Skip to content or view screen version

BBC journos told not to cover anti war protests say NUJ

Media head | 26.09.2002 13:57

NUJ press release

Don’t bang the drum of war, says NUJ

September 23 2002

Journalists should be careful about being used to crank up the pressure to attack Iraq, NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear has warned.

He said the union had been contacted by members who said they were under pressure not to report anti-war activity. Some were BBC journalists who had been told by managers that it would be politically biased to publicise anti-war events.

NUJ members and union banners will be joining the anti-war march in London on Saturday September 28. Jeremy Dear said: “We have a special interest, not just as citizens opposed to a dangerous military adventure but also as journalists concerned at the way the media are being used to crank up the pressure for war.”

The march will also be in defence of Palestinians under occupation and attack by Israel. “We will demonstrate our particular solidarity with Palestinian journalists in their struggle to work and survive,” said Jeremy Dear. In June this year he was a member of a delegation from the International Federation of Journalists that visited Israel and Palestine to investigate conditions for journalists and express solidarity for them.

The march assembles on the Victoria Embankment and moves to Hyde Park for a rally. NUJ members and banners will gather on the Embankment outside Temple underground station from 12.30pm.

For more information, go to the Media Workers Against the War website at or the Stop the War Coalition at

Media head
- Homepage:


Hide the following 25 comments


26.09.2002 14:08

And the Anticapitalist Bloc will be meeting up at Cleopatra's Needle, near Embankment tube.

Only Direct Action can stop this war!

mail e-mail:

Evidence of censoring

26.09.2002 14:56

Scouring the [internet] media today for coverage of the Stop the War march on Saturday I came accross something the IMC croud might find interesting.
After reading the IMC article about the NUJ and BBC journalists regarding anti-war coverage, I found an interesting link On the Independent newspaper website. This link titled "March will be biggest anti-war gathering" brings up a blank page . . . I wonder what's going on!

Try the link for yourself:-
Click the link for "March will be biggest anti-war gathering" on this page

or try directly

Little Tommy T

The link works

26.09.2002 15:23

The report says it is a Coalition of peaceful Christians and Muslims aginst war, but forgot to mention, many Jews against Zionism attend these protests as a show of support. Let's not be biased.


hey and..

26.09.2002 16:01

..some of us don't believe in God at all!


secular and democratic contingent on the demo

27.09.2002 19:36

Solidarity and Workers' Liberty are supporting the anti-war march on Saturday 28 September, 12.30
from Embankment. We are however concerned at the fact that the anti-war protest has been
combined with an Islamist protest on Palestine, called by the Muslim Association of Britain and
using slogans such as "Zionists out of Palestine"; "Zionists, Zionists, you should know/ Back to
Palestine we'll go".

Together with other comrades, we are organising a distinct democratic/secular
contingent on the demonstration, with slogans such as "No to war, no to Saddam", "Israel out of the
Occupied Territories", "Two Nations, Two States". Please join us. We will be assembling from
10am at Temple tube (Temple, not Embankment, the environs of which will be too crowded for
distinct contingents to assemble). More: 07748 185 553.

mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

Two nations two states

28.09.2002 09:40

built explicitly on the basis of racist divisions and the notion of aparthied-sounds very progressive to me.

Speaking of divisions....what is wrong with being anti-Zionist? And is marching in solidarity with people who you don't fully agree with ie 'Islamicists' wrong which is what the above comment suggests. He seems to suggest you can criticise Muslims but not Zionists...some strange Volitarian notion lurking about Islam in there I think, that I fond very distasteful for 'socialists'.


What about the right to return?

30.09.2002 13:56

What do AWL propose to do about the 5 million Palestinian refugees?

Also, shouldn't we as anti-racists be opposed to Zionism? Its fundemental belief is that Arabs are second class who should be ethnically cleansed from Palestine.

Zionism is ironically anti-Jewish: Chaim Weissman is quoted as stating that "A cow in Israel is worth more than all the Jews in Europe" and Sharon has stated that he is prepared to "bomb synagogues" to get the diaspora Jews "running to Israel".

How will a two state solution address these issues?

No 2 zionism

Media bias against "Don't attack Iraq" movem

30.09.2002 15:50

The Times this Monday had no mention of the hundreds of thousands who went to London last Saturday
to demonstrate against the bellicose policy of the UK and the US on Iraq. Is this intentional or just that R. Murdoch thinks there is more money in serving up the John and Edwina trash? I see the NUJ are saying that they are under pressure not to report the anti war on Iraq sentiment in the U.K. If this is true at least this should be published widely as this is an appalling accusation and those applying such pressure should be nominated.

