In the history of non-stories, this one takes the biscuit.
In a week in which the UK has been offered diplomacy advice by international statesman and sure-fire Nobel Peace Prize contender Sean Penn, a story accusing JCB of involvement in war crimes really is the icing on the “what the Hell” cake, particularly when it carries the headline “UK firms demolish Palestinian homes”.
According to the report, the Israeli military has been “caught” using JCB machinery to demolish Palestinian property.
“British-manufactured JCB machinery were used by the Israeli army to demolish a Palestinian community center and a children’s playground in occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem), the Electronic Intifada reported. Meanwhile, JCB machines were seen in action demolishing two homes, a mosque and a barn in Umm Fagarah on November 24th last year.”
Of course, all of this may well be true and who are we to argue with such well thought out and researched journalism, particularly when it’s accompanied by a photo of a JCB machine surrounded by Israeli militia.
But – and you’ll have to forgive our stupidity here – isn’t that what JCB equipment has been designed to do? Regardless of whether it’s British-manufactured, demolition equipment has just one purpose in life; to demolish things.
That doesn’t mean that JCB supports the Israeli regime. It doesn’t mean the company is anti-Arab. Nor does it mean the company should expect to find itself in front of a war crimes tribunal any time soon.
What it does prove is something we have known for quite some time; journalism is not what it used to be.