So where was I? Oh yeah blogging. Well it seems the banning of the DEC appeal on Gaza was symptomatic of something much more insidious, the BBC now have editorial policy that extends across all aspects of the institution and they are rejecting a play on the same grounds of ‘impartiality’. I sort of understood the DEC thing was angled that if they aired it it would compromise their news operations, which of course was nonsense, but seems they might have been a bit fibby, because now it appears the rapprochement with the Israeli government that began in 2003 is across the entire institution so that creative works will also be censored-
The BBC has declined to broadcast a radio version of Caryl Churchill’s controversial new stage play about Israeli history, claiming it needed to remain impartial ‑ the same reason given for declining to air the Gaza emergency appeal.
In a move likely to resurrect the row over the BBC’s refusal in January to broadcast the appeal to help the people of Gaza, Radio 4 rejected an unsolicited manuscript of the play, Seven Jewish Children, which recently finished a short run at the Royal Court theatre. BBC sources suggest that a significant factor in the decision was awareness of the controversy stirred by Seven Jewish Children during its theatre run and the fact that the BBC has only recently survived the onslaught of criticism for its refusal to broadcast the Gaza appeal. In an email seen by the Guardian, Radio 4’s drama commissioning editor Jeremy Howe said that he and Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer thought Churchill’s play was a “brilliant piece”.
But Howe wrote: “It is a no, I am afraid. Both Mark [Damazer, Radio 4 controller] and I think it is a brilliant piece, but after discussing it with editorial policy we have decided we cannot run with it on the grounds of impartiality – I think it would be nearly impossible to run a drama that counters Caryl Churchill’s view. Having debated long and hard we have decided we can’t do Seven Jewish Children.”
Ironically the author wrote this short letter about the DEC appeal ban-
I couldn’t believe I’d heard right when Channel 4 news said the BBC had refused to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza. But here it is in the Guardian (BBC refuses airtime to Gaza aid appeal, 23 January). I don’t think the BBC objected to the appeal for Darfur, wondering if they were being unfair to the Janjaweed. Perhaps their problem would be solved if a tiny proportion of the money were spent on the tiny proportion of Israeli wounded. The phone number for complaining to the BBC is 03700 100 222.
The play has already been attacked by the usual suspects who try to equate anti-zionism with anti-semitism (even as shock horror! a mainstream US newspaper actually broaches the subject albeit with subsequent regulation ‘balance’ piece) and has drawn intelligent repudiations. The play ‘Seven Jewish Children’ is being performed (only as a reading, it is radioactive much like the play drawn from Corrie’s diaries/emails which was blacklisted out of theatres) in New York today on the anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death (and as another US activist Tristan Anderson has been shot by the IDF). The implications of the BBC now extending its weird ‘impartial’ bullshit to all BBC output is utterly wrong and creatives need to stand up to this censorship. But as the Chas Freeman kerfuffle has also demonstrated the crushing of dissent is all the zionist lobby have left, which sort of gives away they know the strength of their arguments are somewhere between weak and complete rubbish.