A cryptic BBC portrayal of ME reactions to US election result

November 9th saw the appearance of an article titled “US election 2016: Middle East awaits Trump policy decisions” on the BBC News website’s Middle East page.us-elections-reactions

“Many Middle Eastern leaders have congratulated Donald Trump on his unexpected victory in the US presidential election.

But some will be waiting to see whether he changes long-standing US policies on major issues and crises in the region.

BBC correspondents have been gauging the reaction.”

Readers found contributions from BBC journalists in Mosul, Tehran, the Gulf, Cairo and Jerusalem. Thomas Fessy presented an accurate account of Israeli reactions, although he could also have included the Mayor of Jerusalem’s reminder to Mr Trump of his stated intention to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Donald Trump, describing him as “a true friend of the State of Israel”. Mr Netanyahu said he was looking forward “to working with him to advance security, stability and peace in our region”.

The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, was one of the first Israeli officials to send his congratulations. Mr Trump’s campaign said his administration would recognise the holy city as the “undivided capital of the State of Israel”. That would antagonise Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. […]

Israelis from the hard-right meanwhile hope that Mr Trump will not speak against the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett put it quite bluntly: “The era of a Palestinian state is over.””

Fessy’s portrayal of the reactions of the Palestinian Authority president and Hamas are similarly accurate.

In contrast, the contributing BBC journalist in Cairo – Angy Ghannam of BBC Monitoring – focused his attentions on the regional media rather than on the reaction in Egypt.

“The general sentiment among regional media is that for Arabs it makes no difference whoever is in the White House.

While coverage of the election result by the main pan-Arab TV channels has been relatively balanced, the stance adopted by domestic stations has tended to reflect local priorities.

Arabic news websites have described the result as a “miracle”, a “political earthquake”, and “contrary to all expectations”.

Across social media, the overwhelming sentiment has been one of cynicism and pessimism regarding Mr Trump’s comments about Arabs and Muslims.

The majority of Arab users agree that what they regard as the US’s negative policies will remain unchanged.

But some see a perverse silver lining, saying that at least Mr Trump was “clear about his enmity”, while Mrs Clinton was “a hidden enemy”.”

Those trying to decipher that confusingly cryptic account may find an article by the Times of Israel’s Middle East analyst helpful.

“In Egypt, the leadership, including President Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, had trouble hiding its satisfaction with Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

According to Egyptian media, Sissi was the first world leader to call and congratulate Trump. He wished Trump well and expressed the hope that his term would lead to a flourishing of American-Egyptian ties.

What Sissi did not say out loud, but was expressed for him by one of his confidants in the Egyptian parliament, Mustafa Bakri, was that the Trump victory is seen as “a knockout blow for the Muslim Brotherhood.”

This satisfaction was echoed in other Arab countries — including the Gulf States, and even Saudi Arabia — where they have not forgotten or forgiven Clinton and US President Barack Obama for their support for the Arab Spring.

Arab leaders have never been able to understand the stance adopted by Clinton, when she was secretary of state, that supported 2012’s democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. […]

In the so-called pro-Muslim Brotherhood countries Qatar and Turkey, indeed, reaction was muted, with both adopting a wait-and-see attitude to Trump’s future Middle East policy.”

Now why didn’t the BBC report that?

 

 

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3 comments on “A cryptic BBC portrayal of ME reactions to US election result

  1. On the BBC World Service last night there was an item the BBC thought important enough to include in the World News bulletin about how Habima staged their first performance at Kiryat Arba. In the first bulletin, they claimed that one of the members of the company refused to perform in the “settlements” because, as the BBC put it “they are illegally occupying Palestinian territory”. The second bulletin made no mention of that, merely saying that Culture Minister Miri Regev had threatened that there would be no state funding for theatre groups that refused to perform in the settlements. The fact that this item was considered newsworthy enough to be included alongside the murder of two German diplomats in Afghanistan, Trump’s visit to the White House, etc., shows that the BBC is determined to push the Palestinian agenda to the detriment of any “real” news.

  2. The only interest in anything that the BBC has to say about the Middle East – amongst all the many people that I know – is in how much the BBC is going to turn any latest news item against Israel. Literally nobody believes what they are actually saying.

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