This is a cross-post from Howie’s Corner
Last weekend the well respected historian Simon Schama launched his new TV series, The Story of the Jews, on BBC 2. It began with a general look at Jewish people and then examined some of the Biblical pre-history of the connections of Jews in ancient Israel. An interesting programme, not much that people might not have known but a good introduction.
There are four more parts to go and in particular I am interested in the period from the Roman “expulsion” of the Jews through the travails of the Diaspora to the Holocaust and its subsequent effects on the modern day. This of course would explain why many Jews felt a need to return to their ancient homeland.
Of course this has upset some of the modern day political activists who have a vested interest in all sorts of denials. There are those in neo-Nazi circles who still try to deny the fact the Holocaust took place and have seemingly influenced anti-Semitic elements in the world of Islamist politics.
Then there are those who claim to act on behalf of others and ignore to the point of denial the very existence of the Jewish people and their connections to their ancient homeland. One of these is the so-called Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Their latest wheeze is to complain to the BBC about the programme, particularly the as yet unseen final episode about the holocaust.
The PSC have written the following letter to the BBC:
Open letter to Janice Hadlow
3 September 2013
Dear Ms Hadlow
In June, we wrote to the BBC to express our concern at the removal of the documentary Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story from the BBC Four schedule with no credible explanation.
We note that an edited version of the documentary is now due to be shown in November, with an accompanying discussion programme. The discussion programme, according to the BBC, is intended to provide balance and context to the documentary.
We also note the new BBC Two series The Story of the Jews, presented by Simon Schama. In an interview in the Radio Times (31 August-6 September), Schama describes himself as an ‘historian-Zionist’ and says he will be making ‘the moral case for Israel’ in the final episode of this five part series.
We find it alarming that the BBC is giving a platform to an openly pro-Israeli commentator to make the ‘moral case’ for Israel. Schama’s views will go unopposed, unchallenged and unanalysed. This is a far cry from the balanced and impartial broadcasting that the BBC claims to champion.
The difference in the BBC’s treatment of Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story and The Story of the Jews is a further indicator of the organisation’s lack of impartiality in its treatment of Palestinian and Israeli issues.
Why can the one documentary only be screened with an accompanying discussion programme, while the other will be broadcast with neither balance nor context?
We await your clarification on this matter.
Disgusting, censorious rubbish.
The Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (TULIP) campaign responds thus:
Critics have long suspected that the London-based “Palestine Solidarity Campaign” opposes a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians and considers the very existence of the Jewish state to be illegitimate. (Their logo is a map of an undivided Palestine.)
Union supporters of the PSC sometimes deny that, saying that the organisation does support two states, though there is little evidence of this.
This week, the PSC once again seemed to be openly challenging not this or that Israeli policy, but the actual existence of the Jewish state.
In a letter the campaigners sent to the BBC, they criticize the television station for showing a new series on the history of the Jews. The PSC press release about this letter includes a link to an article in the Jewish Chronicle in which the series’ presenter, Simon Schama, says that the last programme in the five part series “takes the viewer up to the present day, focusing on the impact that the Holocaust has had on the modern state of Israel.”
The PSC says “Here we have the BBC giving a platform to a Zionist to make a ‘moral case for Israel’, unopposed, unchallenged and unanalysed.”
In other words, what concerns the PSC, which is supported by many of Britain’s largest trade unions, is not so much Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but its very existence — which needs to be “opposed, challenged and analysed”, as they put it.
The time has come to challenge and fight back against these peddlers of hate.
Trade Unions should now disaffiliate from the PSC and rethink their policies in order to fight for a real just and peaceful solution to the Israel Palestine conflict. That is a two-state solution. Israel and Palestine side by side.
Any other demand will lead to genocide.
Part 2 of Simon Schama’s Story of the Jews is on BBC 2 at 9pm on Sunday 8th September. Part one can still be accessed on line.