Channel 4 News

Channel 4 is not “Promising” for British Jews


This is cross posted at Richard Millett’s Blog

Sub-headline from Guardian interview with Kosminsky

Many British Jews woke up this morning feeling a little less welcome living in the UK. The overall feeling of watching the four episodes of The Promise is one of inciting racial hatred.

And it says a lot about the current UK environment that anti-Jewish propaganda is now so freely available on British tv and not just British university campuses.

Peter Kosminsky spent seven years writing The Promise but consulted avowedly anti-Israel groups like Breaking the Silence, Combatants for Peace and ISM and also British soldiers who had come under fire from Jewish military groups.

His facile conclusion is:

“The most striking thing I’m left with is a question: how did we get from there to here? Like most British soldiers we interviewed, arriving in Palestine from the war in Europe, Len Matthews felt only sympathy for the Jewish plight. Having seen the ovens of Bergen-Belsen, his heart tells him that Jews deserve a place of safety, almost at any price. In 1945, that view was shared by most of the world. In the era inhabited by Erin, his granddaughter, just 60 years later, Israel is isolated, loathed and feared in equal measure by its neighbours, finding little sympathy outside America for its uncompromising view of how to defend its borders and secure its future. How did Israel squander the compassion of the world within a lifetime?” (See a response to this here).

There was no attempt at balance or context. Jews and Israelis were portrayed as evil and the Arabs were portrayed as the good guys.

And these are the words that Len, the main British Mandate character in The Promise, writes in his diary as he departs British Mandate Palestine:

“We’ve left the Arabs in the shit. But what about the Jews and their bloody state for which they fought so hard? Three years ago I would have said give them whatever they want, they deserve it after all they have been through. Now I’m not so sure. This precious state of theirs has been born in violence and in cruelty to its neighbours. I’m not sure how it can thrive.”

Channel Four also recently showed War Child, a documentary on the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead in which “the Jews” were portrayed as going on a killing spree against Palestinian children.

And a few years ago it allowed mass murderer of his own people and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to broadcast a Christmas speech. Then there is the anti-Israel Jon Snow who seems to split his career between reading Channel 4′s nightly news and chairing anti-Israel events.

Last night we finally found out what “the promise” of the title was all about. In 1948 Len, the British soldier, had promised, but failed, to return the key of the house owned by an Arab family he had befriended and who he ordered to flee to avoid being massacred by the oncoming Jews. 62 years later this promise was fulfilled by his grand-daughter, Erin. When she told him in his hospital bed back in the UK that she had finally returned the key he just lightly squeezed her hand before passing away without speaking.

To arrive at that point we witnessed some six hours of unmitigated demonisation of Jews; both those in British Mandate Palestine and those living in Israel today.

We watched as Erin gradually turned into a hardcore anti-Semite due to her experiences in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. She was an epileptic who suffered three seizures during the series. But the only time she fitted was when she was with Jews, never with Arabs.

The first time was in an Israeli nightclub when she collapsed on to the floor shaking uncontrollably and instead of anyone coming to help the Israelis just laughed at her.

The second time was when she was being reprimanded by the wealthy Jewish family she was staying with in Israel for bringing an Arab back to the house.

The third time was when she was confronted by three aggressive Israeli soldiers while she was trying to comfort a sick Palestinian woman who had been removed from her house just before it was about to be blown up because her family helped to shield a suicide bomber.

Meanwhile, Jews during the British Mandate Palestine era were all portrayed as brutal cold-blooded murderers with Kosminsky concentrating solely on the Irgun.

British soldiers and Arabs were constantly seen being shot by Jews, while we only see one Jew killed. Len shot a Jew dead while defending his beloved adopted Arab family.

No one would be able to comprehend from this series that almost 6,000 Jews died fighting the Arabs between 1947 and 1949, equivalent to 1% of the Jewish population of British Mandate Palestine at the time.

Nor was there any context to the Irgun’s actions. British government policy had become so anti-Jewish that the Jews were fighting for their lives.

In 1939 the British had reversed their own 1917 promise to the Jews to create a Jewish homeland. Instead only 75,000 Jews were now to be allowed to immigrate in to British Mandate Palestine over the next five years, after which the immigration numbers would be up to the Arab majority to decide. By 1949 British Mandate Palestine would effectively become another Arab state.