Philipo Greig
mail e-mail:


02.10.2002 11:51

The AWL have no helpfull suggestions to make regarding the struggle against Zionism...they only come on these demos so as to make up stories about antisemitism..their leader Sean Matgammna says that the Palestinian refugees are a 'Arab problem' (as quoted by Afif Safieh, PLO Representative to the UK in the current 'Weekly Worker')..they are also notorious for their downplaying & trivialising of Zionst crimes...
...the united marching of Muslims, socialists, ordinary people & anti-Zionist Jews shouls send the AWL a clear message!

mail e-mail:


14.10.2002 15:30

Just curious - Victor, what stories have you heard AWL members tell about antisemitism on anti-war marches, that you think they "made up"? And also, what do you think they'd have to gain by "only" showing up on marches to make up such stories?

Like I say, just curious.

(And by the way, before somebody or other starts shrieking "AWL MEMBER!" or "ZIONIST!", I should point out that I'm neither)



16.10.2002 10:41

Hi Joss!
Well at the MAB organised demo on Palestine quite a few months back (cant remember the exact date) the AWL were around at the start then went straight to the end point. There and subsequently (for example a certain 'Jim Denham' on the Socialist Alliance email list) described it as a 'race hate march'.
Recently they complained that the 28th Sept march had been the subject of an 'addition' by MAB around issues of Palestine...implying that somehow MAB, the PSC etc had 'hijacked' the purely anti-war on Iraq nature of the demo...were as the **facts** were that it had originally been booked as a Palestinian demo but was, rightly, broaded out to include Iraq.
The AWL equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism, and see muslims through the prism of one or two tiny extremist groups..though thankfully the AWL will remain a small outfit of 90 people....

mail e-mail:


16.10.2002 12:42

If we're thinking of the same march, then I was on it too. I'd agree with you that it wasn't a "race-hate march"; I was certainly quite happy to be on it. Having said that, there were small contingents of people engaged in some very unpleasant anti-semitic chanting. Not much was done about this, either by the stewards or (on any large scale) anyone else.

As to the AWL (and they're more than welcome to clear this up themselves) I don't think they systematically equate anti-zionism and anti-semitism on a blanket level. I certainly don't agree with the position they take on Palestine, but I would give them credit for spelling out that position with clarity. By way of a contrast, the term "anti-zionist" can be used to describe dozens of political positions, ranging from leftist positions to religious conservative ones, through to extreme rightist (and even anti-semitic) positions. The term is dilute to say the least, and that's the major problem with it.

Lastly, I suspect you'd agree that it's a problem across much of the "left spectrum" that Muslim people are often viewed as a monocultural bloc - and that there is often a tendency to categorise a person first and foremost by their religion. But, sadly, that's not a problem exclusive to any one group or individual.




17.10.2002 10:36

Hi there Joss

Yeah it is silly of the AWL to have called it a race hate march...i wonder whether they called the Zionist rabble/rally (a pathethic 3 thusand 'strong') in Traf sq in March a 'race hate' gathering...
Personally on that march i heard some chants like 'burn down israel' but, thankfully, nothing like 'death to jews'. But the AWL are wrong to take the views of tiny minority of muslims as representing the views of the majority of people on the march..indeed on the coach down (after i got past the local SWP fulltimer/thug..a real wanker) there i was on a 95% muslim coach and never heard anything fact the steward at the front reminded everyone that antisemitism is not accceptable...
The AWL do equate most forms of anti_Zionism (for example those who believe in a one state solution) with antisemitism..they also LIE about what the Zionsists have done which when it boils down to it is: through **terror** and war crimes steal a whole country and maintain their racist system through the most brutal means ever since!
I think the AWL (as with their support of Loyalism eg their giving of a platform to the fascist PUP leader Billy Hutchinson at their 'school'in the mid-1990's) like to cloud their Zionism with a series of red being that anti-Zionism is equvilant to antisemitism.
Simply put: Anti-Zionism is anti-racism, anti-the racist Israeli state..antisemitism is can not be a honest anti-Zionist and antisemitic! Remarkably Palestinian groups are not tainted by antisemitism (but why do the AWL never want to talk about anti-Arab racism?)

mail e-mail:


17.10.2002 11:28

Of course, you're quite right to say that theocratic/conservative movements represent only a tiny minority strand of opinion in Muslim communities. That was never in doubt - furthermore I'd hazard a guess that the manifestations of those movements in the UK attract support from only within certain social strata, etc. Although I'd love to know what was the problem with the local SWP guy.... didn't he want you on the coach?

