OpinionIsrael at War

The devastating Hamas weapon of war

The BBC and other Western media outlets are far more than mere useful idiots.

Close-up of the “BBC News” icon. Credit: Olga Ganovicheva/Shutterstock.
Close-up of the “BBC News” icon. Credit: Olga Ganovicheva/Shutterstock.
Melanie Phillips
Melanie Phillips
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for The Times of London, her personal and political memoir, Guardian Angel, has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, The Legacy, in 2018. To access her work, go to: melaniephillips.substack.com.

Hamas, the genocidal jihadi force responsible for the barbaric Oct. 7 pogrom in Israel, has a devastating weapon of war. That weapon is the Western media.

With some honorable exceptions, these media outlets have been doing Hamas’s filthy work for it. Despite the terror group’s record of lying through its teeth, the media accepts what it says at face value while casting doubt on everything said by the habitually truthful Israelis.

On Nov. 8, Christiane Amanpour said on CNN that “over 4,300 children have been killed” during Israel’s military operations in Gaza. She admitted that this figure was “according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah.” But the numbers were, in fact, issued by the ministry’s Gaza branch, which is run by Hamas. Like countless other journalists, Amanpour failed to note that Hamas never acknowledged a single terrorist among these fatalities, and that the designation “children” includes its many teenage terrorists.

These media outlets never give up on their determination to paint Israel falsely as a mendacious and bloodthirsty aggressor.

Journalists sneered at Israel’s repeated claims of Hamas command tunnels beneath Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital. Even as the IDF started to produce videos of these tunnels, showing their arched roofs, toilets and rooms using electricity sourced from the hospital, The New York Times continued to falsely assert that the Israelis “have not shown conclusive evidence of a vast network of tunnels.”

These outlets haven’t just been shilling for Hamas but for other Palestinians represented as struggling against “iron-fisted” Israeli oppression.

The media ignored or waved away the fact that many of the Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails in return for the release of Israeli hostages have convictions for terrorist violence.

Worse still, journalists have drawn a depraved moral equivalence between Israeli hostages released by Hamas and the Palestinian terrorist prisoners released by Israel.

The most jaw-dropping example was on Sky News. Interviewer Kay Burley put to an incredulous Israeli spokesman, Eylon Levy, the astounding claim made by a “hostage negotiator” that the ratio of three Palestinian prisoners exchanged for every Israeli hostage meant the Israelis valued Palestinian lives less than Israeli lives.

Burley actually believed that this sick and twisted misrepresentation of Hamas extortion as bigotry on Israel’s part was a serious point that required an answer.

There have been countless examples of Western journalists going out of their way to sanitize Hamas and deny the enormity of its crimes.

When the Israeli hostages started to be released, Sky’s international editor, Dominic Waghorn, reported that they had been “held in reasonable condition, reportedly, though those held above ground lived with the fear of being killed in Israel’s bombardment.”

Yet we now know that some of the Jewish hostages were beaten with electric cables, the elderly hostages were suffering from malnutrition, and one of them, who hadn’t been given the medication she needed, was airlifted to an Israeli hospital in critical condition.

The child hostages were treated with unspeakable cruelty and sadism from which they have already displayed lasting ill effects. They were instructed to speak in whispers and told they would be shot if they made a noise. One child was beaten, kept in solitary confinement for 16 days and forced to watch videos of the Oct. 7 massacre. When he cried, he was threatened at gunpoint.

Yet Waghorn actually suggested that Israel was to blame for the worst the hostages had suffered through fear of being killed in its air raids.

The most important serial offender is the BBC. This not only dwarfs other outlets in its global reach but, most important of all, it is trusted everywhere as a kite-mark of objectivity. The harm it has done by sanitizing Hamas and inciting hatred of Israel as morally beyond the pale is therefore hard to exaggerate.

There have been innumerable examples of the BBC’s selective, distorted reporting, using Hamas propaganda as legitimate talking points and twisting itself into a pretzel to cast Israel in the worst possible light.

On Oct. 17, a few hours after the first reports of an explosion at Gaza’s Al-Ahli hospital that Hamas blamed on Israel, the BBC’s International Editor Jeremy Bowen reported: “The missile hit the hospital not long after dark. … The explosion destroyed Al-Ahli hospital. … The building was flattened”.

Yet even after it was established that a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket had merely hit the hospital’s car park and killed a far smaller number of people than Hamas had claimed, Bowen airily dismissed his falsehoods, saying, “I don’t regret one thing in my reporting because I think I was measured throughout. I didn’t race to judgment.”

The only thing more astounding than such arrogance in the face of what was at best inexcusable sloppiness and at worst malign bias, is that the BBC continues to use Bowen as an authoritative commentator on the war in Gaza.

Not only have BBC journalists displayed gross moral bankruptcy over the war, but a number of them have openly supported Hamas.

Multiple presenters on the BBC’s Asian Network radio station have accused Israel of committing genocide, shared conspiracy theory videos and encouraged followers to attend pro-Palestinian marches.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) has flagged several posts by BBC journalists rejoicing at the Oct. 7 atrocities, supporting “Palestinian brethren in their war against the occupying entity” a day after Israeli women and children were beheaded, raped and burned alive, and exulting in the “Palestinian resistance taking the initiative and surprises [sic] the Israeli occupier with an operation of quality.”

Yet the BBC has refused to take any disciplinary action against such employees. Instead, Guz Khan, a comedian who has accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” in Gaza, has been booked to host the popular BBC panel show “Have I Got News for You.”

Most of the BBC, like the rest of the media, subscribe to progressive nostrums—according to which support for the Palestinians is the cause of causes. With universities and schools having pumped out Palestinian lies for decades, millions in the West have never heard the real facts about the Arab war against Israel. Consequently, they refuse to believe even the evidence of their own eyes when it conflicts with the poisonous anti-Israel consensus.

Hamas understands this dynamic only too well. Western values are based on respect for human life and compassion for suffering. By contrast, Hamas, like other Islamists, privileges death over life and is motivated by psychopathic fanaticism.

It understands that people in the West are horrified by the killing of innocent civilians in war, particularly children. It also understands that the West no longer makes a distinction between civilians who are deliberately slaughtered and civilians who are unintentionally but unavoidably killed in the course of a war to prevent further slaughter.

Western populations thus put pressure on their governments to force Israel to stop defending itself against Hamas, giving Hamas the ability to continue slaughtering Israelis.

So Hamas ensures that as many Gazan civilians as possible are killed under Israeli bombardment by forcing them at gunpoint to become human shields and cannon fodder. It distributes the resulting images to Western news desks ravenous for copy and that depend upon journalists and photographers who either support Hamas or understand that if they don’t do what Hamas wants they will be killed.

The BBC and other Western media outlets have thus become more than useful idiots. In behaving exactly as Hamas wants in recruiting the Western public to service its war aims, the media have become a critical weapon deployed by those waging war against both Israel and civilization.

As a result, it’s as if both Stalin and Hitler have been afforded a posthumous victory.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates