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Channel 4 is an increasingly strange network. Its main news anchor, Jon Snow, showed shocking disdain for Israeli lives when he claimed “nobody gets injured” by the Kassam rockets that murdered, maimed and terrorised the people of southern Israel.

I discussed this with Snow recently but he only dug his heels in. At first he explained that he was unable to check what he said on the broadcast. When I provided a link to a video of his statement and also gave him references to show the many Israeli civilians who were injured and killed by the rockets, his response was: “Stop wasting my time”.

Jewish people have often seen the crimes committed against them denied. It is a tradition that continues to this day. Amazingly, Channel 4 asked the first-Holocaust-denying, second-Holocaust-preparing tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deliver its Christmas message last year. The official remit for Channel 4 states that it should “exhibit a distinctive character” and “appeal to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society”. Snow’s denial of Hamas’s crimes and Ahmadinejad’s Christmas message appeal to the tastes and interests of only the worst bigots of our society.

Peter Oborne’s Dispatches program this evening, Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby, could only have appealed to the same people. The deliberate conflation of bloody bodies and Jews eating dinner was an early low. Full of familiar innuendos and stereotypes, it was an agenda-driven and unprofessional piece of work from its inception, as the numerous Jewish organisations it has targetted have discovered in recent weeks. Oborne was unable to prop up his prejudices, so he resorted to desperate nudge-nudge wink-wink tactics to try and create an impression of sinister secretiveness where there is none. The overall implication he made was that his failure to find anything genuinely scandalous was because of a fear, rather than because there’s nothing there.

Because where is this all-powerful Israeli lobby? Why did it not manage to convince the UK to veto the Goldstone report at the UN? How did it fail to stop the UK from starting an arms embargo on Israel? How did it allow our Foreign Minister to attack Operation Cast Lead as ‘disproportionate’, or the UK to finance the Breaking The Silence organisation? As for media activism, if the Israeli lobby had the power it is ascribed, it would have stopped the widespread and routine distortions years ago. Oborne couldn’t find an all-powerful lobby, so he tried to create a false impression of one. It’s the same make-believe world Snow inhabits with his “pretty pathetic” Hamas rockets.

Back in the real world, Israel faces hostility and distortion throughout much of British politics and the media. As statistics show, antisemitism is on the rise in Britain and brutal. By any clear-eyed assessment, there are few more powerless causes in Britain than that of Israel, and probably no more embattled group than our Jewish community.

That’s the real scandal – how about a documentary about that?

56 Responses to “Peter Oborne's make-believe world”

  1. DF says:

    Very well said.

  2. eleanor says:

    absolutely spot on.

  3. Ana says:

    Thank you for this Chas. You have put into words what I was thinking but have so far only been able to express as ‘grrrr’

  4. Laz says:

    Great post Chas

  5. Shmuel says:

    Brilliant. Thanks for putting a smile back on my face.

  6. Israelinurse says:

    I’ve just had a friend call me after that disgusting ‘documentary’. She is an 84 year old Holocaust survivor and she was very upset by the programme, which she feels sure will only fuel further anti-Semitism in Britain. As a person who lived in pre-war Germany and who describes Kristallnacht as ‘the day my childhood and my innocence ended’, I am sure she is better placed than most to comment on this subject. Channel 4 has a lot to answer for.

    • dominic says:

      Except that the programme was not about the Holocaust, Jews or Kristalnacht…it was about the Israel lobby in British politics.

      To describe the programme as an incitement to racial hatred is utter nonsense. There was absolutely nothing in the programme about jewish people, WW2 or the Holocaust. The issue was the extent to which pro Israel lobbying influenced political opinion & to suggest that such an issue has anything whatever to do with the treatment of jews during WW2 is absurd.

      If the suffering of human beings is a cause for concern to you or your friend, I suggest you address it by taking an active role in the attempts to alleviate it…not exacerbate an already terrible problem by leaving unfounded & inaccurate comments on similarly inaccurate blogsites such as this.

    • Ted says:

      Spot on, Israelinurse.

  7. Ted says:

    It was a disgusting programme.

  8. chairwoman says:

    I couldn’t stomach more than 10 minutes.

    It was like CiF with moving pictures.

  9. Louis says:

    Very well articulated.

    • Shinta says:

      Ed, you are a mine of information Roy Greenslade, writnig for Sinn Fe9in publications using a cover name, had lots of company (or so I am told could be just pub-talk)! I guess you know of one or two other journalists who did the same and who would not have lasted too long in establishment papers if their employers found out. It is OK to criticise Greenslade for misreading the 2002 Stormont Raid on the Sinn Fe9in offices, but ghosting articles in AP/RN? not even a venial sin.

