John Pilger helps us understand the BBC’s making of “Death in the Med”

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This is an extract from an article published in 2002, it is so telling as it explains BBC’s relationship with Israel Goldvicht, an Israeli producer who might as well be an official agent of the Israeli hasbara (propaganda) machine. Goldvicht would have been key to getting Jane Corbin “embedded” with the Israeli commandos as they strut their GI Joe stuff. So here is Pilger’s take on it;
On June 9, the Correspondent series on BBC Television broadcast a report about the recent siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This was an exemplar of the problems identified in the Glasgow research. It was, in effect, an Israeli occupation propaganda film put out by the BBC. It was made as a co-production with an American channel, and the credits listed the producer as Israel Goldvicht, who runs an Israeli production company. That would have been fine had the filmmakers made any attempt to challenge the Israeli military with whom they had ingratiated themselves. “The Israelis were determined not to damage the buildings,” began the narrator. “The international press were cleared from Manger Square, but we were allowed to stay and observe the Israeli operation…” With this “unique access” unexplained to the viewers, the film presented one Colonel Lior as the star good guy, guaranteeing “medical treatment to anyone wounded,” saying a cheery hello on a mobile phone to a friend in Oxford Street and, like any colonial officer, speaking about and on behalf of the Palestinians.
“Killers” were described by the colonel without challenge by the BBC/Israel Goldvicht team. They were “terrorists” and “gunmen,” not those resisting the invasion of their homeland. Israel’s right to “arrest” foreign peace protesters drew no query from the BBC. Not a single Palestinian was interviewed. As the sun set on his fine profile, the last word went to the good colonel. The issues between the Israelis and Palestinians, he said, “were personal points of view.”
Well, no. The brutal subjugation of the Palestinians is, under any interpretation of the law, an epic injustice, a crime in which the colonel plays a leading part. The BBC has always provided the best, most sophisticated propaganda service in the world, because matters of justice and injustice, right and wrong are simply usurped either by “balance” or by liberal sophistry; one is either “pro-Israeli” or “pro-Palestinian.” Fiona Murch, the executive producer of Correspondent, told me that Israel Goldvicht Productions would not have won the “trust” of the Israeli army had the producer asked real journalistic questions. That was the way of “fly on the wall”: a candid admission. “It was breaking a stereotype,” she said. “It was about a good, decent man” (the colonel). She said I ought to have seen an earlier Correspondent series, which had Palestinians in it.
I think she was trying to offer that as “balance” for “The Siege of Bethlehem”-a film that might be dismissed as cheap PR, were it not for its complicity with a regime that uses ethnic difference to deny human rights, imprisons people without charge or trial, and murders and tortures “systematically,” says Amnesty.
Goebbels would have approved.


  • patrick kelly
    August 20, 2010, 8:48 am  

    As an Irish citizen, i recently went to Israel with a completely open mind, although i have great sympathy for the Palestinian s plight, after speaking to many ordinary israelis in bars restraurants, even bus stops,, i was struck by the amount of ordinary people who actually crave peace with the Palestinains,and i presume the same is on the Palestinian side, at the end of the day peace will have to be made between these two sides, and as we had in northern ireland,, its always a small minority on both sides that keep the conflict going for various reasons including monetary,in my view and the view of many i know in Ireland, the recent flotilla that tried to enter Gaza, which included some irish people aboard, whilst well meaning, was in fact a ridiculous attempt by a small band of short sighted fanatics, hell bent on goading israel into the result that we saw,, no country ireland, the uk or the us included would allow a unchecked flotilla into their territory without some response or interception by their relevant authorities, these people involved in this flotilla should examine their conscience and reflect on exactly their agenda was, it was certainly not meant to help the peace process that is required to get the majority of israelis and palestinians living in harmony

    • August 26, 2010, 10:24 am

      My brother, how wrong you are on more than one count. The ships were inspected by Israel’s major ally in the region (Turkey) before departure, they were cleared of any weapons, when the ship and passengers were hijacked there were no weapons found… please do not tell me about the knives.

      Over 90% of the Israeli’s supported the 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza before and after it occurred, an invasion that killed hundreds of woman and children (over 1400 killed altogether), an attack born of out them breaking truce with Hamas. You can “want” peace by saying so, but when you approve of things like that your actions speak louder than words.

      There are 800,000 children in Gaza Patrick, with no end in sight of the suffering imposed by the blockade, I have been there, it is horrendous, and it is a man made disaster. While governments and the UN do nothing, we did. You so mistakenly direct your angst at the people who acted in defence of the rights of the children and people of Gaza who are being collectively punished. In truth a flotilla has been arranged by the same Turks to benefit the people of Ireland back in the day; I am sure if you asked the British how they felt about it then, they would make similar statements as you do today.

