Hero or Villain

If anybody had any doubts about the BBC’s bias take a look at the way they spin this fascinating story.
A courageous man has not only risked the penalty for apostasy, but also converted to Christianity and denounced his father’s organisation, Hamas.
“But now we learn that his courage and his principles extended far further than this. As Ha’aretz reports, for ten years Yousef worked for the Israeli security service Shin Bet for whom the intelligence he provided saved countless lives from human bomb attacks:”

The BBC sees it differently.
Written primarily from the Palestinian perspective, Mosab Hassan Yousef is portrayed as a traitor and a spy. With highlighted quote ‘Slander and Lies’ the BBC unstintingly promotes the way Hamas sees things.

“Earlier, senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan condemned Haaretz’s report as “baseless slander” aimed at the elder Yousef.

“The Palestinian people have great confidence in Hamas and its struggle and they will not be fooled by this slander and these lies of the Israeli occupation,” he told AFP news agency.”

The contents of the book Mr. Yousef is about to publish will confirm what we already know about Hamas. By ‘we’ I mean everyone apart from those employed by the BBC.

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29 Responses to Hero or Villain

  1. Kanburi says:

    Interesting bullet point box about Shin Bet on the BBC page:

    “-Referred to officially as Shabak in Hebrew or the Israel Security Agency in English
    -Charged with defending against terrorism, subversion and espionage
    -Interrogates suspected militants at special centres across Israel
    -Has been accused of using torture against Palestinians”

    No similar bullet points about Hamas though. In the interests of balance, perhaps we could suggest some to the B-BBC:

    – Advocates the destruction of a sovreign state
    – Targets innocent women and children in its military campaign
    – Uses civilians as human shields
    – Uses funds intended for humanitarian aid to purchase weapons
    – Kills its military prisoners

    Ad infinitum. What are our chances?


    • Marky says:

      *Political detentions, arbitrary arrests and torture commonplace. 
      *Demonstrators, political opponents, killed and maimed. 
      *Spreads propaganda and hatred of Israel and all Jews.


      • John Anderson says:

        also …

        Throws its opponents off rooftops

        Poisons the minds of young children with extreme anti-semitism


  2. George R says:

    Ex-Sky News, now FOX NEWS journalist, Jonathan Hunt, had this interview with Mosaf Hassan Yousef (18 months ago) -not something which the pro-Hamas BBC approves:

    “Son of Hamas Leader Turns Back on Islam and Embraces Christianity”



  3. George R says:

    Non-BBC, anti-Hamas view of Yousef:



  4. Umbongo says:

    “By ‘we’ I mean everyone apart from those employed by the BBC.”

    Oh no Sue, you’re wrong there.  They know alright.  They just happen to agree with the objectives of Hamas so, of course, MHY is a “traitor and a spy”.  In a similar way Moazzam and Binyam are not treated as apologists for terrorism but as “heroes of resistance” to the evil CIA (well, not so evil now that St Obama is in control) and the even more evil MI6 (which is, unbelievably, seeking to defend Britain).


  5. Marky says:

    “I mean everyone apart from those employed by the BBC.”

    *some* left-wing think that anything is permissible as long as it advances ‘their causes’ – terrorism good or at least useful if it can help destroy the west…


  6. deegee says:

    Yousef is double plus ungood. Christian, pro Israel, anti Islam, lives in America by choice without a bad word for Bush. Now if he was also a climate change sceptic … 🙁


  7. hippiepooter says:

    Sue, I’ve got to say, that I didn’t see this BBC article as weighted in favour of Hamas.  Given all of the other examples there are of patent pro-terrorist bias against Israel at the BBC, I’m suprised you singled out this piece.

    Of course there is the argument that the BBC should not be steering a ‘middle course’ between a democratic state and a terrorist organisation.  Certainly, there is no way that the biased BBC is going to mention in every piece it features Hamas in that Hamas is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by ourselves, the States and the EU, the way they love parroting out ad nauseum canards about Israeli occupation and quoting Palestinian casualty figures as if a sizeable chunk aren’t terrorists ‘at it’.


