The Guardian on Panorama

This is a cross-post by Chas Newkey-Burden at OyVaGoy.

When The Guardian’s John Crace wrote a ‘digested read’ review of Melanie Phillips’ book The World Turned Upside Down, he was less than pleasant. Crace wilfully misrepresented the book, hurled personal abuse at Phillips, and sneered at both Judaism and the threats that Israel faces. His digested reviews are often funny and clever. But with this one his ugly prejudices came boiling to the surface.

So when I saw he had been chosen to review Jane Corbin’s mostly-admirable Panorama report on the flotilla incident, I wondered if he would be sensible and fair. He was neither.

“It was still hard to piece together what exactly did happen,” he writes. It isn’t really though is it, John? It’s only hard if you refuse to accept any evidence that paints Israel as anything but the bad guys. Then it’s probably very hard.

Laughingly, he then describes the IHH as “a Turkish humanitarian NGO”! Yes, John. And the IRA was an Irish flower-arranging group, wasn’t it? Proving his grasp on the basic facts of the flotilla incident is tenuous he also presents as an unanswered question: “Was the Mavi Marmara actually carrying aid to Gaza?”

Crace then introduces, unchallenged, this insane statement: “The IHH said its members… had gone out of their way not to kill anyone.” Call me old-fashioned, John, but where I come from stabbing someone and smashing him repeatedly in the head with a metal pole is going out of your way to kill them rather than the other way round.

“The Israelis – and Corbin, surprisingly – claimed the Mavi Marmara was carrying worthless aid, because the medicines were out-of-date – though these seem a fairly precious resource in a war zone,” he adds. Ask anyone with even basic medical knowledge and they will tell you that out-of-date medicines are at best worthless and at worst lethal. Precious? Quite the opposite. But again the truth doesn’t fit John’s agenda so he looks the other way. I have a few small issues with the Panorama show, but in the main I found it admirably fair. Perhaps that disappointed Crace.

I had a meeting with IDF spokeswoman Avital Leibovich last week in Jerusalem. She told me about her work behind the scenes with the Panorama team. I’ll write about that meeting in due course.

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