Cherie’s half-sister Lauren Booth blasted by Ofcom for anti-Israel Gaza programme

Well this is a media cocktail and a half – Cherie Blair’s half-sister Lauren Booth (also an occasional Mail on Sunday columnist) has been criticised by UK broadcast regulator Ofcom for breaching impartiality rules over a programme made by Press TV about the Israeli confrontation with a ‘peace’ convoy to Gaza on May 3. This resulted in nine deaths (none of them Israeli).

Press TV is funded by the Iranian government (so hardly likely to be pro-Israeli).

The programme referred to the action by Israeli commandos as a ‘massacre’ among other unflattering epithets and, says Ofcom, was ‘one-sided’ with insufficient evidence of ‘alternative views.’ Presumably these would have included our old friend Israeli official spokesman Mark Regev saying it never happened.

Well these are deep waters full of mysteries. Ms Booth’s journalistic pre-eminence is one of them; the Mail on Sunday uses her as a stand-in for Suzanne Moore when its resident feminist lefty is away. Lauren and Cherie Booth nee Blair don’t seem to get on too well but they are both notably sympathetic towards the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel, which does make you wonder how Cherie managed to get along with husband and former British PM Tony Blair when he was invading Iraq (hardly a pro-Arab standpoint) and does so in his current role as a markedly pro-Israel ‘mediator’ in the Middle East.

Maybe they just don’t see very much of each other.

Regarding Ofcom, it may be right that Booth’s programme failed to put the Israeli point of view, which many people, including the Turkish government whose citizens were killed in the action, see as indefensible. But do opponents of Israel’s actions towards Gaza and in the occupied territories get the same right of reply as Ofcom says Israel should have?

Would Ofcom go in to bat for Hamas?

And will Lauren Booth justify her programme in the Mail on Sunday at the weekend? Or will Suzanne Moore (who probably agrees with her) be dragged back to write about something else?

What larks. And they call it the ‘silly’ season.

You May Also Like

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.