    • sue says:

      I knew somebody would say that, but I didn’t think it would be you.
      I would say that I read the other articles (Melanie P, Telegraph, Haaretz,, Harry’s Place etc) first, all of which relate the story as an upbeat tale in which good triumphs over adversity and celebrate the bravery and courage of this individual.
      I didn’t think the BBC would have bothered to report it at all, so I only searched for it on the BBC as an afterthought.

      Your recognition that the BBC should not be steering a ‘middle course’ is on the button. But more than that, from the unflattering picture of Mosab Hassan Yousef  to the undue prominence given to the Hamas point of view, in the context of the BBC’s default condemnatory attitude towards Israel, I think this article is a typical example of BBC bias. How do you think it would come across as a stand-alone story? Anyone reading it without any background knowledge might very well feel that Mr. Yousef had been pretty well discredited as a traitor and a liar.

      (I do think it’s good to be ‘picked up’ from time to time when someone thinks I’m out of line though. )


      • hippiepooter says:

        Hi Sue, I know that when I read the piece it seemed that more space was given to the laudatory comments of the guy’s Israeli handler.  I didn’t see the BBC ‘taking a line’, although like I mentioned above, the absence of stating Hamas’ terrorist status is ‘bias by omission’ when you compare it to the ubiquitous and grossly misqouted Palestinian casualty figures.  What would have been apt in this piece is the BBC quoting the number of casualties caused by suicide bombers and how these have drastically reduced since Israel erected the security wall.

        If memory serves, when the Beeb does give these figures, they give them with a breakdown of ‘civilian Israeli / military Israeli’, whereas they just give blanket Palestinian casualty figures to make out the Israelis never kill terrorists, only civilians.

        As already indicated, given the number of times one watches or BBC reporting on the Arab-Israeli conflict and one finds oneself straining to see exactly where the correspondent has got his Swastika armband hidden, this wasn’t one of those times.

        You and I can discern the implicit biases based on overall coverage, but if this is a site dedicated to exposing bias to neutral observers, this isn’t going to do it – the reverse.


        • sue says:

          I don’t think the BBC is obliged to attach a warning about their terrorist status each time they mention Hamas any more than they’re obliged to attach a reminder of the Gaza death tally each time they mention Israel. But they should certainly watch their painstakingly impartial tendency to give equal credibility and prominence to whatever a Hamas spokesperson says, for the reasons eloquently set out by Melanie P. that I quoted earlier.

           “Hamas, let us remind ourselves, is the genocidal terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organisation, now in cahoots with Shi’ite Iran, which is pledged to exterminate Israel and kill Jewish people everywhere, along with extinguishing human rights within the Islamic world. Its cause should be absolute anathema to the west, which should be doing everything in its power to stamp it out as the unconscionable threat that it is to life and liberty.”

          Don’t forget what the story was about. This man was from a Hamas family. He crossed the floor and spilled the beans in the face of great personal danger, for no personal gain, and he saved many lives in the process.

          Bringing in extensive quotes from Hamas that disparage his testimony and attempt to discredit his motives swings the balance of the whole story. None of the other articles I linked to found it necessary to give such prominence to Hamas’s tuppenceworth.

          This doesn’t happen on the BBC when it’s the other way round. For example, when yet another tome criticising Israel or Jews gets a plug, as in the Shlomo Sands episode of Start the Week, or in the case of that vile Eva Figes book about her former nanny, the BBC allows them to promote their masterpieces unashamedly and unquestioningly despite the fact that they were highly contentious and widely criticised on other media.

          I can see your point about exposing bias to neutral observers, but the BBC is perfectly conscious of the need to keep the bias implicit and between-the-lines, so you’re not always going to be handed on a plate the kind of blatant bias that a neutral observer would immediately recognise and concede.

          But even so, I don’t rate this one as very subtle; it’s disturbing that you didn’t see the Beeb taking a line.


