Guardian and rest of British media get it wrong about Iranian threat.

This is cross posted by Tom Wilson, and originally published at The Jerusalem Post.

When Iranians stormed the British embassy in Tehran, it was reported that they had burned the British flag, yet the truth is that they actually burned the Israeli and American flags along with the British one. This should have told observers something.

It should have alerted them to the ideology at work there, an ideology that singles out Western democracies less for what they do and more because of what they are and what they represent in the world. And, just as the British media has so often gotten it wrong on Israel’s attempts to defend its civilians, so too this error of judgment seems to extend to Britain’s own international efforts. 

Seeing members of a mob brandishing a portrait of England’s Queen Elizabeth II as they stormed her embassy in Tehran, with the Iranian police initially appearing pretty impassive, you would have thought it would be clear to the British media which side they ought to be on. After all, with the Iranian parliament having voted to downgrade diplomatic relations to the sound of some of its members chanting “death to Britain,” many suspected that the ‘student’ riot was anything but spontaneous and, indeed, far from independent of the Iranian authorities’ influence.

Yet for some, this was not an occasion to rally to Britain’s defense, but rather to chastise its government for its policy on Iran and its nuclear program. A flurry of opinion pieces appeared, mostly in the liberal press, arguing that Britain had brought this on itself through its harsh dealings with Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s regime. This reaction, however, only reveals the extent to which some commentators in the West refuse to recognize that people in other cultures also have agency in their actions, that they are not simply reactive to our alleged geopolitical mismanagements.    

In one opinion piece for The Guardian, former British Minister of State Mark Malloch-Brown argued that Britain had acted as a “ringleader of efforts to squeeze Iran” and, as such, has made itself an American proxy in the eyes of the Iranians, a cardinal sin in the view of Britain’s liberal circles.

The Independent’s Middle East editor Robert Fisk went further still, arguing the case that the recent sanctions are just a small part of a long history of reasons “that makes Iranians hate the UK.” Fisk has dismissed former Bristh prime minister Tony Blair and British governments for “raving” about “the necessity of standing up to Iranian aggression” and what he calls “the supposedly terrorist nature of the Iranian government”. These commentators seem to possess short memories, choosing to ignore the Iranian kidnapping of three British naval personnel in 2007.

Perhaps none of this should surprise us since the IAEA report was published last month, which provided the clearest evidence yet that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, sections of the British media rushed to Iran’s defense, either calling into doubt Iran’s activities or warning that all intervention, military or otherwise, would be futile and damaging.

Predictably these writers tended to chastise Israel and the US for allegedly risking an escalation in the situation and a leading article by The Independent went so far as to allege that “America’s Jewish voters” were driving US policy on Iran. More startling still was British journalist Simon Jenkins’ Guardian piece in which he coldly stated that “No one seriously supposes that Iran, under whatever ruler, would seek to wipe out Israel – and anyway that is Israel’s business”.

All of this appears to indicate a stark failing in moral judgment on the part of sections of Britain’s media. The automatic assumption seems to be one of an irredeemable West committing unceasing aggression against the ever innocent developing world. Ultimately, it has been the very same people who fail to recognize the values that the Jewish State stands for who have similarly proved unable to maintain any kind of moral clarity when it comes representing the dealings of liberal and democratic Britain with the belligerent and terror sponsoring Islamic republic. 

The writer is a researcher and analyst at the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy where he heads the Centre Transatlantic Affairs project. Tom currently lives in London where he is completing a Doctorate at UCL.


8 replies »

  1. “…In one opinion piece for The Guardian, former British Minister of State Mark Malloch-Brown argued that Britain had acted as a “ringleader of efforts to squeeze Iran” and, as such, has made itself an American proxy in the eyes of the Iranians, a cardinal sin in the view of Britain’s liberal circles..”

    The above, together with the reasoning of the egregious Fisk, sums up what is worst about the UK’s attitude to the dangers it faces from Islam and others – the misplaced and deluded belief that if the UK government keeps quiet and keeps its head down, sells out its people and what passes for its values in respect of what is right and wrong, then Islamists will leave it to its own devices. They will not. They will trample it underfoot together with what remains of its values.

    I am a UK citizen who feels increasingly let down by successive UK governments’ attitudes.

    I wonder more and more what would have to happen to wake up the UK government to the hell that is in store for us if things continue as they are.

    I don’t so much mind that policymakers who persist with their head in the sand attitudes leave their backsides exposed to a good kicking – indeed it’d be good to witness because it might teach them something – but I very much mind that these people, who lack the spine to realise that caving in to the slightest pressure for the sake of quiet lives means that the pressure will be doubled, dare to endanger my family’s welfare and my own.