  10. alexa says:

    Why cry foul when any criticism of Israel’s racist anti-semitic (arabs are semitic too) regime? Israel ignores international law, and appears not to want peace. The internet is a great leveler. You can’t censor that. The time for hiding behind USA’s skirt and sticking your tongue out is rapidly coming to an end. Israel’s government is a threat to world peace. You don’t need journalists to explain, a CHILD could point out the iniquities of Israel’s policies

  11. BP says:

    Um…. I didn’t see the programme, and can believe anything of Oborne. But I also find the (deliberate?) elision from “critical of Israel” to “anti-semitism” in your post very disturbing. They are not the same thing, and suggesting that they are makes it impossible for those of us who would indeed strongly criticise what we see as criminal,racist and arrogant acts of the Israeli government to voice those criticisms without being lumped into the same mix as Holocaust-deniers and neo-fascists. And that is political rhetoric and emotional manipulation of a particularly unpleasant kind.

  12. Carol Gould says:

    I have asked Ch 4 to call me; as a programme-maker I want to produce a one-hour rebuttal show. Incidentally, they showed Oborne sauntering into the offices of Simon Plosker in democratic Israel. He was freely investigating the origins of ‘Honest Reporting.’ Guess what happened to Daniel Pearl when HE went to do some investigative reporting in Judenrein Pakistan about the origins of people like Richard Reid? Danny was kidnapped, mutilated and murdered.

    • Jon Cohen says:

      Thank goodness for Channel 4, the Independant, the Guardian and the increasingly under attack BBC, presenting and stimulating debate, rather than stifling it as the Israeli government attempts. Labling any criticism of Israeli policy as ‘Anti-semitical’ is heinous. Anti-semitism is encouraged through the actions of Israel against Palestinians

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      Jon Cohen, who has made the connection you accuse us of making?

  13. blahblahblah says:

    Chas,have you considered getting together with others who share your desire to castigate those who propogate incorrect doctrine?You could have “media alerts” promting a deluge of email stalkery.Why don’t you get this project of the ground? You could call it,I don’t know…Media Lens perhaps?

  14. NM says:

    Thanks Chas. It’s getting a bit scary to be a Jew here. People like you are the flickering lights in this encroaching darkness. Thank you.

  15. dominic says:

    “it was an agenda-driven and unprofessional piece of work from its inception”

    Are you talking about the Dispatches programme or your wildly inaccurate review of it?

    Rabbi Goldberg said it best when Oborne asked him what the pro Israel lobby would make of his remarks…”the usual Goldberg is a self hating jew stuff”.

    Goldberg, like the rest of us who are mature & dispassionate enough to recognise the difference between jews & the government of Israel & its unrepentant supporters, has heard it all before.

    “By any clear-eyed assessment, there are few more powerless causes in Britain than that of Israel, and probably no more embattled group than our Jewish community”…Newkey Burden’s make believe Britain.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      I haven’t said what he predicted. Maybe others will, but I haven’t. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

  16. callie says:

    Brilliant piece, very well done.

  17. Hawkeye says:

    Chas, you restore my faith in humanity. Great post.

  18. Bob Martin says:

    Chas – Thanks for alerting me to this. You’re truly a remarkable fellow.

    Had the British carried out their obligations under the Mandate, there would be genuine peace here today. The Jewish Homeland would include what is today called Jordan, and we’d probably already have completed the Temple.

    The more I’ve learned about the history of the Mandate the more I’ve seen how a certain element in the British Aristocracy and Government are indistinguishable from adherents to NSDAP ideology.

    That you’ve not been swept along in that current is amazing.

    On your next trip to Israel, be sure to visit my friends at the Sderot Media Center http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mE3S1BmnTr8

    All the best

  19. Ashley says:

    Chas, as always succinctly put. we need to start the backlash here. the creators of th programme believe they have impunity to spread their lies. can somone make an official complaint and start an investigation (a la BBC)?

  20. Poppy says:

    Chas – thank you so much for this well thought out and reasoned piece. This programme demonstrated how the anti-semitism of the left and right are merging – I wonder how many on CIF understand Oborne’s political background?

  21. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    Thanks for your comments. There are more and more good reactions to the show being put online. I’ll compile a selection and post here later.

  22. James says:

    Jon Snow – I have friends in Sderot. They know someone who was killed by the rockets. How dare you say nobody gets injured, you liar.

  23. Jonathan S says:

    Chas, thank you for speaking sense as usual. Channel 4 is a repulsive station with a nasty agenda. I am ashamed to have made programmes for them.

  24. Joy Wolfe says:

    Dominic must have been watching a different programme to me
    “Nothing about Jews” It was all about pointing the finger at alleged manipulayion of opinion by Jews
    As for BP, in common with many anti Israel protestors, he or she totally misses the point. No-one is suggesting being “critical of Israel” always equates to “anti-semitism”
    But Dispatches and its presenter in this case made a very good job of proving that it so often is. And very often it is hard to explain the hatred of the one tiny Jewish state in the world and the way it is singled out for international and individual criticism without coming back to the conclusion that it is simply because it is JEWISH
    It wasn’t just the dubious content of the programme which had more inuendo than substantiated fact, it was the venomous tone of its delivery
    When else have you had quoted comment spoken with such viciouness and clear personalised bias from the presenter?
    I highly recommend ignoring the programme ratther than exposing it to a wider audience by giving it the oxygen of further publicity

  25. Anon says:

    Interesting about Jon Snow. Apparently, after that interview you link to finished, he bullied the Israeli ambassador even more and was so nasty that he had to apologise to the embassy a few days later. What an unprofessional thug he is.