The Irgun put off any fighting until this five-year period had expired. When there was no change in this British policy they starting fighting, which consisted of attacking buildings, not people (It was the Stern Gang, a small group of extremist Jews, who had no compunction about attacking civilians, soldiers and diplomatic figures).

The Irgun attacked the King David Hotel, as shown in The Promise, but not before, according to Menachem Begin, phoning through ignored warnings to evacuate.

In The Promise we were also shown Jews massacring unarmed Arabs in the village of Deir Yassin.

Begin claims that a warning was given to the inhabitants of Deir Yassin, so throwing away the element of surprise. He claims heavy fighting ensued and the Irgun suffered casualties of four dead and forty wounded, not as portrayed inThe Promise.

Benny Morris claims that Arab radio broadcasts inflated what took place at Deir Yassin, and it was this that helped instigate the flight of the Arabs from all around the country.

But in The Promise the Arabs flee as a direct response to this “massacre” and fear of what the Jews might do to them. Again, there is no mention that up to 400,000 Palestinians did not flee.

The Promise also failed to mention La Saison when the Haganah (the main Jewish military force in British Mandate Palestine) caught members of the Irgun and handed them over to the British.

Instead, we were treated to one scene where British soldiers were shot through their heads as they sat in a military jeep outside a restaurant while rich Jewish diners just carried on eating, drinking and laughing.

Of course Kosminsky tried to promote what he thought was the Jewish/Israeli narrative.

The Promise occasionally flashed back to real scenes from The Holocaust, but there was no explanation of the Jews’ historic connection to Israel. The implication was that the Jews had stolen a country belonging to another people.

Second, Kosminsky showed two suicide bombings. The first one was just after an Israeli left-wing character had explained how the Security Wall has Arabs on both sides of it; some inside Israel proper and some inside the West Bank. The implication of the suicide bomb taking place straight after this was that the Security Wall was ineffective to stop suicide bombings and was merely a political tool used to grab more Palestinian land.

And after the second suicide bombing Erin, quite incredibly, befriends the family of the suicide bomber and even tried to stop their home being blown up by the IDF. This despite Erin not knowing the extent of the knowledge that the Palestinian family had about the intentions of their terrorist daughter.

Kosminsky also had Jewish children in the West Bank attacking Arab families with rocks while the IDF looked on and the IDF using a child as a human shield. We also saw a bulldozer almost run down Erin, recalling the death of Rachel Corrie in the same way. This is all straight out of an ISM handbook.

The Promise had everything for the Jew hater and Israel hater, but what you won’t see is a series about the Arab uprising in British Mandate Palestine between 1936-1939, which was brutally put down by the British and in which some 5,000 Arabs, 300 Jews and 260 Britons were killed and during which the Peel Commission offered the Arabs 80% of British Mandate Palestine, which the greedy Arab leadership duly rejected.

It was this that sowed the seeds for what followed and for the Arab defeat in 1948, but, as ever, why let facts get in the way of demonising Jews and Israel.

85 replies »

  1. Nadia

    The point I think I am making is that Jews and Arabs are not that different and everyone needs to deal with this issue with a bit more humanity, thought and care.

    Maybe after adding to this the obligatory Kumbaya, you should tell the above to the Hamas leadership. When you got their full agreement please post again here.

  2. Ariadne

    I’m far from being an expert on contemporary anti-semitism and all what I know about it is my own personal experience. I travel a lot mostly in Europe, and only in three countries I met any anti-Israeli or anti-Jewish hostility. In one case (Hungary) I witnessed an anti-Jewish/Israel and anti-Roma demonstration, the demonstrators were mostly skinheads and similar half illiterate mob. The two remaining cases (Sweden and the UK) the involved persons were definitely not working class but intellectuals. What is especially interesting about the UK that with the exception of Norway and Sweden (where the number of visible Jews is close to nil) it is the only place in the western half of Europe where anti-semitism is socially tolerated (even supported by leading politicians and intellectuals).
    I’m sure that in France or Germany the kind of anti-Jewish/Israel incitement what you can read occasionally on the pages of the Guardian (and other mainstream sources like the BBC, Ch 4 etc.) would meet wit zero tolerance by the eshtablishment.

