An open response to James O’Brien at LBC radio

lbcDear James

re: LBC radio – Ignorance and the support of terrorism

I have just listened to a recording of yesterday’s show on LBC. I appreciate your role is to stir up trouble, create an emotional response and indeed, I would imagine the more people who talk about your show, both for good and for bad, the better your employers will probably like it. You operate within a results driven business and given what I heard on the show, ratings are clearly more important than anything to do with balance or journalism.

I did try searching the LBC site, to see if you are being held to some type of ethical standard, but found none, so given LBC’s apparent disregard for standards, I am left to wonder whether through allowing you the airtime, they actually intend to incite or are simply in it ‘for fun’. Perhaps like you, they simply disregard the consequences of their actions. After all, you are in London, safe and far away from any real world conflict; what harm can you possibly do to anyone?

And I ask that you do not misread these comments, I do not care that your opinion differs from mine, nor do I care that you wish to use your platform to manipulate the opinion of others. I am neither an extremist nor of a closed mind and do not seek to shut down debate or silence the opposition by talking over them or not letting them speak. Mine is not a strategy of a loud mouth coward with a weak argument. I do however intend to address the stream of distortion that you presented as fact yesterday in what you claimed was a balanced hour of discussion. I will do so, as is my style, simply by directly addressing the points one by one.

Balance: Your definition of balance was as follows

“This is what balance sounds like, it is possible both sides have done bad, it is possible both sides have a point, but when it comes to the internationally recognised illegality of the occupation, what are people opposed to it supposed to bring pressure to bear upon the illegal occupiers”

This does not conform to any definition of balance. You are suggesting that only within the argument that Israel needs somehow to be restrained, somehow to be punished, the ‘balance’ is in deciding the fitting punishment. It is an absurd and cruel position, that entirely disregards law, justice, history and context. There is no balance is declaring a man guilty of a crime that does not exist and seeking to punish him for it. But we will get to that.

Illegal occupation

You made an awful mistake. Repeating the words ‘illegal occupation’ several times and using it in your definition of balance. I am not here to argue politics, so will entirely bypass the separate definitions presented by the two sides, but rather, do what you did, and refer to the United Nations. In 2002, Kofi Anan mistakenly used the word illegal to describe the ‘occupation’ and immediately released a statement by his spokesman

“In using the word ”illegal” in his address to the United Nations Security Council on March 12, Secretary General Kofi Annan had no intention of entering the debate about the legality of Israel’s original action in occupying territory during the war of 1967, as implied by George P. Fletcher (Op-Ed, March 21).”

In other words, within this argument, the actions within the territories can arguably be illegal (for example settlements), but not the ‘occupation’ itself. To call the ‘occupation’ illegal is to brazenly claim the 1967 war over the West Bank was not one of self-defence. And to further suggest that the UN resolutions created on the back of this war do not bring forward an equation of land for peace. No peace = no land. It is also to look at Hamas and Islamic Jihad within, and Daesh and Hizbullah without, and entirely reject any security concern Israel may have. ‘Illegal occupation’ therefore is not a ‘fact’ at all, it is an opinion not supported by UN resolutions as you claimed. Effectively you simply spun a myth. It is nothing more than an opinion that supports the ideology of groups like Hamas who consider Tel Aviv illegally occupied too. Perhaps it at least explains what you use for source material.

So you are wrong. The UN resolutions do not refer to an ‘illegal occupation’. Not even once. And when your second caller Keith tried to correct you on this, you belittled him, embarrassed him, degraded him and silenced him. This despite the *fact* he clearly knew more than you. I do not care what his politics are (and to be frank from what we were allowed to hear from him, he did not come across as extreme at all), but his knowledge of the issues exceeded yours on every comment he made. And yet you chose to silence and make a fool of him. In truth it brings shame on the LBC management who allow you to air your ignorant views on the matter. How can you know so little about a subject, yet still have the arrogance to silence anyone who views things differently?


Another awful mistake and one that lay at the heart of the entire topic. How can you be so ignorant of the BDS and yet pass comment on others who have issues with it? Keith suggested that BDS seek to delegitimize Israel to which you laughed, quoting some innocuous sounding statement that they simply believe ‘Israel needs to meet its obligations under international law’. You said to him that you would rather listen to those that founded it. I rather suggest that you should. They list 3 stated aims on their website. And this is number 3:

“Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”

Most of those involved in the negotiations, in the peace process, know and accept (including the PA leadership) that resolution 194 is a non-starter as it explicitly calls for millions of Palestinians to be allowed to ‘return’ to Israel in addition to the creation of a Palestinian State. This is the ‘international law’ that BDS promotes. Keith said in the call that they (BDS) do not recognise the legitimate right of Israel to exist, you said they do, Keith was right. Resolution 194 is the ‘law’ BDS believes Israel is ‘obliged’ to follow. Refugees returning, not to a new Palestinian state, but to Israel. Two Palestinian states.

