Press Release 1 November 2005

Scottish Friends of Palestine expresses its concern at the involvement of Sir David Frost as guest speaker at the annual Balfour Dinner in Tel Aviv hosted by the Israeli based Israel, British and Commonwealth Association. That Israeli organisations should celebrate the actions of Arthur J Balfour, the architect of the infamous Balfour Declaration of 2 November 1917, comes as no surprise.

That such a well known BBC TV personality and broadcaster, who invited himself into the homes and living rooms of so many in the UK over the decades, should now reveal his lack of impartiality, neutrality and poor judgement by attending such an event invites concern and condemnation.

Sir David, over the years, interviewed Israeli prime minsters Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin. With what rigour we must ask?

Did he ever ask Golda Meir to explain her notorious propaganda statement “there were no such people as Palestinians”. We think not.

Did he ever question Moshe Dayan on his singular act of terror and slaughter when on July 11th 1948, at the head of the 89th Commando Battalion he “blitzed” the Palestinian towns of Lydda and Ramleh with contemporary reports indicating bodies of men, women and children “riddled” with bullets? We think not.

Did he ever question Dayan concerning the valuable Palestinian artefacts he looted? We think not.

Did he ever question Lt Col Yitzhak Rabin’s role on July 12th 1948 when the thousands of residents of Lyyda-Ramleh were forced marched out of their homes and land, with many dying of hunger and thirst, as a result of orders from prime minister David Ben Gurion? We think not.

With the BBC initiating its Israeli –Palestinian Impartiality Review the Corporation must acknowledge that the prominent position of David Frost within the BBC, now that his loyalties have been revealed, was inimical to impartial and sound reporting/commenting throughout the years of his employment.

While Sir David Frost may think it appropriate to celebrate the tragedy which Athur J Balfour brought to Palestine and its people, Scottish Friends of Palestine has acted otherwise.

On the 12 & 13 November at the Town House in Haddington, East Lothian (adjacent to Balfour’s family home) its International Conference – Palestine and the legacy of Balfour takes place. There will be no celebration as Balfour’s legacy is scrutinised.

The Conference will reinforce the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people which Balfour’s act of folly will never negate. It will also look at the future and the way forward.

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