Bowen’s ‘bias’

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment & Analysis -

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

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