Pressing Matters

Honest Reporting poses a significant question in its latest lament about Israel’s coverage in the media.
Why does Israel’s every move get scrutinised, magnified, exaggerated and endlessly regurgitated through a filter of disapproval, while seriously reprehensible events that occur in the surrounding Arab countries, namely Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, pass unnoticed by the tunnel-visioned press pack?
Honest Reporting answers its own question, putting this bashfulness down to fear of having their access withdrawn, but I’m afraid it’s simply down to pure you-know-what.
At any one time there are some 450 foreign journalists permanently resident in Israel,” they say, plus copious support staff, but all of a sudden, due to present circumstances, most of them decamped to Cairo.

Apparently there was a bit of a media fuss when an Al-Jazeera journo was made to take her bra off at a security check before attending an event with PM Netanyahu, but virtual silence over “many stories of foreign journalists inconvenienced, detained, threatened and sometimes worse.” in neighbouring Arab states.

Pardon me, then, for being mildly amused at this. After the eulogistic praise we’ve had all week for the uprising in Egypt from the BBC’s reverential reporters, how about this from Tom Gross:

BBC’s Jerome Boehm also targeted by protesters

BBC also reported their correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes’ car was forced off the road in Cairo “by a group of angry men.” He was detained by the men, who handed him off to secret police agents who handcuffed and blindfolded him and an unnamed colleague and took them to an interrogation room. They were released after three hours.

BBC reporter Wyre Davies in Alexandria – Attacked and driven off by locals several times in the past few days

BBC foreign editor Jon Williams said via Twitter that security forces seized the network’s equipment in a Cairo Hilton hotel in an attempt to stop it broadcasting.

I don’t know how many times they’ve been attacked by Israeli Jews.

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27 Responses to Pressing Matters

  1. Charlie says:

    Bet they can’t wait to get back to Israel.


  2. john in cheshire says:

    Why hasn’t Jeremy Bowen been attacked?


  3. George R says:

    Despite everything, a likely greeting for BBC reporters in Israel:


    (as performed in Sweden)


  4. Grant says:

    “They were released after 3 hours “.   Damn !


  5. NotaSheep says:

    To the BBC hive-mentality all of these facts are irrelevant; they know which side is in the right & which is in the wrong and all their reporting is designed to further that narrative.


  6. RGH says:

    By all accounts the locals were hunting for ‘Iranians’. An item in the endless  (and mostly pointless) twitter stream caught my attention. I quote from memory.

    ‘I was picked up by locals and handed to two policemen who bundled me up the street. In my best English , I said I’m English. “Iranian, Iranian “they shouted. An officer appeared  who instructed my release and told me to go to the hotel, it was curfew. The locals at the cafe didn’t even put down their shiska pipes…’

    I think something was going on that the BBC just hasn’t fathomed.


    • RGH says:

      May I just ask you to bear with me with this peice from the WSJ. It set me thinking in 2009 and perhaps it primed me subconciously to spot the twitter piece I mentioned above.

      It is quite lengthy, but given Khamenei’s and now Nasrullah’s interventions, quite pertinent.

      “On April 8, Egypt announced it had uncovered a Hezbollah cell operating inside its borders. This startling pronouncement offers a rare insight into the way Iran and its proxies are manipulating Middle East politics.
      According to Egyptian authorities, the cell was tasked with planning attacks against tourist sites in Sinai, conducting surveillance on strategic targets including the Suez Canal, and funneling arms and money to Hamas. Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has admitted that the ringleader of the cell was indeed a member of his organization to provide “logistical support to help the Palestinian brothers in transporting ammunition and individuals.”
      These latest actions by an emboldened Hezbollah have been spurred on by Iran, which is seeking to further its quest for power in the Arab Middle East. In the past six months, there have been irrefutable signs of Iran’s determined effort to sabotage Egypt’s attempts at regional stability. At Tehran’s instigation, Hamas rejected the renewal of the six-month, Egypt-brokered cease-fire last summer between it and Israel. This rejection led to the Gaza war in December. At the height of that war, Mr. Nasrallah called on the people of Egypt and its army to march on the city of Rafah to open the border to Gaza by force, a highly inflammatory appeal aimed at causing insurrection.
      After the war ended, Egypt resumed its efforts to reach a long-term cease-fire. Iran pressured the Hamas leadership to resist. Cairo’s ongoing effort to build a Palestinian unity government, by bringing together Fatah and Hamas, has also been undermined by intense Iranian pressure on Hamas.
      Tehran sees Egypt as its greatest rival in the region, and the most formidable Arab bulwark opposing its influence. It is in this context that Hezbollah actions in Egypt should be assessed. Acting as a front for Iranian objectives, Hezbollah is tasked with distracting Egypt from the diplomatic process that will hopefully lead one day to a two-state solution in the Palestine-Israel conflict.”

