Monday, December 22, 2008

Blunt on the BBC

Aleem Maqbool quoted some of my uncompromising answers to his questions in his BBC diary chronicling his trek from Nazereth to Bethlehem.

Actually, I'm rather pleased with his choice of my words.
"If people think my views are extreme, then fine, I'm an extremist," said Batya Medad. "I have no problem with that."
Batya lives in the Jewish settlement of Shilo, in the middle of the "West Bank" (though Batya does not use that term, instead calling it by the Biblical regions it covers, Judea and Samaria).
Every country around the world, except for Israel, considers settlements like Batya's illegal, built on occupied Palestinian land. When I put that to her, she responded angrily.
"We (Jews) are the only ones with history here, we were here first and we should be here now. It's totally immoral to say we can't be," she says.

Batya instantly felt at home when she moved from New York to Shilo. "I don't care what the world thinks. They didn't care when the Nazis started against the Jews and when Jews were murdered. So why should I care?"
Batya and her husband, Yisrael, were both born and raised in New York, but moved in 1970. She says she never had a feeling of belonging when she was in the United States, but that when she moved here, she instantly felt at home.
Israeli and Palestinian politicians, supported by the international community, are meant to be working towards an end to the Israeli occupation here and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
However, Batya says she thinks that the peace process will go nowhere, and that her future in Shilo is not under threat at all.

I just disagree with his description of my responding "angrily." I think that the picture gives a more benign image. But, all and all, I don't think that anger is misplaced as a response to statements like his.

The big mistake in our hasbara, information campaign, "rebranding," is being too nice.
Why should we be willing to compromise and give gifts to those who want us dead?
Why should we be deprived of basic human rights?
Why should we agree that our HolyLand be empty of Jews?

And Aleem Maqbool surprisingly missed a major bit of our story. We didn't move directly from New York to Shiloh. It's a funny thing for him to get wrong, considering that we told him that we had lived in London for two year in the middle 1970's. And he must have known that we and his photographer discovered that we had lived in the same Bayit, V'Gan, Jerusalem building in the early 1970's.

All in all, I consider it a successful interview. I got my message across, and he published it in his diary. He included neither me nor my husband in the accompanying video. Whoever did the editing decided that the public cared more for his donkeys, which, like the old Pony Express, had been changed a few times, than they cared about hearing from Jews living in Shiloh.


Leora said...

Did his photographer take the photo? Because you look great, have a great smile.

Batya said...

Yes, thanks. And I crocheted the hat.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a good interview and article to me.

Perhaps you could offer interview coaching services to people?

Batya said...

Thanks, t, I'd love to train/coach people in how to be interviewed, but they never ask. They want to think of me as a Pat Nixon.

Anonymous said...

Honestreporting sent out an emergency bulletin about this guy's donkey tour of Palestine.

Batya said...

Could you please send me the link.


Anonymous said...

BBC's Christmas Odyssey
A seasonal road trip reveals a subtle bias.

In June 2008, HonestReporting questioned BBC journalist Aleem Maqbool's account of an incident in Ramallah where he said a Palestinian "militant" was dragged out of cafe and killed, execution-style, by IDF soldiers operating from armored vehicles. We found Maqbool's version did not match up with accounts from human rights organizations and even other media outlets, demonstrating not only a lack of journalistic objectivity but also a breathtaking naivety about the reliability of Palestinian "eyewitnesses."

Batya said...

If that's the case, then we should be extra grateful that he quoted me so extensively. His photographer, technical advisor was the one who convinced him to come to us, because he wanted some semblance of "balance." The original plan was to totally ignore Jews on the "road."