Thursday, 9 July 2015

Doucet's shameful film: Children of the Gaza war

A truly disgraceful piece of distortion from the BBC's Lyse Doucet.

The title of this film is a clear hint of the propaganda to come, based, as ever, on the fatuous 'two sides' narrative. There was no 'war', only another orchestrated massacre, a campaign of civil terror, in order to maintain Israel's wicked, illegal siege. From the first minute of this shoddy film, one just wants to urge Doucet: tell the truth, give the context!

Yes, children suffer and die, but why is this happening? Why have so many Palestinians been murdered? Why have over 500 children been slaughtered? Why are an entire population, notably the children, so deeply traumatised? Tell the truth, provide the context!

Israel is the aggressor force. Gaza is the key target. It lies in ruins. Yet, this truly despicable film affects to argue that Sderot is part of the same 'war zone'.

Continual reference is made to Israel targeting populated areas from where, it's claimed, Hamas were launching rockets, just part of the loaded message that Hamas are largely responsible for the carnage.

A key section of the film is given over to Hamas fighters, youth camp training and wielded weaponry. But there's not a single frame of an Israeli soldier, or the mass military operation engaged in the attempted annihilation of Gaza's people. There's no questioning, either, of how Israel has socialised so much of its youth to hate and fear Palestinians. 

Standing at a Hamas training camp, Doucet laments: "For the outside world it's hard to comprehend why parents would put children in situations like this." But there's no exploration of how Israel as a militarist, occupying state has conditioned so much of its own population to join in the historic oppression and mass murder of Palestinians. Indeed, the word 'occupation' is never used.

At one point, Doucet sits with the smiling Gazan kids and asks one of them: 'Why do you want to be a journalist?' The child replies in lovely innocence: 'So I can tell people what's going on in wars like this one'. If only Doucet could aspire to that same basic aim. One might ask Doucet, in turn: Why do you want to be a stenographer rather than a journalist?

We see more pictures of Gaza's ruins. Doucet says: "The donors promise a lot. But politics on all sides gets in the way." This is the extent of her 'explanation' of the carnage Israel has caused, the devastation it's unleashed, its refusal to help rebuild.

Doucet's grating commentary, over inappropriately lilting music, continues, with affected questions on whether the hate and suspicion can ever be overcome.

A scene of more families coming to settle in Israel's border locale raises not a word of comment on the nature of Israel's land appropriation, historic displacement of people and enduring occupation. The indoctrination of Israeli children in defending this is never mentioned, nor is the stark privilege of Israeli kids against the appalling conditions and despair of the children in Gaza. Doucet just smiles and says nothing of the staggering disparities.
I hope the families that Doucet interviewed in Gaza get to see how they've been used and exploited in this shabby, deceitful film.

An end credit announces that both Israel and Hamas could be indicted for war crimes, and that: 'In May and June there were more rounds of rockets fired from Gaza and Israeli airstrikes', the clear inference, as throughout this deeply-loaded film, that Israel is always 'responding' to provocative weaponry.

This is one of the worst examples of 'two sides' reportage ever shown. Israel couldn't have hoped for a greater piece of mitigating hasbara. Doucet's film is one of the most shameful pieces of 'war journalism' ever put out by the BBC.

She doesn't lack human empathy for the suffering Palestinian kids, such as little Syed, still haunted by the murder of his brother and three cousins on Gaza's beach. What she lacks, much more profoundly, is a sense of compassionate duty to say why these appalling things happened, and are still happening, to name the principal perpetrators, to be a witness for truth and justice.

Doucet's film is an abuse of journalism, and, in its pretentious evasions, an abuse of Gaza's suffering children.


Unknown said...

Didn't see it and won't. We oughta keep in mind that the BBC isn't monolithic - it's television that matters in budget, status - within the organisation too, and public profile. Until recently the World Service had many times more audience than exported TV news, but this didn't count because it's only radio and the greatest leap in listening figures has been in Africa, which has forced the World Service management to include some African presenters too. While we may watch BBC 24 news, BBC 4, etc., most of the BBC's potential television viewers are overseas ( BBC America has adverts and presenters that more resemble Sky News in the hunk'n'babe factor. More importantly, it also shares pre-produced reports and so this particular documentary was probably made to fit into the international schedule as well. While Lyse and others have done good things for the Palestinian cause on the World Service, I don't expect the story to be unpacked on TV or Radio 4. You may remember that, while covering Gaza last year, she cried on camera and was immediately pulled from the rest of that so-called war's live play-by-play.
-Andy Simons

'Don't turn your back' said...