On the AWL and anti-zionism, I've certianly noticed intemperate and ill-judged statements from their members in the past regarding those who advocate one-state solutions. However there's been much less of that rhetoric of late, and in fairness to them I don't think it was ever their organised line that the people who took that view were anti-semites. Furthermore, it's worth remembering that the left groups as a whole in the UK are split on the issue. If I've remembered my trotty anorak studies correctly, the Socialist Party, CPGB, AWL and various splinters support two states, whilst the SWP, Socialist Outlook and Workers' Power support one state. This split is mirrored across many of left and national liberation movements worldwide - in fact (correct me if I'm wrong) hasn't the PLO accepted two states?

Of course, all of the groups that I've mentioned have their different reasons for arriving at the positions they hold. Also, there are differences in the expression and detail of
those positions. However, it isn't as simple as a flat split between imperialism and anti-imperialism.

As for anti-zionism, I'd fully accept (I've never said otherwise) that it's possible to be anti-zionist and anti-racist. Many people are good anti-racist progressives who are anti-zionists; I'm sure this is true of yourself. However, it simply isn't true in every case. It's possible to be reactionary and anti-zionist, just as it's possible to be reactionary and anti-imperialist (as with theocratic movements in several religions worldwide). I wish this wasn't so, but it is. It's something we all have to deal with.

Anyway, I'm enjoying this debate!




17.10.2002 11:51

Hi there Joss!

Oh the local SWP thug tried to dissuade other lefties from going on the coaches (as arrogantly he see's muslims as his captive audience for SWP drivel...) and tried to provoke a physical situation...thankfully a MAB steward politely but firmly waved me past this SWP dead head!

Yeah the problem isnt with a 2 state 'position' as such but with the way in which the AWL have implicitly equated a one state solution with antisemitism (i will go on their website asap,. Indeed factions of the PLO have adopted a 2 states solution out of desperation rather than belief..
It is the AWL's rejection of imperialism that makes them see such conflicts as purely communal rather than as strategic assets of the imperialist powers (thats way the various 'peace processes' *had to* fail).
I say that if some one is using anti-Zionist rhetoric to push antisemtisn then they are helping the Zionists to deligitimise anti-Zionism...

mail e-mail:


17.10.2002 16:02

I agree with your point about anti-zionism, but when you see texts by far-right authors circulating in various "progressive"/"anti-imperialist" circles, you do begin to wonder about the standard of the general debate. You must have seen examples of this before. It is worrying, isn't it?




21.10.2002 08:45

I havent seen stuff by the far-right being circulated on the Left..can you give some examples...i know that the AWL dismiss the historical facts about the complicity with Nazism that many leading Zionists had...

mail e-mail:


21.10.2002 10:42

Have given some examples in a direct email to you. It's quicker, and besides nobody seems to be reading this forum anyway...


The Shocking Truth!

21.10.2002 11:04

Now that no one is reading i can reveal the sordid truth! Victor & Joss are the same person who is trying to con you that there is a dialect of discussion on the Left ..whereas all roads in their diabolical scheme lead to the same Masonic conclusion: One World Government! The only way to stop them is to: STOP THINKING!

mail e-mail: oneworldgovernmentnow!@hotmail.con

Hello - I'm reading!

21.10.2002 14:00

Hello - I'm still reading and have noted that Joss in his role of defender of AWL has *still* failed to address my original question:

How will a two state solution address the issue of the 5 million Palestinian refugees?

Also if AWL (and others)are against theocratic states like Iran - why defend the theocratic state of Israel? Or does that rule only apply to non-white Muslim states?

No 2 Zionism

Rights for all nations

21.10.2002 22:31

1. Five million Palestinian refugees? The AWL - and other supporters of "two states" in Israel-Palestine, such as the PLO (and, historically, before the whole of the PLO, the Palestinian left), and the Israeli left - want to see a fully independent Palestinian state, with compensation and aid from Israel, the US, and the Arab states, where as many of them as wish can return to a state of their own. We want that independent Palestinian state to stand alongside Israel, where five million Jews, the majority of them refugees or children of refugees, have formed a new nation. More broadly, we want to see a democratic and socialist federation of the whole Middle East, with the right to self-determination for each nation within it, so that the huge natural wealth of the region can be used for the common good rather to enrich a few despots.

What do the supporters of "one state" propose for those five million Palestinians? As far as I can see, that Israel be conquered (by whom? Saddam Hussein?) and they be given possession of that land. Then what happens to other five million refugees or children of refugees, the Jewish five million? The idea that they will all live happily side-by-side in democratic secular harmony under the benevolent eye of whomever the conquering power has been is fantasy.

2. Israel is not a theocratic state. Despite the depredations of the religious right in Israel, Israel is still the most secular society in the Middle East. Most Israeli Jews are not particularly religious.

