There are certain times when we have a responsibility to speak very frankly and not hide behind the guise of ‘impartiality’. This is exactly that time.
On 14 October, the entrance to the BBC’s London offices was smeared with blood red paint. The vandalism took place shortly before pro-Palestinian protesters organized a mass demonstration in the British capital starting not far from the news agency’s building. For a week now, tensions have been running high against the BBC for consistently failing to call Hamas members terrorists responsible for the indescribable slaughter of 7 October perpetrated after infiltrating several Israeli border settlements.
The death toll has already exceeded 1,400, with more than 3,000 injured and at least 200 people taken hostage indiscriminately by Hamas terrorists. Women, children and the elderly. It is the largest number of civilian casualties in the country’s history and the day with the highest number of Jewish casualties since the horrors of the Holocaust. Many refer to the events as the 9/11 of the Jewish state.
The viciousness of the terror organisation seemed to have crossed a line that had
awakened the collective conscience of the Western world and immediately set its moral compass in one direction.
Thus, for the first time in a very long time, Western politicians and leading figures were speaking the same language about an event. From Paris to Brussels, from Berlin to Budapest, everyone was unanimous in condemning Hamas’s evil actions and expressing solidarity with Israel, stressing the right of the Jewish state to defend itself. (What real actions followed this solidarity by the EU and European countries is the subject of a separate article.)
Despite this, the BBC continued to defend its position that it did not call Hamas members terrorists in its reporting, but rather referred to Hamas as a ‘militant’ group and described the slaughter of civilians as a ‘militant’ attack. The BBC tried to justify its language citing impartiality and BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, stating they seek to cover ‘precisely what is happening on the ground so audiences can make their own judgement’. BBC’s veteran foreign correspondent John Simpson also claimed that ‘calling someone a terrorist means you’re taking sides’.
And here comes the plot-twist. The walls of the BBC’s office have been painted red by a pro-Palestinian organisation, PalestineAction, because they believe the media agency is biased in its reporting on the Israeli–Palestinian situation. This is how
the BBC found itself caught between a rock and a hard place as it tried to walk the tightrope of impartiality.
And the BBC case is a lesson for us all. There seem to be times when we need to speak clearly, to condemn what is bad, what is evil and to defend and promote what is good. At a time when Hamas terrorists are indiscriminately killing and beheading babies, raping women and taking innocent civilians captive, we must not back down, we must call evil by its name. This is the moral and ethical minimum we have a duty as human beings.
In the narration of the barbaric acts of Hamas, there is no room for phrases like ‘on the one hand, on the other hand” or ‘yes, but’. It makes no difference who is more aligned with which side, Israeli or Palestinian, or who tries to hide behind the virtue of ‘impartiality’: nothing can justify the deliberate murder of innocent people. Hamas is a jihadist terrorist organisation, its soldiers are not freedom fighters, they are terrorists. What Hamas has done is not fighting for the freedom of the Palestinians, but cruel murdering based on pure hatred. The terrorists have not made life easier for a single person who claims to be a Palestinian. Their acts have not created more jobs, more electricity or water in Gaza, and did not result in a single step forward in the process of the creation of a Palestinian state.
But that is not really Hamas’ objective. If it were, it would not have devastated the Gaza Strip since it took power in 2006 and
turned it into a dysfunctional terror nest parasitizing on the population.
Hamas showed its true colours on 7 October, when, for a few hours, the relaxed attention of the Israeli security forces allowed it to do what it always wanted to do. And on that dark Saturday, they did just that.
May the memory of the victims be a blessing.