Thursday, August 26, 2010

Israeli propaganda on BBC Panorama

I just watched Death in the Med about Israels invasion of the peace mission to Gaza. As usual it was biased by omission but what was creepy is a name that appeared in the credits. Israel Goldvicht. I encountered him in 2002 just after i returned from Palestine. He was credited as a producer in the Correspondent series on BBC Television who broadcast a report about the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Undercurrents sold footage of inside the Church during the siege. Israel had stolen the images and given them to the BBC. I challenged and won payment from the BBC and discovered just how the programme was made.

The director told me that they couldn't broadcast their programme without Israel approval but felt it was worth it, as they had 'exclusive access' to the negotiating team of Israel during the siege. In 2010 we have a similar situation and I think probably the same deal was struck. Jane Corbin the reporter was most likely offered exclusive access to the Israeli commandos in return for leaving key points out of her report (such as 1500 women and children being killed during Israels assault on Gaza).

Reporter John Pilger helps us understand the BBC’s making of “Death in the Med”
This is an extract from an article published in 2002, it is so telling as it explains BBC’s relationship with Israel Goldvicht, an Israeli producer who might as well be an official agent of the Israeli hasbara (propaganda) machine. Goldvicht would have been key to getting Jane Corbin “embedded” with the Israeli commandos as they strut their GI Joe stuff.

We need to follow Israel Goldvicht and see what other exclusives he has offered reporters in return for promoting Israels side of the story. Ken O' Keefe, a US activist is doing just that.

So here is Pilger’s take on it;
On June 9, the Correspondent series on BBC Television broadcast a report about the recent siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This was an exemplar of the problems identified in the Glasgow research. It was, in effect, an Israeli occupation propaganda film put out by the BBC. It was made as a co-production with an American channel, and the credits listed the producer as Israel Goldvicht, who runs an Israeli production company. That would have been fine had the filmmakers made any attempt to challenge the Israeli military with whom they had ingratiated themselves. “The Israelis were determined not to damage the buildings,” began the narrator. “The international press were cleared from Manger Square, but we were allowed to stay and observe the Israeli operation…” With this “unique access” unexplained to the viewers, the film presented one Colonel Lior as the star good guy, guaranteeing “medical treatment to anyone wounded,” saying a cheery hello on a mobile phone to a friend in Oxford Street and, like any colonial officer, speaking about and on behalf of the Palestinians.

“Killers” were described by the colonel without challenge by the BBC/Israel Goldvicht team. They were “terrorists” and “gunmen,” not those resisting the invasion of their homeland. Israel’s right to “arrest” foreign peace protesters drew no query from the BBC. Not a single Palestinian was interviewed. As the sun set on his fine profile, the last word went to the good colonel. The issues between the Israelis and Palestinians, he said, “were personal points of view.”
Well, no. The brutal subjugation of the Palestinians is, under any interpretation of the law, an epic injustice, a crime in which the colonel plays a leading part. The BBC has always provided the best, most sophisticated propaganda service in the world, because matters of justice and injustice, right and wrong are simply usurped either by “balance” or by liberal sophistry; one is either “pro-Israeli” or “pro-Palestinian.” Fiona Murch, the executive producer of Correspondent, told me that Israel Goldvicht Productions would not have won the “trust” of the Israeli army had the producer asked real journalistic questions. That was the way of “fly on the wall”: a candid admission. “It was breaking a stereotype,” she said. “It was about a good, decent man” (the colonel). She said I ought to have seen an earlier Correspondent series, which had Palestinians in it.

I think she was trying to offer that as “balance” for “The Siege of Bethlehem”-a film that might be dismissed as cheap PR, were it not for its complicity with a regime that uses ethnic difference to deny human rights, imprisons people without charge or trial, and murders and tortures “systematically,” says Amnesty.
Goebbels would have approved.

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