      If Egypt descends into chaos, who stands to ‘gain’?. There is no mechanism other than the army (and Mubarack is part of the Army), to hold line. It has, so far, achieved this.

      If Iran is meddling and fishing in Egyptian waters (it is already in Gaza), if this ‘revolution’ creates the breakdown of the only order in a tinderbox country like Egypt, the Mullahs will be more than satisfied. I’m sure Obama knows that. Does the BBC. I haven’t heard that that is the case.


      • RGH says:

        To close my musings on the putatative role of Iran in the Egyptian crisis, a short excursion into the language of the Middle East.

        My starting point is this from Abu Dhabi:

        “ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia slammed protesters in Egypt as “infiltrators” who seek to destabilize their country, and a top Palestinian official affirmed “solidarity” with Egypt on Saturday, while an Iranian official called on Egypt to “abide by the rightful demands of the nation” and avoid violent reactions.”

        In Kuwait, (I read the Gulf Press), the terminology is very similar.

        There are a number of ‘flags’ and words have a particular connotation.

        Some examples:

        Zionist:  Everywhere the “bete noir”..responsible for miscarriage, postal delays, traffic light failure….ie the bogeyman.

        Crossdressers: Moral decadence from the West..corrupting Arab youth ..often homosexual and indulging in hanky panky in cars.

        Eve-teasers:  Phenomenon  (also in Pakistan):  youths who challenge morals (often in shopping malls) who abuse and bully girls and women…sometimes tourists, but involved in the dangerousv game of honour fights…ie teddy boys

        Infiltrators:  Never found in the same piece or mentioned in the same breath as IRANIANS.  But the word always implies Iranian machinations.

        The relationship with Iran is poisonous….when they trade its Iranians but the shadow reality is INFILTRATORS.

        Every Arab and every Egyptian knows that.

        What was Iran up to last week in Cairo?

        The level of strategic disruption in infrastructure suggests an Iranian inspired putsch attempt using the demonstrations and bread riots as the cover to out fox America and paint Mubarack into the role of Ben Ali.

        The final evidence was the shooting and then the reported assassination attempt on Suleiman as reported by Walter  Ischinger at the Munich Security conference (live on German Phoenix channel)….Merkel’s face was a revelation.

        “The German diplomat who first said an assassination attempt was made on Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman has retracted his statement, CNN reported Saturday afternoon.

        Wofgang Ischinger, host of the Munich Security Conference taking place Saturday in Germany told CNN he “was led to believe that we had a confirmed report but in fact we didn’t.”

        Jerusalem Post

        I suggest that Iran activated a large sleeper operation which almost knocked out Egyptian security and the infiltration operation got close to Suleiman.

        What I suggest would not be seen as unrealistic in the Arab world.


        • RGH says:

          To close, from Al Jazeera: (to be read in conclusion to above)

          “On January 29, Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s top spy chief, was anointed vice president by tottering dictator, Hosni Mubarak. By appointing Suleiman, part of a shake-up of the cabinet in an attempt to appease the masses of protesters and retain  his own grip on the presidency, Mubarak has once again shown his knack for devilish shrewdness. Suleiman has long been favoured by the US government for his ardent anti-Islamism, his willingness to talk and act tough on Iran – and he has long been the CIA’s main man in Cairo.
          Mubarak knew that Suleiman would command an instant lobby of supporters at Langley and among ‘Iran nexters’ in Washington – not to mention among other authoritarian mukhabarat-dependent regimes in the region. Suleiman is a favourite of Israel too; he held the Israel dossier and directed Egypt’s efforts to crush Hamas by demolishing the tunnels that have functioned as a smuggling conduit for both weapons and foodstuffs into Gaza.”

