Jeremy Bowen’s ‘Enjoyable New Experience’

May 12, 2010 16:10 by

BBC bureau chief Jeremy Bowen is enjoying the tensions between Israel and the US.

Here's Bowen in his own words:

It has been an unusual and enjoyable new experience to be able to look on as the Israelis argued with their most important ally. The fact that the dispute is over Jewish settlements is even better for the Palestinian.

Bowen's entitled to enjoy Gilad Shalit's captivity, Iran's relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons, or the failed Times Square bombing too.

It brings Marc Garlasco to mind. It wasn't so long ago that the military analyst was forced out of his job at Human Rights Watch over his Nazi memorabilia collection. Wearing iron cross sweatshirts is perfectly legal, but its incongruous if you're a human rights watchdog monitoring Israel.

It also brings to mind BBC reporter Barbara Plett crying for Yasser Arafat when he left Ramallah for the last time. Plett was censured for that. Now Bowen betrays a similar emotional bond with the Palestinians.

Would the BBC's culture would allow Bowen to express pleasure in the death of Mahmoud Mabhouh?

UPDATE May 13: I see the BBC revised the wording:

It has been an unusual and enjoyable new experience for Palestinians to be able to look on as Israel argued with its most important ally. The fact that the dispute is over Jewish settlements has been even better for them.

Bowen also sent the following explanation to Just Journalism:

Jeremy Bowen responded to our report via email, saying that there was a 'glitch in [his] editing process' and that when calling a chill in U.S.-Israeli relations 'enjoyable' he had meant to attribute this view to the Palestinians. The article was subsequently amended on the BBC News website but no acknowledgement of an error was made.

Bowen's off the hook, but given his record, it wouldn't surprise me if this reflected his real views. A Freudian slip?

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