Update on the BBC’s response to complaints about Willcox statement

Thanks to all the many readers who have taken the time to keep us informed regarding the progress of their complaints to the BBC concerning remarks made by Tim Willcox during coverage of the march in Paris on January 11th.editorial guidelines  

To recap, complaints were initially answered with a response stating that Willcox had issued an apology on Twitter. Those who pursued their complaint further have now received a response from the Complaints Director at the Editorial Complaints Unit, Andrew Bell.

Mr Bell writes:

“As you may be aware, however, we have received a very large number of complaints on this issue, and if we were to deal with them in the normal way, investigating each complaint separately, it would be many weeks before some complainants received a finding. In order to reach a speedy determination on the essential issues, as they are reflected in the totality of the complaints we have received, we propose to deal with them in a slightly different way.” 

The response goes on to explain that the ECU has summarized the editorial issues arising from all the complaints into the points below and that those points will be considered against the relevant Editorial Guidelines of accuracy, impartiality and harm and offence.

  • That the question put by Tim Willcox to an interviewee was misleading in that it linked the Paris killings in a kosher supermarket with events in the middle east;
  • That the question was offensive and anti-Semitic in that it suggested that all Jews were responsible for the actions of Israel;
  • That the question was offensive and anti-Semitic in that it suggested that Jews were responsible for the murder of other Jews;
  • That the question was offensive because it trivialised the holocaust;
  • That the question displayed bias against Israel;
  • That Tim Willcox’s comment “But you understand everything is seen from different perspectives” suggested there was a justification for the killings;
  • That the interviewee was not treated with appropriate respect;
  • That the terms of the apology from Tim Willcox were inadequate and failed to address what was inaccurate and offensive about his remarks;
  • That posting an apology on a private Twitter account was inadequate and that it should have been published by the BBC.

Mr Bell further notes that he hopes to inform members of the public of the outcome of his unit’s investigation by February 23rd.

Obviously it does make sense for the ECU to avoid wasting public resources by streamlining the process of investigation and considering a high volume of similar complaints together. Particularly following the unsatisfactory initial replies received by members of the public, it is now good to see that Mr Bell’s department appears to be making a serious attempt to address the issue. 

This is why the BBC’s making do with Tim Willcox’s Twitter apology is pernicious

The January 20th edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme contained a report by Sanchia Berg titled “Jewish school pupils trained to respond to armed attack“. The item includes the following:Sanchia Berg report

Sanchia Berg: “The headmaster said on several school trips pupils had been verbally abused by people who were angry about Israeli government policy and unfairly blamed British Jewish children. One child was threatened. Rabbi Efraimov:”

Rabbi Efraimov: “Nothing actually happened to the child but the child was told that he will be beaten up unless Palestine is freed.”

SB: “By other children? By adults?”

RE: “My understanding was that it was by young adults. The description was adults in their early twenties.”

SB: “And how old was the child at the time?”

RE: “The child was ten.”

One may of course ask where on earth young British adults would have got the idea that British Jewish schoolchildren – or British Jews in general – have anything to do with Israeli government policy, real or imagined.

And that is exactly why the BBC’s attempt to fob off criticism of Tim Willcox’s statement just after the Paris terror attacks (“…the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands…”) by claiming that an apology on Twitter is sufficient is so pernicious.

Precisely because of the fact there are people in the UK who make threats to British ten year-olds whilst invoking a fabricated connection between them and a conflict thousands of miles away, the BBC still needs to issue a prominent on-air statement clarifying that Willcox’s statement was not merely “poorly phrased”, but that the linkage he promoted based on the premise that Jews anywhere in the world hold collective responsibility for the perceived actions of the State of Israel is both false and antisemitic.

Likewise, the BBC needs to urgently address the fact that Willcox has not been alone in adopting and promoting a canard used – as we see above – by antisemitic bullies.

Obviously the BBC’s funding public would not tolerate its national broadcaster (which is of course committed by Royal Charter to the promotion of education and sustaining civil society) adding credence to racist or prejudicial notions about other groups within British society. Ensuring that the same standard applies to British Jews entails tackling the ignorance which causes racism to be passed off as political comment. 

BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine equates Israeli defence with Paris terrorism

h/t tb

One of the items appearing in the January 19th edition of the BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine show (available for a limited period of time from 36:57 here) was built around discussion of the following irrelevant – and frankly crass – question put by the host in his introduction.Jeremy Vine

“Now, is it more difficult being a Jew or a Muslim in the UK?”

