Posted tagged ‘BBC’

As anti-regime protests spread, Trump tweets support for Iranian people

December 31, 2017

As anti-regime protests spread, Trump tweets support for Iranian people, Israel Hayom, Elliott Abrams, December 31, 2017

Friday’s New York Times coverage. . .  is titled “Scattered Protests Erupt in Iran Over Economic Woes.” More remarkably, consider the very first line:

Protests over the Iranian government’s handling of the economy spread to several cities on Friday, including Tehran, in what appeared to be a sign of unrest.

Ya think? “Appeared” to be a sign of unrest? What else was it, a sign of support for the ayatollahs? And note the Times title again, telling you these protests are all about the economy – a conclusion contradicted by the words being shouted by the protesters, as the BBC tells us. In fact, buried down in the Times story, we do find that in Kermanshah “protesters shouted anti-government slogans like ‘Death or freedom,’ ‘Care for us and leave Palestine’ and ‘Political prisoners must be freed.'” Does that sound like a “protest over economic woes”?


This piece is reprinted with permission and can be found on Abrams’ blog “Pressure Points.”

In the last few days there have been anti-government protests all over Iran. The BBC reports this as of Friday night, in a story titled “Iranian cities hit by anti-government protests.”

Anti-government demonstrations that began in Iran on Thursday have now spread to several major cities.

Large numbers reportedly turned out in Rasht, in the north, and Kermanshah, in the west, with smaller protests in Isfahan, Hamadan and elsewhere.

The protests began against rising prices but have spiralled into a general outcry against clerical rule and government policies. …

What began as a protest against economic conditions and corruption has turned political. …

Slogans have been chanted against not just Mr. Rouhani but Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and clerical rule in general.

Demonstrators were reportedly heard yelling slogans like “The people are begging, the clerics act like God.” Protests have even been held in Qom, a holy city home to powerful clerics.

There is also anger at Iran’s interventions abroad. In Mashhad, some chanted “not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran”, a reference to what protesters say is the administration’s focus on foreign rather than domestic issues.

Other demonstrators chanted “leave Syria, think about us” in videos posted online.

Videos posted on social media appear to show clashes between security forces and some demonstrators in Kermanshah.

Now compare Friday’s New York Times coverage. It is titled “Scattered Protests Erupt in Iran Over Economic Woes.” More remarkably, consider the very first line:

Protests over the Iranian government’s handling of the economy spread to several cities on Friday, including Tehran, in what appeared to be a sign of unrest.

Ya think? “Appeared” to be a sign of unrest? What else was it, a sign of support for the ayatollahs? And note the Times title again, telling you these protests are all about the economy – a conclusion contradicted by the words being shouted by the protesters, as the BBC tells us. In fact, buried down in the Times story, we do find that in Kermanshah “protesters shouted anti-government slogans like ‘Death or freedom,’ ‘Care for us and leave Palestine’ and ‘Political prisoners must be freed.'” Does that sound like a “protest over economic woes”?

The Times story is written by its bureau chief in Tehran, Thomas Erdbrink, one of the very few Western reporters (he is Dutch) accredited to report for U.S. media. Must he pull punches for fear of being expelled from Iran? After all, this is a regime that has invaded embassies (most recently, for example, the British Embassy in 2011) and in 2009 the entire BBC bureau there was shut down and the BBC’s correspondent expelled. In 2014, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was arrested and then imprisoned for 18 months. He and his wife are now suing the government of Iran for their maltreatment and torture while in captivity.

So perhaps it is wise for reporters in Tehran to watch what they say. But the Times’ report and headline that these are merely economic protests are misleading. Both should be corrected.

Meanwhile the U.S. State Department issued a very strong statement on these protests – which rightly regards them as political:

We are following reports of multiple peaceful protests by Iranian citizens in cities across the country. Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. As U.S. President Donald Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are Iran’s own people.

The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.

On June 14, 2017, Secretary Tillerson testified to Congress that he supports “those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.” The secretary today repeats his deep support for the Iranian people.

The Iranian people rose up against their oppressors in June 2009. Now we are again seeing that this regime rules by brute force, is widely despised, and would be dismissed by the people if ever they got a chance to vote freely.

Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

President Trump: The Courage to Act

December 11, 2017

President Trump: The Courage to Act, Gatestone InstituteDouglas Murray, December 11, 2017

The reaction around the world in recent days has been a reminder of the one central truth of the whole conflict. Those who cannot accept that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel tend to be exactly the same as those who cannot accept the State of Israel.

Trump comes out of the whole situation well — taking on a promise that his three predecessors made, but on which only he had the courage to act. Those who have most forcibly criticised him, on the other hand, have shown something weak, as well as ugly, about themselves.

President Trump’s announcement on the status of Jerusalem last week was both historic and commendable. Historic because it is the first time that an American president has not just acknowledged that the Israeli capital is Jerusalem but decided to act on that acknowledgement. Commendable for breaking a deceitful trend and accepting what will remain the reality on the ground in every imaginable future scenario. As many people have pointed out in recent days, there is not one prospective peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians in which Tel Aviv becomes the capital of the Jewish state.

Yet, the Palestinian leadership, much of the mainstream media, academia and the global diplomatic community take another view. They believe that the American president should have continued with the fairy tale and should never have said “That the United States recognises Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and that the United States Embassy to Israel will be relocated to Jerusalem as soon as practicable.” They claim that this is not a simple recognition of reality and not simply the American President granting the State of Israel the same right every other nation on the planet has — which is to have their capital where they like. Such forces claim that this is a “provocative” move. Amply demonstrating the illogic of this position, the first thing the Turkish Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan did after the American president made his announcement was to threaten a suspension of Turkish relations with Israel.

The reaction around the world in recent days has been a reminder of the one central truth of the whole conflict. Those who cannot accept that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel tend to be exactly the same as those who cannot accept the State of Israel. Consider the expert whom the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight chose to bring on to receive soft-ball questions on this issue. Dr. Ghada Karmi, from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, a notorious opponent of Israel, was inevitably given the sort of respectful interview style that Newsnight presenters generally reserve for when they are interviewing Madonna or some other mega-star they cannot believe their luck at having gotten to speak with.

Here is what Ghada Karm had to say — with no meaningful challenge from the programme’s presenter, Emily Maitlis.

Ghada Karmi: We know that Donald Trump is not a free agent. He is surrounded by pro-Israel advisors, pro-Israel officials.

Emily Maitlis (BBC): To be fair the American stance towards Israel has not differed particularly from one President to another.

Karmi: No, because it’s always been dictated by Israeli interests.

Maitlis (BBC): So what are you saying – that he cannot broker peace or America cannot broker peace in the region.

Karmi: No – of course not. He can’t. He’s compromised. He is surrounded by pro-Israel propagandists, people who want Israel’s interests above any other and he cannot operate as a free agent even if he had the wit to do it…. Why it is so dangerous is because you know one of the first things that might happen — and watch for this — is that Israel will be emboldened to take over the Islamic holy places. It’s had its eye on the Aqsa mosque for a long time.

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, when Maitlis then turned to interview the Israeli ambassador to the UK, she adopted a different tone.

Ambassador Mark Regev was not given these sorts of soft-ball questions. If he had claimed that the Palestinians were planning to bulldoze the Western Wall, it seems unlikely he would have been allowed to say it uncontested. He was in fact treated throughout as though he were simply some well-known variety of idiot or liar, who had no concept of the “offence” (a favourite threat term) that this move by the American President would cause Palestinians.

Ghada Karmi was not challenged on the claim that the Israelis were about to take over any and all Islamic holy places (to do what?), but Ambassador Regev’s suggestion that the State of Israel already has its Parliament, Supreme Court and every wing of government in Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem might just be Israel’s capital, was treated as though it were the most inflammatory nonsense the BBC had ever heard.

Most disappointing was the response of the British Prime Minister, Theresa May. Goaded on by the deeply anti-Israel (not to mention anti-Semitism-harbouring) Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, May, for the second time in a fortnight, chose to berate the President of Britain’s closest ally. Captured by the logic of the UK’s Foreign Office, May announced:

“We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement.

“We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region. The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it.