If you have any doubt, actually listen to the founder, Omar Barghouti himself, who personally does not even try to hide the fact he is behind a ‘one state solution‘ (no Israel). Now if you choose not to believe that the people behind BDS actually mean what they say, then that is your choice, but you have no right whatsoever to describe your position as factual. How on earth can someone be so stupid as to suggest that BDS respects Israel’s right to exist, when BDS avoids the issue and the founder openly opposes it?

I am not going to get involved with the tone, the laughing, the despicable Nazi analogy, the way you conveniently found anti-zionist Jews to talk to, or any of the 100 other things you did during the time you misrepresented entirely, the process, Israel, the Palestinians, BDS and your caller’s positions.  I will also ignore your failure to grasp the basic elements of Israel’s coalition politics (you do not understand this *at all*) and ignore too that your idea of balance considers Israel does not even have a case to put forward . I will however make one final comment regarding another statement you made, that of the Palestinian Leadership’s opposition to BDS.

The Palestinian Leadership do not support BDS. Isn’t that a good enough reason alone not to support it? The truth is that BDS is a terrorist weapon, forged in the hands of those who want extremism to spread through the Palestinian areas. Israel is an economy built on science and technology, this is what they export. All BDS can do is boycott oranges and a few factory goods, and just who do you think this is going to be hurt if not the farmers and factory workers? Take the Sodastream case as a perfect example. BDS pushes away the chance of negotiations, thus increasing the prospect of war, terrorism and continual conflict. Anyone who truly supports the cause of the Palestinians would only support strategies that bring negotiations closer and who in their right mind would support a strategy that the Palestinian leadership itself believes does not advance the prospect of talks?

BDS is wrong on so many levels. If there is a solution to this conflict it is through negotiation. Picking sides from afar, armed with nothing but soundbites and false information only makes any chance of peace move further away. Boycotting Israel, actually using a siege engine to attempt to bring one side to its knees, supports the aims of those behind the movement itself. Those pushing for the one state solution, or in other words the end of the Israeli state. As has always been the issue for Palestinians, extremists on the outside, dictate the strategy, forcing their hand and creating an environment in which only terrorism flourishes. This is what you contributed to yesterday. You want a workable strategy? Tell the Palestinians to accept Israel, to stop pretending there is a way to wipe Israel off the map and finally negotiate and bring about an end to the conflict. Stirring up trouble, even within our own communities was an irresponsible action to take, more-so because your position was almost entirely based on falsehoods.

In truth. Your employers need to check the actual facts of my comments and compare them with the statements you openly declared as ‘facts’ yesterday during your broadcast. They then need to listen to the conversation you had with that caller, and the way you openly humiliated someone with clearly a greater knowledge that you have of the conflict (nothing to do with Keith’s political opinion). Then take into account your despicable use of the Nazi analogy. If I were in their position, I simply wouldn’t let you anywhere near the topic again. It isn’t your bias, it isn’t your ignorance, it is the arrogance of a fool who thinks that he knows it all when in truth he is little more than a bigot with a microphone. In short James, given the life or death importance of the situation over there, you are simply dangerous, and a liability to anyone who seeks a just resolution to the conflict.

One final word. People need to complain, to report your disgusting behaviour to the relevant authorities and you James, need to call Keith to apologise for your despicable behaviour.


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29 thoughts on “An open response to James O’Brien at LBC radio

  1. David , CHAPEAU !

    I am really impressed by the way you handled this case.

    Always good to know there are people on the web who have the intellectual luggage and the respect for others to put things in perspective again !

    Ill be happy to follow your ventures from now on .


    aka Speaking my mind 😉

  2. I have stopped listening to LBC because of its anti-Israel bias but read your excellent response , however you might have added that resolution 194 was a General Assembly resolution and therefore non-binding as all UNGA resolutions are. This is a common mistake made and unfortunately used by opponents of Israel to support their (false) beliefs

  3. I had stopped listening to James O’Brien some time ago because of his arrogant, insulting, childish retorts to callers who try to make valid points he doen’t agree with. . I decided to listen to this particular one because of Boris’s comments in Israel and I guessed O’Brien would have a field day. And, whey hey, was I right. He made it his opening topic. I am surprised he managed to wait until 10 am. Perhaps he should have asked Steve Allen if if he could have his 4am spot. I managed to stay with it until after he disnissed Keith, who valiantly tried to get his points across while being insulted, demeaned and laughingly dismissed. James O’Brien will probably be lauded by those who pay his wages, as good advertising for LBC but he is an arrogant ignorant fool who is a disgrace to his profession.

  4. THANK YOU, David Collier. I am simply BLOWN AWAY by your letter. I feel emotionally drained by the onslaught of hate that O’Brien [and LBC in general] throws at Israel on a regular [obsessive] basis.

    In April 2015 I penned a 3-page letter to O’Brien setting out the criteria for antisemitism, which he engages in constantly under the guise of pro Palestine issues. Did I receive an acknowledgement or response? No I did not.

    Today,after reading your open letter, I have been spurred on to email
    I urge everyone else to do so. Let their email Inbox be filled to the brim with the truth about Israel and the Jews.

    LBC engages in this Jew baiting with impunity simply because it can.

    1. to be fair I don’t think jamesob is an anti-Semite.
      just a smug, arrogant idiot who thinks he knows better than everyone else because he reads ha’aretz. if we all got our middle east news out of that publication, the lord help us all. and the lord help Israel – it would be trampled under foot.

      1. Dear David Collier,

        Please kindly see:

        Security Council
        S/RES/476 (1980)
        30 June 1980
        Resolution 476 (1980)

        Adopted by the Security Council at its 2242nd meeting
        on 30 June 1980

        The Security Council,

        Having considered the letter of 28 May 1980 from the representative of Pakistan, the current Chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as contained in document S/13966 of 28 May 1980,

        Reaffirming that acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible,

        Bearing in mind the specific status of Jerusalem and, in particular, the need for protection and preservation of the unique spiritual and religious dimension of the Holy Places in the city,

        Reaffirming its resolutions relevant to the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, in particular resolutions 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 267 (1969) of 3 July 1969, 271 (1969) of 15 September 1969, 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971 and 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980,

        Recalling the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War,

        Deploring the persistence of Israel, in changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem,

        Gravely concerned over the legislative steps initiated in the Israeli Knesset with the aim of changing the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem,

        1. Reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

        2. Strongly deplores the continued refusal of Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly;

        3. Reconfirms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;

        4. Reiterates that all such measures which have altered the geographic, demographic and historical character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council;

        5. Urgently calls on Israel, the occupying Power, to abide by this and previous Security Council resolutions and to desist forthwith from persisting in the policy and measures affecting the character and status of the Holy city of Jerusalem;

        6. Reaffirms its determination in the event of non-compliance by Israel with this resolution, to examine practical ways and means in accordance with relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations to secure the full implementation of this resolution.

        1. Concerning the 700 km “wall, the International Court of Justice determines the rules and principles of international law which are relevant to the question posed by the General Assembly. The Court begins by citing, with reference to Article 2, paragraph 4, of the United Nations Charter and to General Assembly resolution 2625 (XXV), the principles of the prohibition of the threat or use of force and the illegality of any territorial acquisition by such means, as reflected in customary international law. It further cites the principle of self‑determination of peoples, as enshrined in the Charter and reaffirmed by resolution 2625 (XXV). As regards international humanitarian law, the Court refers to the provisions of the Hague Regulation of 1907, which have become part of customary law, as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, applicable in those Palestinian territories which before the armed conflict of 1967 lay to the east of the 1949 Armistice demarcation line (or Green Line) and were occupied by Israel during that conflict. The Court further notes that certain human rights instruments (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) are applicable in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

          The Court ascertains whether the construction of the wall has violated the above‑mentioned rules and principles. It first observes that the route of the wall as fixed by the Israeli Government includes within the Closed Area (between the wall and the Green Line) some 80 percent of the settlers living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Recalling that the Security Council described Israel’s policy of establishing settlements in that territory as a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Court finds that those settlements have been established in breach of international law. It further considers certain fears expressed to it that the route of the wall will prejudge the future frontier between Israel and Palestine; it considers that the construction of the wall and its associated régime create a fait accompli’ on the ground that could well become permanent, in which case, . . . [the construction of the wall] would be tantamount to de facto annexation. The Court notes that the route chosen for the wall gives expression in loco to the illegal measures taken by Israel, and deplored by the Security Council, with regard to Jerusalem and the settlements, and that it entails further alterations to the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It finds that the construction [of the wall], along with measures taken previously, . . . severely impedes the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self‑determination, and is therefore a breach of Israel’s obligation to respect that right.

          The Court then considers the information furnished to it regarding the impact of the construction of the wall on the daily life of the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (destruction or requisition of private property, restrictions on freedom of movement, confiscation of agricultural land, cutting‑off of access to primary water sources, etc.). It finds that the construction of the wall and its associated régime are contrary to the relevant provisions of the Hague Regulations of 1907 and of the Fourth Geneva Convention; that they impede the liberty of movement of the inhabitants of the territory as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and that they also impede the exercise by the persons concerned of the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living as proclaimed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Lastly, the Court finds that this construction and its associated régime, coupled with the establishment of settlements, are tending to alter the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and thereby contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention and the relevant Security Council resolutions.

      2. Security Council Resolution 799 (1992) on deportation of Palestinian civilians from territories occupied by Israel
        Strongly condemns the action taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to deport hundreds of Palestinian civilians, and expresses its firm opposition to any such deportation by Israel; reaffirms the applicability of the 4th Geneva Convention of 12 Aug. 1949 to ALL the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, INCLUDING Jerusalem, and affirms that deportation of civilians constitutes a contravention of its obligations under the Convention; reaffirms also the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon; demands that Israel, the occupying Power, ensure the safe and immediate return to the occupied territories of all those deported; requests the Secretary-General to consider dispatching a representative to the area to follow up with the Israeli Government with regard to this serious situation and to report to the Security Council.

  5. He wants BDS.

    Well let’s give him BDS.

    On the other foot.

    The only way forward now is to start contacting LBC advertisers to tell them what is going on and that they surely can’t wish to be associated with anti-Semitism. I have written to Lloyd’s Banking today

    1. yep. let’s boycott the toe rag and his show.
      get him off the airwaves fast.
      he’s nothing but a jumped up self righteous smug and arrogant git who purports to know it all when it comes to the complex issues of the middle east.
      he knows less than I do – and I don’t know a lot.
      his views are totally rancid and based on what he learns from Ha’aretz publications – that says it all ladies and gentleman. a lefty loony asshat with a holier than thou attitude inflicted upon us 5 days a week.
      boycott boycott boycott

    1. It was however great to hear a proper, proffessional host , shaming the normal Lying Bogotted Conningversations hosts, no snide remarks, no nasty hate filled put downs, no blatant lying (no lying period), no ego filled deceptions etc etc.

      I am referring to when Nigel Farage hosted the show.

  6. It is about tome the Jewish owners of L.B.C. the Tabor family listened to transcripts of James O’Brian’s programme especially when it deals with Israel. When Keith pointed out that O’Brian persistently talks about Israel but never about Turkey. O’Brian’s response was that Israel was an ally of Britain and should be closely scrutinised. Well, Israel is not an ally of Britain but a friendly country that we have economic relations with. Turkey , however is an ally of Britain and is a member of N.A.T.O. The Turkish army invaded Northern Cypress; ethnically cleansed the Greek inhabitants and re populated the area with Moslem Turks from Anatolia. The Greeks have never been compensated for their losses. In Turkey, journalists and others who oppose the government are jailed and recently an opposition television station was closed down. The Turkish government is waging a bloody war against the Kurds. But, James O’Brian does not believe this is of any importance and not worth discussing. Only Israel is singled out.

    1. It is ironic that you accuse LBC of raising a political matter about which they know nothing about, yet you have just done exactly the same. How hypocritical. I am of Turkish Cypriot descent and have heard first hand from my parents, how they had to flee their homeland due to the Greek ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Turkish Cypriot minority, led by archbishop Makarios in order to annex Cyprus to Greece. My family line in Cyprus extends back hundreds of years. How dare you state that Cyprus was invaded and populated my Muslims.
      The lack of intervention by the guarantors of Cyprus, namely Britain and America left Turkey (the third guarantor) no option but to halt the blood bath and intervene.
      You epitomise the scourge of arse holes, much like LBC’S presenters who would choose to distort facts for their own agenda.
      Get your facts right before opening your deluded mouth.