  3. Gosh Ariadne, the way you talk about Arabs is really quite appalling. ‘That lots descendants’ and ‘their multitudinous’ offspring. I don’t really need to point out where we have heard rhetoric like this before, do I?

    And with that I will sign off. It is impossible to have a sensible debate if you are going to be offensive and talk about other humans with such little respect. And for the record there is documented evidence that those Palestinian Arabs did have a right and a claim to the land which was taken from them and continues to be taken from them today.

    Peterthehungarian – don’t try and take the moral high ground, that was lost 60 years ago.

  4. Peter, do you not think in some cases though what you interpret as being anti-Semitic is anti-Israeli? I am always surprised when Jewish people who speak out against Israeli policy are accused of being anti-Semitic. Can that really be the case?

  5. Nadia

    I am always surprised when Jewish people who speak out against Israeli policy are accused of being anti-Semitic. Can that really be the case?

    Sorry to inform you that your naivete and let me say ignorance is almost unbelievable.

    When demonstrators in the Netherland are screaming that Hamas, Hamas Jews to the gas – you can interpret this anti-Israeli?
    When a leading British politician accuses the Israeli rescue mission in Haiti with being there for organ harvesting from the victims – you consider it anti-Zionism?
    When a highranking official of the FO is screaming publicly fucking Jews and call for wiping them out of existence and after that can continue working for the government unpunished- is it in this book criticism of Israely policy?
    When the mayor of London can call a journalist a nazi guard only because of him being Jewish – ist it some kind of legitimate dialog?

    And what would you say about the kaffiye carrying but white and blonde thugs in Stockholm who tried to attack Israelis without even knowing who they are and stopped thair violence only after they realized that these Israelis are able to protect themselves and they will be delegated to a hospital ER very fast? They were against Israeli policy?

    FYI I speak out against Israeli policy almost 24/7 and not consider myself an antisemite.

  6. Peter, you highlighted my comment: “I am always surprised when Jewish people who speak out against Israeli policy are accused of being anti-Semitic. Can that really be the case?”

    and then you responded with a lot of examples of non-Jewish Europeans being abusive and anti-Semitic, but that’s not what I was questioning.

    I was asking why Jewish people who speak out against Israel are often accused of being anti-Semitic – in particular I have seen this accusation made against Peter Kosminsky by Jewish commentators and I find it puzzling.

    If I condemn the Saudi Royal Family for being undemocratic and for abusing the human rights of some of their citizens, I am making comment about the way the country is governed, but I am not being anti-Arab.

    I just feel that some Jewish commentators deliberately label any anti-Israeli comment as being anti-Semitic which I feel is inaccurate and unfair.

  7. Peter:

    “When a highranking official of the FO is screaming publicly fucking Jews and call for wiping them out of existence ”

    Can you provide a link ?

    “When the mayor of London can call a journalist a nazi guard only because of him being Jewish ”

    You take this COMPLETELY out of context. Livingstone called him a Kapo because he was a Jewish journalist working for a newspaper with a history (in the 1930’s) of anti-semitism. You may not like his language, but that was his thinking.

  8. I was asking why Jewish people who speak out against Israel are often accused of being anti-Semitic – in particular I have seen this accusation made against Peter Kosminsky by Jewish commentators and I find it puzzling.

    I didn’t know that Kosminsky is Jewish and I wouldn’t give a whatever about his religious/national/ethnical/racial affiliation.
    When somebody blatantly falsifies history depicting all Jews in his film as evil sadistic childkillers and everyone of their enemies as snowwhite Santa Theresa – this person is definitely an antisemite irrespective of being himself Jewish. Your puzzlement shows your simply unbelievable ignorance and – how to express it without hurting your excessively delicate feelings – let’s call it naivete.

    You should educate yourself Nadia – I suggest you google Israel Shamir and Gilad Atzmon, both of them are Jewish.

  9. diss

    google Rowan Laxton

    Livingstone hugging Quaradawi the leading Jewhater and terrorist enabler of the Muslim world is certainly a sign of his love of Jews.