“Our position on the status of Jerusalem is clear and long-standing: it should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.

“In line with relevant Security Council Resolutions, we regard East Jerusalem as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Following President Trump’s historic and commendable announcement on the status of Jerusalem last week, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May chose to berate Trump. Pictured: PM May, on January 27, 2017 addresses the media in Washington, DC alongside President Trump. (Image source: 10 Downing St./Flickr)

There is something which the entire world ought to recognise about the British government’s attitude towards “occupied territory”, which is that the august entity in Whitehall still believes that land in northern Israel should be returned to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Even now, the greatest minds of the Foreign Office in London advocate that Assad has not had enough territory to immiserate and destroy in recent years. Who knows, perhaps President Assad could have killed more than a half a million people in his country’s civil war if he could only have got an extra sliver of land?

Perhaps May feels the pressure of the Foreign Office status quo. Or perhaps she feels the pressure of Jeremy Corbyn’s band of anti-Semites at her back. Or — who knows — perhaps she worries about the millions of British Muslims from South Asia who can occasionally be whipped up into believing that the prime responsibility of Muslims worldwide is to rage about Middle Eastern politics — only of course if Jews are involved (otherwise they remain placid). Certainly that appeared to be on the national broadcaster’s mind, with the BBC choosing to go straight to the Muslim-dominated city of Bradford to ask South Asian Muslims there what they thought about Jerusalem.

There have been reactions around the world to US President’s historic announcement. Trump comes out of the whole situation well — taking on a promise that his three predecessors made, but on which only he had the courage to act. Those who have most forcibly criticised him, on the other hand, have shown something weak, as well as ugly, about themselves: When the facts on the ground were staring them in the face, they chose instead to bow to domestic fantasies of their own creation.

Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England. His latest book, an international best-seller, is “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam.”


Anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias in the media and State Dept.

October 7, 2015

Anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias in the media and State Dept. | Anne’s Opinions, 7th October 2015

As I write this, events are overtaking me with a huge wave of terror attacks (145 at the last count) hitting throughout Israel, including my own hometown of Petach Tikva. I wonder how the media will cover this – if at all. — anneinpt)

I have been documenting anti-Israel bias in the media since I started this blog. In fact it was one of the reasons I st this blog up in the first place. Sadly it seems to be getting worse despite the fact that there are so many media-monitoring websites out there, at least in certain media outlets (Haaretz, the BBC, the NYT, I’m looking at you – and others besides). This is besides the built-in hostility towards Israel in international institutions like the UN. But it goes further. Much more egregiously, the double standard to wards Israel has become blatantly clear in the US State Department. Following are several examples from the past week which saw several terrorist atrocities in Israel.

CAMERA billboard posted opposite the NYT building

The Algemeiner has an “interesting” (i.e. enraging) roundup of the blatant bias of the New York Times with examples from just the past month (there are many more recent exampels at the following links) documented by two media watchdogs: CAMERA and Honest Reporting):

On September 10, the NYT singled out Jewish lawmakers on the Iran deal. [At the link you will read that this was a blatantly antisemitic act, targeting Jews for no other reason than that they are Jewish. The NYT has yet to be made to pay for this racial discrimination. -Ed.]

On September 15, the NYT suggested that the Israeli who was murdered by rock-throwing Palestinians had died of a “self-inflicted accident” after the attackers had merely “pelted the road” (rather than his car). The National Review provided a detailed critique of this farcical “reporting.”

Unbelievably, Diaa Hadid, a NYT “journalist” responsible for reporting on Israel, used to work for an anti-Israel hate group, so it’s no surprise that she authored an article suggesting that Palestinian attackers pelted a road with stones on which an Israeli’s self-inflicted car accident just happened to cause him to die.

On September 29, Hadid used an anonymous European advocate of Palestinian rights as a witness to contradict Israeli army claims that a Palestinian woman who was shot at an IDF checkpoint had been armed with a knife. Hadid then omitted confirmatory reports from another witness mentioned in the article, a Palestinian named Fawaz Abu Aisheh, who said the woman had dropped her knife after being shot. (Hadid ignored this evidence even though Amnesty International mentioned Aisheh’s corroborating testimony about the knife).

