BBC’s Science Editor’s preconceived ideas of the Middle East

Here’s a strange little story.  

The BBC’s Science Editor David Shukman has an article in the BBC News website’s ‘Science and Environment’ section entitled “Inside the world’s most ‘impossible’ science project“.

Ostensibly, the piece is about a joint science initiative going on in Jordan, with participants from all over the Middle East. Practically, it is yet another of those BBC items in which the journalist becomes the focus rather than the subject itself.  The article tells us very little about the actual science project, but much about the writer’s preconceived stereotypical ideas of the Middle East.

Take this, for example: [emphasis added]

“Given the hostility felt towards Israel, for instance, would any Arabs or Iranians ever consent to being pictured in the same room as Israeli scientists? If we were seen talking to one, would others boycott us? And, worst of all, would our filming put anyone in danger back home? Not everyone in Iran or Israel or the Arab countries likes the idea of their people fraternising with the other side.”

Really? Perhaps David Shukman would like to tell us about the last time he heard of an Israeli scientist being “in danger” because he or she collaborated with colleagues from an unfriendly country? 

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