Palestinian Kidnapping of BBC Reporter Alan Johnson Results in British Journalists Union Boycott--Of Israel!
Political cartoonists are conventionally given considerable license to exaggerate. However, recent events in Israel, Gaza and Britain did not require any exaggeration by Yaakov Kirschen in Dry Bones. All he had to do was draw what has actually happened.
Back on March 12, 2007, BBC journalist Alan Johnson was kidnapped in Gaza by a Palestinian gang. Despite claims by one terroist group to have murdered Johnson, the Palestinian Authority has said that it has evidence that he is still alive. Some reports state that he is being held for ransom by a Gaza tribal clan that is well armed enough to defy both the Fatah security forces and the Hamas militias.
Aspects of the story provided a great deal of proof (if any more was needed) of the pro-Palestinian bias of the BBC. I first noticed that angle of Johnson's kidnapping when I heard BBC World News one evening read an e-mail from a listener: "Please come back to us, Alan, the Palestinian people need you." It would appear that Johnson viewed the function of his journalism to be Palestinian advocacy, rather than reporting the news. Only that would explain this statement by Palestinian Authority Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti: "We are opposed to the kidnapping of foreign journalists who serve the Palestinian cause." Apparently, for those reporters not perceived to be serving the Palestinian cause, it is open season, with the good Minister's blessing.
The Palestinian Journalists Union in Gaza held a 24-hour strike to protest the Johnson kidnapping on March 20. In a gracious display of gratitude by Britain's largest journalists union for that show of support, as reported here:
The National Union of Journalists voted at its annual meeting April 13 for "a boycott of Israeli goods similar to those boycotts in the struggles against apartheid South Africa led by trade unions and for the Trades Union Congress to demand sanctions be imposed on Israel by the British government and the United Nations."
The motion also condemned the "slaughter of civilians by Israeli troops in Gaza and the Israeli Defense Forces' continued attacks inside Lebanon following the defeat of its army by Hezbollah," and called for the end of "Israeli aggression in Gaza and other occupied territories."
The measure -- toned down from earlier proposals [RBK: !!!!!!] -- passed by a 66-54 margin.
Nor does Dry Bones imagine the connection between the Johnson kidnapping and the boycott of Israel voted by the British journalists:
Tim Gopsill, the union's press spokesman, said the move was partially a reward to Palestinian journalists for cooperating with a campaign to free Alan Johnston, a BBC reporter kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
"The Palestinian journalists' union has given huge support to the campaign for his release -- holding demonstrations and strikes against the Palestinian Authority to demand more action from them," wrote Gopsill. "The boycott call was a gesture of support for the Palestinian people -- notably those suffering in the siege of Gaza, the community Alan Johnston has been so keen to help through his reporting."
Of course, the same American lefties who attack Fox News for its conservative bias--such as the recent boycott by John Edwards and Barack Obama of a Fox News televised debate between the Democratic Presidential candidates--hold up the BBC as the paragon of objective journalism.