On September 30, the NYT struck again with false historical information and tendentious coverage of Abbas’ UN speech. The article, by Rick Gladstone and Jodi Rudoren, noted that “Mr. Abbas accused Israel of having systematically violated these pacts,” without mentioning the many violations of the Oslo Peace Accords by Palestinians. In an article exceeding 1,000 words, the reporters made not even one reference to Palestinian terrorism, a basic historical fact that is essential to any fair and balanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, since the Oslo Peace Accords, there have been 22 years of Palestinian terrorist attacks — including 140 suicide bombings — which have murdered more than 1,500 Israelis (in U.S. population terms, about 60,000 people killed) and made Israeli compliance with a complex and risky “peace” agreement even harder.

The reporters shamelessly failed to note that the “new strife over contested religious sites in Jerusalem” was produced by Palestinian incitement, anti-Jewish harassment and violence.

Equally egregious is their patently false claim that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most protracted dispute vexing the United Nations since the organization’s founding 70 years ago.” Some basic Wikipedia research reveals that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began in 1948 and has produced about 24,000 fatalities since then, while the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan began in 1947 and has produced about 47,000 fatalities, and the conflict over Kurdish separatism in Iran began in 1946 and has caused at least 30,000 fatalities.

Moving on to the events of last week, the BBC outdid itself (if that is at all possible) in its outrageous headlines which even they themselves were persuaded – eventually – to change – four times! – until they matched the events on the ground. Honest Reporting gives us a screenshot of the initial BBC headline after a Palestinian terrorist stabbed and murdered two Israeli Rabbis and injured the wife and child of one of them in the Old City of Jerusalem:

BBC biased headline

Note how the headline focuses on the poor Palestinian murderer.

BBC Watch follows up on how the BBC flunked the headlines on the Jerusalem terror attack: – and includes a reference to the BBC’s misleading reporting on the murder of the Henkin’s two days previously, in which they did not mention the Palestinian Authority’s connection to the murder:

Predictably, that headline prompted considerable protest on social media and shortly after its publication the title was changed to one displaying yet another regular feature of BBC reporting; the use of superfluous punctuation.

Pigua Lions Gate art vers 2

Following further complaints, the headline was amended again.

Pigua Lions Gate art vers 3

And later on – yet again.

Pigua Lions Gate art vers 4

In other words, professional journalists supposedly fluent in the English language had to make three changes to the article’s headline in not much more than an hour.

And what of the report itself? In line with standard BBC practice, the word terror does not appear in any of the versions of an article describing a terror attack on Israeli civilians. Readers are told that:

“It comes two days after an Israeli couple, who were in a car with their four children, were shot dead in the West Bank.”

Of course BBC audiences had not been informed that was a terror attack either.

Readers of the third version of the report were told that:

“Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, issued a statement praising the attack which it described as “heroic”.”

They were not, however, informed that social media accounts belonging to Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party similarly praised the attack and described its perpetrator as a ‘hero’. The information concerning Hamas was later removed.

As BBC Watch remarked on its report on the BBC’s coverage of the Henkin murders:

The BBC cannot claim to be meeting its remit of building “a global understanding of international issues” as long as it continues to conceal the role played by the Palestinian Authority in inciting violence and executing terror attacks on Israeli civilians.

But the Beeb’s bias doesn’t seem to worry anyone in the British halls of power.

As for international coverage of the terror attacks that killed four Israeli civilians in 2 days, besides the countless attempted murder attacks via rock-throwing on the roads, firebombs, tossing firecrackers at the police, and arson, Israel experienced agricultural terrorism in the form of uprooted vineyards, as well as the destruction of priceless Bar Kochba-era antiquities.

Uprooted vines in the Shilo region

Kiryat Aravia caves before the destruction

The site after Palestinians bulldozed it

If you live outside Israel I’m pretty sure you haven’t heard of any of this. Edgar Davidson has produced another great (but sad) info-graphic showing the disparity in political reactions and the bias in reporting: (click to enlarge):

Compare and contrast responses to terror in Israel

Sadly, I find none of this surprising. We have become so inured to biased, misleading, distorted or simply missing reporting on Israel that, at least speaking for myself, I have no expectations at all from the foreign media and am pleasantly surprised when I find an accurate report.

