Media Week – Unpromising Start; Solar Flares; Court Out

Unpromising Start

SBS TV is showing a four-part drama, “The Promise”. The series, from Britain’s Channel 4 and France’s Canal+ and Arte France, has been widely criticised for its rampant bias against Jews and Israel. The first episode (27/11) introduced the main character, Erin, an 18-year-old English girl who stays with a rich Israeli family. She has the diary of her grandfather Len who served with the British troops in Palestine immediately after World War II, so the story switches between the British battling the treacherous Jews and the Israelis oppressing the Palestinians. The family includes left-wing Paul, who “wins” an argument that Israel is a military dictatorship by stating that most political leaders are former generals, and says liberal Israelis who protest are part of the problem, because they make Israel seem a normal democracy. After they witness the mistreatment of Palestinians at a checkpoint, Erin suggests the checkpoints are to stop terrorists, but Paul angrily replies, “The checkpoints are there for one reason: To make their lives impossible so they’ll give up and move away. It’s about control, humiliation and forcing them off their land. It’s got nothing to do with terrorism. Nothing!” The episode concludes with a café exploding with Paul inside.

It gets Worse

Episode two (4/12) commences with the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946. No mention is made of the ignored warnings the Jewish bombers gave to the British. Instead, the action switches between the aftermath of that bombing and the café bombing, to suggest parallels between the two. Paul, who was badly injured, says both are the same – “People blowing up buildings because they can’t make their point any other way.” His mother, whose father was one of the King David bombers, says it’s completely different, but doesn’t say why. Len visits some very sympathetically portrayed hospitable Arabs, who tell him, “The problems only started when the Jews arrived from Europe. They want it all. All the land. And they aren’t interested in being good neighbours.” An elderly Arab from a village near Haifa tells Erin, “When the Jews came in ’48…they rounded us up and took us to a prison camp,” and when they came back after “many years” their houses had been taken and they had to live in their fields. She took him back to his village, which he hadn’t seen since he left in 1948, because he was “not welcome”. In fact, the Jewish authorities in Haifa in 1948 had urged the Arabs to stay, but they had left at the urging of Arab leaders. The episode ends with Len and two colleagues being shot at close range on a busy street, and as they lie in their car dead or dying, Jews callously continue drinking their coffees at cafes and no-one helps. Further comment on this series is on AIJAC’s blog “Fresh AIR” at

Solar Flares

Ruth Pollard wrote in the Age and Sydney Morning Herald (21/11) about the Palestinian village of Imneizil, where Israel was to demolish a bank of solar panels. The gist of the article was typified by a quote from an NGO saying, “They are making things as miserable as possible so people will pack up and leave.” Only at the very end, Pollard noted that the village had been asked to resubmit plans and the demolition order had been reportedly frozen. However, a report from AFP, four days previously, quoted the Israeli military administration saying the panels had been built without permits, the village had been invited to appear before a panel, but had refused, and that the military were hoping to retroactively legalise the structures. The spokesman said, “Our aim is to approve the facility, but it has to be done by law.” None of this appeared in Pollard’s report.

Court Out

John Lyons, in the Weekend Australian Magazine (26-27/11/11) wrote a long feature about Palestinian minors tried in Israeli military courts for crimes in the West Bank, mainly throwing rocks. The story was full of allegations of children being tortured to extract false confessions, pleading guilty and being imprisoned. The main source of these allegations was an NGO called Defence for Children International. Given the Palestinian propensity for propaganda campaigns against Israel, and the number of claims that have subsequently proven to be false, Lyons should not have accepted these allegations uncritically, as he did.

In response in the next Weekend Australian (3-4/12/11) Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor explained that Defence for Children International – Palestinian Section is a “powerful propaganda organisation” whose “agenda is primarily political” whose “emphasis on children is a means to its objective” and which tends to ignore Palestinian attacks. He explained that many Palestinian minors had been involved in deadly attacks, adding, “Any analysis should examine ways in which minors are used by militants and politicised NGOs such as DCI-PS as pawns.”

Jamie Hyams