On 29 Dec I posted a letter I sent to Sky News about a particularly nasty anti-Israel news bulletin. Peter Lowe (Assistant Editor) sent me a detailed response (which I appreciate because more often than not I either get no response or a standard response). But the problem is that the response confirms that there really is an ingrained anti-Israel bias among the newer editorial staff at Sky News. This is very worrying given Sky News's previous balanced approach. It is a strong indication of something we have been worrying about for a while now. That the new generation of opinion formers (those who graduated in the last few years) have become so conditioned by the "Israel = oppressor, bad, military state blah blah / Palestinians = victims" equation that they, like the Palestinians, now see every Israeli as a valid military target. Anyway, here is my self-explanatory response (if anybody expresses an interest I will scan the Sky letter).
Assistant Editor, Sky News
British Sky Broadcasting
Middlesex TW7 5QD
18 Jan 2006
Dear Mr Lowe,
Misleading anti-Israel reporting on Sky News (29 Dec 05)
Your ref: PL/KA
Thank you for taking the trouble to reply in depth to my letter. I do not agree with many of the points that you made in your response to my letter and there is one in particular that is seriously flawed. Specifically, in response to my complaint about the news item not mentioning the suicide bombing in Israel you said: “I assume you mean the one against a military target on the West Bank, which I can assure you we DID report…”
I watched the entire main bulletin from 09.00 until 09.30 and I can confirm that the suicide attack was NOT mentioned despite it having occurred just 3 hours earlier and despite its most obvious relevance to the lead story you ran. Sky may well at some other time have mentioned the suicide bombing but this is irrelevant to the point I was making.
But of far more concern is your factual error concerning the suicide attack itself. The attack was intended to be a double suicide bombing at a Chanukah celebration party in Tel Aviv. The heroic actions of a soldier, Uri Binamo who stopped the bombers at a checkpoint, averted a massacre but cost him his own life. The reputable Haaretz newspaper website provides the following details (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/671559.html):
A suicide bombing that killed an Israel Defense Forces officer and three
Palestinians south of Tul Karm on December 29 had been planned as a double suicide bombing in a city in the center of the country, security forces said Tuesday.
The IDF said Tuesday that officials realized only in retrospect the scope of the thwarted terror attack: The Islamic Jihad bombings were supposed to take place simultaneously, during Hanukkah vacation.
IDF officials had at first thought that only one suicide bomber was in the taxi, but security forces discovered in the course of their investigation that one of the Palestinians killed in the blast had also intended to carry out a suicide bombing.
Neither the third passenger killed in the explosion nor the taxi driver was involved in the attack, security forces said, but the Shin Bet security service captured a fourth Palestinian passenger who was meant to guide the two bombers.
To describe this as “against a military target on the West Bank” is offensive and betrays the exact anti-Israel perspective I complaind about.