  7. All this should be forwarded to uk (Community Security Trust)(a charity that protects British Jews from antisemitism and related threats) .They will look closely at his diatribe and anti semetic comments and if need be taken a lot further and higher up than we ever could.

  8. Many months may have passed yet I still feel the anger that I felt when listening to Keith’s call. It is good to see I was not alone in finding JO’B ridiculously one-sided in the Israel debate. Despite those as myself who cannot stand the man’s political views, I do recognise that he is veryintelligent, which, in fact, makes it much worse. While I can sympathise with those Palestinians who are fed a series of lies about the ‘occupation’ from cradle to grave (hopefully not as a result of a barbaric terrorist attack), for those in the outside world, even with the BBC and media bias strong, most intelligent people who are not anti-semites recognise the impossible situation the Israelis find themselves in.
    Yet we know about all these journalists who appear to condem every form of terrorism other than that committed against Israelis.
    What makes JO’B different to the rest is his attitude. IT IS SO SICKENING! He shouted Keith down, laughed at him in a most patronising way, ignored the facts. and so SMUG! aaaghhh!
    But fear not, those who were listening knew full well what was going on.
    And while Keith anonymous reputation soared, JO’B’s plummeted.
    And will continue to.
    More recently, listening to him denigrate Her Majesty by mocking the ‘clean for the Queen’ initiative, was probably below the belt even for those who have no bad feelings about vicious anti-Israel bias. And no, that poor woman with a poor dying father is not a justification to mock the Royal family about being out of touch.
    As my anger wanes,I comforted by the prospect of history judging this man for what he is – along with all the other hypocritical self-righteous liberals in journalism.

  9. Coming to this very late, but I think that this article’s an excellent challenge to O’Brien, and a good response to the anti-Israeli sentiments in the press currently. (currently? has been for ages).

    I think O’Brien is a real weasel of a cowardly presenter; his socialism-Lite delivery and shout-down of those winning an argument against him (or not even getting that far), is seriously dull. Well done for standing up to this nonsense. I dunno what Nick Ferrari’s position on this subject is, but I must say I prefer his attitude to O’Brien’s.

  10. LBC made a terrible mistake employing O’Brien. This man is an extremely politically correct, extreme liberal (he takes it too far – it is embarrassing to listen too, you’d laugh were his views not so shameful – it is very easy to ridicule him). He quickly cuts off anyone who makes a valid point, or bullies them out of the conversation on some pedantic irrelevant point as he is unable to put up an argument against their point. His views are all too often simply disgraceful, totally unbalanced and any reasonable person (they don’t listen long – they soon turn off!) who disagrees with his biased views are “Angry” or he “Can’t understand them”. His extreme liberal views bring LBC into disrespect. I have spoken to many people who have randomly tuned in while he’s talking, and they have all said to me “I don’t listen t LBC any more because it’s terrible”. For some reason he is allowed to spout this complete terrible bias each day, and I wonder how long it will be before LBC is sued to slander. I stopped listening a long time ago, and only die hard PC extreme liberals will continue to listen to the bile that comes out of his mouth.
    Please, don’t give up on LBC though – Nick Ferrari and Katie Hopkins are superb – listen to them!

  11. I saw the interview that idiot James did with Nigel. 1. While it seems the owners of the show like the one sided interview it appears most people do not. 2. I respect what Nigel has done apparently on his own to start with there will always be people who don’t. 3. I don’t think its necessary for Nigel to go on shows as it does not help the Brexit cause . I watched the show ( youtube) and nothing really was of any importance of Nigel’s role in Brexit. 4. The reason this radio show does this is obviously because people listen …….so it doesn’t matted what is fact or not this is not news its just entertainment. Actually a joke. I haven’t listen to this host before and I won’t again. If you like me don’t think this is good reporting simply do not give any thought and stop talking about this host and hopefully go away. I doubt it but I wont soil my ears by listening. Thank you

  12. Can’t listen to LBC anymore, particularly James O’Brien who talks over anyone who disagrees with his self obsessed diatribe.

  13. History will not look kindly on James O’Brien and others who hold and promote his disgusting , dangerous, and twisted views.

  14. Why just pick on his ill informed views on Israel.
    On any subject he is someone who finds it difficult to think out of the box,and worse a left wing armchair snowflake.
    LBC should do themselves and all their far more balanced and polite presenters a favour and send him back to measuring inside legs.
    We saw the real face of James when he tried to deal with real facts on Newsnight,lasting two minutes with even the leftie loving BBC.

    John Evans

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