June 24, 2004


Mid-East coverage baffles Britons (James Read, BBC London, 6/24/04)

An academic study suggests that TV news coverage in the UK on the Middle East conflict confuses viewers and features a preponderance of Israeli views.

So much so, that many viewers think Israeli territory is occupied by Palestinians, not the other way round.

And despite extensive media coverage of the conflict on television, some Britons believe Palestinians are refugees from Afghanistan. . . .

The report says the main shortcomings include:

Preponderance of official Israeli perspectives
Origins of the conflict overlooked
Israeli actions contextualised but not Palestinian actions
Emphasis on Israeli casualties
From reading a summary of the report, it appears that the origins of the conflict include the fact that in
1967 Israel fought a further war with its Arab neighbours and in the process of this, occupied Gaza and the West Bank, thus bringing the Palestinian refugees under its military control. East Jerusalem, which has great religious and cultural significance for both Israelis and Palestinians was also occupied (taken from Jordan).
How unneighborly. Of course, to really put everything in context, every report on the middle east should note that Abraham, the first Jew, exiled his son Ishmael, the first Arab, to the desert.

The point, of course, is that this sort of "context" is infinately reductive, with each side able to point to one earlier step of which they were the victim and which, had it not occurred, would have averted all the succeeding violence. In the west we still distinguish, perhaps naively, between people strapping bombs to themselves and seeking out civilians to murder, on the one hand, and military action, on the other. We also have noticed that, if the Palestinians simply wanted a state, they could have had one years ago. Unfortunately, they don't simply want a state, they want a particular state and that state has different ideas.

Posted by David Cohen at June 24, 2004 10:08 AM

The "academic studies" reveal that BBC listeners are moronic or the academic studies are.

Posted by: genecis at June 24, 2004 10:21 AM

To be fair, if I drank as much as most Brits are reputed to drink, I'd be baffled about most everything.

(Off-topic: GO ENGLAND!!!)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at June 24, 2004 11:18 AM

"each side able to point to one earlier step of which they were the victim"

As with Barry, off topic, but it is the same with reparations. I'll give it to the blacks as soon I receive my check as an Irish descendant from the Angles, Saxons, Normans, Romans, Danes, Norwegians...

Posted by: Rick T. at June 24, 2004 11:42 AM

Actually, inadvertently, they lucked out on the truth. Israel has been the actual nation, recorded
in history. People always referred to Bethlehem, not Beit-Lam, Hebron rather than El Khalil, and
no one has really used the Arab name for Jerusalem; Palestine, as far as it ever existed
was a colony of the Egyptian satrapy, or the Syrian Umayyads, never any unique identity

Posted by: narciso at June 24, 2004 12:04 PM

The fix has to be in on this study. Clever way to sideline those anti-Semitic charges. After all, this is science.

Posted by: Peter B at June 24, 2004 3:36 PM