Colonel Richard Kemp blasts media's Israel coverage

A leading defence figure has warned of "dark forces" exploiting the international media, including the BBC, and insisted that some criticism of Israel "is based on antisemitism".
Retired Colonel Richard Kemp told a 400-strong audience at the Zionist Federation's 110th anniversary dinner it had been a "privilege" to work alongside members of the Israel Defence Forces during his 30-year career.

In October, he spoke to the UN Human Rights Council and challenged the findings of the Goldstone Report, insisting the Israeli Defence Forces did "more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare".

He told the ZF audience of how Hamas had "lured" Israeli forces into civilian areas, or using women, children, and even disabled people to attack IDF troops. But Israel, said Colonel Kemp, "went to the most incredible lengths in Gaza to protect human life", initially by recruiting intelligence on the ground. But in response, he said: "Hamas has reintroduced crucifixion to deal with supposed spies."

He added: "Israel is not a nation of war criminals. When mistakes are made, they are investigated. Hamas have no such restraint on their behaviour any more than the Taliban do."

Predicting further outright condemnation of the IDF, he said: "Some of it, I am afraid to say, is based on antisemitism. There are dark forces at work out there and that is responsible for more of the adverse propaganda we are seeing, and the exploitation of the media, including the BBC. It is down to us to do everything we can to stand up and tell the truth and push the cause of honesty and freedom."

He said that both Britain and Israel faced enemies which were linked: "Hamas and Hizbollah in Gaza and Lebanon, and an organisation called Jaish al-Mahdi in Iraq. The one thing that links those three organisations, equips and trains them and gives them orders to carry out their attacks, is of course the government of Iran."

He took over as commander of British forces in Afghanistan in 2003, and needed to know how to deal with suicide bomb attacks.

He said: "I spoke to a contact of mine who worked for the Israeli Embassy, mentioned my dilemma, said I was about to go out to Afghanistan, and could he help?

"I thought he would get me to come and meet the defence attache at the embassy. But actually, within days, a brigadier-general, the greatest expert the IDF had on suicide bombing, came from the Golan Heights, from his operational command, into London, specifically to spend four hours with me. I sat in the hotel and wrote copious notes, as a result of which I devised the policy which became the British army's doctrine for dealing with suicide attacks."

    Last updated: 4:24pm, February 25 2010