Editor’s Notebook: Shaking My Head at the BBC

Editor’s Notebook: Shaking My Head at the BBC

By Michael Jacobs | mjacobs@atljewishtimes.com

The Iran nuclear deal has exposed again that the world’s leading source for broadcast news, the BBC, is blindly biased against Israel.

Michael Jacobs
Michael Jacobs

Entire organizations exist to call out the BBC on its anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian approach to coverage of the conflict. Recent examples include an anniversary report on Operation Protective Edge called “Children of the Gaza War” that, among other faults, translated Palestinian complaints using the Arabic word for “Jews” as “Israelis” and a failure to report the confession and conviction of the engineer who extended the range of Hamas’ Kassam rockets four years after repeated reports portraying Dirar Abu Sisi as an innocent victim of mistaken identity.

But I wasn’t prepared for the anti-Israel approach to the coverage of the Iran deal, which initial BBC News reports called “historic” at least four times a minute.

American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris blogged about one example the day after the deal was signed. Razia Iqbal, the host of radio’s “BBC Newshour,” said to Israeli Science Minister Danny Danon: “But you’re not under threat by Iran. Nobody in Iran has threatened you for a very long time.”

That statement came five days after Iran marked its annual Quds Day with chants of “Death to Israel” and amid the continual stream of such rhetoric from Iran’s leaders.

What caught my attention the same morning was a report on the BBC News cable network. A BBC analyst, using spiffy computer animation, was demonstrating the regional responses to the Iran deal and showing that the opposition stretches far beyond Israel.

I was only half-listening to the two-minute segment, so I can’t quote him. But his final comment almost made me fall off my couch.

He acknowledged that the Iran deal is not perfect, but he said it at least will stop Israel from bombing Iran and thus plunging the troubled Middle East into wider warfare, as seemed likely two years ago.

So in the BBC’s view, the agreement is as much about reining in Israel as Iran, and even if it fails to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power, it’s a historic achievement for stopping militaristic Israel.

That’s just scary.

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