BICOM - the UK pro Israel Lobby

Dame_Enda

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If you've noticed a sharp change in tone in a pro-Israel direction in the UK media in recent years it is not without reason. Its party because of BICOM, the UK's equivalent of AIPAC. BICOM is funded by the billionaire Poju Zabludowicz, the son of Finnish arms magnet Shlomo Zabludowicz. Ruth Smeeth MP, who stormed out in a huff at the Labour press conference announcing the Chakrabati report on anti-semitism when someone accused her of colluding with the press, is a former director of public affairs and campaigns at BICOM. According to RT, Smeeth attended the Herzliya Conference in Israel as a representative of BICOM in 2007. The forum often draws the Israeli president, prime minister and other senior figures in government.

The current head of BICOM is ex Labour MP for Rochdale Lorna Fitzsimons. In 2011 a leaked email revealed how embedded the organisation is with the media:

RT said:
In 2006, the Jewish Chronicle reported that “BICOM experts have been allowed unprecedented access to the BBC to brief the corporation’s staff on the Middle East.”

BICOM have also organized tours of Israel for journalists, bloggers and politicians.
According to the website Totally Jewish, a misdirected email sent by former BICOM chief Fitzsimons in 2011 revealed the extent of the group’s influence with the BBC.

BICOM was left “embarrassed” by the email, in which Fitzsimons said: “Throughout the weekend, BICOM staff were in contact with a whole host of BBC and Sky news desks and journalists, ensuring that the most objectively favorable line was taken, and offering talking heads, relevant to the stories unfolding.”
According to wikipedia,

The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) is a UK-based organisation which acts to promote awareness of Israel and the Middle East in the United Kingdom. BICOM publishes materials on the history, economy, culture and politics of Israel, Middle East peace plans, terrorism in the Middle East, UK-Israel relations and foreign policy.

We Believe in Israel is BICOM's pro-Israel advocacy organization in the United Kingdom. The current director is former Labour councillor and pro-Israel activist Luke Akehurst.[2] We Believe in Israel provides learning materials[3] to both the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the United Synagogue, who together represent a large percentage of British Jews.[4]
It is also listed as part of the Jewish Leadership Council, and umbrella organisation that aims to unite its members and confer benefits to its members from pooled resources.[4]
According to their website, We Believe in Israel was launched following the We Believe in Israel Conference in London in May 2011, with 26 community organisations and attended by 1500 delegates.[5]
In the 2010s, the group petitioned for The Co-operative Group to reverse its decision to boycott certain Israeli products.[6]

Channel 4's Dispatches ran this episode about them in 2008.

[video=youtube;0E70BwA7xgU]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E70BwA7xgU[/video]

BICOM has contributed to a climate of self-censorship (and with the new anti BDS laws actual censorship) by its lobbying activities. For example:

- Alex Chalmers resigned from Oxford University Labour Party after the Oxford Students Union voted to endorse Israel Apartheid Week, accusing the party of "anti semitism". The evidence he gave of this was the vote, which underlines the growing and incorrect conflation of criticism of Israel with anti-semitism. Alex Chalmers is a former member of BICOM.

Electronic Intifada article by Asa Winstanley said:
In a public Facebook posting Alex Chalmers, the co-chair of the club, resigned his position over what he claimed was anti-Semitic behavior in “a large proportion” of the student Labour club “and the student left in Oxford more generally.”

But as evidence he cited the club’s decision, in a majority vote, to endorse Oxford’s Israeli Apartheid Week, an annual awareness-raising exercise by student groups which support Palestinian rights.
We must guard against the Irish media becoming similarly co-opted by the Israeli lobby. While I am very critical of some Irish newspapers, I agree with their coverage of Israel-Palestine, except for Carol Hunt.
 


cyberianpan

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Many of the Irish journalists covering Middle Eastern affairs supplement their income from various anti Israeli and anti US Intelligence Services

cyp
 

Dame_Enda

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BICOM has close ties to the Blairites in Labour. At a Labour gathering a few weeks ago attended by ex BICOM official and MP Ruth Smeeth, Corbyn and pro Corbyn MPs like Richard Burton left the room as MPs started shouting "We want Tony".
 

redneck

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Some good news regarding this topic is that the plight of Christians in the Middle East has at long last got an airing.
After years and years of neglect. On BBC and American TV (traditionally pro Israel) there has been programs about the near collapse of Christianity in the Holy land and elsewhere.
 

mossyman

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Some good news regarding this topic is that the plight of Christians in the Middle East has at long last got an airing.
After years and years of neglect. On BBC and American TV (traditionally pro Israel) there has been programs about the near collapse of Christianity in the Holy land and elsewhere.
I was reading about Iraq today and the population of Christians has gone from 1.5 million at the time of the invasion to half a million today. Situation is still being made worse by ISIS.
 

pinemartin

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I was reading about Iraq today and the population of Christians has gone from 1.5 million at the time of the invasion to half a million today. Situation is still being made worse by ISIS.
Situation instigated by the United States and the United Kingdom.
 

redneck

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Another Jewish conspiracy to destroy the world ...
well the Jewish population world wide is now at 1939, or Pre Holocaust levels. Good news without a doubt. The Holocaust failed to achieve its goal.
 

Dame_Enda

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Another Jewish conspiracy to destroy the world ...
Some in BICOM are Jewish and others not. The former BICOM boss Lorna Fitzsimons is not Jewish and is a former Labour MP for Rochdale.
 

darkhorse

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Some in BICOM are Jewish and others not. The former BICOM boss Lorna Fitzsimons is not Jewish and is a former Labour MP for Rochdale.
Are you backtracking now?

If you've noticed a sharp change in tone in a pro-Israel direction in the UK media in recent years it is not without reason. Its party because of BICOM, the UK's equivalent of AIPAC.
 

Dame_Enda

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Are you backtracking now?
The two statements are perfectly consistent. AIPAC also has non Jewish members. There are Christian Fundamentalists who mainly vote Republican and support a huge war in the Middle East because of "End Times" prophesy. Fitzsimons is probably not a Christian Fundamentalist but the military-industrial complex treats the Middle East like Russia treats the Caucusus - a region to be kept unstable so others may profit in various ways.
 

GDPR

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If it was remotely anti-Semitic it would not have gotten on mainstream British TV in 2008. The documentary for those who actually watched clearly wasn't- however it did address people using the anti-Semitic meme to bully which was done by Jewish people themselves primarily. I have been called a Jew lover and I have been called an anti-Semite.
 


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