Thursday, January 27th | 26 Shevat 5782

December 16, 2021 9:18 am

The BBC Has a Really Serious Problem on Jews and Israel

avatar by Emanuel Miller


Footage of the group of men harassing a busload of Jewish teens in London. Photo: Twitter screenshot

Last week, HonestReporting documented the outrage of the Jewish community in Britain after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) falsely claimed that Jewish youths on the receiving end of an antisemitic tirade had themselves made “racial slurs” during the abuse.

Indeed, careful analysis of an audio recording of the incident left no room for doubt: the BBC’s allegation simply, objectively, and verifiably did not happen.

Despite a wave of complaints on social media, most notably on Twitter, with many claiming that the BBC had engaged in victim-blaming and pushed a “two-sides”narrative about an antisemitic attack without any evidence that any non-Jewish slurs had been made, the BBC has refused to fully retract the allegation.

The BBC did edit its story about the attack — but only to slightly alter the wording of the baseless allegation. The original passage alleged that “some racial slurs” about Muslims could be heard from the bus where the Jewish students took shelter. This has now been revised to claim — still falsely — that a single “slur about Muslims” was made.

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However, 11 days after the article was originally uploaded to the BBC website, London’s Jewish Chronicle (JC) reported that the Metropolitan Police informed the local organization Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) that no evidence of any such hateful speech against Muslims has been found.

With the news that the police have dropped the part of its investigation which pertained to allegations of anti-Muslim slurs, the BBC should now retract all claims, apologize, and explain how this serious lapse in journalistic ethics happened.

Therefore, we’ve filed dual complaints with the BBC and Ofcom, the government-approved independent regulatory body responsible for the British media.

In our complaint to the BBC, we note that, contrary to the BBC’s allegations, “the Metropolitan police have examined the evidence and heard no such slur,” before making clear that the “claim is an utter sham and deeply offensive to the Jewish community. There are no ‘two sides’ here. Jews were being abused.”

We also note the BBC’s failure to adequately address the problem, despite widespread condemnation from Britain’s Jewish community. n our message to Ofcom, we noted: “The issue is so severe and so outrageous, with the BBC refusing to apologize for over 10 days now, that Ofcom’s intervention is clearly necessitated.”

This episode is just the latest in a string of incidents that call into question the BBC’s impartiality regarding Israel and Jewish people. In May, HonestReporting helped expose the antisemitic tweets of reporter Tala Halawa, following a lead by GnasherJew. After an HonestReporting tweet went viral, the issue received widespread media coverage, and the BBC eventually fired Halawa some weeks later.

And just last month, an HonestReporting investigation uncovered numerous antisemitic social posts by another BBC employee, Nasima Begum.

Hardly surprising for an organization that has suppressed an allegedly damning report which would have exposed its deep-seated anti-Israel bias.

It is now abundantly clear that the BBC has a serious problem that must be urgently addressed.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

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