Kenneth O’Keefe on BBC’s Hardtalk

Kenneth O’Keefe talks about the israeli terrorist attack on the MV Mavi Marmara which killed 9 humanitarian activists.

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21 thoughts on “Kenneth O’Keefe on BBC’s Hardtalk”

  1. It was a good interview by Kenneth! Made the interviewer seem like a joke though.

    Working full time to support the racist zionist regime.

  2. This HardTalk interview with O’Keefe demonstrates the bankruptcy of journalism at the BBC. True to form, Sarah Montague, the interviewer, fires off an incessant number of hostile questions at the interviewee prefaced with “Israel says”, “Israel argues”, and “Israel claims”. This isn’t playing the “devil’s advocate”, this is playing “Israel’s advocate” role. NB: if one counts these prefaced questions with “Israel says/argues/claims” there are twenty two of them. The questions Montague avoids are the ones dealing with O’Keefe’s motivation to go to Gaza and to be such a committed freedom fighter (the word activist is rather lame when one witnesses his courage and decency). And the implication throughout is that the activists aboard the ships were merely asking for it and getting what they deserved given that they resisted. The focus is on the slice of time when the Israelis commandos stormed the ships killing some activists. The purpose of the trip and what led to this civil society action are avoided. In the process Montague manages to imply that it is the activists who are at fault — possibly criminal – and who also consort with unspeakable organizations such as “Hamas”. The evidence about IHH presented by Montague is certainly tainted, yet it is no bar to fling it against O’Keefe. Shouldn’t journalistic standards have implied that the BBC should have determined the veracity and credibility of the claims?

    Journalism or quality interviews shouldn’t merely put forth the case of the opposing party – in this case it would be the issues disingenuously raised by Israel, the oppressor nation. The aim of quality journalism should be to determine what happened, and for this Montague should have asked “What happened on the Mavi Marmara?”, but even more important, she should have asked “why did you choose to go on the Mavi Marmara?” Instead all the questions dealt with “who initiated violence” or “was it worth it?” This is the same type of question asked of the Palestinian victims in Gaza after the 2008-2009 massacre by asking them “who do you think is responsible for this?”

    And isn’t it amazing that it is the peace activist who gets questioned in this hostile manner? Now, would HardTalk countenance asking Israeli officials hostile questions about the nature of their assault on the Mavi Marmara? Would such questions be prefaced with “peace activists say/claim”? Would HardTalk ask about the nature of the siege it has imposed on Gaza with the consequent humanitarian disaster? Or would HardTalk ask about Dov Weissglas’ statement about “putting Palestinians on a diet”, a quotation that seems to cause much amusement among Israelis today. Given the nature of current day BBC, the possibility for asking such questions of Israeli officials would be non-existent.

    Imagine for a second if during the apartheid years in South Africa if a peace activist had attempted a similar humanist gesture to help the oppressed black South Africans, and if such person had been beaten savagely by the soldiers. Would the BBC have prefaced hostile questions with “South Africa says” or “South Africa claims”? Would HardTalk have intimated that such person was the cause of violence? Or would they have avoided the main reasons that drove the activist to this level of sacrifice? If this analogy sounds preposterous, then why can Montague play such an ignominious role? This can only be explained by the pusillanimity and bias of BBC journalists and their editors. The order is out at the BBC to hide the true nature of the Israeli colonial project and it genocidal consequences. The order of the day for Montague was to put the onus on the peace activists and attempt to discredit them. But by discrediting the likes of O’Keefe, the only thing achieved is for the BBC to have discredited itself.

    1. Ah how interesting! A bad interview or one which is hard-hitting and dares to indict Israel, the country which, at present, and for the last fifty years is the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East? A country which thrives on the continuing hostility between the US and the Arab world! Isn’t it Israel who has been trying desperately to drag Syria and Iran into the fray? Iraq wasn’t enough. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilian Iraqis together with thousands of American soldiers hasn’t satisfied the most recent empire. So, we judge the merit of an interview, not so much on how it is done, but whether or not it dares to point the finger of guilt at “CHOSEN COUNTRY.” So many, many honorable Jews, both in American and in Israel are critical of Netanyahu as they were of Sharon, etc.

