BBC gets in on ‘Mossad Spy Zoo’ action

Like several other media outlets including the Guardian, the BBC has made use of the latest example of Israel-related animal conspiracy theories as an opportunity to produce a light-hearted piece apparently intended to amuse rather than inform audiences.  

An article appearing in the BBC News website’s Magazine Monitor section on September 5th titled “The animals mistaken for spies” opens with the recent story of a migratory stork detained by police in Egypt on suspicion of spying which apparently later came to an unfortunate end

Spy zoo

The BBC article states:

“And a spate of shark attacks near the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in 2010 was blamed by one TV station on GPS-controlled predators planted by Israel in order to harm the Egyptian tourism industry.”

In fact the shark-related accusations were also promoted by the governor of the South Sinai, Muhammad Abdel Fadil Shousha, and broadcast by the Egyptian state media rather than just “one TV station” – as was reported by the BBC at the time.

Whilst one can understand the temptation to turn such stories into a whimsical space-filler, it would surely be of more benefit to BBC audiences’ understanding of the Middle East were some attempt made to offer serious explanation and analysis of the kind of environment which allows such conspiracy theories to prosper –especially as the BBC frequently uncritically repeats statements and claims on other issues made by officials from regimes which subscribe to such theories. 


BBC report on Jews in Tunisia tainted by agenda-driven addition

h/t David

The BBC World Service’s recent two-part ‘Heart and Soul’ programme on the subject of Jews from Arab lands was, to many, a refreshing piece of reporting on the whole. 

(See our posts here and here.) 

Presenter Magdi Abdelhadi’s visit to Tunisia was also featured in the Magazine section of the BBC News website on October 24th, with the article reflecting much of the radio broadcast’s content. 

Somebody, however, apparently could not resist adding to Mr Abdelhadi’s report a side panel of ‘facts’ titled “The Exodus”, where we are informed that: 

“As reports of Zionist settlers driving Palestinians off [sic] their villages hit Arab capitals during the 1940s anti-Jewish sentiment hit new heights”

So, despite numerous examples, including the massacre of Jews in Baghdad in 1828, mass forced conversions in the Persian city of Meshed in 1839, the Damascus blood libel in 1840, the pogroms in Morocco in 1905, the 1929 Hebron massacre and the Farhud in 1941, the BBC once more returns to the simplistic narrative of contextualising prejudice and violence against Jews from Arab lands solely as a reaction to Israel and Zionism. 

What a shame it is that Magdi Abdelhadi’s insightful report from Tunisia has been tainted by the reversion to agenda-inspired versions of history.