  10. Peter, I appreciate what you say and I have been embarrassed for Germans and French people who felt they had to apologise for actions carried out when they weren’t even born. That is very sad.

    But because we did not have their kind of history this country has an ignorance and smugness concerning WWII. Not having enemies on our doorsteps allows us to swill around in a horrible kind of ignorance but of course there are the costume dramas someone mentioned, the Raj, the British Empire etc. Past glories which perhaps could not survive a Cecil Rhodes. And we don’t by and large have a thinking population. It’s almost “because they (in Europe) were so bad we don’t have anything to be guilty about”. We didn’t send Jews to death camps. Other countries did. That about sketches British smugness, I think.

    But there is Cruel Britannia. The facts are around us though in the main not on television.

    A question is that without Churchill would USA have entered the war? The customary thing to say in Britain is that we (or Churchill) won the war. There’s an excellent book written on the subject of the importance of Churchill. His importance was in his failing to lose the war. Britain had no money to fight it. Churchill got the American interest and American loans. An elderly relation of mine says “If not for America we’d all be speaking German”.

    People with their rags and tatters of history cling to whatever is apparent to them. That we fought for six years is. Then USA is attacked for calling it 1941-1945. The French hate us for not saving them in 1940.

    Absolutely none of the foregoing excuses Jew-hatred. The uneducated brand is what I describe here, I think.

    As for the “educated” kind, how do I produce an image here?

    In common with many other people I would like British Jews to have more of the characteristics of Israelis. But part of the history here is that people were afraid to be Zionists in case they would be expelled from their own country, Britain.

  11. “When somebody blatantly falsifies history depicting all Jews in his film as evil sadistic childkillers and everyone of their enemies as snowwhite Santa Theresa – this person is definitely an antisemite irrespective of being himself Jewish. ”

    Change “Jews” for “Arabs” in this paragrah and you sum up 20 years of Hollywood output rather accurately.

  12. Ariadne:

    “In common with many other people I would like British Jews to have more of the characteristics of Israelis.”

    Can’t you just leave them in peace ? Maybe they are happy to be British and don’t wish to be sent on some guilt trip by you. Maybe they would like to treat subjects on interest and merit and not have absoluteley everything put through the semitic prism.

  13. diss

    I would like to remind you that the subject is a film by Kosminsky and it is nothing to do with Hollywood. Or do you put Kosminsky on their level?

  14. How is it being “left in peace” when antisemitic attacks have increased in frequency?

  15. Ariadne

    Without the US all what would have left of Europe would speak either German or Russian.
    Exactly this fact is the main reason of Europeans hating the US (and naturally their superiority in almost every area).

  16. Well I don’t agree that Kosminsky falsified history, all of the main events he depicted are supported historically. Actually I do think the fact that he is Jewish is very relevant, why shouldn’t it be, I bet if he was an Arab Muslim you would deem it to be relevant.

    With respect, I have a BA Hons in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Manchester, which I studied for 4 years. Whilst there are still many more texts for me to read, as I am sure there are for you too, I don’t appreciate you telling me that “I need to educate myself” simply because I don’t happen to share your world view. As for ‘delicate feelings’, I’ve seen far more ‘toy throwing’ and emotive language coming from you and Ariadne than from me.

  17. “I don’t appreciate you telling me that “I need to educate myself” simply because I don’t happen to share your world view.”

    Quite.

    Nadia, posters on this thread do not appreciate open, honest debate, as you are discovering. Misconstruing your posts, disingenuousness, and ad hominem attacks and hyperbole seem to be the norm.

    Hence why there are so few visitors here. It’s a veritable hotbed of self-pity and navel-gazing.

    Another site by an Israeli wannabe, OyVaGoy, cut me off because I refused to join in the Stalinist handclapping.

    So much for free speech.

  18. diss said:
    “but GB could have made peace with Hitler and kept their Empire. That GB didn’t is to its eternal credit and you should be generous enough to recognize it.”

    LOL!

    diss, you really believe that nazi Germany and imperial Japan would have let GB keep its Empire (because of an agreement on paper, like NG let Stalin keep his empire due to the non-aggression pact of 1939???)

