Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lorna Fitzsimons & Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre

Lorna Fitzsimons (born 6 August 1967, Littleborough, Lancashire) is a British politician.
She Studied at St James CE Primary School in Wardle, then Wardle High School.Rochdale College of Art and Design and then Loughborough College of Art and Design (became part of Loughborough University in 1998) is where she studied for a BA in Textile Design.
Fitzsimons was president of the National Union of Students from 1992 to 1994, having previously held the position of NUS Vice-President (Education). She was a Director of NUS Services from 1990-4, and of Endsleigh Insurance from 1992-4.
In 1997 she was elected Labour member of Parliament for Rochdale, a position she held until her defeat at the 2005 election by the Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Rowen.
As a parliamentarian, Fitzsimmons was a member of the campaign group, Labour Friends of Israel.
She was appointed CEO of Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre on 29 September 2006.
The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) is a United Kingdom based organisation which claims to act to create a more supportive environment for Israel in the UK.
To achieve this objective BICOM issues materials on the history, economy, culture and politics of Israel, the Middle East peace plan, Arab terrorism in the Middle East, UK-Israel relations and foreign policy and the future of Arabia. An article in the European Jewish Press described it as "a pro-Israel British lobby group". An article in Haaretz described it as "a pro-Israel advocacy group".
BICOM lists its activities as:
1.Operating a fully functioning media centre.
2.Providing real-time briefings and high quality in-depth research.
3.Publishing daily briefings, which give coverage to all Israel-related news as reported in the British and Israeli print and online media, as well as analysis of the main stories of the day.
4.Organising and delivering visitor programmes for key politicians, academics and journalists.
BICOM's chief executive, until July 2006, was Danny Scheck, a high-level official of the Israeli foreign ministry on a two year leave of absence. He was previously the chief spokesman and director of the press division of Israel’s foreign ministry.He left to become the Israeli ambassador to France.
Werritty’s Atlantic Bridge group received funding from BICOM via the patronage of Michael Lewis. “Bicom has been linked to Werritty, and paid for the 33-year-old’s flight and hotel bills when he attended a conference in Israel in 2009 to speak about Iran,” reported the London Guardian.
BICOM is bankrolled by billionaire Chaim “Poju” Zabludowicz (pictured above), ranked 18th on a list of the wealthiest people in the United Kingdom. The organization has financially contributed to all three main political parties in the UK.

The current Chief Executive Officer is the former Labour Member of Parliament Lorna Fitzsimons. In 2010, when addressing the Herzliya Conference, Ms Fitzsimons told the conference that "public opinion does not influence foreign policy in Britain. Foreign policy is an elite issue."
Fitzsimons took over from previous BICOM chief Danny Scheck, a former high-level Israeli foreign minister.
She mistakenly sent an internal email to members of the press that was subsequently leaked on the Internet.The shocking contents of that email have barely even been mentioned by any mainstream media source since its release.
In the email, Fitzsimons reveals how BICOM officials regularly meet with editors and journalists from the BBC, Sky News and the Financial Times to ‘brief’ them on how to frame issues relating to Israel in order to ensure that, “the most objectively favourable line was taken.”“Throughout the weekend, BICOM staff were in contact with a whole host of BBC and SKY news desks and journalists, ensuring that the most objectively favourable line was taken, and offering talking heads, relevant to the stories unfolding,” wrote Fitzsimons. “BICOM’s Senior Analyst Dr. Noam Leshem, briefed the BBC World News Editorial Board on Saturday afternoon regarding the fall-out from the Israel Egyptian Embassy siege. After contact with the BICOM Media Team, SKY News changed their narrative in explaining the prior events in the region which lead up to this weekend.”
Later in the email, Fitzsimons reveals how BICOM “had regular contact with the Editor at Large of Prospect Magazine, David Goodhart, helping to inform him about the forthcoming UN vote on Palestinian statehood.” She also notes how BICOM was able to get its talking points out via an article she wrote for the Huffington Post.
Fitzsimons then boasts about how a BBC reporter was chaperoned by BICOM during a visit to Israel.
“BICOM has one of BBC News’ key anchors on a bespoke delegation. When planning her very first trip to the region, Sophie Long got in touch with BICOM to see if we could help her out with meeting in the region. Sophie is now spending three days of her trip with BICOM Israel, taking a tour around the Old City, meeting Mark Regev and Dr. Alex Yacobsen, as well as visiting Ramallah and Sderot.”
Do you think it’s likely that Long’s impartiality regarding Israel was affected by the fact that she enjoyed three days of hospitality on behalf of a vehemently pro-Israeli lobby group? Does this correlate with the BBC’s taxpayer-funded mandate to provide unbiased news coverage?
Fitzsimons also reveals how she personally, “briefed Jonathan Ford, the Financial Times leader writer for his upcoming leading article in tomorrow’s paper.”
Note the term that Fitzsimons uses to describe her meeting with Ford. She didn’t provide him with an ‘interview,’ nor did she give him a ‘quote’ – she “briefed” him on what to write. The wording in all these examples clearly suggests that the likes of Sky News, the BBC and the FInancial Times are subordinate to BICOM and freely dispense with any balanced objectivity to prostitute themselves as mouthpieces for this lobbying firm.

1 comment:

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