managers responded to Thomas: ‘An internal BBC News review, led by senior editorial adviser Malcolm Balen, led to greater resources being allocated to the Middle East and the appointment of a specific editor, veteran foreign correspondent Jeremy Bowen.’

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