          • hippiepooter says:

            Disturbed?  Try not to be.  Any time that a representative of a terrorist organisation is quoted, any news organisation in a free society has a democratic duty to make sure its audience knows a terrorist is speaking.

            Comparing the BBC online report to Mel’s piece isn’t like for like, as Mel is comment not reporting.  However, I read the Telegraph piece.  There is comment from “an Islamist Parliamentarian”.  The Telegraph went more in depth but the reports aren’t that dissimilar.


            • sue says:

              It was your first comment that set him off!
              A bit too late to modify our words in case any neutral observer newcomers to the site think we’re nutters. 😉


  8. George R says:

    The BBC may have difficulty criticising this Israeli publicity:

    “The Israeli government videos portray Europeans as gullible”

    (includes 3 very short video clips, one in English, one in French, one in Spanish)



  9. deegee says:

    Do MI6 and MI5 and the Police not recruit foreign nationals and members of different communities as snitches and spies and agents?

    If they don’t they should. From the article it’s easy to gain the impression it’s only ‘bad’ Israel that does it.


  10. Joel Flynn says:

    I really beg to differ with this particular choice. As Umbongo mentioned, accusations of BBC bias against Israel could use a number of other reports, but this one seems to strive to take a more balanced view.

    “Steering a ‘middle course’ between a democratic state and a terrorist organisation” glosses over two glaring facts and over simplifies the position of both: the manner in which Israel came into existence is contentious in the least, as is the continued expansion of settlements into the Occupied Territories. Equally, Hamas has been ratified as a political organisation by the population of Gaza. Thus characterising them as a *purely* a terrorist group is arguably committing the same crime of bias.

    From the editorial guidelines:

    “Our credibility is undermined by the careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgements. The word “terrorist” itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should try to avoid the term without attribution”


    • sue says:

       I can’t for the life see why you’ve linked to a 2006 report that largely says the opposite of your comment. Or the implication of your comment. The Times piece refutes the allegation that the BBC favours Israel, cites several specific examples and concludes that on the whole the BBC is the best of a bad bunch.
      Also, it has nothing to do with Umbongo’s comment, but perhaps you mean Hippiepooter’s, which I took issue with.

      What are the two glaring facts? They’re not glaring enough for me; you’ll have to spell them out.

      If you’re not saying that Israel’s legitimacy is arguable, Hamas was democratically elected, and one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, etc, then please explain what you are saying?
      The settlements are indeed contentious, but the complexities of that issue are nothing to do with this post.

      If you have no quarrel with the moral equivalence shown here, I certainly do.


      • sue says:

        Apropos moral equivalence + Hamas + BBC, Melanie Phillips says:

        Hamas, let us remind ourselves, is the genocidal terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organisation, now in cahoots with Shi’ite Iran, which is pledged to exterminate Israel and kill Jewish people everywhere, along with extinguishing human rights within the Islamic world. Its cause should be absolute anathema to the west, which should be doing everything in its power to stamp it out as the unconscionable threat that it is to life and liberty.”

        The article is about something that we’re unlikely to hear about on the BBC, the extent to which Hamas and its affiliates have infiltrated and influenced Britain. It’s from the Intelligence and Analysis Information Centre in Tel Aviv, so the BBC is more likely to report Hamas’s reaction to it than to report the analysis itself


        • Joel Flynn says:

          Sue, if you look, the (admittedly dated) 2006 report actually states that despite the finding of the governonrs, there was evidence of an anti-Israeli bias within the BBC, which is a single link to support the broader view that there has been other more obvious characterisations of BBC bias against Israel/ in favour of a Palestinian perspective on events. I did make an error in quoting the wrong person, but you seem to have guessed who I was referring to anyway.

