The Beeb Mangles the Meringue – Again
By Robert Liebman, July 20, 2018
Little Isaac’s birthday party descended into catastrophe if not downright tragedy.
He invited all 20 of his classmates to his birthday bash but, on the day, numerous transportation delays in London stranded 19 guests. Only Ahmed, his neighbour, showed up – as did the cake from a nearby bakery.
The two boys amused themselves until cake-cutting time, when Ahmed insisted that the entire cake should be his. Pandemonium ensued – shouting, fisticuffs, tears.
Fortunately, the BBC’s veteran middle east broadcaster Jeremy “Call Me Solomon” Bowen was on hand to explain all.
The core of the problem, he intoned, is that there are two boys and only one cake. Until they find a way to share it, the dispute will continue.
Let’s swap land for cake, and realism for satire.
Sharing some facts
Shortly after Gazans began their protest at the Israeli border earlier this year, Bowen, the BBC’s middle east expert, explained that “the issue at the heart of it doesn’t change, and that issue is that there are two people on one piece of land – and until they can find a way to share it, they will continue to suffer.”
This is a mantra he has intoned before, and it appears reasonable, accurate and even objective. And why not? The verbal formula – wo people and one piece of land – has a neat mathematical precision. In addition, Bowen has vast experience in the middle east and his comments come with the imprimatur of the BBC.
In fact, ways – reasonable proposals – have already been found for sharing the land:
- by the Peel Commission in 1937, which recommended partition, and which only the Jews accepted;
- by the United Nations in 1947, which proposed partition and, in 1948, approved it – and only the Jews accepted;
- by Camp David in 2000, by proposals by Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert in 2008, and by other initiatives.
BBC sins of commission and omission
Bowen does not mention that Israel has accepted partition, and the Palestinians – insisting that all of the cake was and is theirs – have repeatedly rejected it.
Bowen’s notion of “one piece of land” accurately describes mandatory Palestine, which no longer exists. And since 1948, that area has been divided into several segments: Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights. One of those segments is a sovereign state. By describing the former mandatory area as “one piece of land,” Bowen in effect ignores Israel, denies its very existence.
By refusing to acknowledge that the one piece of land has been cut into distinct slices, Bowen in effect subtly takes sides – with the Palestinians. His viewpoint encourages the Palestinians to persist in trying to reverse history – to establish a Palestine from river to sea by gluing the various slices back together again in a process that would eliminate the Jewish state.
It was little Isaac, not Jeremy, who identified the core issue. At his birthday party, Isaac told Ahmed that “If we cut this cake in half, no harm will come to it. Each of us can have a piece.”
It doesn’t require an Einstein – or a Solomon – to figure that one out.