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The complicity of BBC/global ‘balanced’ media in terrorism – how it works

It is time for speaking clearly. The BBC, and global “balanced” media, are, at minimum, complicit in terrorism and the worldwide surge in antisemitism. How?

Here are some very obvious and undisputed premises which lead firmly to this conclusion.

  1. Terrorists like Hamas deliberately target civilians from behind the cover of other civilians.
  2. This is not an ad hoc approach but a deliberate, long-term, highly effective strategy proven in many places over many decades.
  3. This strategy is designed to create a ‘win-win’ for a terror organization like Hamas and a ‘lose-lose’ for a country seeking to observe the laws of war like Israel.
  4. Hamas wins if Israel is constrained from defending its civilians because of the fear of hitting Palestinian civilians. Hamas can then continue to attack with impunity Israeli civilian targets.
  5. But literally no known government – democracy or autocracy – has sat back and allowed its civilian population to be systematically targeted without response. Can anyone imagine a country which fails to respond when it comes under attack? The counter-examples of governments defending their civilian populations from terror attack are numerous across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas with many obvious examples in the 2020s alone.
  6. So Israel, like other countries, also defends itself from terrorist attacks against its civilian population.
  7. However, in a densely populated area like Gaza, with Hamas military facilities deeply and deliberately embedded in the civilian areas, including infrastructure like schools, hospitals and mosques, despite Israel’s best efforts to protect civilian life – efforts that are widely acclaimed by military experts – it is tragically inevitable that Palestinian civilians will on occasion, and without intention, be harmed.
  8. Hamas also wins in this case because a tragedy involving harm to Palestinian civilians not only deflects the global discussion away from the brutality of its own actions but also undermines the moral standing of Israel.
  9. In the recent Al-Ahli Hospital tragedy, in a new development that takes this phenomenon to an even greater extreme, it seems that Hamas still wins even when it is the terrorists themselves that kill their own civilian population.
  10. The consequences are clear and lead to the same cycle playing out every time – rapid mobilisation of worldwide pressure against Israel, even from its closest allies, leading to calls first for ‘restraint’, and soon after for ceasefire. The effect is the same: Israel is constrained from defending its civilians leaving Hamas in position to continue attacking Israeli civilian targets with impunity.
  11. Coming to the key point: the only way the terrorists’ strategy can work is if there is a predictable response from global media that deflects the global discussion away from the brutality of the terrorists’ actions and undermines the moral standing of a government defending itself against those terrorists.
  12. Importantly, BBC/global media have no grounds to feign innocence or ignorance. Terror groups have been using this strategy for decades. BBC/global media know this is exactly what terror groups do and what they hope to achieve. And yet they predictably time and again play the role that the terror groups expect of them by manufacturing pressure on Israel to stop defending itself.
  13. It is possible to speculate on some of the reasons why BBC/global media so predictably play the role the terror groups want them to play, among them: groupthink; access; safety; sincere misunderstanding; personal biases; personal or institutional political sympathies; personal or institutional antisemitism (latent or otherwise).
  14. However, the reasons are less important than the fact that it happens and the need for it to change. In this respect, Jews are, as always, the ‘canary in the coalmine’ providing a warning to countries which seek to observe the laws of war defending themselves against terror yet finding their efforts time and again undermined by their own media.
  15. The BBC conducted an independent enquiry in 2004 which culminated in the Balen Report into the BBC’s anti-Israel bias. Shamefully, this was never published. The anti-Israel bias at the BBC has been left to fester and grow.
  16. It is time for a round of new independent enquiries  – this time conducted openly – to address this issue at key global media groups, not only the BBC but also CNN, NYT, AP and Reuters, among other respected global media institutions which claim to offer ‘balanced’ reporting.
  17. This is the core argument. However, several additional points may be raised which also need to be urgently addressed.
  18. Firstly, BBC/global media are now regularly going ‘beyond complicity’. Repeatedly, it seems, BBC/global media swallow false information released by the officials of terror institutions (often reported neutrally as the ‘Palestinian Ministry of Health’, rather than the ‘Hamas-operated Ministry of Health’) without caveat, and in a way they would never do with information released from Israel. This includes the initial reporting of the recent Al-Ahli Hospital tragedy as caused by an Israeli airstrike without any caveat and before facts were established.
  19. This is in fact a modern form of blood libel, and it seems to be happening with increasing frequency. The results of the modern form of blood libel is similar to the results of the older forms of blood libel – surging levels of public antisemitism generating real-world threats against the safety of Jewish people worldwide.
  20. The reasons why the BBC/global media swallow false information probably involves a similar set of the reasons identified above. However it also reflects another more insidious factor – the longer term cycle by which the media themselves manufacture false overarching narratives that set certain expectations firmly in place – that Israel is ‘cruel and vengeful’, ‘fails to take adequate measures to protect civilians’, and even ‘enjoys taking Palestinian civilian life’ and ‘butchering Palestinian children’. By conforming with these false narratives that the media has itself concocted, the BBC/global media are susceptible to swallow false information.
  21. So secondly, and this is critical to understand, the complicity of global media with terror works in long- as well as short-term cycles.
  22. The short-term cycles are those in which media reporting manufactures pressure against Israel to stop defending its civilian population in a specific crisis.
  23. The long-term cycle involves BBC/global media establishing a narrative context which distorts the underlying causes and consequences of conflict, and sets certain false expectations in place, again with effect not only to deflect the global discussion away from the brutality of the terrorists actions but also to undermine the moral standing of Israel and manufacture pressure on Israel to stop defending itself.
  24. A case in point is the blockade of Gaza.
  25. It may be recalled that Hamas and its sister terrorist group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, carried out a brutal terrorist campaign involving suicide bombing against civilian targets which, per Wikipedia, comprised 87 ‘successful’ attacks, and many multiples more which were prevented, between 1989 to 2008, claiming hundreds of Israeli civilian lives.
  26. The same Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, i.e. even while the suicide bombing campaign continued.
  27. Both Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza thereafter. (And noting, that due to international pressure, the blockade has been eased time and again.) Again, no government – neither Egypt nor Israel – would sit back and allow its civilian population to be systematically targeted without response. Perhaps it was no coincidence that soon after the blockade came into effect, the suicide bombing campaign came to an end.
  28. And yet today, the narrative around the blockade of Gaza by BBC/global media rarely mentions the brutality of Hamas’ 20-year wave of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, but rather focuses on chastising Israel for ‘inflicting collective punishment on Gazans’ and transforming Gaza into an ‘open air prison’ – i.e. it is the same predictable response from global media that deflects the global discussion away from the brutality of the terrorists’ actions and undermines the moral standing of a government defending itself against those terrorists.
  29. So when Hamas committed its most recent and horrific brutality, massacring over a 1,000 innocent civilians inside Israel, too many educated people defended Hamas’ actions, even in the face of all the ‘grizzly details’, as a ‘natural response’ to the Gaza blockade.
  30. In this way, the short-term media cycle that manufactures pressure on Israel to stop a specific defensive action combines with the longer-term media cycle which not only justifies the brutality of the terrorists’ actions based on the very defensive measures Israel put in place to protect its civilians from the same terrorists, but also manufactures pressure that somehow, perversely, the way to prevent another massacre of this kind by Hamas is to take away the defensive measures Israel puts in place to defend its civilian population and thereby render Israeli civilians defenseless. Orwellian doublethink does not even begin to describe this kind of thinking.
About the Author
Adam Gross is a strategist that specialises in solving complex problems in the international arena. Adam made aliyah with his family in 2019 to live in northern Israel.
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