A time-line on the BBC Web site entitled A History of
Conflict sheds light on the underpinnings of chronic misinformation and
bias about Israel by the network. Many of the same themes that characterize
day-to-day coverage are apparent in the skewed background features.
Arab perspectives are amplified and endorsed, Arab violence
is downplayed and emphasis is given to supposed Zionist or Israeli culpability.
Arab leaders' violent rejection of coexistence with the Jews in pre-state
Palestine and anti-Jewish incitement, both central to the conflict, are almost
One example: The period 19291936 is gently titled
Arab Discontent even though the era in question was one of repeated
Arab-launched riots against and killing of Jews, a time that might equally have
been termed one of Jewish Discontent. A selective compiled list of
events tilts toward viewing events as driven by the increase in Jewish
immigration not by Arab spurning of coexistence and compromise. In
addition, a key development of the 1920's was omitted here
the unilateral British decision to reduce by 80% the Mandate territory
designated to a Jewish National home. In a stroke in 1922, Transjordan (later
Jordan) was created and a Hashemite chieftain from Mecca enthroned.
project of the 1920s and 1930s saw hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrating to
British Mandate Palestine, provoking unrest in the Arab community.
In 1922, a British census
showed the Jewish population had risen to about 11% of Palestine's 750,000
inhabitants. More than 300,000 immigrants arrived in the next 15
boiled over into violent clashes in August 1929 when 133 Jews were killed by
Palestinians and 110 Palestinians died at the hands of the British
Arab discontent again
exploded into widespread civil disobedience during a general strike in 1936. By
this time, the militant Zionist group Irgun Zvai Leumi was orchestrating
attacks on Palestinian and British targets with the aim of
liberating Palestine and Transjordan (modern-day Jordan) by
Only the militant Zionist group Irgun Zvai Leum
is identified specifically as orchestrating violence. Yet the
primary orchestrator of decades of bloodshed, the longtime Mufti of Jerusalem,
Haj Amin al-Husseini is entirely omitted. Historian John Marlowe has said of
him: The dominant figure in Palestine during the Mandate years was
neither an Englishman, nor a Jew, but an Arab Haj Amin Muhammed Effendi
Anti-Jewish violence in 1920-1921 which is omitted
from the time-line and the so-called Zionist-Arab antagonism
of 1929 were both spawned by Husseini. To suggest, as BBC does, that the 1929
riots were an expression of mutual antagonism that boiled
over is a blatant obscuring of one-sided Arab aggression.
The same obfuscation applies to the outlandish
characterization of the outbreak of violence beginning in 1936 as simply
widespread civil disobedience and a general strike.
British historian Martin Gilbert describes the Arab campaign this way:
On 15 April 1936
the Arab (sic) began a General Strike followed by systematic attacks on Jewish
lives, property and fields. On 7 May the Arab leaders met in Jerusalem, and
demanded an end to all Jewish immigration, a halt to all Jewish land purchase,
and an Arab majority Government... On 13 May the Mufti of Jerusalem declared at
Haifa: 'The Jews are trying to expel us from the country. They are murdering
our sons and burning our houses.' Within a month of the first Jewish death, 21
Jews had been killed, and many farms and orchards burned by Arab action. 6
Arabs had been killed by the police, none by Jews.
From mid-July, Arab attacks on
Jews increased. Many Jews were ambushed and killed while driving, , unarmed, on
the roads. Between 20 July and 22 September, 33 Jews were killed, and several
hundred injured... In all 80 Jews had been killed. (Atlas of the
Arab-Israeli Conflict, pp. 18, 21)
The remainder of the Arab Discontent section
touches on the Peel Commission.
In July 1937, Britain, in a
Royal Commission headed by former Secretary of State for India, Lord Peel,
recommended partitioning the land into a Jewish state (about a third of British
Mandate Palestine, including Galilee and the coastal plain) and an Arab
Palestinian and Arab
representatives rejected this and demanded an end to immigration and the
safeguarding of a single unified state with protection of minority rights.
Violent opposition continued until 1938 when it was crushed with reinforcements
from the UK.
Omitted in this same period is mention of the Nazi
involvement of Haj Amin al-Husseini. From the rise of Hitler in 1933, Husseini
had been an admirer of the German leader, making contact with the German consul
in Palestine. He fled Palestine and moved to Berlin during the war where he
worked aggressively on behalf of the Nazis, broadcast radio exhortations to
fellow Muslims, urging they join the war against the Allies. He recruited six
thousand Muslims eventually organized into a Waffen SS unit that helped in the
campaign to destroy Yugoslav Jews. A deputy of Adolf Eichmann's, Dieter
Wisliceny said Husseini even
played a role in
the decision to exterminate the European Jews. The importance of this role must
not be disregarded...the Mufti repeatedly suggested to the various authorities
with whom he was maintianing contac, above all to Hitler, Ribbentrop, and
Himmler, the extermination of European Jewiry. He considered this an
appropriate solution to the Palestinian problem. (The Mufti and the Fuherer:
The Rise and Fall of Haj Amin el-Husseini, by J.B. Schechtman pp.