In part one of this post we saw examples of the BBC’s framing of Palestinian violence as being caused by the US president’s recent announcement concerning Jerusalem – rather than by the choices made by those engaging in that violence – in two BBC radio programmes. Both those programmes however also promoted some additional and no less interesting linkage.
Listeners to the 8 a.m. news bulletin in the December 9th edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme also heard (from 01:05:16 here) the newsreader say that:
“President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem has cast a long shadow over the annual Manama Dialogue security conference in Bahrain. The defence secretary Gavin Williamson is there as part of the British delegation. From Bahrain: our security correspondent Frank Gardner.”
Gardner: “Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, was due to deliver the keynote speech. Instead she stayed in the US and accused the UN of having an anti-Israel bias. Here in the Gulf there is widespread concern that the US president’s announcement will embolden both Iran and the jihadists of Al Qaeda and ISIS. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki al Faisal, who ran his country’s intelligence service for 24 years, told the conference the US announcement is oxygen and nutrition to radicals. ‘They will be active again’ he warned ‘and will be difficult to handle’.”
The December 9th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘The Newsroom’ also promoted similar messaging. In her introduction (from 00:07 here) presenter Jackie Leonard told listeners that:
“There’s new concern in the Gulf that Mr Trump’s announcement will embolden radical groups.”
Later on she asked Arab affairs editor Sebastian Usher about that topic.
Leonard: “Now there is a large security conference going on in Bahrain at the moment and President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has been a topic of discussion. What has been said?”
[emphasis in italics in the original]
Usher: “Well essentially we’ve been hearing from representatives from Saudi Arabia and from the UAE that this is deeply unhelpful in the context not just of the status of Jerusalem – of its position between the Palestinians and the Israelis – but also in terms of fuelling extremism, fundamentalism: all the forces that Mr Trump and the US has essentially said they’ve been focusing on recently. The warnings have been coming from foreign ministers, from security officials, that this is going to give a new boost to the extremists in the Arab world who will see it as an insult and will use that to try and rebuild support, much of which has been leaking recently because of the way that IS – the Islamic State group – has been pushed back.”
After referring to the statement from the Iraqi prime minister pronouncing that “they have entirely defeated ISIS”, Usher went on to say:
Usher: “So in that context, these Arab officials are saying this is not helpful. We’ve just about pushed them onto the ropes – this is giving them a lifeline to come back fighting and inspiring new people to join.”
The BBC News website published an article by Frank Gardner promoting the same theme on December 8th. Titled “Trump Jerusalem shift puts counter-terror efforts at risk“, the article tells BBC audiences that:
“The recognition by US President Donald Trump of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has triggered more than just criticism from America’s allies.
Here in Bahrain, at the annual Manama Dialogue security conference, there is an almost universal concern that the announcement will be a gift to the region’s twin adversaries – Iran and the jihadists of al-Qaeda and so-called Islamic State (IS).
“The president has lit a fire and left his Arab allies to deal with the blaze,” said Elisabeth Marteu, Consultant Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
A former UK Special Forces officer, who asked not to be quoted, compared the announcement to “throwing a hand grenade into a room with the pin removed”.”
Readers also find the following:
“The first is the risk that people who might not be well disposed towards the West but were not planning to translate this into violent action may now think again.
Hediya Fathalla, an expert on Gulf security and a former Bahrain government official, told the BBC: “There are dormant jihadist mentalities who are sitting there thinking ‘I’m not operational but I have jihadist feelings’ so will this push them over the fence?””
So there we have it: in addition to the BBC’s already much promoted narrative according to which the US administration’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is the cause of violence on the part of people who have engaged in exactly the same sort of violence for decades, will plunge a notoriously unstable part of the world into ‘instability’ and will be the “kiss of death” to a peace process that has been on life-support for 24 years, the BBC would now have its audiences believe that Trump’s announcement is going to kick-start ISIS and other jihadist groups.
While there is no doubt that the US announcement will have caused serious annoyance and ‘insult’ to a great number of people, there is of course a vast difference between being angered and taking violent action. The BBC, however, apparently does not believe that those who throw rocks at children in cars, stab random people in the street, launch missiles at civilian communities or sign up to a murderous jihadist terror organisation have any agency whatsoever or bear any responsibility for their choices.
Rather, the BBC’s soft bigotry of low expectations causes it to promote the notion that an announcement from Donald Trump triggers inevitable and irresistible reactions in followers of a particular religion – people the corporation apparently would have its audiences believe are not capable of making choices of their own.