Want know the names of the people who gave her the brief on how to pitch this film. BBC is well known for Israel supporting.

Unknown said...

I'm glad John zeroed in on this propagandistic use of the term "war" to describe Israeli massacres of Palestinians.

Anonymous said...

they are both to blame for what is happening

Joshua Rowe said...

The BBC programme seemed very reasonable.

We must not lose sight of the fact that it was the Palestinians who started this war (as they have every war) and that Israel was responding to the rocket attacks (as would any normal country).

If the Palestinians just declared genuine peace with Israel, they would have independence, peace and prosperity.

John Hilley said...

Joshua Rowe,

Your standard pro-Israel comments, coupled with evident ignorance on the origins of this 'war', says everything we need to know about why you found this film "very reasonable". Proof positive of its propaganda value, and confirmation that Doucet has done her BBC establishment job.

John Hilley said...

Andy Simons,

You should view Doucet's film.

All this information on the BBC's global operations still tells us nothing about the issue at hand here: the basic, biased framing and content of the film.

I don't doubt that Lyse Doucet has been emotionally moved by her observations of suffering in Gaza - or elsewhere. The critical question is how journalists provide honest interpretation of that suffering through salient context. Doucet's sanitised 'two-sides-in-enduring-war' frame reveals nothing of the true aggressor party, and the primary reason for such suffering.

John Hilley said...

I'm obliged to 'Morrissey' at the Media Lens message board for this reference to an interview with Lyse Doucet in New Zealand, and for the link to a past letter of mine to Doucet:

Posted by Morrissey on July 10, 2015, 6:55 am, in reply to "Doucet's shameful film: Children of the Gaza war"

Lyse Doucet: “I am there for those without a voice.”
Radio NZ National Mediawatch, Sunday 25 August 2013

I don’t know which was more depressing: hearing Lyse Doucet pretend to be a respectful and serious journalist, or the supremely ignorant comment by Colin Peacock at the end of this cozy little interview.

Lyse Doucet has recently been appointed as the Chief International Correspondent for BBC World News. She made a flying visit to New Zealand and was interviewed by her old friend and colleague Colin Peacock….

LYSE DOUCET: We really do want Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security side by side. …. The great moral leaders of our age say that if you don’t take a side, you are siding with the oppressor. I have always found that there are stories on BOTH sides of a conflict. … I DO take a side—on the side of PEOPLE. I DO speak out when I see injury, suffering, abuse and impunity. I DO take a side. I am there for those without a voice.

COLIN PEACOCK: How do you deal with criticism of your journalism?

LYSE DOUCET: I welcome criticism—as long as it’s not done to score a point or because someone has an agenda. … When I get negative Twitter messages, unless I think there is an agenda and I have no control over that, I respond with kindness. Some people are on a certain campaign… I always say journalism is story-telling. I listen to our competitors. I listen to Al Jazeera, and Russia Today.

COLIN PEACOCK: [snorting] But some of those are backed by the state, aren’t they, in a way that is different to the BBC obviously….

[Five] years ago, Glasgow writer and blogger John Hilley, one of those point-scorers with an agenda, was trying to get Lyse Doucet to explain her fawning coverage of a glamorous U.S. general….

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

"I always say journalism is story-telling."

And the lucrative careers belong to those whose stories support the official government line, at least in the U.S. and U.K. over the last couple decades.

Tam Doyle said...

I saw it and I thought how ridiculous. The idea was that Hamas was corrupting the youth by giving 15 to 21 year olds training as soldiers. Anyone heard of the ACF in Britain where 14 to 18 year olds train to be soldiers? Poor little Israeli dears who have to comfort themselves with their X boxes or spend a few days out of the area or swim in their pools of stolen Palestinian water. People of Gaza can't get out and are subjected to weeks of the most vile war crimes at a time. 500 dead Palestinian children murdered by American armed scum is given equal time with the death of one Israeli child killed by a Qassem, which is only used to hit back at the mass murderers of Israel.
I expect the BBC was terrified of getting phone calls from the Israeli embassy and the other rag tag army of Zionists that inhabit the UK.

Anonymous said...

Had the Nazis done to a concentration camp what the Israelis did to Gaza, we would have never ceased to hear endless stories of savage brutality. The Zionists and their supporters always blame their victims and the BBC is their to cover up their crimes. I won't be surprised of the ignominious Lyse Doucet is an Israel firster.

Miss Costello said...

