by John Pilger
An unforeseen threat to freedom of speech in British broadcasting emerged last week. It was triggered by the showing of my documentary, Palestine is Still the Issue, on ITV. The film told a basic truth that is routinely relegated, even suppressed - that a historic injustice has been done to the Palestinian people, and until Israel's illegal and brutal occupation ends, there will be no peace for anyone, Israelis included.
Most of the film allowed people to tell their eyewitness stories, both Palestinians and Israelis. What was unusual was that it disclosed in detail the daily humiliation and cultural denigration of the Palestinians, including a sequence showing excrement smeared by Israeli soldiers in a room of children's paintings. The film was accurate, restrained and fair; the longest interview was with an Israeli government spokesman. Every word and frame was subjected to a legal examination for accuracy and to ensure it complied with the fairness regulations in the Broadcasting Act.
Our historical adviser, Professor Ilan Pappé, the distinguished Israeli historian. He wrote to Carlton Television that "the film is faultless in its historical description and poignant in its message". None of this deterred the chairman of Carlton, Michael Green, a supporter of Israel's policies, from abusing the programme makers in the Jewish Chronicle, calling the film "inaccurate", "historically incorrect" and "a tragedy for Israel".
Not one of his accusations was, or can be, substantiated. Professor Pappé called the attack "an attempt to delegitimise any criticism of Israel". This was followed by an unprecedented rebuke of its chairman by Carlton's Factual Department, which stood by the film's accuracy.
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