3. The Muslim Association, a co-sponsor of the 28 September demonstration, distributed a newspaper on that demonstration, "Inspire", in which it unambiguously identified itself with the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest Islamic-fundamentalist party in the Arab world. It wants a state based on Islamic law. Another article in that same paper discusses what should happen in such an ideal Islamic state to people who, having been Muslim, then renounce religion. Judiciously it says that opinion can differ on this. Some hold that such apostates must immediately face the death penalty; others that they are guilty of "mutiny and treason", and must be punished, but not necessarily by death. It is a slander on Muslims to think that such ideas and politics represent general Muslim opinion rather than a particular far-right political current.

4. If you hold that Zionism = racism (let alone that Zionism = Nazism, or Star of David = swastika, or that the suffering of the Palestinians now is "the real Holocaust", the 1940s one presumably having been unreal), then you are committed to root-and-branch hostility to the vast majority of Jews in the world who, whatever disagreements they have with what the Israeli government does now, or what various Zionist leaders said at scattered points in history, feel an instinctive identification with Israel's right to exist.

Martin Thomas
mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

Response to AWL lies

22.10.2002 08:47

Gosh so many red herrings by the AWL in one email to cover up their Zionism! Where to begin?
Firstly: a 'separate but equal' Palestinian state with the fundamental nature of the Zionist Israeli state kept as it is would only result in what we have seen already: a pathectic shadow of a 'Palestine' one totally dominated by the racist Israeli state who would reserve the right to strangle a rump 'Palestine' both economically and militarily.
We should never forget that it is within no moral power of Zionism to grudgingly cough up a tiny 'Palestine' as these murderers and thieves stole the whole region of Palestine, by force, in the first place!
Secondly: what bullshit does the AWL think we will swallow when they accuse us anti-Zionists of wanting Saddam Hussein to rule over the Palestinians?? I think this fantasy says more about the AWL's implicit anti-Arab racism than it does about those of us who actually campaign for a Free Palestine!
Thirdly: I think our AWL hack needs ot brush up on his homework...the Right of Return very clearly rests upon a theocratic, religious criteria for who can live in the land stolen from the Palestinians. I could also quote you numerous examples of the overwhelming power that Judaism as an ideology has with Israel..
Fourthly: No doubt that MAB has many ideas that others would find abhorrent but i dont think the best way of engaging with those are to damn MAB (which does a hell of a lot of practical work on Palestine...but then i guess the AWL arent exactly noted for that!!!)..better to work with anyone on the broad things we agree with and bring out the contradictions in any discrimination as we do so!
Fifthly: One aspect of the Zionism=Nazism thing that the AWL dont get is that we should be amamzed that even after suffering one of the most brutal Nazi type regimes in the world that the equation of Zionism=Nazism indicates how agianst antisemitism the Palestinians they see Nazism as evil as Zionism...i dont see how anyone can conclude thats antisemitic! Its the reverse!
(By the way perhaps we could talk about how one of your Birmingham members trivialises Palestinian deaths at Sabra and Shatila...)
Free Palestine!

mail e-mail:

"Defender of the AWL"

22.10.2002 13:57

I'll have to think on Martin's and Victor's comments before I jump back in on the substantive points.

"No to Zionism" - I don't recall having given my position on two states/one state as yet. Personally I'm not sure about the issue, and unashamed of the fact. I do, though, think the question (although important) is fetishised by the left and made into a forum for ideological trench warfare, when actually there are all sorts of subtle differences in position on the part of various groups, be they in favour of one or two states.

As for my "role as defender of the AWL", read back what I said. I disagreed with Victor about some of his points. That's hardly the same thing as all-out sycophantic defence, now is it? Besides, as you can see they're quite capable of answering for themselves.



Zionism: the question

22.10.2002 14:07

Hi Joss
Surely the question is simple: Zionism is racism and we should have no truck or defence of it. Israel is a racist brutal state that we can not support, based upon and sustained upon the oppression of the Palestinians Israel has no right to exist. The alternative to Zionism is an end to the terror against Palestinians and a free state.

mail e-mail:


22.10.2002 14:30

As pointed out by Joss (see Braveheart we **are** One Person) elsewhere MAB far from encouraging or supporting 'extremism' have been excellent stewards on all the demo's they have been active in..also they co-called the demo with the SWP dominated Stop The War 'Coalition'.(from which the cpgb & awl were slung off from) the way i have free copies of the AWL's document from the time that they got chucked off Labour Left Briefing for their (ie the AWL's) support for the Orange racist occupation of the six counties of Ireland ('Northen Ireland')..ironically the AWL called this document: Open The Windows(!)
Victor (the All Seeing, the All Knowing)

mail e-mail: