A Date in Tunis

Wyre Davies is a nice chap. Like Eric Idle, Wyre always looks on the bright side of life. He was in Tunisia, happily soaking up the atmosphere of optimism surrounding the glorious Arab Spring and basking in the warm glow of the inclusive and moderate Islamism of Rachid Ghannouchi’s newly elected Ennahda party.

What a shame that Wyre had missed the joyous story of Ennahda’s first diplomatic move, their generous invitation to kindly Ismail Haniyeh. Wyre must have been so engrossed in excitement over the new democracy that he completely overlooked it. Unbeknownst to Wyre, the loveable Hamas leader had been greeted with wild enthusiasm by ecstatic crowds of Tunisians who pledged their undying support the Palestinian cause. The distant sounds of chanting “kick the Jews- it’s our religious duty,” “expel the Jews- it’s our religious duty,” and “kill the Jews- it’s our religious duty” proved but a teeny blip in the haze of optimism surrounding Wyre.
Tunisia’s outstretched hand of friendship, symbolic of new directions and new beginnings, was an open-hearted gesture that even took priority over the urgent business of organising themselves into an economically viable democracy. What a scoop! And there was Wyre, oblivious to the whole lot.

Innocently, he set off to find a story of joy and happiness. The resulting video report: “Tunisian Jews reject calls to leave” and accompanying article entitled “Tunisia’s Jews shun ‘migrate to Israel’ idea” has surprised many listeners who really should have known what a treasure the BBC has in well meaning Wyre. His dutiful pursuit of the exceptional story that proves the rule plays an pivotal role in the BBC’s concerted but puzzling drive to play down significant aspects of the Arab Spring.

Rachid Ghannouchi’s transition from ‘conservative’ intolerant Islamism to inclusive, moderate new-fangled democratically-elected political leader has been widely detailed. By distancing himself from his previous pronouncements on apostasy, women, Jews and Israel he has persuaded the West of his sincerity, almost effortlessly, it seems, as though we’re all gripped in a weird collective act of wishful thinking. But concerns have been raised over his curious reluctance to condemn the blatant antisemitism expressed by masses of his supporters.

So not only does Wyre ferret out some happy Jews who agree with him that they would be stupid to flee, and stupider still to consider fleeing to that ghastly Israel, but he also invents a fanciful version of the history of Tunisia’s dwindling Jewish community, making Tunisia seem like a haven of benevolence.

All this seems part of an inexplicable policy of self-destruction adopted by the BBC and the government alike. It involves a total refusal to accept that religious fanaticism is beyond reason and rationality. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the BBC and evidently our present government determinedly regards religious fanatics as jolly nice chaps and chapesses whose sense of fair play and goodwill can be appealed to ‘at the end of the day’. By which time, of course, it will be too late.

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11 Responses to A Date in Tunis

  1. sue says:

    I din’t have time to mention this yesterday.
    No smoking gun, or nay smaking gun, as MP John Baron says it, regarding Iran’s bomb-making aspirations.

    The dual-track approach, sanctions and a nice bunch of flowers will do the trick, they suggest, tentatively.
    John Humphrys says we couldn’t stop Israel. It’s backed by the most powerful Satan in the world.

    “We can put pressure on Israel,” suggests Baron, warmly.
    “Please, don’t do anything rash, Mr. Israel” they beg fearfully.

    Think of it from poor Iran’s point of view. They’re surrounded by nuclear-armed countries. They deserve their fair share. Let us keep the peace by employing the cunning strategy of mutually assured destruction.
    Of course the bad Muslims might be undeterred by this since their aspirations relate not to this world, but to the paradise thereafter, but that nice Mr Army Dinnerjacket and the ayatollas are reasonable fellows. Talk to the Taliban, that’s what we say. Flowers, chocolates and some good old fashioned flattery. What say you?


  2. Phil says:

    Davies was probably simply ignorant of the link with the terror organisation.

    BBC foreign news is poor, superficial and dumbed down on all sorts of topics.

    There does seem to be an official BBC take on many things. Davies probably knew that the line on the Arab civil unrest is happy optimism and duly toed the line so he keeps his job and can pay his mortgage.


  3. deegee says:

    I rather exhaustively fisked the Davies article in the last open thread so I won’t repeat myself.

