Mark Regev and the BBC: It’s a love story

Mark Regev in one of his frequent BBC appearances

Revolted by the BBC’s frequently obsequious attitude toward the Israeli spokesman Mark Regev, Anne Key, a friend of PULSE, sent the following letter of complaint. We encourage readers to also register their complaints (Please copy us in at when you write).

Dear Sir, Madam,

I am writing to complain about the BBC’s persistently subservient attitude when interviewing Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Israeli government.

Marking the first-year anniversary of Israel’s war on Gaza (“Operation Cast Lead”), in which 1,417  Palestinians were killed (including 313 children and 116 women), Mr Regev was once again given free reign to “explain” Israel’s motives for Operation Cast Lead. The interviewer barely challenged Mr Regev throughout the interview.

Contrary to what Mr Regev asserts, the Israeli Army did not attack “key Hamas targets”. Conducting an estimated 2,300 air strikes, Israel indiscriminately targeted schools (including a school run by the UN), homes, hospitals, mosques and even flourmills. 8,000 homes were completely destroyed, 33,767 families had their houses damaged, 200,000 people were displaced, among them 112,000 children.

Why was Mr Regev not challenged to comment on these figures, collated by trusted sources such as Oxfam, the UN, the Red Cross and the WHO? Moreover, why was Mr Regev not asked to comment on the 3-year blockade of Gaza, which deprives human beings of the basic necessities of life, such as medication, safe drinking water, staple foods, freedom of movement?

Two key reports were published this year – the Amnesty International Report and the Goldstone Report. Both reports document Israel’s use of battlefield weapons against a civilian population, the use of white phosphorus (prohibited as an incendiary weapon), as well as the use of depleted uranium.
As you are no doubt aware, the use of battlefield weapons against a civilian population is a violation of international law. Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, collective punishments are a war crime.

So how come Mr Regev was not challenged on any of these issues?

War crimes such as these, committed by any other regime in the world, would have received unprecedented coverage on the BBC, and widespread condemnation.

So why is Israel once again being let off the hook by the BBC? When will you finally hold Israel accountable for its actions? When will you finally be open and transparent with the British public?  What are you so afraid of?

I am appalled at the BBC’s assertions that it must maintain “impartiality”. In the face of such grave injustice and oppression, perpetrated over 62 years against the Palestinian people by the fourth largest army in the world and the US’s closest ally and top recipient of foreign aid, there can be no “impartiality”.

Yours faithfully,

Anne Key

4 thoughts on “Mark Regev and the BBC: It’s a love story”

  1. This Regev character also appears regularly on Australian TV channels spruiking the old myths about “Israel defending itself” etc, etc. Nobody ever has the courage to delve further into the murky deed which are obvious to all except most media reps and governments. What the hell are they afraid of? Are they so overawed by Israels reach, that they fear for their livelihood? Why do we allow a rogue state like Israel to have such influence and power in our lives?

  2. Great letter, very well done. Le’s not forget that Mr Regev is an Israeli state thug; he doesn’t argue, he intimidates. But a bully is always a coward, and those who’ve seen past Mr Regev’s bark (notably channel 4’s John Snow) have shown how easily he can be put in his place.

  3. 7th January, 2010

    I’ve just received the following reply from the BBC…

    Dear Ms Key,

    I understand you’re unhappy with the way in which we interviewed Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Israeli government.

    Although you have not provided enough information, such as the programme name or transmission date, in order for us to investigate, I can assure you that we’re committed to due impartiality and across our programming we have tried to explain how the current situation in the Middle East started and has since developed.

    We have given air-time to representatives from across the political spectrum and our correspondents are equally vigorous in their questioning of interviewees regardless of whether they are Israeli or Palestinian.

    Nevertheless, I would like to assure you that I’ve registered your feelings about this matter on our audience log.

    This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management.

    It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and considered across the BBC.

    Thank you once again for taking the trouble to share your views with us.

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