Electronic Intifada interviewed former BBC Mideast reporter Tim Llewellyn, who openly acknowledges his pro-Palestinian sympathies. Excerpts:— On BBC ‘restraint’: ‘[BBC] are adopting what they see as an even handed attitude. To me this is a cowardly attitude, it is an attitude which confuses occupier with occupied.’— On ‘the real story’: ‘BBC reporting doesn’t tell the story. I don’t mean that it doesn’t tell the story from a particular point of view. It doesn’t tell the story: Which is that the Palestinians are occupied and are fighting for independence in the same way that practically every other developing country was fighting for independence in the 30 years after the Second World War’— On suicide bombers: ‘The problem with suicide bombings … it’s never been explained properly, as to why it happens and what provokes them… the lack of context of why these things happen and the profiles of the people that do them. Quite often people that carry out these acts are people who have suffered at the hands of the Israeli occupation in the most ghastly circumstances. But we don’t hear that side of the story, certainly not in the BBC’s or ITV’s main news bulletin.’— On Barbara Plett’s tears for Arafat vs. Sharon: ‘I think she was in a particular situation, at a particular time, and she found it moving. I don’t think she should have been reprimanded… It was a moving experience. It was the circumstances. I don’t think Ariel Sharon is comparable. His record is not one that would induce tears.’
My proudest achievement since the 2001 general election: Highlighting the plight of the Palestinians under occupation by Israel, by making a speech expressing empathy for suicide bombers – looking for the cause of terrorism.
UK lecturers could sever links with three Israeli universities because of their attitude to an “apartheid” system in occupied Palestinian territories.The Association of University Teachers is due to vote on Friday on a boycott of Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Staff and students who seek to research Israel’s history in full are often “victimised”, union members claim.—-The AUT, holding its annual council in Eastbourne, is being called upon to boycott of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem unless it “calls for a halt to all attempts to confiscate land from Palestinian families, and reaches an acceptable settlement” with them.Haifa could face the same sanction if it does not commit to “upholding academic freedom, and in particular ceases its victimisation of academic staff and students who seek to research and discuss the history of the founding of the state of Israel”.Meanwhile, Bar-Ilan is criticised for supporting a college in “an illegal settlement” in the West Bank.The resolutions have been proposed by AUT members in Birmingham.Sue Blackwell, an English lecturer at Birmingham University, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme a boycott would involve not attending conferences at the three universities and an end to joint grant-funding applications.No Palestinian university offered doctorates because of the “destruction wreaked by the Israeli government on the Palestinian infrastructure”.
An event commemorating the alleged massacre of Palestinian villagers 50 years ago was hosted by a London church this week, provoking outrage across the Jewish community.The ceremony at St John’s Wood church memorialised events that took place in Deir Yassin in April 1948, a moment in Israel’s history that has taken on deep symbolic significance for anti-Zionist groups.The church, which approached the group Deir Yassin Remembered and offered to host the annual event, said it had done so in an attempt to create a spiritual rather than political event.It was billed as an opportunity for reconciliation and dialogue but the main Jewish guests were prominent members of the anti-Zionist lobby, including Israeli musician Gilad Atzmon and poet Michael Rosen.And the show, which featured prayer, songs, and drama, included controversial elements such as the “Zionist Chorus”, which featured a choir singing Israeli insults towards Palestinians.Israeli Embassy spokesperson Shuli Davidovitch said: “It is a great shame that at a time of increased optimism in the region, St John’s Wood Church directs its attention away from mutual understanding and concentrates instead on such a politicised event.”
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