    This BBC story has really developed legs in the Facebook/Blogsphere. My questions are …. why write it and why now?

    If this was 1948 and the Davies was trying to, for whatever reason, to keep the Jews in North Africa and the Middle East it would make sense. But it is 2012 and almost every Jew (98.5%) has long left.

    The normal Israel haters are pushing this presumably because ‘proving’ a rather obscure (at least out of Israel) politician Silvan Shalom wrong proves that Israel are yet again lying, duplicitous bastards aiming to smear the Arab World. But what is the smear?That Arabs with Tunisians as a subset are antisemitic? Surely that is deyond rational debate? That Tunisia despite unacknowledged evidence to the contrary is a wonderful place for the remaining 1,700 Jews? Even if it was true. Who benefits, in any real sense, from a BBC article pointing this out?


    • sue says:

      I did read and appreciate your comment in the open thread. I received a couple of e-mails yesterday about Wyre’s tale as well. I agree you have to ask yourself why he took the trouble to seek out such a story. One that goes against the grain and which so obviously fits the BBC’s blinkered view of the Arab world and their misinterpreted Spring.

      I don’t imagine he gives a hoot whether any Jews stay in any Arab countries or not, just as long as no-one suspects they could be suffering injustice at the hands of  the benevolent religion of Peace


  4. Umbongo says:

    As the BBC is always chanting “precautionary principle” in respect of CAGW ie we must prepare for any possible eventuality despite the inordinate expense, then the BBC should be just as enthusiastic about applying the same principle to Iran’s imminent creation of atomic weapons.  The difference is that Iran (unless stopped) will certainly get a bomb and, of course, the putative first target will be Jews (sorry Israelis).

    However, I reckon that the initial target will not be Israel since the Iranians are pretty certain that (whatever destruction may be wrought) Israel would retaliate.  Accordingly, I would suggest that Iran’s first target would be either a fellow-Moslem state or us (and by “us” I mean the UK or the US).  You know, there’s a sort of sweet irony that the BBC’s anti-semitism and inordinate philo-islamism could crystallise in the physical destruction of our nation since the BBC is in the vanguard of those whose success in destroying the nation’s spiritual and moral resources is evidenced all around us.


  5. My Site (click to edit) says:

    ‘I have in my hand… a piece of paper.. admitedly already quite scorched and pierced by shrapnel..’

    Statespersons R’ Not US, or UK, or… most others too.

    Propped up, cowering (if that is not a contradictory description) in their ivory bunkers by the the media they seem only concerned with appeasing, who in turn see that as the only way to ‘deal’ with their preferred audience bases as opposed to those who actually fund them.

    History suggests it does not end well. For us, but also, with luck, them at the end, either.


  6. Craig says:

    Talking of that nice Mr. Ghannouchi, Radio 4 is devoting an entire edition of ‘Analysis‘ to him next Monday at 8.30pm:  

    “Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi is one of the world’s leading Islamist ideologues and has done much to convert the Muslim Brotherhood to the idea of democracy and acceptance of equal political rights for non-Muslims. He is leader of Tunisia’s largest political party but his influence extends far beyond North Africa. And until the Arab Spring he lived in Hemel Hempstead.  
    Owen Bennett-Jones examines his ideas and influence.”  

    That doesn’t sound as if it’s going to be a hatchet job on the Tunisian sage. Quite the reverse!


    • Umbongo says:

      In the Narrative, any Arab/Moslem nutter, demagogue and faux “democrat” is the equivalent of Gorbachev.  In the same Narrative, any Israeli politician not of the extreme left is the equivalent of Himmler.  Once that is understood, everything is explicable.


  7. David Preiser (USA) says:

    I think it’s more that the Tunisians’ undying support for Hamas and desire for mass murder is just something normal to Davies, a given, not considered newsworthy. Muslim dog bites Jewish man, as it were. Which does tell you something about BBC editorial policy and journalistic standards.


  8. deegee says:

    Tunisian Association Pushes to Criminalize Normalization with Israel
    The National Committee for Supporting Arab Resistance and Fighting Normalization and Zionism, is a post-revolution Tunisian association whose mission is to lobby the National Constituent Assembly to criminalize normalization with the State of Israel.

    One would have thought that Tunisian ‘liberals’ would have better things to do with their time.