This is a guest post by Joy Wolfe
If the ‘lobby’ was one-tenth as strong as Peter Oborne and the motley crew of anti-Israel whiners who featured in the disreputable programme on Monday night would have us believe, then the attitude to Israel in the UK would be demonstrably different.
It wasn’t just the content of the programme – it was the whole tone of its presentation. Direct quotes were spat out at the camera, and the menacing face of the presenter pushed into the faces of viewers with absolute venom.
And what is this lobby with its alleged huge power accused of?
Taking MPs and journalists to Israel and giving them the opportunity to meet Israelis and Palestinians to see the reality on the ground!
What about the trips funded by CAABU and wealthy supporters in the strong pro-Palestinian lobby ? One big difference of course. They are only exposed to the negative aspects of the conflict and not given the opportunity to see things from the perspective of the victims of rocket attacks in Sderot and northern Israel. When is someone going to do an exposé of that?
Providing funding for political parties and individual MPs? Do a little digging into which MPs accept funds for their pro-Palestinian views and activities, either in the UK or from the Saudis and other interested wealthy Arab sources.
Another accusation was that the appeal for victims of Gaza was not broadcast on the BBC as the result of pro-Israel Jewish pressure. On the contrary, many of us wanted it broadcast because we foresaw just that reaction if it wasn’t. And perhaps the most ludicrous of all was the suggestion that the Jewish lobby was responsible for the witholding of the Balen report on the BBC. What a joke. It was Israel supporters who went to court to try to get it released!
Most despicable were the personal attacks on Jewish philanthropists who not only support Israel, but who are also at the forefront of charitable giving to so many important UK causes. Could it be that the reason that many have never heard of Poju Zablodowicz is because he is a quiet, unassuming man who goes about his business in a perfectly legitimate way, choosing to financially support a cause in which he passionately believes? As for citing the value of his house, now that really is pure antisemitism, and I am one who uses that label very sparingly. There are a good few pro-Palestinian houseowners whose wealth and the value of their homes never hits the headlines, and rightly so in my view. It’s only when wealth can be used to stigmatise Jews that you will see it broadcast or in print…..
Is it a surprise that Conservative and Labour Friends of Israel fight Israel’s corner, any more than it is a surprise that CAABU, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Muslim Public Affairs Committee that promote antisemitism and demonise Israel and anyone who supports her, pushes the Palestinian side of the conflict?
That is their raison d’etre.
Where is the outrage about and denigration of THEM? When is Alan Rusbridger going to allow the truth about them to grace the columns of the Guardian or be written about on “Comment is Free”? His contribution to the programme was not exactly stellar.
Apart from much innuendo, clear bias, deliberate choice of known Jewish anti-Israel activists such as Liberal Rabbi David Goldberg, Avi Shlaim and Antony Lerner, and a selection of unsubstantiated and, in many cases, purely mythical claims, what did this programme achieve other than reinforcing the anti-Israel bias of those who already hate the Jewish state, or, sadly, inciting further antisemitism? As for trying to suggest that constantly stirring anti-Israel feeling does not lead to increased antisemitism, that is pure and unadulterated rubbish.
Hopefully the Channel 4 audience will have been mostly the entrenched anti-Israel bunch and us – because we couldn’t resist watching to see how bad it would be – and there were relatively few whose minds could have been changed by such flimsy and unconvincing material.