The BBC just put itself on the right side of history – if only for a moment. Because the BBC appeared to argue against a war between Israel and Iran in an article on 10 May. But while presenting its case, it actually managed to make a conflict sound quite reasonable.
Well, reasonable for one party in the potential conflict. And you can probably guess which side that is.
Stop the war
Recently, long-standing tensions between Israel and Iran have boiled over. Israel has repeatedly bombed Syria, including in areas where Iran has a military presence. Israel has also accused Iran of attacking its military positions in the Syrian Golan Heights (an area Israel has illegally occupied since 1967). Iran says Israel’s claim that it fired rockets in the Golan Heights is “freely invented and baseless”. Meanwhile, the Syrian military has allegedly taken responsibility for the attack.
It is a conflict that needs to be averted and the time to do it is now. However Israel and Iran remain on a collision course.
The BBC is, of course, right to argue that a war between Iran and Israel should not happen. But that sentence was the sum total of the broadcaster’s moment on the right side of history.
- Iran has long-range weaponry and may be able to put air defences in Syria that “could range over Israeli air-space”.
- The country has attempted to heavily arm Hezbollah in Lebanon – Israel’s neighbour.
- It has a big presence in Syria – Israel’s neighbour – including “a variety of Iranian militias”.
- Iran opposes Israel and backs groups “intent on its destruction”.
Marcus doesn’t mention in the article any reasons why Iran might view Israel as a threat, apart from the close relations between Israel and an equally hostile US. But there are many reasons why it does:
- Israel is bombing Syria, Iran’s ally, including attacks on Iranian forces there.
- Israel has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran.
- Iran supports Palestine, which Israel has been brutally occupying for over 50 years.
- Israel has nuclear weapons. It’s also not signed up to any of the big treaties governing WMD non-proliferation, despite the UN calling for it to do so. And Israel enjoys the full support of a number of Western allies, including the US, despite being a key reason why the Middle East is not a nuclear-free zone.
To his credit, Marcus does admit that the current spike in tensions is Israel’s fault – because it bombed a military facility in Syria, and that attack reportedly killed a number of Iranians. But the BBC correspondent leaves readers with the impression that Iran is the “clear danger”. Because he raises the prospect that Iran may “exact its revenge” on Israel through “pro-Iranian factions” via terrorist attacks on Israeli tourists abroad.
The Canary contacted the BBC for comment. A spokesperson said:
We have provided thorough analysis of the complex situation in Iran and Israel through several articles and are confident that our reporting is fair and balanced.
Stoking the war
So although Marcus pleads at the outset for people to “avert” a war, he trots out all the one-sided claims Israel would likely use to justify starting a war. And Marcus is, of course, not alone. Following the Golan Heights attack, reporting from most of Britain’s media outlets resembled a press release from the Israeli government.
But if any of these outlets really want to avoid a war, they need to stop pumping out propaganda that will make one more likely.
– Take action with the Stop the War Coalition.
Featured image via BBC News – Wikimedia
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?