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Saturday 31 March 2012

Mel And Her Sources

Some folks can’t leave their pet subjects alone, and with Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips, that means not just the Middle East but Israel. And despite the inconvenient fact – that the IDF has never been defeated in battle – she keeps screaming about the peril in which the state is supposed to be right now, especially because of Iran.

Neither fair nor balanced

Mel’s latest rant follows the publishing of an op-ed piece by Middle East specialist Mark Perry – who Mel doesn’t like, as he is insufficiently pro-Israel and therefore an “established Israel-basher” – in which he asserts that the IDF has gained access to airfields in Azerbaijan, and that the US authorities have found out. She then calls Perry and Barack Obama (personally) out for betrayal.

There are only the two problems with this analysis, and sadly for Mel, individually either would derail her train. Together they ensure it never leaves the station. First is the assertion that the US has deliberately leaked the information – yes, to a journalist – in order to pull the rug from under Benyamin Netanyahu and forestall an Israeli strike on the Iranians.

This is complete crap: if the Israelis have any presence, or potential presence, in Azerbaijan, the Iranians, if their intelligence is up to scratch, will know already. The idea that the regime in Tehran needs to read Foreign Policy magazine to keep abreast of events in the country next door is ludicrous. It’s only a pity that the preposterously pompous Simon Heffer hasn’t scrutinised Mel’s copy beforehand.

The second problem for Mel is her sources. One is an appearance on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) by former US ambassador to the UN John “Wiggy” Bolton, who is far enough to the right to be not only adjacent to Attila the Hun, but also right wing when compared to most of the rest of the Fox punditerati. Of course Bolton agrees with Mel. He’s equally batshit.

Mel’s second source is Israeli paper HaYom, which sounds like an authentic news source until you find out that it “has been criticised for its right-wing political slant, with its content being described as ‘propaganda’”. HaYom is unashamedly right leaning – supporting the Likud over Kadima and Labour – and populist. It’s not about to give a Democrat President of the United States a break.

Small wonder, then, that it talks of the “Iranian pharaoh”. Mel, you won’t break out from your small circle of believers at Mail Online with arguments and sources like these. But that’s your choice: it must get awfully lonely in that echo chamber.

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