          A prime target for Iran in their effort to destabilise the region.


        • Grant says:

          I love the quote from the Iranian official “avoid violent reactions ” !


  7. Hazel says:

    Well done Sue, you are so right.  The journos have a great life in Israel, love the restaurants snd all those Israelis they can interview who are so articulate and critical about their country. 

    Not like the Egyptians where over 30 years of emergency rule has produced a population where approx half are illiterate.  Makes it a bit difficult to hold free and fair elections when people can’t even read a manifesto.  And really the whole thing about not making a fuss about being manhandled out of your car, your equipment smashed to smithereens,  all they could say is “well what else can you expect froom these people?”And that just would not tie in with what plucky Lyse Doucet is messaging from her balcony high up in some smart apartment block safe from the raging masses.

    We had an excellent 5 days in Cairo in December 2008.  Our tour guide for 2 days was a dentist who could not make ends meet as a dentist so he moonlighted as a tour guide, a middle-class  educated man.  I asked him about the situation. He was very clear “we are not allowed to talk about politics but all I want to say is that we just want 10% of our human rights”.  I will never forget that statement and how he spoke.


  8. hippiepooter says:

    >>I don’t know how many times they’ve been attacked by Israeli Jews.<<



  9. George R says:

    INBBC takes its cue from Obamessiah on Muslim Brotherhood.

    Robert Spencer of ‘Jihadwatch’ on President Obama’s political embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, and not only in Egypt:

    Spencer: Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood Ties.”


    ‘Fox News’, Glenn Beck:

    “Muslim Brotherhood: In Their Own Words”

    (Video, Parts 1 & 2, for Feb 7)


  10. sue says:

    I’d like to remind you of the article by David Suissa that DP111 linked to on my previous thread. It’s such a good read, and even more relevant than ever, to this thread in particular. It’s been cross-posted on CiFWatch now, too.

    They say it first appeared on the Huffington Post. Hard to believe, I know. But that could mean that someone at the BBC might have stumbled upon it, by accident, I mean.


  11. RGH says:

    Hilarious. Simpson at his smarmy, patronising best. Just watch the video and remember the old saying ‘Paris is not France’ 1848 to illustrate the distaste conservative country folk have for townies and its contribution towards continuity instead of revolution.


    • sue says:

      I heard John Simpson the other day saying that the favourite term of abuse thrown at journalists in Egypt was “Israeli!” which he seemed to find amusing. “As if we’re Israeli!” he laughed. Hoho.

      Now in this report, he’s saying that the people are looking for someone to blame for the tourist industry going down the pan, and they’re blaming Israel.
      Simpson himself has found someone to blame. Who is responsible for redirecting the target of the people’s ire for the disruption – from the protesters in Tahrir square  – to Israel? According to Simpson, it’s Mubarak. Mubarak’s government is telling his own supporters to blame Israel for their troubles and their loss of earnings?

      I don’t know what evidence Simpson has for this theory, because since it’s Mubarak who has orchestrated the uneasy peace with Israel, why would he want his followers to blame Israel, rather than the protesters, for their unemployment status? Maybe there is convoluted logic somewhere, but I’d like to know John Simpson’s explanation.
      Anyway, here’s an interesting article by Elder of Ziyon. It’s about reporter Thomas Friedman’s NYT column. He could be speaking on behalf of the BBC. His view is that the glorious peoples’ uprising is purely about freedom and democracy and has nothing to do with the anti Israel / antisemitism of religious Islam. 

      However, Elder begs to differ. He thinks, as I do, that underneath all this lurks the same old same old, and although the Egyptians have legitimate grievances  against the Mubarak regime, their hatred for Israel is far too ingrained to  suddenly evaporate at the mere thought of democracy and liberty. Let’s hope I’m wrong.


      • RGH says:

        The Tahiri are connected with the Left in that amorphous way that the BBC is.

        God knows I wish progress for Egypt with a passion that one who knows the country can have.