    LOL!

    What’s next diss, that WW2 was a lie cooked up by Zionists?

    LOL!

  19. diss, BIG thanks for your help in sharpening our debate skills.

    Your easily refuted claims like NG would have let GB keep its Empire are one such example.

    And of course you let your self open for more easy refutation by ignoring the facts of Arab/Muslim murderous attack on the UK, from WITHIN the UK.

    Unless you want to deny that too.

    LOL!

  20. “Your easily refuted claims like NG would have let GB keep its Empire are one such example.”

    You can talk probabilities, but not certainties. It is well documented that A.Hitler did not see the UK as a natural enemy and would have been happy for the British Empire to co-exist with the Reich. This was absolutely NOT what he thought about Bolshevik Russia, hence his repudiation of the Molotov Ribbentrop pact.

    Can’t you debate normally, without the insults and LOL’s ?

    Don’t bother answering…

  21. Peter:

    “When a highranking official of the FO is screaming publicly fucking Jews and call for wiping them out of existence ”

    Can you provide a link ?

    Still waiting.

  22. Nadia

    Well I don’t agree that Kosminsky falsified history, all of the main events he depicted are supported historically.

    I would say that this is your problem but later you write this:

    I have a BA Hons in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Manchester, which I studied for 4 years.

    This is very sad Nadia. If you have been taught the history of the I/P conflict according to the film in your place I would urgently demand my tuition fee back. If this is true then it says everything about not you but the Manchester University ME department.
    Fortunately I’m living among living witnesses of the period and can hear first hand accounts about these events from Jews and Arabs too.

    Actually I do think the fact that he is Jewish is very relevant, why shouldn’t it be, I bet if he was an Arab Muslim you would deem it to be relevant.

    Nadia maybe you don’t realize this but the content of your sentence is pure and unadultered racist bigotry.

    BTW After your 4 years of ME studies you certainly understand Hebrew so let me finish my post in this language:

    מנצ’סטר יוניברסיטי מוסט בי אקולקשן אוף איגנורנט פולס.

  23. I add that Winston Churchill (half-American on his mothers side) was the Greatest Man of the 20th century.

  24. diss

    Did you google Rowan Laxton as I suggested tu you and didn’t get anything?

    You should change your browser diss.

    But I never would leave you in need of some information:

    Only the first ten hits of 19500

    All Results1-10 of 19,500 results· Advanced
    Rowan Laxton – Undiplomatic « Denry
    Category: Law, Media, Middle East, Politics, Anti-Semitism, Rowan Laxton (Update – In March 2010 Rowan Laxton was acquitted of racially aggravated public disorder after …

    denryblog.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/4Rowan Laxton, UK Diplomat, Arrested Over Alleged Anti-Israel Tirade
    Rowan Laxton, UK Diplomat, Arrested Over Alleged Anti-Israel Tirade – The Huffington Post

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/10/rowan-laxton-uk-diplomat-_n_165661.htmlForeign Office diplomat arrested over ‘anti-Semitic’ rant
    Rowan Laxton, 47, an expert on the Middle East, allegedly shouted “f*****g Israelis” “f*****g Jews” while watching television reports of the Israeli attack on Gaza in …

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/4564216/Foreign-Office-diplomat-arrested…High-ranking Foreign Office diplomat arrested over anti-Semitic …
    A high-ranking diplomat at the Foreign Office has been arrested after allegations that he launched a foul-mouthed anti-Semitic tirade. Middle East expert Rowan Laxton …

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1139249/High-ranking-Foreign-Office-diplomat-arrested…Language Log » The diplomat, the bishop, the bomber, and the …
    Quite a few newspapers (the Daily Mail being foremost amongst the sensationalizers here) wrote in February last year that UK Foreign Office bureau chief Rowan Laxton had …

    languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2803Convicted, anti-semite returns to Foreign Office « Denry
    Category: Anti-Semitism, Middle East, Politics, Rowan Laxton (Update – In March 2010 Rowan Laxton was acquitted of racially aggravated public disorder after a retrial …

    denryblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/convicted-anti-semite-returns-to-foreign-officeAnti-Semitism Without Anti-Semites
    Rowan Laxton was watching news of Israeli military activity in Gaza on television while working out on an exercise bike at his central London gym. What happened next …

