What would you say if a senior member of your government — responsible for dispensing your country’s substantial international aid budget — went on a private vacation to a foreign country, and discussed the possibility of sending some of those funds to a foreign military?
You’d probably be quite concerned.
And what if that foreign military was one that was consistently portrayed in the media as a brutal occupier of someone else’s land, and responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, women and children?
Wouldn’t you be outraged?
That’s the reaction that too many British media outlets stoked when reporting on a developing political controversy involving Priti Patel, the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development.
This was The Guardian’s headline:
“UK international development secretary wanted to send aid money to Israeli army, No 10 confirms”
Writing in The Independent, columnist Matthew Norman summed up those feelings:
“…she suddenly advocated giving foreign aid to — wait for it, wait for it; it’s worth the wait — the Israeli army.
Nowhere did Norman bother to mention what the foreign aid to Israel was actually for; and it was only in the sixth paragraph that Guardian readers learned that any proposed aid money would have gone to the IDF’s incredible field hospital on the Golan Heights, which is treating thousands of injured Syrians.
And that’s not all.