Here is the BBC engaging in a little self-congratulation and self-promotion on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of its BBC Arabic Service.
How many of these congratulations arrived spontaneously and how many were solicited, we do not know, but the portrayal of one of the well-wishers is rather interesting.
“Mustafa Barghouthi, Palestinian democracy activist and Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, believed the BBC gave too much space to the Israeli voice, but he said its training of Arab and Palestinian journalists – some of whom had become ‘icons of the Arab media’ – had been among the BBC’s ‘most important achievements’. “
Mustafa Barghouthi is indeed the Secretary General of the PNI (aka Al Mubadara), but his classification as a “democracy activist” is somewhat tendentious.
In 2011 Barghouthi travelled all the way to Greece to proffer his support for the Hamas-enabling ‘Freedom Flotilla 2’. He has attended and spoken at the annual Bil’in conference on several occasions, promoting ‘apartheid’ rhetoric and the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees, and is a prominent advocate of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
In April 2012 Barghouthi was a guest speaker at a conference promoting the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees organized by the Hamas-affiliated ‘Palestinian Return Centre’ based in London. He was involved with the ‘Air Flotilla’ (aka ‘Flytilla’) stunt which sought to delegitimize Israel in the same month and was one of the organisers of the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ in March 2012, collaborating with others connected to the Iranian regime, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizballah.
Prior to the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ event Barghouthi engaged in spreading his often used delegitimizing falsehoods regarding the freedom of worship and ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Jerusalem. On the day of the march itself, he was personally present at the violent riots which took place at the Qalandiya checkpoint.
The fact that the BBC sees fit to solicit and publish an endorsement of itself from someone prepared to work with affiliates and representatives of terrorist organisations and repressive dictatorships in order to delegitimise a democratic country speaks volumes. The fact that the BBC then describes that man – whose activism is dedicated to the demise of the most vibrant democracy in the Middle East – as a “democracy activist” reveals much about the political views prevalent in the corporation.