Amnesty hosts deluded self-obsessed conspiracy theorists (JC Blog 24 May 2011)

To mark 14 years of blogging and during the quieter summer break I am republishing some of my blogs which were inadvertently deleted. This one was about supposed Zionist control of the media.

Despite representations from the Board of Deputies, Amnesty went ahead with this Israel hate event. This was no surprise since Amnesty has been taken over by a person or persons with a malevolent agenda towards Israel – see all my previous blogs on meetings there. Notably I have offered Ruvi Ziegler as a Speaker but this offer has been ignored by Amnesty’s Campaigns Director Kristyan Benedict (he who told Richard Millett that he would “smack me in my little bald head”).

About 15 of us demonstrated before the meeting. Well done to Campaign4Truth for organising this.

I guess that in one respect the meeting (which was largely about the BBC) was music to our ears. The pro-Israel lobby was incessantly said to have cowed the BBC into parroting its own output…. (If only!) Greg Philo for example said (in so many words) that the advocacy manual published by The Israel Project has become the BBC’s Style Guide on Israel. Would that it were so …. The question I wanted to ask was just why was the BBC so much in thrall to the few of us who actively support Israel? But I never got the chance because Victoria Brittain (of the Guardian) who was chairing didn’t call me despite having my hand up throughout the Q+A. She never called the other pro-Israel person in the audience (of c250) either. That’s how powerful we are …

Reality check: The BBC will never refer to Hamas as ‘terrorists – always ‘militants’. BBC journalists are instructed to say ‘regarded as illegal under international law’ whenever the settlements are mentioned. And Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East Editor, was ruled by the BBC Trust’s Editorial standards Board to be in breach of the organisation’s guidelines on impartiality and accuracy. The notion that the BBC is biased in Israel’s favour is about as absurd as saying that Harold Shipman was kind to old people.

The first speaker was Greg Philo, author of Bad News from Israel, a book which in short claimed the media was biased in favour of Israel because it did not reflect his extreme pro-Palestinian view of history. (Philo has a new update out called More Bad News from Israel, inevitably published by Pluto Press who specialise in this drivel (they published Ben White’s book too)).

Here is what Mike Brennan (Warwick University) had to say in his review of Philo’s book:

Ultimately this is a rather tendentious and agenda-driven book in which the researchers set out to prove their own politically-inflected views. Its claims are based upon data generated by the selective use of historical material and flawed research methods. The net effect of the book will be to reinforce perceptionsof Israel as monolithic, and will give succour to those who claim that the western media are controlled by ‘Zionists.’

According to Philo Israel has a very sophisticated propaganda system (I wish). All their speakers are organised to give the same message …. BBC journalists “wait in fear for the phone call from the Israelis.

The next speaker was Tim Llewellyn (ex-BBC). Panorama’s Death on the Med was distorted but “it has become impossible to raise these issues with the BBC” (those pesky omnipotent Israel supporters hard at work again …) The level of Llewellyn’s bias became clear when he said that the BBC should be supervised by an independent body, not by the Trust. The truth is that the BBC has a “dual key” regulatory structure involving both the Trust and OFCOM. Then Llewellyn – unbelievably – told the audience members they should complain that Labour, the Conservatives and the LDs have no “Friends of Palestine” organisations (they all do of course).

Finally Abdel Bari Atwan spoke. The first thing he did – to prove that “the Israel Lobby“ was out to silence him – was to hold up the JC’s front page: “How Was This Hatefest Allowed on Campus?” Atwan is convinced that the “Israel Lobby” is to blame for the fact that he is not invited as a guest on TV shows (he thinks he gets “worse coverage than Adolf Hitler“). Has he considered that it might just have something to do with the fact that he is an extremist who says that he will “dance in Trafalgar Square” if Iranian missiles hit Israel?

This meeting was uncomfortably redolent of the thesis in the forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” which claimed that Jews controlled the Press. Shame on Amnesty for hosting it. It is about time that Amnesty members made their voice known against this racist garbage.

Update 1: Richard Millett has blogged on this sick farce, here:

Update 2:

Some great posts in Harrys Place on this sick farce:

The Wisdom of Tim Llewellyn

Amnesty guest MEMO publishes another diatribe by a racist

As HP says, Llewellyn is “a freelance Israel hater with quite a taste for antisemitic language.