Stealth Anti-Israelism from the British Media

BBC-sfSpanOctober 6th 2013 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. Forty years ago on that fateful Yom Kippur day, Egypt and Syria launched a coordinated surprise attack on Israel. In the south on the Egyptian front, artillery shells rained down on Israeli positions along the border at an astounding rate of 10,000 per minute. One-hundred thousand Egyptians, armed with the latest Soviet weaponry, then crossed the Suez Canal and overwhelmed the 500 or so Israeli troops unfortunate enough to have been stationed in the area.

In the north on the rocky plateau of the Golan Heights, the situation was no less grim. In tanks alone, the Syrian attackers outnumbered the Israeli defenders by a factor of nearly ten to one. One hundred and seventy-seven Israeli tanks was all that stood between the Syrian army and Galilee. As with all of Israel’s wars, various other Arab countries temporarily set aside their tribal-fed, blood feud differences and sent contingents to join the Jihad against the Kuffars.

The Israeli army quickly mobilized to meet the threat and eighteen days later, when the guns on the field of battle fell silent, the situation appeared markedly different from those first grim and desperate days. In the north, the Syrians were in full retreat. The carcasses of modern Soviet Syrian T-62 and T-55 tanks littered the battlefield and Israeli forces were a mere twenty miles from Damascus. In the south, the situation for the Egyptians was even bleaker. With their Third Army Corps surrounded by Israeli troops and their air defenses shattered, the Egyptians were on the verge of collapse. Egyptian soldiers surrendered in droves preferring captivity in Israel rather than death by bullet or thirst, and the road to Cairo, some 50 miles away, was clear of enemy troops.

The Yom Kippur War was a clear-cut Israeli military victory and is regarded as one of the most stunning military turnarounds in modern military history.  As author Abraham Rabinovich insightfully notes in his critically acclaimed book on the subject, “Israel’s recovery from the edge of the abyss was epic.” A surprise attack of such ferocity and magnitude would have brought “stronger nations to their knees” but Israel nonetheless absorbed the first deadly blows, stabilized the front and initiated successful two-front counterattacks that sent the enemy scurrying.

Of course, Egyptians, mired in endless conspiracy theories and delusional fantasy don’t see it that way. To them, the war began and ended with the crossing of the Suez Canal and those first few euphoric days. Everything post-crossing remains a blur. Given their proclivity to indulge in Alice in Wonderland-like fantasy, the Egyptian version of events is certainly unsurprising. What more can we expect from people who believe that man eating, Yarmulke-wearing Mossad sharks prowl the warm waters of the Mediterranean to feast on tasty Egyptians?

The problem, however, becomes more acute when the fantasy emerges not from Egyptian sources that virtually no one takes seriously but rather from putatively respectable Western sources. Consider the case of the BBC’s “Learning Zone” website, an online resource for educators and researchers. In its brief synopsis of the Yom Kippur War, Learning Zone noted the following; “During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Egypt and Syria acted pre-emptively against Israel at the Suez Canal…”

The BBC’s summary is flawed on several levels. First, Syrian forces operated nowhere near the Suez Canal and were engaged in an area that was roughly 390 miles north of the Canal. More importantly, the Arab assault was an unprovoked surprise attack and Israel’s military posture on the eve of battle was anything but threatening.  At war’s outbreak, Israel’s frontline positions along the Canal were manned by a paltry 500 soldiers and 3 tanks. Israel’s military prowess is known far and wide but the thought of 500 reservists making a mad dash for Cairo in a “Light Brigade,” Balaclava-like charge is a stretch even for the most imaginative.

To its credit, the BBC, when challenged, partially corrected its erroneous characterization of the war but inexplicably left intact the false claim that Syria attacked Israel on the Suez Canal. Moreover, the BBC directs its readers to Benny Morris, Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky for further insight on the subject. Morris is a reputable historian with centrist views who takes his job as a historian quite seriously. Chomsky and Fisk, however, are rabid partisans who subscribe to fringe anti-Israel views. Fisk has been accused by colleagues of fabricating facts while Chomsky has been aptly described as a one-note song and a one-trick pony. Their fringe views on Israel make one wonder why the BBC would defer to them for knowledge on the subject matter, unless of course, the BBC subscribes to these views.

