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April 15, 2022 9:41 am
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YouTube Removes BBC Contributor’s Video Praising Palestinian Terror; British Broadcaster Still Promoting Violence Against Israel

avatar by Akiva Van Koningsveld

Opinion

The BBC logo is seen at the entrance at Broadcasting House, the BBC headquarters in central London. Photo by Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA.

YouTube has long been criticized for its failure to adequately act against anti-Jewish hate posted on its platform (see here and here). According to a former moderator turned whistleblower, the video-sharing website has repeatedly ignored warnings about content with the potential to incite antisemitic violence.

But on Tuesday, the company felt compelled to take action after BBC contributor Abdel Bari Atwan praised last week’s terror attack in Tel Aviv on his personal YouTube channel. In a now-removed video initially published on April 8, the British-Palestinian journalist called the terrorist that killed three Israelis a “hero.”

However, a different recording in which he expressed joy over an ISIS-claimed attack that took the lives of two Israeli police officers was not flagged by YouTube.

Furthermore, despite Atwan’s continued insistence that citizens of the Jewish state are all “settlers” and “military” — and, therefore, legitimate targets in his opinion — the BBC has not taken a stance against the pro-terror views espoused by their regular contributor.

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“The administration of YouTube removed my latest video [dated April 8], which I dedicated to talk about the militant uprising in the occupied territories [sic],” Atwan wrote on April 12 in a Twitter post that received almost 3,500 likes.

He alleged that YouTube took down the clip, in addition to demonetizing his account, in response to “an Israeli complaint accusing me of encouraging terrorism and not condemning the four operations in Hadera, Beersheba, Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak, and not describing its perpetrators as terrorists.”

The removal came after the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated his words into English the day before. According to the transcript provided by MEMRI, Atwan had told his YouTube subscribers that “young perpetrator Raad Hazem, that hero, stormed Tel Aviv, the number-one [economic] capital of the occupation state.”

“The father is a member of the [Palestinian Authority] security forces, and the son picks up a gun, goes to Tel Aviv and shoots the settlers,” Atwan continued. He then asserted: “Look, we do not accept and never will that these are civilians. … This story about [Israeli] civilians does not fool us, and should not fool the world.”

For the record: all three victims of Hazem’s shooting attack, which took place in a central Tel Aviv bar, were civilians.

YouTube said in a subsequent message on Atwan’s channel that the video had been removed for violating its Terms of Service.

But while the world’s largest video-sharing platform has at last recognized that Atwan’s incitement is beyond the pale, the BBC has yet to condemn his glorification of terrorism. As recently as last month, Abdel Bari Atwan appeared as a guest on BBC Arabic.

Moreover, on March 29, BBC Trending presenter Rania Attar highlighted a Twitter post by Atwan while speaking about the terror attack in the Israeli city of Hadera, which killed two and injured 12.

HonestReporting last week revealed that Atwan’s on-air tweet referred to the ISIS attack as the “Hadera operation” and suggested it had “exposed those [Arab leaders] who did not mention Palestine.” Atwan was referring to the four Arab foreign ministers who had attended a summit in Israel.

The tweet furthermore linked to a March 28 video, yet to be removed by YouTube, in which Atwan expressed joy over the killing of Israelis.

In the recording, he said: “I am gloating because the ones who ruined their celebration [the summit] and completely changed the direction of the compass’ needle were Ayman and Ibrahim Aghbariya [who carried out the attack in Hadera], two young men from the areas occupied in 1948 [Israel].”

HonestReporting’s work previously helped expose BBC employee Tala Halawa’s Jew-hatred, which led to her dismissal. Similarly, Atwan’s views should be prevented from being transmitted to millions of people.

Following criticism, only two months ago, the BBC vowed not to promote tweets that glorify terrorism.

Therefore, HonestReporting has lodged a formal complaint with the BBC, outlining how its Arabic channel has ostensibly breached the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines. In the complaint, we requested that the news organization issue a statement on Atwan’s comments and take appropriate measures to prevent the promotion of pro-terror content on BBC channels in the future.

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.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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