Can you imagine this BBC headline in September WWII:
“100 German infantry killed by Polish bombers – SS vow revenge”
And then decide to report that the Wehrmacht have begun operations in Poland in retaliation for earlier Polish air attacks.
You will note that Basil Fawlty was more accurate when accused of ‘starting it’ and responded, “You invaded Poland”.
Oh for a latter-day Basil at Al Beeb! Or at least one sage!
Melanie Phillips has been closely following the BBC Middle East desk’s clear intention to blame Israel for escalation whilst posing as even-handed and objective. You can read her articles here and here.
As I followed the news via Twitter last night, I too was monitoring the BBC’s response and was appalled by what amounted to agitprop for the Islamic Jihad dressed up as journalism.
Whilst the country is obsessed with News Corp’s egregious behaviour at Parliamentary level surely it is time to look at the BBC – Guardian Axis when it comes to reporting the Middle East and in particular the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Within minutes of the death of Sir Jimmy Savile OBE the BBC had a potted obituary across its website but as Southern Israel cowered in bomb shelters, closed schools and listened to the wail of air-raid sirens, all the BBC could muster was to report on the death of five ‘militants’ who were were killed preparing to launch a rocket at Israel.
Even today’s Sunday Times has a tiny little paragraph headed “Gaza Strike” and continues:
Israel carried out an air strike against an Islamic Jihad training camp in the Gaza Strip yesterday, killing five men. It claimed the group was responsible for rocket attacks. (my emphasis)
Notice ‘claimed’ – apparently Israel is an unreliable source and maybe Israel had an ulterior motive. Add to this the vague ‘rocket attacks’ which context as to time and place you have a compete misrepresentation of events.
But the BBC plumbed even greater depths hinting at the often used trope that missiles from Gaza are hand-made and harm no-one so any response from Israel is disproportionate and ‘aggression’. They reported (now corrected) that rockets landed harmlessly. Why mention that? If not to provide a subtext of ‘So, therefore, any Israeli response is disproportionate’.
This idea was soon scotched when these harmless rockets actually killed someone. Then, of course, the twitosphere which one minute is condemning Israel for disproportionate aggression now claims that the man’s death was a result of justified retaliation.
Am I reading in too much? I don’t think so. This is exactly the same mindset whenever Israel acts to defend its population, whether it be in Operation Cast Lead or the Mavi Marmara. When it reacts to the aggression of others, it is condemned even by those here in Britain who should know better and claim to be a friend of Israel (i.e Cameron and Hague as well as the Millipedes).
As I tweeted last night:
#Israel should not pre-emptively strike at rocket launchers like the British should not have attacked V1 and V2 sites until Germans launched
#BBC cheerleaders 4 #Hamas & pro-Pals believe/imply that if a rocket kills noone #Israel should just ignore it bbc.in/vthEoX
Then if a rocket DOES kill someone, it’s ‘retaliation’ = ‘justified’
which was the sandwich for Melanie’s
BBC ignores rocket attacks on Israel, presents defence strikes as aggression. MPs should question abuse of licence fee.
As Melanie points out, it was Islamic Jihad who fired into Gaza on Wednesday beginning the Cycle of Violence as a Twitter friend put it. In fact Twitter was alive with pro-Palestinians and Left wingers berating Israeli aggression and even postulating that it was a deliberate attempt to have an excuse for not releasing the remaining 550 criminals in the second tranche of the Shalit ‘deal’.
One reporter suggested this may an attempt by Assad of Syria to deflect from the horrors of the brutal repression of his people.
I have another idea: Islamic Jihad want to lure Israel into a ground operation and kidnap another soldier. On the other hand maybe they want to attract Israeli aircraft which they can attack with their newly-acquired Libyan ground-to-air missile.
Of course, if you go to the BBC site now, as has often happened in the past, there is a more balanced report. The BBC prides itself for the speed of reporting. Maybe the night shift have one spin they wish to place on any Israeli defensive action and the day shift have another. Or maybe it’s more cynical than that: defame Israel first then cover your tracks with what passes for balanced, for which read ‘morally-relative-human-rights-speak’.
Whatever the case is, it’s very poor journalism and as one of the world’s leading news organisations it beggars belief.