Further evidence of fantasy finding its way into the stream of conventional discourse comes from that other British news stalwart, The Economist. In an article addressing Hamas’ growing isolation, The Economist notes the following; “Israelis still loathe Hamas, which carried out scores of suicide-bombings against Israelis in the early 2000s. Hamas, meanwhile, reviles Israel for its assaults on Gaza and its leaders.”

While the former sentence is accurate, the latter is pure drivel. The Hamas charter, which reads like Mein Kampf on steroids and is filled with a combination of hate-filled vitriol and Islamist dogma, was written and adopted by Hamas well before Israel’s “assaults on Gaza and its leaders.” Hamas does not need an excuse to hate Jews. Anti-Semitism is an integral part of their philosophy and ideology.

Glaring “mistakes” of this nature by the BBC and The Economist are just the tip of the iceberg and are indicative of either a poor vetting process or something more nefarious. The danger is not the narrative per se but its adoption by mainstream media. If left unchallenged by those of us who are informed, it becomes part of accepted discourse and that must be prevented at all cost.

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  • Shamus

    Benny Morris, whom you characterize as centrist, has spent most of his career as a Far Leftist anti-Zionist “New History” pseudo-historian, see He has partly reverted to sanity in recent years.
    As for the BBC, it has never recovered from the defeat of its guru house painter with the little moustache.

  • Jason P

    There’s a whole article on Wikipedia about Arab Conspiracy Theories:

    It’s sad to see disinformation in the English press.

  • Chezwick

    Left unsaid by Mr Lieberman was the role the massive US airlift played it the war. Sadat’s Soviet-made and manned anti-aircraft missile batteries shot down scores of Israeli planes in the first 4 or 5 days. So dire was the Israeli position that Golda Meir sent Nixon a cable with this simple message: “Save Israel.”

    The replacement of lost planes, tanks and other weaponry began shortly thereafter….in a massive airlift that was breath-taking in its scope and efficiency. Even the Soviets, who had been re-supplying the Egyptians and Syrians, were overwhelmed and couldn’t possibly match the US effort. That’s when they called for direct super-power intervention, which spurred Nixon into a full-scale military alert.

    Because of promises made to Syria to take the heat off the Golan, Sadat eventually moved his tank forces deeper into the Sinai, where they were no longer protected by anti-aircraft defenses…and fell prey to superior Israeli armaments and tactics. The tide of battle changed. But let’s give kudos to Nixon….who did more for Israel in its hour of need than any President in history. The reality wasn’t lost on the Arabs, who began their oil-boycott of America and Holland shortly thereafter.

    • EarlyBird

      That’s a very important piece of the story that often goes missing and unappreciated by Israelis. The Yom Kippur is often called the birthday of the modern Middle East. It is also the birthdate of America’s modern relationship with Israel.

      • Aizino Smith

        Yes, Yes we should have backed the Soviet client sate of Egypt.

        • EarlyBird

          No we shouldn’t have.

          • Aizino Smith

            I was being sarcastic.

            Look at this way.

            When Parthia or Persia had an interest in Armenia, the Romans had to have an interest in Armenia. It is the way of the world.

          • Aizino Smith

            A Great power without allies or client states will lose its’ great power status.

            It sucks more being a regional/second rate power than a great power.

            Words to live by.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          “Yes, Yes we should have backed the Soviet client state of Egypt.”

          We did, after they were well-humbled. We played that part just right.

          • Aizino Smith

            Sadat increased in popularity after the war..

            But otherwise I do not disagree with your post. My 1st post to Early bird was sarcastic.

            For some reason he believes it is feasible to go thru this life with only allies as clean as the wind driven snow. There ain’t no such allies.

    • Gee

      I was there – the airlift provided nearly NO equipment during the war. It helped replenish stores – but combat-wise by the 5th day the war was over. We had crossed to Africa and were destroying SAM sites with tanks. By the 2nd day Syria was already crushed.

      It was appreciated – but did not win the war or even influence it much

      • IslamIsFascism

        What about when the USSR began mobilizing for a direct intervention into the Yom Kippur War? Didn’t Nixon have something to do w/stopping that? The USSR had the largest military air transport planes in the world.