          The two glaring facts that I quoted were actually mentioned in the sub-clause of that sentence, i.e. that (1) both the manner in which Israel came into existence and the continued expansion of settlements in the Occupied Territoreies are contentious. Here I did *not* say that Israel’s legitimacy is “arguable”, but rather that the tactics they originally used offer striking similarities to those used by “terrorists” today. And (2) that the political wing of Hamas has actually been elected by the population of Gaza. Characterising the entire ogranisation as one cohesive whole is to oversimplify the debate. As mentioned elsewhere in these comments, the UK does classify a organisation associated with Hamas, but it distinguishes the the military wing – the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades – from the political, elected wing.


          • sue says:

            And what, prey, are these “tactics” that the Israelis “originally used?”
            I really don’t want to appear rude, but I find it baffling that someone with such a lamentably shaky grasp of this topic should wish to get involved at all. Yes these things are contentious, but please have the courtesy to arm yourself with some facts before you embark.
            What do you know about Hamas, apart from what you’ve picked up from the BBC or the Guardian?
            The military wing indeed. The military wing of the Waffen-SS! The political, elected wing of the Taleban! The military wing of the real IRA! Ha! The military wing of Monty Python’s Flying Circus;  the political, democratically elected wing of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
            Maybe you’d be more at home on the thread with the comedian from The Now Show.


            • Joel Flynn says:

              I really think you’re attemtping to degenerate this debate into one about the Israel-Palestinian issue itself, rather than the BBC’s coverage. I was merely trying to point out that there is a debate about the issue, not whether one side or another is true. If you want to continue to label me as a “comedian” or “someone with a lamentably shaky grasp of this topic” that’s fine, but denying that there is a debate about the point of impartiality at the BBC is your perogative.


    • Umbongo says:

      “As Umbongo mentioned. . . “

      I think you meant hippiepooter.  The only point I picked sue up on was to note that the BBC knows exactly what it is doing and its support for Hamas is unequivocal because of what Hamas stands for not despite what it stands for.


    • hippiepooter says:

      If we’re to follow Mr Flynn’s logic we shouldn’t regard Nazism as pure evil because the Nazis got elected in the 1933 German election.

      Mr Flynn is trying to subtley sanitise the genocidal anti-semitic terrorists of Hamas.  Now why would anyone want to do that???


      • Joel Flynn says:

        Hardly. Attempting to explain why the BBC might notwant to describe Hamas as terrorist organisation out of a desire to remain impartial is not tantamount to condoning what Hamas does.

        It really does debate no good if a simple question on this issue so quickly degenerates into someone *subtely* accusing me of being a Nazi sympathiser and attempting to “sanitise the genocidal anti-semitic terrorists of Hamas.”

        I realise you finished your comment with rhetoric, but perhaps you’d care to help me understand why it is “anyone would do that???”


        • hippiepooter says:

          The BBC does not call Hamas terrorist for the same reason it promotes its propaganda.

          If the BBC was committed to democracy it would show the bias against Hamas as a terrorist organisation that any news organisation in a free society should do.

          The BBC is an organisation subverted by the Marxist Left and needs to be purged and renewed to restore impartiality.  I remember a time when it still made one feel proud to be British.


  11. George R says:

    BBC site silent on this Islamic fanatic, but even the ‘Daily Star’ isn’t:

    “Uni blasted over ‘platform for hate'”


    Also, for BBC:

    “Muslim extremist hosted by Kings College, London”



  12. George R says:

    Meanwhile, BBC’s News Front Page gives top billing to BINYAM MOHAMED again now, courtesy BBC’s Islamic tendency:


     The BBC’s main advocate for the Ethiopian Muslim, seems to be Mr. Casicani.His sidebar ‘Analysis’ of the case  at the above link, is very politically biased and ignores much of this:

    “Is Binyam Mohamed a martyr?”



    • John Anderson says:

      That article sums up exactly why the BBC is grossly biased in this case,  presenting a false picture by omitting the trainee terrorist’s full background – and adopting the narrative of left-wing lawyers soaking up legal aid fees.

      In no way does the BBC represent the views of most ordinary Brits – who do not give a jot about this trainee terrorist and would prefer the scum was kicked back to Ethiopia.