I, FOR ONE, was not surprised by the contents of the internal briefing by Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor ( JC, January 12). As he demonstrated in his book, Six Days, Bowen clearly adopts the view, now widely held in Europe, that the ills of the Middle East may be attributed to aggression and manipulation by the Israelis and incompetent bumbling by the Arabs.
What he and that majority fail to understand is that the vast majority of Israelis would swop a significant part of the land under dispute tomorrow if genuine peace was on offer.
What is ignored or misunderstood is that the measures taken by Israel, in the face of an uncompromising Arab and Muslim world wedded to the idea of its destruction, are ones that Israelis themselves find deeply distressing and hopefully temporary. But Israelis also recognise that the measures are necessary if the State of Israel and its Jewish inhabitants are not to become the most popular guys in the graveyard.
Where Bowen, the European chattering classes, and previously Cherie Blair, fundamentally get it wrong is that through their partisan support and one-sided sympathy for the Palestinians, they are providing encouragement and giving more reasons to continue the conflict than finally to end it. Nigel Gilmore Hale, Cheshire YOUR LEADER appears to be shocked at the BBC when it comes to reporting on Israel. I would be most interested to learn when, during Israel’s existence, has the BBC not been biased?
With regard to Jeremy Bowen, he may be an experienced commentator on the Middle East, but anyone having followed his reporting from the area over many years would be hard pushed to find any report that did not harshly critisise Israel.
To restore any credibility among Jewish viewers, both the journalist and his bosses must not only project a balanced viewpoint, but also try to avoid openly championing the Palestinian cause at every opportunity. Stephen Vishnick High Road, London N20 IT DOES not need a leaked memo to know Jeremy Bowen’s anti-Israel stance. One only has to listen to his reporting. After all, it is surely a prerequisite of the job. Geoffrey Gilbert Grove End Road, London NW8 WHAT CUCKOO-LAND do those who take exception to Jeremy Bowen’s leaked remarks inhabit? The remarks are honest: they are not anti-Israel. Is Bowen expected to keep shweig (silent)? His job is to observe and to comment truthfully. Marcus Brooke St Clair Avenue, Giffnock, Glasgow