After having presented the reactions of some British politicians to issues arising from the recent terror attacks in Paris, Jeremy Vine goes on to yet again advance the ridiculous notion that British Jews and British Muslims are engaged in some sort of competition for the title of ‘most suffering’.

Vine [38:43]: “So is it more difficult being a Jew or a Muslim in the UK right now? Let’s speak to Angela Epstein – Jewish writer, speaks to us from Salford – and David Cesarani is with me; the professor of history at Royal Holloway University of London; a particular expert on Jewish history as well. Angela, do you feel under pressure as a British Jew?”

Angela Epstein’s answer to that question includes the following statement:

“We are targets of Muslim terror because we are Jews and the same does not happen the other way round even in the face of heinous provocation…”

Vine quickly jumps in:

“You say it doesn’t happen the other way round – there will be people who say wait; when you look at the State of Israel and what it does in the occupied territories, that’s the…that’s the other side of the argument.”

In other words, Jeremy Vine apparently believes it justifiable to promote equation of actions taken by Israel to defend its civilians with those of terrorist organisations and at the same time implies that the motivation for any Israeli actions in “the occupied territories” is the religion of the people living there. He also apparently believes that it is legitimate to amplify the antisemitic canard that British Jews bear responsibility for the actions of the Israeli government. Although Angela Epstein protests Vine’s redundant analogy, he persists, asking David Cesarani:

“…does this stem from Israel’s actions and the way they’re perceived or is there something deeper afoot or is it actually not a problem, David?”

Cesarani does not provide a coherent response to that question.

 At 42:09 Vine downplays the nature of the terror attack on the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris.

“And Angela, even if you look at the Paris attacks, what they went for first were the cartoonists. They were not going for French Jews. The kosher supermarket was secondary.”

Angela Epstein tries to correct Vine on that topic too, citing the murder of Ilan Halimi and the attack on the Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012. From 46:05 listeners hear David Cesarani making the dubious suggestion that British Jews who emigrate to Israel might be seen as ‘running away’ and ‘disloyal’.

“This is not the time to suggest the Jews are going to run away. The Jews are afraid, the Jews need special protection. We’re citizens of this country. It is our country and I’m going to stand shoulder to shoulder with people to defend that. And I’m not going to give the impression to anyone that Jews are not loyal to this country; that they really have their loyalty in Israel and at the least sign of trouble they’re all going to rush off to Netanya or Tel Aviv.”

One has to wonder whether Cesarani would suggest that Britons – Jewish or otherwise – emigrating to any other countries in the world might be perceived in a similar light.

After a break, Jeremy Vine purports to discuss the other side of his chosen subject matter (from 51:00) with two Muslim interviewees.

“So we were discussing whether British Jews are under threat; now we’re talking about British Muslims and whether things are better or worse for Muslims and Jews in this country in the wake of what’s happened in the last few weeks.”

If one wished to inform listeners on topics relating to terrorism and antisemitism, it would of course be beneficial to bring into the conversation an interviewee who has not shown public support for Islamist terrorism and for a notorious Holocaust denier and who represents a lobbying organisation previously banned from university campuses by the NUS because of antisemitism. Nevertheless, Radio 2 selected Asghar Bukhari from MPAC UK as one of its contributors to this discussion. Here is what the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism had to say about MPAC UK in 2006:

“The activities of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, MPACUK, have given cause for concern. Although its rhetoric is often extremist, MPACUK identifies itself as part of the mainstream British Muslim community, describing itself as “the UK’s leading Muslim civil liberties group, empowering Muslims to focus on non-violent Jihad and political activism”. Originally set up as a web-based media monitoring group, MPACUK’s declared first mission was to fight the perceived anti-Muslim bias in the media and to redress the balance. However, MPACUK has been criticised for publishing material on its website promoting the idea of a worldwide Zionist conspiracy, including the reproduction of articles originally published on neo-Nazi and Holocaust Denial websites, and is currently banned from university campuses under the NUS’s ‘No Platform’ policy. MPACUK are known to have removed an offensive posting from their website on one occasion, after complaints were made, but thereafter continued to publish similar material.”

