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Monday, 26 January 2009

BBC out of touch with Israelis over Gaza appeal

The BBC's decision not to broadcast a charities appeal for Gaza is being, rightly, condemned from left and right.

The Observer today suggests that the BBC might think the Disasters Emergency Committee's appeal "other than a genuine humanitarian appeal". But:
An alternative interpretation, and one that is ultimately much more damaging to the BBC's reputation, is that any humanitarian intervention in Gaza, by definition, expresses a political position in the long-running conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In other words, collecting charity for Palestinians is a kind of hostility to Israel.
But if this were the case, why would Israelis themselves be collecting aid?

A student from a college near Sderot, the small town repeatedly hit by Hamas missiles, has over the past week collected 10 truckloads of basic supplies.

Hadas Balas, says she felt she had to take action when she heard the sound of bombs exploding in Gaza and the sound of sirens in Sderot.
"I realized there were people getting killed who had no food and nothing to drink, and that caused me a lot of pain."

"We are working beyond the rules, with the common goal of ensuring the right to live to those who are alive."
She sent off emails which reached human rights organizations, yielding more donations than initially anticipated.
"I thought we might get two truckloads. I wasn't expecting ten."
A few non-profit organizations volunteered to help collect clothes, blankets and basic supplies.

The Jerusalem branch of Hashomer Hatzair, the Zionist youth movement's organization, helped collect the supplies along with the Greek Catholic Church's Beit Hachesed in Haifa.

Kibbutz Kfar Aza, which has seen countless Palestinian missiles slam into its premises, volunteered a warehouse to house all the donated supplies before they get shipped out to the Strip.

People seeking to donate clothes and other supplies continue to arrive to the warehouse in Kfar Aza.

The women's Jerusalem facility has run out of room, and their Tel Aviv storage space is also almost full.

The two women have also opened an Internet site whereby surfers can donate money to purchase food. Their appeal has exploded across the Israeli and Jewish blogosphere.
"We have a lot of money now, which we are going to use to buy food to get into Gaza," Balas said.
This isn't an Israeli propaganda operation, it's come from ordinary Israelis who, as her friend and co-organiser, Lee Ziv, puts it
"Just see an immediate need for blankets for people who have nothing to cover them at night and milk for infants who have nothing to eat.”
I think their efforts puts the BBC's weasel words into an even sharper and more shameful light.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Paul. With the Beeb being attacked on all sides for this, we can only hope they relent soon. But again the damage will have been done. I wonder how much of their top flight staff they're really interested in keeping.