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heidi-kingstone/anti-semitism-without-ant_b_178270.htmlAnti-Jew frenzy at the FCO
    The Daily Mail reports that a high-ranking Foreign Office diplomat, Rowan Laxton, has been arrested after he launched into a screaming anti-Jew tirade.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3338211/antijew-frenzy-at-the-fco.thtmlCivil servant faces sack over anti-Israel rant
    9/24/2009 · A senior Foreign Office civil servant was today facing the sack after being convicted of racially aggravated harassment . Rowan Laxton, who heads the South …

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/sep/24/rowan-laxton-foreign-officeRowan Laxton Discography at Discogs
    Add to Watchlist; Add to Favorites; Data Quality Rating: Correct

    http://www.discogs.com/artist/Rowan+LaxtonPagination
    12345Next

  25. One person watching the Gaza war and shouting “*****” doesn’t make the country anti-semitic, however much you would love to believe it.

    Some Israelis have been known to shout “death to Arabs”: what should I conclude about Israel on that basis?

    I missed your earlier link; apologies.

  26. Actually we were taught about the I/P conflict from an objective stand point, and I sat alongside British atheists, British Jews, some Zionist, and British Muslims during those 4 years, all learning the same history, but of course the nature of the study of history is to interpret documents and accounts.

    we all had our own opinions about the conflict. We didn’t all agree or share the same views, but we were able to have constructive debate with out resorting to attempts to undermine or belittle someone because they didn’t agree.

    For the record I am not a racist bigot and I am saddened that you feel the need to resort to name calling in order to puff up your argument.

    I really am going to sign of now as this clearly isn’t a place where outsiders are welcomed… read into that what you will.

  27. diss

    One person watching the Gaza war and shouting “*****” doesn’t make the country anti-semitic, however much you would love to believe it.

    Are you serious? Rowan Laxton is not “one person” and not a garden variety bigmouth from a pub – he’s a high ranking British diplomat! Do you really want to compare a leading British public official to football hooligans in Jerusalem?

    And again you put words in my mouth… I didn’t say that your country is antisemitic at all – I said that your society tolerates anti-semitism – exadctly as Laxton’s example proves it – as far as I know he’s working for the FO even today.

  28. Nadia

    For the record I am not a racist bigot and I am saddened that you feel the need to resort to name calling in order to puff up your argument.

    For the record maybe according to the books of the Manchester University ME department taking into account the racial affiliation of a person when considering his/her opinion on a certain subject is not racist bigotry – others – the huge majority – hold it the classic example how to define it.

    Either the above mentioned academic institution should be ashamed of you or you should be ashamed of your alma mater.

  29. “I said that your society tolerates anti-semitism – exadctly as Laxton’s example proves it – as far as I know he’s working for the FO even today”

    Well you don’t know do you ? Furthermore the court case and outrage rather disproves your point: the fact that this reached all newspapers proves that anti-semitism is NOT tolerated in the UK.

    Oddly, Melanie Phillips anti-Muslim bile is tolerated…go figure.

  30. diss

    Well you don’t know do you ? Furthermore the court case and outrage rather disproves your point: the fact that this reached all newspapers proves that anti-semitism is NOT tolerated in the UK.

    Maybe you should post a link to the statement of the Foreign office announcing cessation of his employment. Maybe he left the job voluntarily but officially he never has been fired.

    But have you ever heard of the punishment of the British commentator who said that two Jewish member of the commission examining the circumstances of the UK role in Iraq should be replaced? Maybe the guy who proudly declared that he doesn’t read letters to the editor in connection with ME matters if the sender has Jewish name? Has he been disciplined? Not at all. Or what happenef with Baroness Tonge after demanded an international investigation regarding the accusations of Israeli organ harvesting in Haiti? Is she in prison or in the Liberal Party?

    And Melanie Phillips? Have you ever heard of whataboutery?

  31. “Have you ever heard of whataboutery?”

    Yes, it goes like this: “what about Boudica, the Falklands, the Saxons”.