        • quousque

          The situation was very tense; Soviets were not about to let their clients suffer defeat by which 1967 spectacle would look rather diminutive. Israelis under Ariel Sharon had more Egyptians surrounded on the Sinai Peninsula then entire Paulus army under Stalingrad. If memory serves me right, Henry Kissinger had another round of his ‘shuttle diplomacy’ to keep Soviets in check. Hillary, Kerry and the precious one could learn a thing or two from the past …, amateurs.

          • defcon 4

            Is Kissinger entirely amoral? Because it seems like he couldn’t care less about Israel?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Is Kissinger entirely amoral?”

            The understatement of our age.

            ‘Because it seems like he couldn’t care less about Israel?”

            Does a chess player care about his pieces on the board?

          • defcon 4

            Israel denied Meyer Lansky the right of return, an avid zionist, I hope they extend the same courtesy to Kissinger.

      • Chezwick

        As for “being there”, does that mean you took inventory of every plane-load of American supplies that came in during the airlift? Furthermore, are you denying Meir sent the “Save Israel” appeal to Nixon? If not, I think it quite obvious that Israel’s position was perilous in the early days of the war. If you are, perhaps there are aspects of the war you are unaware of.

        • defcon 4

          After the Berlin airlift the resupply of Israel was the largest airlift in US history.

        • tickletik

          Ariel Sharon in his memoir “warrior” backs up the claim Gee made.

          And you are arguing with his personal experience by quoting, in order:

          1. An American military officer

          2. A politician from Israel whose bungling led to the war in the first place

          3. An Americanhistorian with a reputation for slanting events.

          Just sayin.

          • Chezwick

            Trevor Dupuy is not just “an American military officer”…he is one of the nation’s foremost military historians, an author of dozens of books on military history. Are you claiming the 56 combat aircraft he claims were delivered were NOT?

            The ‘Air Mobility Command Museum’ is even more comprehensive in its documentation of the armaments shipped in the historic airlift. Are you claiming that all its information is incorrect?

            As for Gee “being there”, I suspect that Golda Meir was ever-so-slightly more up to speed on what was actually transpiring in those critical days then he.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Are you claiming the 56 combat aircraft he claims were delivered were NOT?”

            That’s not what he said. He didn’t actually contradict you.

          • Chezwick

            “That’s not what he said. He didn’t actually contradict you.”

            On the contrary…He is explicitly supporting Gee’s position, which included this statement…

            GEE…”the airlift provided nearly NO equipment during the war”

          • objectivefactsmatter

            GEE…”the airlift provided nearly NO equipment during the war”

            Obviously there’s subjectivity involved in how it’s characterized but I’m sure he’s aware of the airlift but trying to point out that is was a supply line management issue for the most part. Which is not trivial, but it’s not the same as having the USA drop stuff directly on the front lines to resupply troops who otherwise are in immediate mortal danger due to lack. Which is not what you said either, but a fuller truth is a reconciliation of both positions.

          • Chezwick

            I don’t know, friend….I think the differences are explicit. Gee insists that “nearly NO equipment was included in the airlift”….Dupuy writes that “56 combat aircraft” were included…and the AMCM specifies that tanks, artillery, helicopters, etc., were included.

            The respective positions are irreconcilable.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I can’t really speak for him beyond what I have, but I understand his position and I think that I understand that it was stated with a bit of hyperbole.

            It makes for interesting research. There was a l lot going on. It was a major event in the cold war with the Soviets, that’s for sure.

          • tickletik

            What’s at issue isn’t the amount of material delivered. What’s at issue is whether they could have won that war without it.

            The claims by Sharon, a front line general who won the Southern front was that they did NOT need that equipment to win. He wasn’t saying it to dismiss the actual value of those supplies, they were obviously valuable and necessary on many levels, and who is to say that war would have been won so fast, or that the enemy would not have brought in more allies had the US not shown it’s commitment to the fight? What he was saying is simply the truth. They succeeded without the ammo. That’s a good thing. It means you have strong allies.

            My pointing out that Col Dupuy was an American military officer was not that he was some “random military officer”, but that he is BIASED in favor of his country he loves.

            Sharon was probably also biased in favor of HIS country which he loved.

