Jeremy ‘Sheik’ Bowen’s hatred of Israel has – finally! – been officially reprimanded. . Regular sufferers of Bowen’s diatribes against Israel will be familiar with the way he offers opinion as ‘fact’. Here’s the story, from today’s Daily Mail:
“The BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen faced calls to quit tonight after he was criticised for breaching the broadcaster’s rules on accuracy and impartiality in two reports about the Arab-Israeli conflict.
An inquiry found that a reference to ‘Zionism’s innate instinct to push out the frontier’ in an article for the BBC’s website breached guidelines.
In addition, a suggestion that Israel was ‘in defiance of everyone’s interpretation of international law except its own’ was said to have been ‘imprecise’.
A separate radio broadcast by Bowen also led to a complaint and was criticised by the trust.
The initial claims by Bowen were made in a website report entitled ‘How 1967 Defined the Middle East’. It sparked two complaints.
Bowen’s online article, published last year, put the present-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict in context by explaining the events of the 1967 Six Day War.
But the committee said he should have done more to make clear that there were other views on the matter.
Ruling that the article had breached the rules on impartiality, the committee said: ‘Readers might come away from the article thinking that the interpretation offered was the only sensible view of the war.’
‘It was not necessary for equal space to be given to the other arguments, but … the existence of alternative theses should have been more clearly signposted.’
Bowen’s radio report, for Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent, said the US government considered Har Homa, an Israeli settlement near Jerusalem, to be illegal.
This was based on information from an ‘authoritative source’, the committee said, but there was no evidence the view was official US policy.
BBC bosses have faced repeated claims that reporting of the Arab-Israeli conflict has been skewed towards the Palestinian cause.
One controversial incident involved Middle East correspondent Barbara Plett revealing that she had cried as Yasser Arafat neared death in 2004.
The BBC has also been criticised for spending tens of thousands of pounds in licence fee cash in a court battle to block publication of an internal report into its alleged bias in covering the region.
Jonathan Turner, who made one of the complaints, said he was pleased with the committee’s findings.
But he said Bowen should leave his job as Middle East editor and called on the BBC to publish a correction prominently on its website.
‘If he cannot get this right, it’s difficult to see what else he can get right in relation to Israel,’ Mr Turner said.
‘You cannot understand what’s happening today unless you have a proper understanding of what happened in ’67.
‘Clearly he doesn’t have a proper understanding, so for that reason I think his position is untenable.’
Mr Turner, a barrister from London, said pursuing the complaint in his spare time had been an ‘enormous burden’.
He described the slow speed of the complaints process as ‘outrageous’.
He made his original complaint about both the Six Day War article – published in July 2007 – and the From Our Own Correspondent broadcast in January 2008.
In today’s report, the BBC Trust apologised for the ‘exceptionally long time’ taken over the complaint.
No disciplinary action is expected against Bowen, but the web article will be revised and a link added to the editorial standards committee’s findings.“
Let’s just pick up on that bit about the BBC report, shall we? Several years back, the BBC responded to numerous allegations of anti Israel bias, by commissioning its own report – the BALEN Report.
And what, you may well ask, were the conclusions…?
Answer: who the hell knows?! The BBC have always refused to publish them!
And when a London solicitor took the BBC to court, the BBC shelled out over £200,000 pounds in legal fees to block any attempt at getting ITS OWN REPORT published!
Gosh. Anyone’d think the Biased Broadcasting Corporation had something to hide…