        But this ‘revolution’ was no revolution. The State wobbled for 48 hours for reasons which are still unclear but one has one’s theories. It is an urban phenomenon with a tiny fraction of Egyptians coming to voice….it is the twitterati who have created the agenda for the BBC and Al Jazeera.

        Mubarak and Suleiman  have and will keep the peace with Israel and keep Islamist extremist chaos in check. There is no way that Israel is being seriously instrumentalised by them.

        In the countryside and in Cairo, the vast majority back the RAIS (Arabic: ‘Captain, boss, in our constitutionalised concept ‘President’…a term  completely incomprehensible to the Egyptian masses. The old truth came out….it is not the king, emperor, it#s the advisers that have let him down. You don’t insult the Rais. It would be dishourable and disloyal.

        The BBC does not understand Egypt or the Arabs or Islam.


  12. George R says:

    Of course, Islam Not BBC (INBBC) is politically not only in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood (and Hamas), but also with Al Jazeera TV.

    INBBC already has a ‘technical’ agreement wth that Islamic broadcaster, Al Jazeera English, and many ex-Beeboids are politically comfortable being employed there (with studios in London).

    Indicative of both INBBC’s ready propaganda for Islam, and INBBC’s close relationship with Islamic Al Jazeera English are the  activities of Muslim presenter, Somali-born, Rageh Omaar. He was employed by BBC until 2006 when he moved to Al Jazeera English, where he still is. But INBBC got him to do a 3-part TV propaganda series: ‘An Islamic History of Europe’.

    Here’s a brief comment from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on Al Jazeera (inc short video clip):


  13. RGH says:

    Agreed George R.

    I’ve seen caricature posters of Mubarack with the Star of David drawn onto his forehead carried by the Tahrir crowd and it was held in frame by Al Jazeera.


  14. George R says:

    Islam Not BBC (INBBC) is very reluctant to do research on the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) globally, in Egypt, and in Britain, and to really educate itself about the aims, tenets and networks of the MB

    “Muslim Brotherhood Influence in the United Kingdom”


    • George R says:

      Extract from above article on Muslim Brotherhood in Britain (by Adrian Morgan) which indicates INBBC complicit attitude to it:

      “The Muslim Brotherhood has its apologists in the media. This past week, BBC Radio 4 has had Kemal el-Helbawy on its morning news show blatantly lying about the ‘peaceful, pro-democracy’ ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. On Wednesday evening on the TV show This Week, BBC journalist Rageh Omaar claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood is ‘nothing like Hamas’, even though Hamas is a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Omaar is regarded as a leading journalist in the BBC, and his comments that downplay the Brotherhood’s support of Hamas violence are astounding. Omaar also has a show on Al-Jazeera, a TV station which provides a podium for Yusuf al-Qaradawi to discuss Islamic fiqh, whose director-general Wadah Khanfar apparently has a background with the Muslim Brotherhood.
      “The Muslim Brotherhood in Britain is regarded – as it is amongst some members of the American political establishment – as the ‘acceptable face’ of Islam. Britain under the last Labour government devolved power to regional assemblies, and in Scotland, a MAB Muslim Brotherhood associate called Osama Saeed has been influential.”


      • George R says:

        ‘Fox News’ Glenn Beck continues to educate himself about Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Caliphate. He is (rightly) aware of the lack of critical thinking on Egypt and related matters in the media, and he discusses this issue.

        Glenn Beck video (40 mins) for Feb 8:


  15. George R says:

    Among demonstrators in Cairo, there’s INBBC’s Mr Bowen, wanting ‘revolution’ in Egypt.

    “Analysis: Egypt’s unfinished revolution”

    By Jeremy Bowen

    -There’s very little “ANALYSIS” from Bowen, but plenty of barely disguised euphoria for  some vague ‘revolution’. In his ‘analysis’, the Muslim Brotherhood gets only a one-line mention.

     As for his vague, wishful thinking on the outcome of any ‘revolution’ in Egypt, he merely says, towards the end of his ‘analysis’:

    “The real test of the revolution’s success or failure is whether it changes Egypt permanently.”

    Mmmm. Like the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1979?