Listeners already aware of the background to Bukhari and his organization would not have been surprised to hear him talking about Jihadist terrorism in the following terms:

“And I take exception….that this extremism is due to some sort of antisemitism – it’s not. Terrorism – every single act of terrorism against Western targets – has been due to the foreign policy of our government according to research and according to most of the experts out there. And the government is trying to blame the Muslim community and say oh it’s your problem. No: it’s your problem – the government has caused this problem. We cannot solve it unless you change your foreign policy.”

The trouble is, of course, that most listeners will not know who Bukhari and MPAC UK are or what sort of ideologies they stand for and Jeremy Vine made no attempt whatsoever to inform them on that issue when introducing him despite the existence of relevant BBC editorial guidelines. Notably too, the entire item avoids any real attempt to discuss the topic of Jihadist terrorism and its underlying ideologies.

At the end of the segment, Vine reads out a couple of e-mails from listeners and one of those picked out for promotion to listeners includes the ‘Jewish lobby’ trope.

“Aziz Najmuddin [phonetic] is in Southampton. He’s listening; he says I’m a Muslim man. I don’t feel threatened at all. British society is a fair society. But what I find disgraceful is that there’s no perceived threat to the Jews but there’s been so much police allocation to it. It is David Cameron playing up to the Jewish lobby in America.”

If the BBC aspires to provide its audiences with factual information and meaningful discussion on the topic of Jihadist terrorism of the type seen recently in Paris and the concerns of European Jews relating to that issue and rising antisemitism in general, one obviously basic requirement is to avoid contributors with a record of antisemitism.

No less crucial is that the corporation’s own presenters should understand the significance – and illegitimacy – of amplification (even with the ‘some might say’ caveat) of the antisemitic premise that terror attacks against Jews in Europe can be ‘explained’  by their being collectively responsible for the actions – real or imagined – of Israel. Obviously too, BBC content should be free from the promotion other antisemitic tropes such as the ‘Jewish lobby’ and ‘dual loyalties’. Unfortunately, what should go without saying is clearly not sufficiently understood by some BBC employees.

Related Articles:

BBC’s Tim Willcox in Paris: a new low

BBC response to Willcox complaints: he sent a Tweet

BBC R4: Paris ‘tensions’ due to Israel’s failure to make peace

h/t JK

A particularly noticeable characteristic of BBC reporting on the Paris terror attacks has been a general avoidance of any meaningful discussion of the actual issue of Islamist extremism.

Instead, BBC audiences have seen, read and heard numerous commentators bemoaning the social conditions which supposedly turn disadvantaged and alienated youths into Jihadist terrorists. On other occasions, the Charlie Hebdo magazine has been described as ‘racist’ as though that misapplied label somehow provides relevant context to the premeditated murders of seventeen people. And in other cases audiences have been herded towards a view according to which if Jews are attacked in Paris, it is ultimately the fault of other Jews because of things they do – or do not do – in another part of the world.

We will be providing additional examples in future posts, but here is one which appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘World at One’ on January 13th as the four victims of the Hyper Cacher terror attack had just been laid to rest in Jerusalem.World at One

The first part of this segment from the programme consists of a report from Kevin Connolly about French Jews to which we will return later. In the second part – from 03:50 – the programme’s presenter Shaun Ley introduces two interviewees:  Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, Paris Director for the American Jewish Committee and Professor David Cesarani – described by Ley as “professor of history at Royal Holloway University of London” and someone who “has written extensively on Jewish history and is an authority on the Holocaust”.

Shaun Ley: “Well the number of Jews leaving France, as Kevin was saying, has certainly risen: almost seven thousand last year – twice as many as the year before. But is Binyamin Netanyahu right to talk of rising antisemitism in Europe and is emigration the answer?”

Of course contrary to the impression given in this item, it is not just the prime minister of Israel who talks about a rise in anti-Semitism in Europe; many bodies and organisations are recording and noting that trend, including the ADL, the CST and the Mayor of London. The French government had recognized the gravity of the situation even before the latest attacks.

“…in 2014 the antisemitic incidents [in France] increased by 91%. All too often people forget that half of the incidents classified as “racial incidents” are directed against Jews. This, in spite of the fact that they form less than 1% of the general population. Under these circumstances it is understandable that the Minister of the Interior has recently declared that the “struggle against racism and anti-Semitism” is “a national matter”. 