Doucet: she simply makes me want to vomit: disgrace to womankind; see all, hear all, 'report' f*** all. Well done, Doucet. Sleep tight.

Miss Costello said...

Anonymous @ 17:12;

Care to put your NAME to that comment? Blame the victim, why not?

John Hilley said...

I respectfully disagree, Miss Costello. I understand your feelings, but Lyse Doucet is also worthy of compassion. Better to focus on the loaded, disgraceful content of the film, and try to see, in the process, how such journalists are themselves a conditioned and complicit part of a deeply inhumane system of power and propaganda.

Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Israel didn't exist in physical history. After the balfur declaration the campaign to create an Israel reaching all the way passed Jordan was proposed, shameful to rob those of there land. You know nothing or your a two faced Zionist looking down at the goy

Anonymous said...

Since Jews would not see themselves as guests in the land of Palestine, that respect is not shown, that's why there will never be peace. The land that was given to israel was not those who gave to give.

Tom Peters said...

I'd love to know the bloggers thoughts on why the BBC chose to change the word 'Jew' (Yahud in Arabic) to Israeli, every time a Palestinian was talking about Jews.

My guess is the BBC doesn't want us to know that many of them hate Jews for being Jews!

George said...

No not true. It's zionists at fault.

Miss Costello said...

John Hilley @ 15:01 10th July 2015

" Lyse Doucet is also worthy of compassion"


"Have you not just demolished a very fine article? In your own words:

“A truly disgraceful piece of distortion from the BBC's Lyse Doucet.

From the first minute of this shoddy film, one just wants to urge Doucet: tell the truth, give the context!

I hope the families that Doucet interviewed in Gaza get to see how they've been used and exploited in this shabby, deceitful film.

Doucet's film is an abuse of journalism, and, in its pretentious evasions, an abuse of Gaza's suffering children”

After all that, she "is worthy of compassion"? Tell that to the people of Gaza. Knowing them for the fine souls they are, they'd probably agree with you.

Me? I'll save my 'compassion' for the betrayed, abandoned, shunned, vilified, imprisoned, tortured, displaced, discriminated, mocked, ridiculed (but NEVER! humiliated) phenomenally brave, indigenous peoples of ethnically cleansed PALESTINE. Gods Bless 'em!

John Hilley said...

Thanks, Miss Costello.

All human beings are worthy of compassion. The actions of the powerful and their acolytes can be denounced, exposed and resisted. But a true radical politics lies not in harvesting hatred of a given person. It lies in the breaking of brutally unjust systems, bringing those who wield such power to justice, and calling to account those complicit in disguising, protecting and serving power.

Everything said in the piece about Doucet's disgraceful film stands. None of that criticism is motivated by hatred of her as a human being, only by a need to expose and oppose what she has produced.

Doucet's film professes compassion. But while showing empathy for suffering Palestinian children, it has no real compassionate intent, in that it evades and disguises the true context of such suffering. The proactive compassionate task, in response, lies in the need to expose such complicity, the film's power-serving agenda, its contrived and limited compassion.


Anonymous said...
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John Hilley said...

Excellent comments on film from writer Amena Saleem, posted at Facebook:

Fantastic article, John. I was also appalled (but not surprised, as it fits the agenda) by this line in the segment about the youth camp provided by Hamas...Doucet, having said that Hamas claims the camps give youngsters something to do, added: "But the young also learn about weapons and hatred." What does she think the young Israeli conscripts who are forced to join the Israeli army, or be jailed, learn during their training? Maybe she thinks they don't learn about weapons! Or hatred for the enemy - something all soldiers in all armies around the world, including the British army (which has cadet training forces for schoolchildren) are taught....dehumanise the enemy so you can kill them. She also makes a big deal about Abdurahman's father (who was killed, along with 18 members of his family) being a "fighter", and she asks Abdurahman if he wants to be a "fighter" when he grows up. But the parents of every Israeli child she interviews will have been a "fighter" too, every one of them will have been a soldier, enforcing the occupation, but she doesn't bring that up, doesn't seem to see that as some sort of justification for attacking them, as she seems to think that being a Palestinian "fighter" provides some sort of justification for Israel attacking them. She doesn't ask the Israeli children if they will refuse to join the Israeli army when they grow up, refuse to continue the violence. Instead, she shows a clip of Israeli children returning to school in September, with the teacher saying how much they all want peace. She doesn't say how all those children will be kitted up, given weapons, and be serving soldiers in a few short years. Peace? I don't think so. She says Abdurahman's family now treat his father as a martyr, in a tone which continues her insinuation throughout the documentary that the Palestinians, with their support of Hamas ("despite the losses, Hamas seems to be growing in popularity here" is another classic line) are to blame, and it could all be ended if only the Palestinians stopped fighting, stopped wanting to fight. She doesn't focus on how Israel treats all its dead soldiers as martyrs, in fact dedicates one day a year to reading all their names out on television. The bias and propaganda, wrapped up and disguised in the softness of "telling a human story", was hideous.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing more despicable than a hasbaroid liberal who feels good about herself but is cowardly enough not to risk giving her public the ugly truth about the imbalance between oppressors and oppressed.

