Dispatches comments spark uproar

By Jessica Elgot, November 16, 2009
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Peter Oborne will present the Dispatches programme on Channel 4 which investigates the 'influence' of the Israeli lobby

Peter Oborne will present the Dispatches programme on Channel 4 which investigates the 'influence' of the Israeli lobby

Comments made over the Channel Four Dispatches investigation into the 'influence' of the Israeli lobby has drawn concern from the Community Security Trust.

The organisation expressed its concern over the language used in comments about the programme on the Channel 4 website, some of which suggested the programme would be about a shadowy and wealthy lobby bankrolling political parties in order to exert undue influence over UK policy towards Israel.

In a blog written by the CST, the organisation said this kind of language has a basis had been traditionally antisemitic.

“Our fear was that by emphasising the supposed hidden power and influence of the “pro-Israel lobby” over politicians and the media, and promising to expose “the wealthy individuals who help bankroll the lobbying”, Dispatches was unwittingly playing up to antisemitic stereotypes.

“Since then, the latest comments posted on the Dispatches website further underline the reason for our fears,” the blog reads.

The CST also drew attention to the support the programme has garnered from extreme right-wing factions. Martin Webster, a former leading National Front activist has promoted the programme on an internet talkboard.

Lee Barnes, legal advisor to the BNP has also promoted the programme on his blog.

A spokesman for Channel 4 said the programme was “an entirely legitimate area for journalistic investigation, not least in the run-up to an election, where a lobby working in support of the interests of a foreign power could wield great influence in shaping future British policy”.

A SELECTION OF THE COMMENTS POSTED ON THE CHANNEL FOUR WEBSITE

“It won’t change anything. Most of the British public are too stupid to realise how important this programme is. We are being attacked from within by fifth columns in our parliament for this murderous regime. Time to put a stop to the influence they have over our lives and the lives of our troops they send to fight for their ideals in the Middle East once and for all.”
NO BLINKERS ON on 15 November 2009 at 07:30

"Let's see the hand of global Zionism at work. Please do keep and show ALL the information and don't fall for the old accusations of racism when doing programmes like this, to marr any unpleasant truths that may be found."
CLEM ALFORD on 13 November 2009 at 17:44

"This is remarkable. We have tried for years to have this shadowy support mechanism for Israel exposed. Please do not allow this programme to be pulled. Please do a proper expose of all aspects. It isn't just the media and MPs this monster controls, it also has a mechanism to attack any individuals who oppose Israel, in any way."
KENBAKER on 13 November 2009 at 17:23

“It is disgraceful that C4 is intending to expose the pro-Israel lobby. Surely it is a signatory to the "National Press & TV Zionist Agreement", which stipulates in paragraph one: "Thou shalt not print nor broadcast any reference to the undemocratic control by the agents of Israel over the House of Commons &/or the House of Lords."
TIMOTHY WILLIAMS on 14 November 2009 at 17:50

“Good. We want our country back. The agents of a foreign power embedded at all levels of our government and politics need flushing out. They are a menace to our foreign policy, security and reputation abroad. I hope this programme isn't 'pulled' at the last minute due to overwhelming pressure from the usual suspect. If it does what it should do, some very big names are going to be shamed, and not before time."
NOISY TAPPET on 13 November 2009 at 16:04

"I’m truly astonished this is being tackled as it is perhaps the only taboo left in British politics. Expect numerous cries of "antisemitism" Lets hope the programme doesn’t pull its punches."
MARVIN on 12 November 2009 at 11:11

"The powerful impact of the Zionist Lobby on British politics is more damaging to our country than that of the ghastly BNP."
VERONICA PLANTON on 07 November 2009 at 23:18

"I hope the programme would expose how lobbyists for Israel trample over the UK democratic process. I expect Oborne to expose the destructive role of the Labour Friends of Israel in British politics, but I hope he won't stop there."
YAEL KAHN on 07 November 2009 at 11:30

“Thanks Channel 4 for having the courage to look into this subject that most other media dare not touch. We need to know how British politics is being shaped by this powerful yet secretive lobby group to serve the interests of Israel. I look forward to watching it.“
ATIYA MUNIR on 07 November 2009 at 10:59

Last updated: 10:54am, November 17 2009