An article published on the BBC News website on May 7th under the headline “Lebanon election: Hezbollah leader declares ‘victory’” includes uncritical use of the lexicon employed by that terror organisation.
“Hezbollah’s leader says the Iran-backed militant Shia group and its allies have achieved “victory” in Lebanon’s first parliamentary elections since 2009.
Although the official results have not been announced, Hassan Nasrallah said their gains guaranteed the protection of the “resistance” against Israel. […]
In a televised address a day after the elections, Hassan Nasrallah declared what he called a “great political and moral victory for the resistance option that protects the sovereignty of the country”.” [emphasis added]
Moreover, the report does not confine itself to using the unexplained term ‘resistance’ in quotes and paraphrasing but promotes the same terminology itself.
“Formed as a resistance movement during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in the early 1980s, Hezbollah is today a political, military and social organisation that wields considerable power in the country.” [emphasis added]
This is of course far from the first time that the BBC has adopted the terror group’s language without clarifying to audiences that ‘resistance’ is actually Hizballah’s euphemistic term for its commitment to the obliteration of Israel and that the “Israeli occupation of Lebanon” ended eighteen years ago.
Moreover, this is also not the first time that the BBC has promoted the inaccurate notion that Hizballah came into existence as a response to the first Lebanon war in 1982. As recently documented by Amir Toumaj, Hassan Nasrallah himself in fact refuted that myth in a speech made to a friendly audience.
“Nasrallah touted that the organization was born after the success of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. That highlights that the network that later became Hezbollah in 1985 was active and had a defined ideology prior to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.”
As well as failing to clarify that Hizballah instigated the 2006 war with Israel, the article gives an inaccurate portrayal of the extent of Hizballah’s terror designation by failing yet again to clarify that it is also proscribed by the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League.
“It is designated a terrorist group by Western states and Israel, with which it fought a war in 2006, and several of its members are accused of being behind the 2005 assassination of Mr Hariri’s father Rafik – himself a former Lebanese prime minister.”
The simplistic narrative according to which Hizballah came into existence because Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 is undoubtedly more palatable to Western audiences than the actual theological background to the relationship between Hizballah and the Iranian regime. However, the BBC’s continued promotion of that erroneous claim does not serve the interests of members of its funding public trying to understand the terror group’s role in Lebanese politics or in the wider Middle East.