I have only just caught up on the latest episode of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions’. In that programme, from All Saints Church in Somerset, a Mr Stephen Bedford asked the panel this question:

‘Despite all the foreign aid and support Israel has spectacularly failed to get on with its neighbours.  Does Israel deserve a future?’

More people have been killed in Syria in the last twelve months than have died in the whole of the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians over recent decades. In addition, the Assads have spent recent decades destabilising the Lebanon, assassinating leading politicians there and much more. Yet who would even think of going onto the BBC and asking whether, having so conspicuously failed to get on with its neighbours, Syria should ‘deserve a future’.

The same could be said of absolutely any and every country in the region. But I doubt that the Mr Bedfords of this world would ask whether these countries ‘deserve to have a future.’ And this isn’t a despotism we are speaking about, but an ally and a democracy. How does hatred like this become so mainstream?

Well, one reason is that so many British politicians, including Britain’s favourite idiot granny Shirley Williams, tell them lies about Israel which the BBC allows to go out uncorrected. Here is Shirley Williams in reply to the bigoted question with which (unlike the excellent two conservative voices on the panel) she had absolutely no problem.

Shirley Williams told the audience that Gaza is ‘a slum’ and then went on to say the following:

‘It’s crowded out to the gills. It’s full of people struggling to find a box in which to live. It’s full of people who see their land slowly eaten up by more and more Israeli settlements.’

What settlements? What ‘slow eating up’? Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005. There is not a Jew in Gaza. Not a Jewish family, not a Jewish settlement, not a Jewish house, not a Jew. The place is – as the Palestinians have said they would like the West Bank to be if it comes under their full control – wholly and absolutely Judenrein. The last Jew in Gaza was Gilad Shalit. Does Shirley Williams think he was there building settlements for five years, rather than holed up in captivity as a hostage of Hamas?

Is it any surprise that members of the British public can come out with bigoted sentiments like those expressed in Somerset when the BBC gives airtime to politicians who spread lies with impunity?

Tags: BBC, Gaza, Hamas, Israel, Shirley Williams, Syria