    2. I attribute at least part of the interviewer’s aggressiveness on her fear of him; she obviously had been forewarned that O’Keefe is no pansy kumbayah-singing pacifist, but an activist dedicated to the integrity of his beliefs. She came to the interview with an attitude of “beating him down” with the government-approved narrative of “what happened,” and she was obviously instructed not to entertain anything O’Keefe said with regard to the illegality of the flotilla raid. Overall, the questions put to O’Keefe were meant to trip him up and show the audience that the peace activists aboard the flotilla were merely thugs out to kill some nice Israeli boys. This was a failure; O’Keefe held up extremely well and was victorious.

      It’s fortunate that the activists and their supporters are able to speak in the mainstream media at all. The Israelis dominated in the media in the days immediately following the massacre, and are still dominating.

  3. Truly there are so few people of principle who are also brave. This is a man who has nothing to gain personally from the stand he has taken. He has abandoned the country where he was born and in whose military he served. He has put himself directly, and his family indirectly, in danger. Why? Because he believes passionately in standing up against what he perceives to be an injustice.

    Whether you agree or disagree with him, it is impossible not to admire his courage.

    Like those before him who we now venerate, Emily Pankhurst, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, his reputation will be determined by whether or not humanity ultimately comes to see the justice of his vision. Let us hope that it does.

    Israelis of all peoples should be capable of understanding injustice and oppression.

  4. Dear All, here’s a copy of a complaint that I have written directly to the BBC in relation to the posted “interview”. I prefer the term “interrogation” actually. Please feel free to join me in complaining to the BBC as this is not unbiased or professional journalism.

    Reference interview on Hard Talk, Sarah Montague (BBC) with Ken O’Keefe, victim of Israel flotilla attack – 28/06/10

    I write in sheer disgust and disbelief at the extreme bias and inept journalism that I witnessed this evening in relation to the aforementioned interview. If BBC, as it claims in its mandate, wishes to provide impartial, fair and professional news services, it must take the most severe action against this journalist and those involved in this interview. Mr O’Keefe was a victim of an attack and the interview, if anything, should have been used as an opportunity simply to “fact-find” and allow Mr O’Keefe to advise of facts which took place on the ship. However, the interviewer declined the opportunity to simply establish facts and instead used very inflammatory and provocative language and made insinuations and accusations against the interviewee, who was undoubtedly a victim of the attack.

    Ms Montague continuously used provocative language, interrupted the interviewee and even used openly aggressive body language – as if to “intimidate” or aggravate the interviewee. This was not objective at all and instead sounded as though Ms Montague was actually an Israeli Navy spokesperson. Ms Montague continuously quoted various sources from a “pro-Israel” perspective and failed to even acknowledge any of Mr O’Keefe’s points or, more importantly, the loss of life on the ship.

    It would be wholly naive to suggest that all television interviews be conducted in a calm and relaxed manner as this does not attract or maintain viewers, and it is appreciated that an element of “devil’s advocate” must be played to make an interview more interesting. However, this interview was farcical and extremely one sided on the part of the interviewer. It is fairly obvious which party Ms Montague proactively supports and this type of behaviour will certainly discourage me from watching BBC news again – I am considering withholding TV licence fee as a mark of protest, I suggest others follow suit. The interviewer used this interview as an opportunity to market the Israeli “defence policy” propaganda and completely failed to establish facts in an impartial manner.

    A disgusted and highly disgruntled (former) BBC News viewer.

  5. Ken
    one good man said once that our words are dead until we die for them, they become alive and guide the others to salvation.

  6. This bitch is such a shill for the Zionists. Her questions, tone, combative attitude in attacking my brother Marine – even though he’s renounced his U.S. citizenship – is disgusting. Her whole “the Israelis were just defending themselves” is such crap! Yeah, they were defending themselves just like the bank robber who blows away the bank teller and customers who try to interfere with his crime.

  7. I also love how she refuses to address substantive issues that he raised (e.g. the attack on the boat was in international waters on a civilian passenger ship – she goes off on a tangent about interviews by other people on the ship.

  8. ten out of ten to the bbc for yet again showing its true colours. revolting! call this journalism?

  9. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re so uninformed that you don’t even know that the Mavi Marmara is a passenger liner, not a cargo ship. As for the rest of your blather, it’s all hasbara. Do you get paid for it? If you’re going to post comments, it’s helpful to all if you have at least a smidgen of information so that you don’t make a fool of yourself. Go back to Tel Aviv.

  10. Who said that the Jews own or control the mass media. This girl, Sarah Montague is gold plated proof of the even handed unbiased approach or our mass media. Not!

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