David Calling

On Blair, the Beeb, and Israel…

Israel will defeat Hezbollah in the field, but in doing so will almost certainly lose the battle for public opinion. Defending itself against unprovoked aggression, and a daily barrage of missiles, Israel is depicted in almost all the media as something like a war criminal. The inversion of the truth comes straight out of Orwell’s nightmare vision of a world unable any longer to make moral judgements.
The anti-Israeli and anti-American stance of the entire BBC comes as a shock to me, brought up as I was to respect its objectivity. That was then, this is now. BBC editorialists are one and all clear that Bush and Blair and Israel are acting indefensibly. One of the most important talk shows had four guests, all of whom ranted uninterruptedly against Israel, so much so that a columnist in the London Times described the program as “the first to have been edited by the leader of Hezbollah.” BBC reporters have given up on news, preferring to editorialise in their turn, blaming the horrors of Lebanon exclusively on Israel. The appeasement of Hezbollah, and the concomitant Jew-hating, is evidence of moral collapse, and it is going to take the whole of Europe a long time to get out of it – if it ever can.
In the circumstances, it is an act of considerable moral courage for Tony Blair to stand next to President Bush in the White House, and support him in the belief that Israel is doing all of us a service by rolling back Hezbollah. He is separating himself from the Chiracs and the Prodis and the Annans, and the media are priming the public to make him pay for it. Perhaps his premiership has been – how shall we say ? – mixed, but this is his finest hour.
Lebanese television has a star in May Chidiak. Trying to kill her, the Syrians blew up her car, and she lost limbs and the use of one eye. To see her back on the screen, you would never know what she has been through. Blonde, vivacious, hiding her scars, she is modesty itself, claiming to be just a journalist. She travels in a car like the one they tried to kill her in, with the same licence plates. This indomitable woman has the courage to condemn Hezbollah on air, and to state the plain truth that it is responsible for bringing catastrophe to Lebanon. She is magnificent. And the BBC will never devote a program to her.


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