Nevertheless, Shaun Ley asks his guest:

“David Cesarani – do you think that Binyamin Netanyahu had a point when he suggested that there is a momentum now to leave France because of not just this incident but because of some of the previous incidents [the murder of Ilan Halimi in 2006 and the murders of four people at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012 – Ed.] to which Simone referred?”

Ceserani: “No I don’t think Binyamin Netanyahu had a point and I think his comments have been inflammatory.”

Ceserani goes on to tell BBC audiences that “Jews in France have lived through much worse times than these” and that “things have been worse even in recent French history” before delivering the following statement:

“But we cannot overlook the tension between Jews and Muslims in France. The conflict in the Middle East has got a lot to do with that and I think that’s where Mr Netanyahu can play a role. I think if Mr Netanyahu can bring life to the peace process then I think a lot of that tension will subside.”

As is all too often the case at the BBC, we see the Palestinian-Israeli conflict being promoted here as the conflict in the Middle East even as Jihadist extremists in Syria and Iraq continue to kill thousands of their own countrymen. Predictably too, we see the fact that Islamist extremism is a significant factor in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict being ignored and erased. Responsibility for the failure to bring that conflict to an end is of course placed entirely on the shoulders of one party to it and even one specific politician – despite the similarly unsuccessful attempts of his predecessors. According to Cesarani, the Palestinians have no agency and no role to play in finding a conclusion to the dispute but if only the Israeli prime minister would change his ways, then the “tensions” which he apparently believes bring about both antisemitism and terror attacks would “subside” and French, British, Belgian and Dutch Jews could live in peace.  

BBC Radio 4 clearly has no qualms about providing Cesarani with a soap-box from which to promote his own political views in the guise of ‘expert analysis’. That of course is an issue in itself, but the main point here is that listeners are being distracted from and misled about the real background to the murders in Paris by means of this superficial exploitation of a tragedy for political messaging.

Kevin Connolly’s segment which began this item is very similar to an article he wrote on the same topic which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the title “‘Not safe': French Jews mull Israel emigration” on January 13th. In both those reports Connolly highlighted the words of one of his interviewees with the written version going as follows:

“It’s only fair to point out that Mr Levy blames the media at least in part for the current atmosphere and argues that it has tended to demonise Israel in recent years in the wake of events ranging from the first Gulf war to the first and second Intifadas.

That perhaps is a debate for another time – and it is worth pointing out that France naturally insists that its Jewish population can safely remain there.”

Actually, that is not “a debate for another time”: it is one in which some of us have been engaged for years already and it is also one which – as this Radio 4 programme once again indicates – it is long past time for BBC journalists to join. 

BBC response to Willcox complaints: he sent a Tweet

Below is the response received by a member of the public in reply to his complaint concerning remarks made by Tim Willcox during the BBC’s coverage of the January 11th march in Paris. Others have informed us that they have been sent the exact same reply.

Response Willcox complaint

It is worth noting once again that the majority of the millions of people who watched that BBC broadcast do not follow Tim Willcox on Twitter.

One of the problems with the response from BBC Complaints – and with Willcox’s Tweet – is that he was not asking a “poorly phrased question” at all. He in fact interrupted his interviewee to make a statement. And whilst Willcox may indeed have had “no intention of causing offence”, he did just that because the notion he found it so urgent to promote to viewers is based on the antisemitic premise that Jews anywhere in the world hold collective responsibility for the perceived actions of the State of Israel.

If Tim Willcox and the BBC do not understand why his statement – and the thinking behind it – constitutes a problem and why an apology in 140 characters or less repeated in a generic e-mail from BBC Complaints is unsatisfactory, then obviously there are considerably deeper issues here. 

Willcox’s Twitter apology does not abrogate the need for an on-air statement from the BBC clarifying the issue to audiences who watched that programme.

BBC WS ‘The Fifth Floor’ highlights cartoonist known for antisemitic imagery

The day after the French president described the terror attack on the kosher supermarket in Paris in which four people were murdered as “an appalling antisemitic act”, the BBC World Service’s ‘Fifth Floor’ decided it would be  good idea to highlight the work of a Jordanian cartoonist known for his antisemitic imagery.5th floor

Presenter David Amanour’s introduction to the item broadcast on January 10th (available here from 01:00) was as follows:

“We start this week with the world of satire and the drawings that can provoke both roaring laughter and fury. The events in France this week highlighted the dangers facing political cartoonists around the world. Today we’re focusing our attentions on the Middle East and the challenges cartoonists face there. With me here in the studio is Abdirahim Saeed of BBC Arabic and Turkish journalist with the BBC, Seref Isler.”

Readers can judge for themselves whether or not the item fulfilled its stated goal but they will no doubt notice that a character created by the first cartoonist highlighted in the programme – the long since deceased “famous Palestinian cartoonist” Naji al Ali – is used to amplify a context-free narrative.

Abdirahim Saeed: “He’s got a stock of iconic characters that still live on and are still relevant in today’s world; in today’s politics in the Middle East.”

David Amanor: “Characters like?”

AS: “Characters like Handala. It’s like Ali always mentioned that it’s based on him. Handala is supposedly a ten year-old kid, barefooted, downtrodden but still hopeful of one day returning to his homeland where he was – according to the Palestinian narrative – they were obviously put into exile and expelled from their land. […] So it’s not just commentary – a running commentary on Palestinian affairs but it’s actually a running commentary on what’s happening in the Arab world…”

There is of course a significant difference between cartoons as “running commentary” or satire and the use of images to create or reinforce an inaccurate politically motivated narrative.

The second cartoonist highlighted by Saeed is introduced as follows:

DA: “Let’s talk about sensitivities then. A Jordanian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj – has he been upsetting people? I mean how would you describe his cartoons?”

SA: “I mean a bit like Ali Naja again. I mean he’s a brilliant commentary for what’s happening in Jordan in his own country but also across the Middle East…”

Here are two examples of that “brilliant commentary” from Emad (also Imad) Hajjaj from the time of Operation Cast Lead in 2008/9.

Hajjaj cartoon 1

Hajjaj cartoon 2

As anyone who knows even a little about cartoons in the Middle East will be aware, the use of antisemitic themes and imagery is very common and long-established. That fact, however, was not communicated to BBC audiences in the Fifth Floor’s discussion of Middle East cartoonists. 

BBC’s Tim Willcox in Paris: a new low

BBC News coverage of the rally in Paris on January 11th included the clip below in which Tim Willcox interrupts an interviewee talking about the recent antisemitic attacks in France to inform her – forty-eight hours after four Jewish hostages had been murdered in a terror attack on a kosher supermarket – that:

“Many critics of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well.”

He then goes on to lecture her:

“But you understand; everything is seen from different perspectives.”

The EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism includes the following:

 “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”

Readers no doubt recall that just two months ago, Willcox made use of the age-old stereotype of ‘rich Jews’ and failed to challenge the ‘Jewish lobby’ trope in a programme he was hosting.

Update: Tim Willcox has apologised on Twitter, although it is of course obvious that the vast majority of viewers watching that programme are not among his followers. 

Willcox Twitter apology

Nick Cohen’s take on this story is as insightful as ever. 

Related Articles:

More BBC promotion of the ‘Jewish lobby’ trope

BBC doubles down on presenter’s ‘mansion tax’ comment

BBC’s director of television Danny Cohen makes headlines in Israel

The BBC’s director of television Danny Cohen attended a conference on the topic of comedy as a vehicle for social change in Jerusalem on December 21st. His interview with Channel 2 news anchor Yonit Levi made headlines in Israel because of what Cohen had to say about antisemitism in Europe.

Screenshot from Walla!

Screenshot from Walla!

“I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually. Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before actually”. […]

“And you’ve seen the number of attacks rise. You’ve seen murders in France. You’ve seen murders in Belgium. It’s been pretty grim actually. And having lived all my life in the UK, I’ve never felt as I do now about anti-Semitism in Europe.”

The context to those statements can be appreciated in the full interview (in English), available here with the relevant section appearing at around 18:49. A little earlier – at around 16:00 – Levi raises the subject of BBC bias against Israel and the corporation’s recent reporting of Operation Protective Edge which she describes as having been handled as reporting on a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, divorced from the context of Hamas missile fire on Israel. She gets the standard answer to the effect that ‘we annoy both sides so we must be doing it right’.

Cohen: “Does the BBC get every news report, every minute and every second of the thousands of hours of content we produce every year absolutely right? No. No broadcasting organization in the world would. Do the teams work hard to maintain their objectivity? I’d say yes. Are we perfect? No.”