  26. Sharna says:

    so well said Chas. i hope as many people as possible get to read this.

  27. NicoleS says:

    Dominic: Are you suggesting that the 84-year-old holocaust survivor who Israelinurse says was deeply upset by the programme is a liar? Deluded? Couldn’t find her specs? If Jews tell you they are upset, then perhaps you might ask yourself why that might be so. You might also like to read up on Israel’s history and revise your ignorant view that only Israel, and none of the Arabs, is in the wrong.

  28. Amy says:

    “Nobody gets injured” by Hamas’s missles? How does Jon Snow get away with that? Creep.


  29. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    Jon Snow, George Galloway, Jeremy Bowen – is it coincidence there’s something about preening old men that makes them hate Israel?

  30. [...] he was). It’s why Jon Snow from Channel Four News may have great ties but he’d never deny with disdain the deaths of so many Israeli [...]

  31. Israelinurse says:

    Dominic – this programme was all about Jews and their supposed influence upon British policy makers. It was conspiracy theory at its worst and exactly the type of baseless, sensationalist, irresponsible ‘reporting’ which is contributing to creating an atmosphere in this country which is increasingly unpleasant and distressing for many British Jews.
    Any reasonable person, Jewish or not, would be concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism and the role the media plays in contributing to that worrying fact.
    The key word here is ‘reasonable’, by the way.

  32. Jon Snow Is A Liar says:

    Good article

  33. La Cumparsita says:

    Excellent article Chas. It seems to me that this is aprogression from Israel being a target for the chattering Guardian/Independent/Channel 4 classes to anyone who dares to support Israel being fair game. Are we going to see a programme about CAABU (who have sponsored Mingis Campbell inter alia) or the Palestine Solidarity Camapign & the latter’s influence on British Trades Unions – both Andy Gilcrist & Bob Crow are patrons of the PSC.

  34. Dan says:

    Well done Chas

  35. anna says:

    They’re not anti-Semitic. They just hate Jews.

  36. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    Thank you very much for all your comments and support.

    You may like to read this post http://www.chrismorris.com/blog/2009/11/how-could-i-have-been-so-stupid/ over on Chris’s blog, which is an excellent response to the Oborne programme (complete with a pair of regular creepy loons in the comments!)

    Meanwhile, I am delighted to say, I am off to White House Express!

  37. J. Hughes says:

    Its so easy – pay a few dozen British MPs to say nice things about israel, employ criminal thugs like Ronson to threaten anyone who dares criticise the apartheid state and fund websites in Jerusalem to mobilise the zionist hordes against anyone exposing the ugly truth behind israel’s ugly facade.
    “Honest Reporting” – you can kiss my hairy arse !!

  38. Ron Jeremy says:

    The BBC pro Israel? What about the Balan report Mr.Oborne.

  39. Sam says:

    Sober up Peter Oborne.

  40. Ron Jeremy says:

    Or is it the Jewish Cabal a la Tam Dyall. Is it time to pack the bags ?

  41. john g says:

    Those who stand to lose most out of Osborne’s Dispatches programme are the Palestinians. How come?

    Out of a population of some 60 million, the programme’s audience (excluding worried Jews and rabid anti-Jews) would probably numbered around 13 viewers.

    Of the Jewish audience, one or two or more will have been convinced that they and those dear to them should emigrate to Israel ASAP.

    When will the Israel bashers (who are not the brightest lot – despite them thinking they are) realise that every unwarranted attack on Israel/Jews only ever adds to the flow of Jewish immigration to Israel?

    Thank you Channel 4, Dispatches and Osborne.

    Hang on a minute! Maybe that’s how sophisticated the Israel lobby really is! Promote anti Israel rhetoric in the media so more Jews go there!

  42. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    More evidence of Peter Oborne’s shoddy approach and how many facts he got wrong http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/new/Under_Attack_HR_Accused_by_UK_TV_Documentary.asp

  43. STTP says:

    Hasn’t Oborne heard of the tobacco and alcohol lobbies? There are all sorts of lobbies – that’s politics. He did not unearth anything in his programme. He completely failed.

    PS – silly me, of course he has heard of the alcohol lobby. Hic!

  44. Liraz says:

    Jon Snow’s (unjustified) arrogance is seen in his singularly mean-minded refusal to wear a poppy to honour The Fallen. From what I’ve read about him, he would appear to be a “well-born” university drop-out who, having drifted somewhat, was helped to get a firm foothold in journalism by having a well-known uncle in the field.
    I don’t think the fellow has too much, intrinsically, to be arrogant about. Still, he can boost his over-sized ego by savouring the cult status he’s received on YouTube from the usual suspects for his discourteous treatment of the admirably unflappable if constantly traduced (by the usual suspects; just look at the antisemitic filth he attracts on YouTube) Mark Regev some months ago.

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