One of the less attractive features of the Christmas season in recent years has been its exploitation by politically motivated NGOs as a spring-board for augmented delegitimisation of Israel, with a dominant feature of those opportunistic campaigns being the deliberate conflation of present day Palestinians with the characters depicted in the Christmas story. For example, in recent years some charities have been selling blatantly political Christmas cards which portray Joseph and Mary as Palestinians and one-sided inaccurate representations of the anti-terrorist fence feature widely in seasonal merchandise.
Here is one item from what ‘War on Want’ describes as its range of “ethical” products on sale this year.
Here is another Christmas card produced by ‘War on Want’ a few years ago.
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign is currently marketing the following items.
This time of year also often sees members of the international media amplifying the same memes as those promoted by anti-Israel campaigners, with the BBC unfortunately being no exception. Christmas Eve of 2011, for example, saw Jon Donnison piling on the pathos in a reworking of the well worn ‘Bethlehem shepherds’ theme on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme and on the same day the BBC News website published a particularly egregious example of campaigning propaganda produced by Yolande Knell under the transparent title of “Bethlehem’s modern-day nativity characters“.
In its editorial guidelines on the subject of reporting terrorism, the BBC declares:
“We should not adopt other people’s language as our own; our responsibility is to remain objective and report in ways that enable our audiences to make their own assessments….”
No less a threat to the BBC’s impartiality is the adoption of the trite and jaded memes to be found among the arsenal of some of the most unabashed anti-Israel campaigners. Let’s hope that this year the BBC can resist the temptation to fall back on that default option and perhaps even come up with some original, interesting and cliché free reporting.