            Golda Meir, being the despicable incompetent leftist political hack whose arrogance, cowardice, stupidity and bumbling led to a surprise attack, would probably be biased in favor of her reputation.

            People are human and a sensible man takes everything outside of mathematics with a grain of salt.

            My problem with you isn’t your take on the situation, and it isn’t your sources, the reason I have a real problem with you is how casually you dismiss the writing of a soldier who was there in favor of “experts”.

            I think YOU ARE RIGHT that he was probably wrong to tell us that the materials sent were negligible. I think he should tell us what he knows and how he knows it, and we can judge for ourselves how seriously to take it. But I think you dismiss him WAY TOO FAST.

          • Chezwick

            Actually, the gentleman in question raised 2 points, not 1.

            On the issue of the equipment sent, his take is clearly at odds with the documentation of Dupuy and the AMCM. Was he a foot-soldier or a tank commander? Was he in the ‘pit’ and privy to the macro-picture, or out in the field, oblivious to all except his immediate circumstances? Did he actually see any action? Was he even in the IDF? I’m sorry, but in the absence of more info, the fact that he was “there” hardly makes him the final authority.

            The second question – did the airlift effect the outcome of the war – is more subjective. A case could readily be made that the war was won with weaponry already in the Israeli arsenal. A counter-case could be made that without the airlift, the Israelis would have been forced to be much more judicious in their expenditure of ordinance and equipment and – ultimately – in their strategy and tactics. I would certainly concede that the repulsion of the Syrian tank offensive on the Golan was achieved exclusively on the guile and courage of the Israeli 7th Armored Brigade.

            One further point… seem to lay all the blame for Israel being caught unprepared on the shoulders of Golda Meir. Might I remind you that she was only as enlightened as the intelligence she was being fed. And right up until the day before the war, the IDF, the Mossad, Dayan, Dado Elazar, all insisted an attack was unlikely and that the enemy build-up in the Sinai and Golan were defensive in nature..

            Lt. Col. Shabtai Brill was the one intelligence officer who connected all the dots….but his immediate superior, Col. Yoel Ben Porat, repeatedly rejected his pleas that an attack was imminent.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          You’re both right. The Israelis were smart about replenishment. They were able to use stores already on site once they knew the replenishment shipments were secure.

          Most smart leaders don’t risk running on empty before curtailing activities. So yes it was pivotal but no, they didn’t need it “right away,” generally speaking except strategically, but not tactically as far as I know.

          Precisely how critical we won’t know because we don’t know what would have happened without the replenishment. Some suppose they would have been forced on a do or die offensive, possibly including nuclear weapons.

          Yes pivotal and the right thing to do for the USA. No, not really a secret conspiracy. The US responded to the situation defensively in reaction to many offensive moves on the part of the Soviets and their secular-jihadi allies.

  • C. Gee

    The self-described “centre” of British media – BBC, Economist, Financial Times, Times – believe as fundamental truths of the Middle East that: there was an Arab nation called Palestine which was infiltrated, attacked and conquered by foreign colonizing Jews; the Israelis are therefore “occupiers” (over all of Israel, but the fight for freedom from Israeli occupation starts with West Bank and “Arab East” Jerusalem ; the Palestinians’ fight to retake their nation is a right to “resistance,”and that Palestinian “freedom” means a Palestine free of Jews – judenfrei. These are the “moderate” voices – the “friends” of Israel – demanding that Israel make “compromises” with Palestinians for “peace”!
    (Their other fundamental truths are: climate change is man-made, and global regulation can control the climate; income inequality is economically not sustainable. )

    • Ken Kelso

      The name Palestine is named after the Philistines, not the Palestinians or any Arab group.
      The name Palestine was applied by the Romans to eliminate the name Israel.
      It was certainly not directed or bestowed to the Arabs in this area.

      The Philistines were from Crete in Europe and came to Israel 3000 years ago and were not Arabs or Muslims. Delilah and Goliath were Philistines. (Philistines died out.)
      Philistine is the name the Romans renamed Israel as a chagrin against the Jews.
      Yassir Arafat was not a Philistine, but an ARAB born in Egypt. Philistine originates from the Hebrew verb Palash, which means to invade. So the Arabs who started to call themselves Palestinians in the late 60′s are invaders and they want to create an Invadia state.

      There was never in history any state called Palestine governed by Palestinians.
      Tell us Europeans when did it ever belong to Palestinians? Answer Never. It was never a Pal land to begin with, so your question is invalid.
      The Palestinians never governed or controlled any land before 1993.
      To make it simple, please tell me one Palestinian President before 1948? Keep thinking.
      The Palestinians want a capital, which they never had, in a country that never existed.

      • C. Gee

        I am not sure why this is in “reply” to my comment. You could attempt to direct it to the BBC etc. However, as it does not fit with their fundamental truths, you will be ignored.
        It may be that your comments are ready to deploy at mention of certain words. I did not ask a question. And a clear reading of my comment does not suggest that I suffer any delusion about Palestine.

      • kikorikid

        What happened to Judea in your narrative?

      • quousque

        The ahistorical re-branding on the part of BBC and the likes of that chicken s__t outfit, is actually somewhat similar to what is generally peddled as history of medieval ‘crusades’ and a meme of ‘bad white European colonizers’ trying to take away that area from its rightful owners.

      • defcon 4

        The bizarre thing, is that while Rome was still a Republic, it was a military ally of Israel against the Seleucids, not once, but twice.

  • tokoloshiman

    It is frightening to think that in a generation or two the true facts and contexts regarding Israel and the various defensive wars it has fought against its horde of rabid Arab foes will be so scrambled and re arranged into an unrecognizable omelet that no one will be able to unscramble it and the new generation will
    apportion blame equally on perpetrator and victim alike.
    This revisionist history will become the norm and deniers will be like the lepers of olden times shunned and ridiculed into submission with no hope of a cure from the penicillin of truth.

  • EarlyBird

    These statements are not mutually exclusive:

    “Hamas, meanwhile, reviles Israel for its assaults on Gaza and its leaders.” – Economist

    “The Hamas Charter …was written and adopted by Hamas well before Israel’s “assaults on Gaza and its leaders.” – Lieberman

    Both statements are true. The Economist was giving a latest update on the situation between Hamas and Israel, not suggesting that Hamas was peace-loving until the strikes on Gaza.

  • Aizino Smith

    “Israel’s recovery from the edge of the abyss was epic.” A surprise attack of such ferocity and magnitude would have brought “stronger nations to their knees”

    I’m not sure that Israel is as strong to day. they are carrying a very high viral load as is the rest of the West. you know the identity of this parasitic infection. it is call progressives. And like viruses, which express different proteins to fool white blood cells, the progressives change their name between progressives and liberals.

    • Aizino Smith

      Aaaahhhh! Some one disputes that progressives have changed their name to liberals and back again because they don’t like the stigma attached to their ideals.

      It has been documented that they changed their name to try to fool people.

  • Aizino Smith

    “During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Egypt and Syria acted pre-emptively against Israel at the Suez Canal…”

    I was going to ignore this article, because as we have seen the hit keep on coming. there are so many of them. there are so many that all we really can do is take a random sample of the stories to see what is happening in the world.

    As few soldiers as the Israelis had on the Bar Lev line or anywhere near it, nothing like a military build up could be asserted objectively.

    Need to cancel BBCA when cable goes a la carte. That is one way i can hurt the BBC for being such pr_cks.

    • quousque

      The sooner, the better. At times I wonder, who creates more misinformation in the world now-days, the BBC or Al-Jazeera?

  • maximilien321

    my best frends uncle just got an almost new red Hyundai
    Azera Sedan only from working off a macbook… read what he said w­w­w.J­A­M­20.c­o­m

  • Ken Kelso

    The person must responsible for saving Israel in the 73 war was ofcourse Ariel Sharon. But the person in the American administration who told Nixon to urgently help Israel was Alexander Haig. Henry Kissenger was against Helping Israel.
    We later learned Kissenger was on a tape saying he didn’t care if Russians gassed the Jews in the Soviet Union.
    Nixon listened to Haig’s advice and sent the weapons from Portugal to the Shah then to Israel.
    God Bless the late Alexander Haig for his help.

    • Ken Kelso

      It should be noted every European country in the 73 war refused to let the Americans send weapons to them, then to send them to the Shah then to Israel. Only Portugal allowed America to send weapons to Portugal, who then sent it to the Shah then to Israel.

