Philo-Palestinian essay at CiF on the powerful and dangerous public relations machine of the Jewish state

Greg Philo, the research director of Glasgow University Media Unit – recently seen at a clearly fair and balanced event titled “Complicity in Oppression: Does the media aid Israel“, sponsored by the openly Islamist group, MEMO – published a piece at CiF (Israel’s PR machine shames newscasters, May 31) warning that the UK media is being manipulated in their coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by the dark forces of Israeli hasbara.

For those wishing to read well-documented reports demonstrating that the opposite is indeed the case, and that the BBC has an institutional bias against the Jewish state, I’d direct you to a recent quantitative analysis by Just Journalism, or one of several qualitative analyses by Trevor Asserson of BBC Watch, or an admission by BBC’s Director General Mark Thompson in 2010 that BBC was massively biased to the Left, but Philo’s broad assertion about bias is less interesting than the malevolence he imputes to Israel and her supporters.

Philo cites a report by his organization which focuses on the period of the 2nd Intifada (2000 and 2004) and not only asserts that the BBC was pro-Israel in its reporting, but goes further by citing unnamed sources who complain of  “the intense pressures they are under that limit criticism of Israel.”  These same unnamed sources, we are told, “asked us to raise the issue in public because they can’t.”  Philo informs us that they speak of “waiting in fear for the phone call from the Israelis”. [emphasis mine]

Philo’s conspiracy of Zionist intimidation doesn’t end there, however, as  he noted darkly that Israel engages in “PR” and even created a National Information Directorate – which links to a piece by Rachel Shabi which reports, as something ominous, that Israel’s hasbara department coordinates its “core messages with bodies such as friendship leagues, Jewish communities, bloggers and backers using online networks.”

Philo proceeds to characterize as chilling work done by The Israel Project to assist the Israeli government hone their talking points – using effective language to refute anti-Israel allegations.  Says Philo:

“In the US, messages were exhaustively analysed by The Israel Project, a US-based group that, according to Shimon Peres, “has given Israel new tools in the battle to win the hearts and minds of the world”. In a document of more than 100 pages (labelled “not for publication or distribution”) an enormous range of possible statements about Israel was sorted into categories of “words that work” and “words that will turn listeners off”. 

Philo, who evidently is more disturbed by the organized efforts of The Israel Project than by the anti-Semitism of his Hamas friendly friends at MEMO, concludes by adding his observation that “there is a remarkable likeness between these and the content of TV news headlines. “Many journalists bought the message”, he says, evidently not considering that some  journalists may have simply determined that Israel’s message was more credible.  

But, for Philo, even the straight forward characterization of Cast Lead as an Israeli war against Hamas, and not a war against the Palestinian people – He cites two reports: “The bombardment continues on Hamas targets” (BBC1, 31 December 2008); “The offensive against Hamas enters its second week” (BBC1, 3 January 2009) – is evidence that these institutions were intimidated into swallowing the narrative advanced by the Israeli propaganda machine.

To demonstrate the degree of Philo’s bias against Israel, he notes in dismay near the concluding paragraph that some within an audience group polled didn’t share his view that, in the context of the events leading to the start of Cast Lead “Hamas was reported to have said it would have stopped the rockets if Israel had agreed to lift its economic siege,” never once considering that the degree to which some of the public are far more skeptical of Hamas propaganda than he is may indicate his own profound gullibility, bias and animosity towards Israel.

Philo joins a long list of far left elitists who simply cannot fathom that many of the unwashed masses in the West (for instance, non-Jews in the U.S.) are solidly pro-Israel and so must impute either ignorance or conjure a conspiracy of Zionist propaganda.  

The simply fantastical notion, advanced by Philo, that the UK media is biased in favor of Israel again proves the adage that there are some ideas so bizarre only members of the British “intelligentsia” can believe them.

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