  2. The conflict is coming. The UK has been part of the clandestine efforts to stop Iran from going nuclear.

    This is not rocket science. Iran has an ambition to destroy the “anglo saxon forces of arrogance”. Hence their hatred of America, Canada, UK and even Israel.

    They are having a nicker twist because they realize that all their efforts to influence governments and people to appease Iran and the international Jihad (which they see as a justified response to Western colonialism) is failing. People are worried more about jobs and savings than saving the mad mullahs in Iran from their inevitable demise.

    Part of this so called war on terror (in reality a war against Islamic imperialism) is the media war. More precisely the war to change or defeat the media narrative that our enemy is an oppressed group of little brown people resisting our imperialist advances.
    The western media is the greatest ally the Jihadis have at present.
    The lack of reporting on what is really going on along with the platforms accorded to the enemy in the name of “fairness” and the organized demonisation of those who openly fight for our civilization are the efforts of our media.
    Without defeating the current media narrative, we will never defeat the enemy. Without educating the people about the dangers we are facing, we will not win this war.

    Imagine a WWII where no negative portrayal of Nazis can occur in Hollywood. Or Imperial Japan.

    Imagine a cold war where no criticism of the communist ideology can pass the bigotry test. Or the exposing of Russian crimes in wars overt and covert.

    This is where were are at now.

    • The western media is the greatest ally the Jihadis have at present.

      Communists too. At least The Guardian which has ignored on CiF the protests in Russia against election fraud.

      Imagine if there were demonstrations in Israel against election fraud. CiF would have an attack of ‘written diarrhea’ attacking Israeli democracy which it perceives as a huge and almost immovable defense against its attempts to de-legitimize Israel in favor of another anti Western Muslim state.

      Notice how it has all but suppressed discussion of attempts by extreme right wing Members of Knesset to suppress the Israeli Supreme court. It seems to be afraid that even discussing the issues involved will strengthen opinion among well informed unbigoted readers that Israel is still a very vibrant democracy albeit with faults and not the ‘Apartheid’ state that it implies with almost every article by ‘Chicken Lady’.

  3. On Friday afternoon when I returned from a seminar on the third reich at univeristy in England I said to my husband I could see how people with univeristy education do not fear his nuclear endeavours or castigate the mad leader of Iran and his cahoots, instead they spew vitriol for Bush, America, Netanyahu, Israel etc because the prevalent sentiment is to be Hitler apologists. I felt deflated and emotionally drained because I dared to take the position that Hitler and his regime were culpable for the Holocuast. it is disturbing and disheartening to listen to the stupid tripe that comes out. How can people not judge Hitler and his regime? They have truly become morally bankrupt. Foolish, apologists for murderous evil and as they take the side of the deviant and reprobate historically so they do it with current events. I stood up and was made to feel a fool however in my heart I know what is right so if they choose to belittle my arguments and look at me as if I am and oddity, nu so what? Much better to be ridiculed than siding with evil. But I am just a mature student a grandmother who maybe should just bake cakes but of course the future teachers, reporters, come out having not learned anything of value.

  4. As it seems inevitable that Iran will one day have nuclear bomb and as you argue so coherently that the democracies of UK USA and israel would be in grave danger of destruction, wouldn’t a pre-emptive nuclear strike to ensure our values are safe be the sensible option?

    • It should be the last option. Israeli leaders from the entire spectrum know this.

      Not sure about US ones.

      • Itsik I agree that the use of nuclear weapons has always to be carefully considered. But, to say it will be the last option is almost as wrong as ruling out their use altogether.
        To use a quote from Nye Bevan, (not to be confused with Ernie Bevin) during a debate on nuclear weapons over 50 years ago, you are sending your negotiators ‘naked into the conference chamber’.
        The full quote, which is still relevant to this debate is;

        “I knew this morning that I was going to make a speech that would offend, and even hurt, many of my friends. I know that you are deeply convinced that the action you suggest is the most effective way of influencing international affairs. I am deeply convinced that you are wrong. It is therefore not a question of who is in favour of the hydrogen bomb, but a question of what is the most effective way of getting the damn thing destroyed. It is the most difficult of all problems facing mankind. But if you carry this resolution and follow out all its implications — and do not run away from it — you will send a British Foreign Secretary, whoever he may be, naked into the conference chamber. … And you call that statesmanship? I call it an emotional spasm. ”
        Speech at the Labour Party Conference, 4 October, 1957, on unilateral nuclear disarmament.

        The question is similar, what is the most effective way of stopping the Iranian regime from getting nuclear weapons?
        And, even after 54 years, Nye Bevan is right you must not send our negotiators naked into the conference chamber. To do so is not only ‘an emotional spasm’ but dangerous.