However the bias at the US State Department which is also not new (it is dominated by Arabists, rather like the “Camel Corps” of the British Foreign Office), seems to have hit a new low.

The blogger “First One Through” at Jews Down Under created an instructive table comparing the State Department’s reactions to Israeli and Arab casualties of warfare and terrorism. Even with the knowledge that State is biased, I admit I was shocked by this (I edited the heading of the chart for errors):

Event July 1 Attack on Arabs October 1 Attack on Jews October 3 Attack on Jews
Words in Statement 122 68 77
Condemnation “condemns in strongest possible terms” “strongly condemns” “strongly condemns”
Terrorist attack “vicious terrorist attack” AND “terrorism” “terrorist attack” Not called terrorism
Condolences “profound condolences” “condolences” No condolences
Prayer for Injured “prayers for a full recovery” None None
Families mentioned “Dawabsheh family” None None
Location of Incident “Palestinian village of Douma” West Bank.” Not Israeli; not Samaria Old City of Jerusalem today”. Not Israeli
Call for Justice “murderers” “the perpetrators all perpetrators of violence” A general term

Furthermore, in an outrageously undiplomatic move, the White House instructed Secretary of State John Kerry and Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to stay away from the UN while Binyamin Netanyahu delivered his speech to the UNGA last week.

I cannot recall ever such a disgraceful, overtly antagonistic act being taken – for no reason other than hurt personal feelings – by the White House or the State Department. Shame on them!

But history is a cycle. Do you remember the “outrage” and “appalled” feelings at State when Israel hit a school or hospital – or rather, NEAR the buildings – in Gaza? That was described as a war crime and Israel was villified in every media outlet that you can think of, besides the State Department (reminder: the US is supposed to be Israel’s ally!) and of course the UN.

This week the tables have turned. Russia has begun brazenly bombing civilian targets in Syria. Meanwhile the US Air Force bombed an Afghan hospital, and it is instructive to note the media coverage and its comparison with Israel’s attack in Gaza, as Honest Reporting reports:

It will certainly be interesting to compare the media coverage of Russian and U.S. air strikes to the reports that Israel had to contend with. All too often, the media attributes a level of malevolence when it comes to Israeli military actions.

So, while, for example, the New York Times’s headline from July 2014 actively attributes responsibility to Israel for the alleged shelling of a UN school, its headline covering the Afghan hospital incident passively attributes the air strike rather than those who carried it out.


nytimes031015Ultimately, both Israel and the U.S. have shared values when it comes to the ethics of war. It is hard to believe that the U.S. has intentionally targeted civilians in a hospital. It does, however, comparatively demonstrate the lengths that Israel goes to in order to avoid just such a scenario as the Afghan hospital.

It is a tragic inevitability that civilians will die in war. Russia does not appear to be influenced by morals or ethics. Meanwhile the U.S. may be realizing that it has something to learn from Israel when it comes to ethics on the battlefield.

I would have been angrier at the duplicity of the State Department, but I must admit I’m finally enjoying a great surge of schadenfreude at their expense as their spokesman squirmed, evaded and tried to wriggle out of a straight answer to a direct question posed by Matt Lee of AP about the Afghan hospital bombing. Watch the video at Israellycool:

Matt Lee decided to ask the State Department’s Mark Toner exactly what kind of standards they hold themselves to because it would seem to be a different set that they applied to Israel last year.

I’ll spoil it. He’s got no answer. They can’t justify it. They hold Israel to an impossible standard, one to which they cannot themselves match because this is war and bad stuff happens. We join the briefing for Matt’s follow up question after his first is left completely unanswered in over 3 minutes of bluster.

You can read the transcript of the entire question and answer session at the Israellycool link.

Enjoy! Maybe the State Department will think twice before again condemning Israel’s perfectly legal actions taken in self-defense.

One update before I go: there has been another terrorist stabbing in the Old City, near the site of the double murder on Saturday night:

Watch out for biased reporting about this one too – if it even gets a mention.