Alan Tatts said...

Joshua Rowe

Firstly, it's no true that rockets were fired from Gaza first. This has been established by many reputable civil society groups, rockets were only fired after Israel attacked Gaza. This was in the aftermath of the round up and imprisonment of hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank (mainly Hamas supporters). You are entitled to support Israel but get your facts straight and don't propagate lies.

Miss Costello said...

Reply to John Hilley @10:59 12th July 2015

"hatred of a given person" - "motivated by hatred"

Who said anything about 'hatred'- apart from you? What are you struggling to imply? Don't tarnish me with your skewed perception of what is no more than perfectly justified anger at the war games / idiocy (take your pick) of Lyse Doucete. What kind of response did you expect from your readers? "Goody, goody"! "Isn't this fun"? I don’t 'hate' Doucet. I despise her. There's a difference; and I'll go ON despising her & the rest of her partners in crime ('colleagues’ if you prefer, one MUST be polite) untill she /they desist from deliberately distorting the ongoing carnage of Gaza by blaming it all on Hamas. Clear enough for you? And if she (Doucete) is NOT deliberately misrepresenting what most of the principled world knows to be truth - what other explanation is there? She's either as thick as a brick (better suited to shelf stacking in Wal-Mart) or she's appeasing her Zionist paymasters by playing the hasbara game; and prolonging the suffering of Gaza with it. Not pretty. Not ROCKET science either; Innit?

BTW. There is a limit to how long I am prepared to bang my head against a brick wall. Consider it reached.

Anonymous said...

The BBC are a part of Zionist armoury, we shouldn't expect anything less than biased journalism.

Richard Lanigan said...

I dont think we saw the same documentary. I thought it was brilliant, it was was not about "the occupation" it was about children living in and around Gazza and the sad thing was I was left with the feeling if these children were in charge of their respective governments, there would probably be peace. What should piss you off is that British people will get more animated this week about Foxes dying that over 2000 palestinians last summer.

Miss Costello said...

Anonymous @ 10:15 13th July 2015

With comments like this, you should be writing articles yourself. 100% spot on.

Anonymous said...

Not true Israel at one time lived in peace as Palestine the land were Jews,Christians and Muslims..It is when the Zionist Socialist Movement...from then on war

John Hilley said...

Some tweeted comments and replies on Lyse Doucet's film:

John Hilley ‏@johnwhilley · Jul 9
Doucet's shameful film: Children of the Gaza war … #childrenofthegazawar @bbclysedoucet @medialens @benabyad

Simon Wood ‏@SimonWood11 · Jul 9
Superb piece @johnwhilley. This is a deeply offensive and misleading film. And expect the usual silence to such criticism. @bbclysedoucet

Media Lens ‏@medialens · Jul 9
.@SimonWood11 @johnwhilley Hi @bbclysedoucet Please, please engage with this criticism. Is there any hope of that?

lyse doucet ‏@bbclysedoucet · Jul 9
@medialens @SimonWood11 @johnwhilley Our aspiration was to hear Children's voices on both sides. We respect yr right to criticise.

John Hilley ‏@johnwhilley · Jul 9
.@bbclysedoucet @medialens @SimonWood11 The expected reply. Where was the all-essential context of Israel's primary aggression and killing?

John Hilley ‏@johnwhilley · Jul 9
.@bbclysedoucet @medialens @SimonWood11 A terrible deceit in the framing of film, hiding behind the claim of 'hearing children's voices'.

lyse doucet ‏@bbclysedoucet · Jul 9
@johnwhilley @medialens @benabyad Am sorry you think that. But tk you for watching & listening to the voices of the young on both sides.

Ben White
‏@benabyad Why did @bbclysedoucet cover Hamas-run camps for Gaza youth - but not the Israeli govt-funded "pre-army" programmes?

Full comments/exchanges here: