BBC to Investigate Reporter Over Antisemitic Comment During Live Broadcast From Paris Anti-Terror Rally
After receiving a volley of outraged complaints from viewers, the BBC has announced an internal investigation into a reporter who offensively phrased a question to a Jewish woman interviewee in the wake of the terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris earlier this month.
The incident occurred at the unity rally in Paris on January 11th, when BBC reporter Tim Willcox interrupted a Jewish woman whom he’d solicited for a comment with the observation, “Many critics of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well.” Willcox was responding to the woman’s remark that, “We have to not be afraid to say that that the Jews, they are the target now.”
When the woman took exception to his comment, Willcox responded, “But you understand; everything is seen from different perspectives.”
Willcox’s subsequent apology for what he described as an “unintentional” offense drew strong criticism from Jewish activists. “There are simply no grounds on which to suggest that random Jewish shoppers in a Paris kosher grocery might be responsible for the fate of the Palestinians,” Dave Rich, Deputy Director of Communications for the Community Security Trust, the official communal security body of British Jews, told The Algemeiner at the time.
Andrew Bell, director of the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit, said that Willcox’s comments would be investigated for accuracy, impartiality and offensiveness, the Jewish Chronicle reported. The outcome of his investigation would be made public on February 23, Bell said.
This is not the first time that Willcox has courted controversy for invoking antisemitic canards. In November, the BBC received 33 complaints about a panel discussion Willcox hosted, in which he suggested that Jewish discomfort with the opposition Labour Party’s stance on Israel was linked to a proposal for a new property tax. “A lot of these prominent Jewish faces will be very much against the political mansion tax presumably,” Willcox said.