      Don’t you dare say Patrick that if Irish people were being subjected to the same collective punishment today that they would call those who acted on their behalf in defiance of their persecutors “rediculous”. Make no mistake Patrick, I am a naturalised Irishman and I have too many Irish family to know that your view is beyond the minority.

      People make peace happen, not governments, the fact that you fail to see people who care enough to act as allies for justice/peace only exposes a gross level of conditioning, made all the worse by the claim that you are Irish.

  • Paul O'
    August 26, 2010, 9:56 pm  

    I just watched Death in the Med about Israels invasion of the peace mission to Gaza. As usual it was biased by omission but what was creepy is a name that appeared in the credits. Israel Goldvicht. I encountered him in 2002 just after i returned from Palestine. He was credited as a producer in the Correspondent series on BBC Television who broadcast a report about the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

    The director told me that they couldn’t broadcast their programme without Israel approval but it was worth it as they had ‘exclusive access’ to the negotiating team of Israel during the siege. In 2010 we have a similar situation and I think probably the same deal was struck. Jane Corbin the reporter was most likely offered exclusive access to the Israeli commandos in return for leaving key points out of her report (such as 1500 women and children being killed during Israels assault on Gaza).

  • August 30, 2010, 2:57 pm  

    Sorry, not very up to date website, shall get down to it!
    Yes, the Israelis continue to win because they have mastered
    the technique of manipulating world opinion on all levels. As a
    1948 refugee from Western Jerusalem now living in Edinburgh every
    day my understanding wrestles with the devious workings and
    planning of a Zionist entity that has from 1916 onwards managed
    to oust a people living there since the beginning of time (Canaanites, Byzantines, Philistines, Chaldeans,etc — the country
    contrary to expostulations of the Zionist media machine was never
    empty) and systematically eliminate them. The strategy simply is
    ‘death to the Palestinians’ as lately blatantly uttered by the Shas
    Rabbi. For years the Israeli air force overflew the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and ‘killed’ as many Palestinians as they
    could: witness Sabra & Shatila massacres. Now in the Gaza
    massacre, this heinous regime muster all their know how to continue their evil machinations to distort the truth and pull the wool over the eyes of a naive and unsuspecting world. We all need to operate on another level and stop being naive politically.
    I salute you for going on the flatulla, I watched your bloody face
    as you came off. I wonder what happened to all the goods and
    the money they took off all of you.

    With great admiration and respect, kind regards
    Dr. Anita Shanley
    Project Manager

    • September 5, 2010, 10:35 am

      Thank you for this sister.

  • patrick kelly
    September 5, 2010, 1:47 pm  

    i see that ken o keefe is an american born person,, maybe if he was as determined to see the same justice he carps on about, that he would like to see given to the palestinians, given to the native red indians of america, then we would have some balance,he himself is a member of a race . i.e. white europeans who invaded america, took and stole the land that belonged to native peoples,killed and tortured a lot of them and treated them dispicably, forcing them to live in reservations and hijacking their resources, and He Ken o KEEFE is one of them,, and he has the pompous cheek to point the finger at the Israelis ,, start in your own back door mr o keefe and try and tidy up your own corner before jumping on the nearest bandwagon for your own self glorifacation and craving for cheap publicity,everything you blame the present Israeli generation and government you are just if not more guilty, so i would recommend for you to start at home,, maybe try growing up a little and stop acting like a teenager looking for cheap publicity

    • R
      September 28, 2010, 10:51 am

      ‘Native Red Indians of America’?????
      Oh please!
      That statement says it all really!
      If you really believed in their rights, you would have called the ‘native Americans’!

  • Malcolm
    September 15, 2010, 6:01 am  

    I watched the Corbin/Goldvicht so-called ‘documentary’ and was yet again disgusted with such propaganda.

    As Anita points out the Zionist machine is powerful and many in the West just lap it up. (Note the drooling by Hillary Clinton towards Netanyahu.)

    I too have been to the rogue state known as Israel. I went with an interest in religion – I had been planning on undertaking a theological degree on my return to Australia. My interest at that time was only with the Jewish side of things – I knew very little of anything else.

    I came back to Australia anti-Zionist and have had to restrain myself from despising the Jews. I have graduated in theology.

    I have no time for the likes of Netanyahu nor his spokesman Mark Regev – whom I am sorry to say is an Australian.

    I admire the work being done by the Freedom Flotilla.


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