      England’s PM in 1973 Edward Heath had alot of nerve turning its back on America and Israel, considering America sent massive amounts of weapons to England during WW2. France is a disgrace for not helping considering that it was America who freed their country from the Nazis.

      • quousque

        Another excellent clarification; again I thought that true continental European colors showed up during the F-111s raid on Tripoli under Reagan.

    • quousque

      Thanks for clarification about Kissinger’s role; I thought he had a positive role and in effect helped keeping Soviets in check.

    • defcon 4

      Wasn’t it in ’73’ that when Nixon wanted to re-supply Israel, Kissinger expressed his desire for the Israelis to bleed a little more?

      • Ken Kelso

        Yes thats totally true.
        Kissenger held up the resupply and it was Haig who told Nixon to urgently help Israel.

        • defcon 4

          Why was Kissinger such an a-hole? Does he admire George Soros?

  • Ken Kelso

    Don’t forget how the British media was the biggest supporters of the Jenin massacre hoax in 2002.
    Ten Years Since Something That Never Happened: A Learning Moment for the Guardian
    April 14th 2012

    There was a great article about the Pallywood lie of a massacre in Jenin called Jenin: Massacring Truth
    A new documentary explores the damaging myth and underlying media bias against Israel.
    This is a must read to see the Media’s war against Israel.

    • Ken Kelso
      Journalists describe constant Palestinian intimidation
      How Palestinians intimidate the press into suppressing unfavorable coverage

      • Ken Kelso

        One of the most famous events of the terror war the Palestinians started in 2000 was the lynching of two Israeli’s who got lost in Palestinian-controlled Ramallah on October 2000. A Polish and Italian film crew videotaped the lynching.
        Palestinian security forces made a vigorous effort to hunt down journalists with cameras and confiscate film and videotape. They were almost successful.

        A Polish television crew was surrounded by Palestinian security forces who beat them and took their film of the lynching. News crews from other countries had similar experiences.
        One Italian TV crew managed to capture the gruesome mob attack on film and send it to Rome, where it was turned over to other media outlets and replayed around the world.
        The world then saw the barbarians the Arabs were. That was the only visual evidence of the lynching available to television stations.

        But, in a sign of the fear instilled in foreign journalists, the representative in Jerusalem of RAI, Italian state television, Ricardo Cristiano, sent a letter of apology to Arafat in which he sought to assure the Palestinian Authority that his Italian station never would do such an act that could harm the Palestinians – indeed, he professed his own solidarity with the Palestinians. So much for objective and fearless reporting. Cristiano apparently feared being associated with the Italian TV crew whose footage of the lynching was broadcast worldwide. The apology was published in the official Palestinian daily, Al Hayat. This is whats its like for any journalists that tries to criticize the hate minded Palestinians who constantly glorify massacres of Israeli civilians. Palmediawatch has documented this over and over.

        In 2002 after dozens of homicide bombings had massacred tons of Israelis , Israel went into Jenin where the Homicide bombers were going from to stop the mass murdering Palestinians.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    The BBC is a Marxist rag that like all other Marxist rags is in alliance with the forces of Islam in a cooperative effort to destroy the West. Thus, it is little more than a mouthpiece for Marxism and Islamic taqiyya.

    • quousque

      Thank you.

    • defcon 4

      Your description would apply to most all of the MSM (whether print, radio or television) in the USA.

      • quousque

        You are correct with one caveat. The ‘beeb’ led the charge.

  • American Patriot

    @Chezwick:disqus The article doesn’t address The US airlift because that is not the article’s focus. It is about misinformation in British media. If this were an article about logistics or Nixon, then you might have a point but its not.

  • Elpi Nini

    Mr. Lieberman,
    Thank you for a nice article.
    I would like to correct you on the matter off the reputation of Mr. Benny Morris, as an historian.
    He is included in a bunch of historians called “the new historians” which are knwon to be fabricate the Israeli History. I would like to efr you to a book by a real reputable historian by the name of Efraim Karsh, Fabricating Israeli History, The “New Historian”.
    Israel will not have a second chance if she falls. In my humble opinion Chomsky,Fisk and Morrs are traitors.