It’s hard to avoid a smirk of satisfaction when listening to overwrought accusations that the BBC is biased against Palestinians, when for years supporters of Israeli groups have been accusing the BBC of anti-Israel bias–for reasons that are amply documented. In fact the BBC’s own board of governors has censured the BBC’s online service for anti-Israel prejudice in the past.
The latest accusations are spurred by the BBC’s refusal to run an appeal for donations to war “victims” in the Gaza Strip. The protesters claim that this is simply a matter of humanitarian sentiment and there is nothing political, certainly nothing anti-Israel, about the appeal.
That claim is belied by pictures such as this one, which show the protesters carrying signs that read not “Help Gazans” but “Gaza: End the Blockade” and “Gaza: Free Palestine.” The call to “End the Blockade” is effectively a call for Israel to open up the border crossings, which would allow Hamas to vastly increase the amount of military materiel it smuggles in. The call for “Free Palestine,” if it isn’t a coded appeal for Israel’s outright destruction, is presumably a call for lifting all Israeli restrictions on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which would cede both territories to terrorists bent on the Jewish state’s destruction.
To understand why the “appeal” for Gaza is a political issue, imagine what would have been the reaction during World War II if some nation not involved in the conflict–say Argentina–were to stage an “appeal” for “German war victims.” Would this have been seen as a neutral example of humanitarianism in action or as a pro-Axis gesture? Surely the latter, and for good cause. I never thought I’d say it, but the BBC is right on this one. Would that it happened more often.