Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War.
Israel won. Calling it a miracle would be belittling the achievement of the men who saved the country from annihilation and, anyway, disparaging Israel is the role of the BBC: it does it so well.
All this week it’s broadcasting a series of programmes about the war, presented by the then BBC correspondent Jeremy Bowen. This is how the first programme started on Monday: ‘The myth of 1967 is that the Israeli David slew the Arab Goliath; it’s more accurate to say that there were two Goliaths in the Middle East in 1967.’
Et voilà! This is how, in one sentence, you give the impression that there was no disproportion between the Israeli forces and those of the Arab countries that were preparing to crush them. But then, as an Arab commentator said yesterday, ‘I’m sure they knew very well that the Arab countries weren’t ready to attack.’
You could have fooled me. Especially since this is what Nasser said, the day after he decided to close the Straits of Tiran (which had provoked a strong reaction from Israel and was in effect the casus belli), ‘The Jews threaten to make war. I reply: Welcome! We are ready for war.’
I was 19 years old at the time and I followed the events very closely with my parents and all our Jewish friends. We were glued to the television and the radio. We heard the crowds in Cairo and elsewhere in the Arab world shout ‘Death to Israel! Death to the Jews!’(I still have a recording of those blood-curdling cries.) There was no doubt as to their ultimate goal. As Nasser said, ‘Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight. [...] We will not accept any coexistence with Israel. [...] Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel. [...] The war with Israel is in effect since 1948.’ The Iraqi president added, ‘Our goal is clear -- to wipe Israel off the map.’
The BBC called the series of programmes, ‘Six Days That Changed the Middle East’. A lot of people were hoping that the Middle East would be changed even more drastically by the destruction of Israel. Fortunately for me, and my fellow Jews, it didn’t happen that way.
Slapping the BBC (again)!
Updates (14/07/07): In case you think I’m a lone paranoid voice, please read what the journalist Melanie Phillips wrote three days ago on her website here. You see: even CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) is up in arms about the BBC’s bias against Israel.
(25/06/07): Norman Lebrecht also mentions Jeremy Bowen’s comment in his review of two books about the Six-Day War in today’s Standard.