Iíve stopped watching Channel Four News. Childish perhaps, given that itís probably the best TV news service available in Britain, but Iím just too narked to watch it any more. The tipping point was Jon Snowís interview this week with a Hamas spokesman. It was a blatant travesty of journalism. Whatever Snowís or the viewersí opinion of Hamas might be, if you are going to invite the man to give his organisationís viewpoint, then at least give him the courtesy of giving it uninterrupted. Instead he and we were treated to a pointless haranguing by Snow every time the Hamas spokesman attempted to talk. Now Iím all for aggressive journalism, a keystone of any would be democracy, but this tipped way over the bounds of aggressive interviewing. It was nothing short of John Snow trying to foist his opinions onto and over that of Hamas. And in any respect, Snow was surely pursuing the wrong question.

Over and over again, Snow demanded to know why Hamas was placing its rocket launchers in heavily populated areas.Thatís equivalent to asking the British or Germans why they located their armament factories in and around densely populated areas during the Second World War. It is an absurd question. The Palestinians are fighting an existential struggle against an expansionist Israeli occupying force. They have been for over sixty years. The Palestinians have a right to adopt whatever tactics they deem appropriate. It is for the Palestinians, hemmed into the prison camp that is Gaza, that will ultimately tell Hamas if they have the wrong tactics or if the price they have to pay is too high. It is not for British journalists, secure and comfortable in their highly paid jobs, to try and dictate that debate.

There is of course a genuine and valid line of questioning that Snow could have pursued and it is this: If the UN forced Israel to comply with countless UN resolutions and retreat back to pre-1967 borders, would Hamas then support Israelís right to exist. If the Hamas spokesman had equivocated on this one, then Snow would have been well within rights to pursue a definitive answer. If Israel dismantled all its illegal settlements would Hamas then recognise Israelís right to exist? These fundamental questions have been lost in the fog of war and it is the role of good journalism to drag them back centre stage. Snow singularly failed in this respect.

Snow would no doubt defend himself by saying he was merely trying to force Hamas into accepting a cease-fire, sickened as we all are by the slaughter of children. But Snow should rise above the immediate. After all, Palestinian children have been suffering without respite since 1948. No good getting all moralistic about it now when it is the root causes of this suffering that principled journalism should be seeking to expose. Israel was founded amidst a violent act of ethnic cleansing yet this uncomfortable fact has been all but airbrushed out of western commentary. The Hamas spokesman repeatedly attempted to bring in this historical dimension but Snow just didnít want to know. Nor would he allow his viewers the opportunity to reflect on this wider historical context.

Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is not the Palestinian leadership I might have hoped for. But the more secular leadership of the old PLO was repeatedly spurned by successive Israeli governments so little wonder a more extreme, militant and intolerant form of leadership should emerge. Israel once had a chance to negotiate a two state solution with secular forces in the region but, by their intransigence, they blew it. Now they must live with a permanent Jihadist threat on their borders. Perhaps they are privately happy with this situation as it allows them to forever play the victim while endlessly pursuing an expansionist Zionist project. If so, it will surely end in tears for Israel, and supine British journalism will be as culpable as is the endless line of pro-Zionist post-war western governments.

Itís the Ďcí word that the likes of Jon Snow need to be addressing. What we are witnessing in Palestine is a good old fashioned act of European colonialism pure and simple, and Israel is getting away with it with impunity. It has been for over sixty years. It is a land grab that was originally facilitated by the old British Empire and has been kept on track ever since by US Imperialismís need for a reliable client state in the Middle East. I think the Hamas spokesman was trying to get this point across but Jon Snow just wouldnít let him.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 August 2014 12:12 )