Here’s this week’s Good News Friday installment.
In its editorial guidelines, the BBC defines its editorial values as follows:
“Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest. We are committed to achieving the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences.
The BBC is independent of outside interests and arrangements that could undermine our editorial integrity. Our audiences should be confident that our decisions are not influenced by outside interests, political or commercial pressures, or any personal interests.”
However, the BBC’s coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict has long been a source of contention, with severe criticism of its standards of accuracy and impartiality being frequently voiced.
In the year 2000, British and Israeli lawyer Trevor Asserson established the ‘BBC Watch’ website and over the following decade produced several reports on various aspects of BBC reporting on the Middle East. In recent years however, Mr. Asserson’s external commitments as founding partner of a UK law firm based in Israel have restricted his ability to continue with that work. The closing of the media monitor ‘Just Journalism’ in 2011 further exacerbated the obvious need for close and regular monitoring of the world’s most influential broadcaster.
It was therefore decided to re-launch BBC Watch as a sister project to CiF Watch (established in 2009 to monitor the Guardian newspaper’s ‘Comment is Free’ website) and with the independent support of CAMERA – the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. The site is run by Managing Editor Hadar Sela and Adam Levick – Managing Editor of CiF Watch.
Make sure you bookmark BBC Watch’s site – they already have several posts up. Follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook and spread the word to your friends and family to join in combating the bias against Israel at the BBC.
My next item for this week is actually from last week (h/t Israellycool), but is so extraordinary that I cannot let it pass.
Abdulateef al-Mulhim, a columnist writing in the Arab News, published an article in which he mocked the Arab Spring, condemned Arab leaders for oppressing their citizens, and praised Israel for its democracy.
I decided to write this article after I saw photos and reports about a starving child in Yemen, a burned ancient Aleppo souk in Syria, the under developed Sinai in Egypt, car bombs in Iraq and the destroyed buildings in Libya. The photos and the reports were shown on the Al-Arabiya network, which is the most watched and respected news outlet in the Middle East.
The common thing among all what I saw is that the destruction and the atrocities are not done by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction in these Arab countries are done by the same hands that are supposed to protect and build the unity of these countries and safeguard the people of these countries. So, the question now is that who is the real enemy of the Arab world?
The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people.
These dictators’ atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.
Finally, if many of the Arab states are in such disarray, then what happened to the Arabs’ sworn enemy (Israel)? Israel now has the most advanced research facilities, top universities and advanced infrastructure. Many Arabs don’t know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers. Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. Wasn’t one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail is an Israeli-Palestinian?
The Arab Spring showed the world that the Palestinians are happier and in better situation than their Arab brothers who fought to liberate them from the Israelis. Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations.
This is astounding coming from an Arab author, writing in an Arab newspaper for an Arab audience. Kudos to Mr. al-Mulhim for his courage and his honesty. I hope he stays safe. If only there were many more people like him in places of influence, peace in the Middle East could break out tomorrow.
Even more surprisingly, Mr. al-Mulhim states that there are many Arabs who agree with him.
When asked about the response he was receiving to the article, which has been trending on social media sites such as Twitter, Al-Mulhim gave a somewhat surprising answer:
“You would be surprised, a lot of people don’t realize how much media freedom we have in Saudi Arabia. The editor-in-chief of Arab News told me from day one I didn’t have a red line. I could write practically about anything that’s of course logical. I never got any hate me from anybody who was upset with the article because most of the people think what’s in the article is the reality. Maybe they don’t say it in public, but I haven’t gotten any hatemail—yet.”
Perhaps there really is hope for the future.
My final item for today is another health-related invention. A joint Israeli-Danish team is finding a new way to zap malignant cells:
Radiation therapy may be effective when it comes to killing cancerous cells, but it also has a devastating side effect — destroying healthy cells as well. As a result, the amount of radiation used is limited and cancerous cells may survive the treatment.
New research by a joint Israeli-Danish team, however, could point the way to a new type of radiation therapy that may help patients avoid the worst side-effects. The technology is called millimeter radiation, and consists of using a specific radiation wavelength when targeting cancerous cells. According to a series of experiments by a team at the Ariel University Center, the treatment significantly limits damage to healthy cells, to the point where doctors are able to “turn up the heat” on cancerous cells and destroy them far more effectively.
Rather than using X-rays, radiation is generated from the sub-millimeter band and aimed at specific cancerous cells, interrupting their ability to grow and reproduce. There is no excess heat to kill healthy cells, so the only cells affected are the cancerous ones.
In a series of experiments performed by the Israeli-Danish team at Ariel University, researchers used the method to irradiate human lung-cancer cells, which are generally extremely resistant to chemotherapy methods, whereas aggressive use of radiation therapy would badly damage the lung.
The results of this very early-stage research has meant that the project has already received funding from several foundations, including the Carlsberg Foundation and Denmark’s Fraenkel Foundation, which supports research in cardiology and cancer treatment.
The Israeli team includes three veteran researchers — physics professors Konstantin Komoshvili, Jacob Levitan, and Asher Yahalom, as well as engineering professor Boris Kapilewitch, and Dr. Stella Aronov of Ariel’s cancer research lab. On the Danish side, the team includes researchers from Denmark’s Technical University, and includes the well-known physicist Henrik Bohr, grandson of the Jewish physicist and Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr, and a nephew of nuclear physicist Aage Bohr, also a Nobel Prize winner.
Kol hakavod once again to Israel’s wonderful scientists (not forgetting their Danish partners), working for the betterment of human society.
Shabbat shalom everyone, and may I wish you all a “Guten Winter” (a good Winter, or חורף טוב), as we traditionally wish at the end of the festivals of Tishrei.