Danny Cohen is of course not personally responsible for BBC News. If he can get past corporate loyalty, platitudes and sound-bites, he is however in a position to help those who are to understand the connection between inaccurate and partial BBC reporting of both Middle East and domestic events, the manner in which those stories are framed,  the BBC’s tolerance of antisemitism on its own comments boards, and the atmosphere on the streets of Europe which he clearly and justifiably finds so worrying.

After all, as his wife noted whilst writing about antisemitism even before the summer conflict between Israel and terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip:

“Jews in Europe now face a three-pronged attack. […] First, from the far right, for whom antisemitism is a long-established part of their manifesto. Second, from the liberal left, whose often knee-jerk anti-Zionism serves to fan the flames of antisemitism, all too frequently expressing its hostility to Israel in language and imagery traditionally deployed to attack Jews. […]

But fighting antisemitism cannot just be a top-down initiative. Each of us has to take responsibility for this project. This means being mindful about language and the imagery we accept. […] It means being careful to keep criticism against Israel fair and legitimate – evidence based, politically balanced and absent of racial overtones – so that it doesn’t demonise Jews. It means understanding our own latent biases, so that we can consciously address them.”

And whilst we are on the topics of comedy, language, imagery and antisemitism, it is worth remembering that this programme aimed at 16 to 24 year-olds was broadcast on Danny Cohen’s watch.

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Antisemitic comments (again) on BBC WHYS Facebook post… about show on antisemitism

The December 9th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘World Have Your Say’ came from Brussels, where presenter Rabiya Limbada met with members of Belgium’s Jewish community. The programme (available for a limited period of time here) is titled “Is anti-semitism on the rise in Europe?” and its synopsis states:WHYS prog page

“World Have Your Say is live in Belgium’s captial [sic] Brussels looking at anti-Semitism in Europe. Is it on the rise? If it is, what’s causing it?”

The first half of the programme was devoted mostly to the topic of the personal experiences of members of the panel whilst the second part addressed the issue of the causes of rising antisemitism in Europe. Among the factors identified were the conflation of Jews and Israelis (blaming European Jews for perceived Israeli wrongdoings), the demonization of Jews and the rise of hate speech on the internet.

As usual, the programme’s host invited listeners to comment on the topic under discussion on the WHYS Facebook wall. Given the subject matter, one might perhaps have expected that a particular effort would have been made this time around to avoid the appearance of antisemitic comments, defamation, demonisation and hate speech – as has been the case on that programme’s Facebook wall (as well as other BBC discussion boards) in the past.

Here are some examples of comments left standing after moderation.

WHYS 1

 

WHYS 2

WHYS 3

WHYS 4

WHYS 5

WHYS 6

WHYS 7

WHYS 8

WHYS 9

As we remarked here only a month ago in connection with the same programme:

“The BBC’s casual acceptance of antisemitic comments on the public discussion boards intended to meet its remit to “[e]nable individuals to participate in the global debate on significant international issues” is an increasingly worrying aspect of the corporation’s interpretation of that particular “public purpose” as defined in its constitutional document.”

Clearly the BBC’s moderation mechanism is not fit for purpose. So far, it is not apparent that any action is being taken by the BBC on this issue.

Related Articles:

Antisemitism on BBC WS ‘World Have Your Say’ Facebook page

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BBC doubles down on presenter’s ‘mansion tax’ comment

The Jewish Chronicle informs us that the BBC has issued a statement following the receipt of complaints concerning remarks made during a BBC News Channel papers review on November 8th (and also promoted on the BBC News website) which, as we noted here, included references to “the Jewish lobby”.BBC Papers on website

“The BBC has received 33 complaints after a commentator referred to a “Jewish lobby” during a newspaper review. […]

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the BBC said: “The comments were made about the Independent on Sunday story which claimed that unnamed Jewish donors were withdrawing financial support from Ed Miliband over Israel.

“Tim named Maureen Lipman in this context, and as part of a wider discussion, asked if Labour’s ‘mansion tax’ policy was one of the factors that might put off some of the Jewish donors cited by the paper from contributing to Labour’s election coffers.

“It was clear that he was not suggesting that Jewish people in particular are against the mansion tax.” “

As the JC points out:

“The newspaper article had made no reference to the mansion tax.”

According to the information in the JC report, the BBC statement does not appear to have addressed the equally problematic issue of the programme’s promotion of the ‘Jewish lobby’ trope.

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The numbers behind BBC promotion of the ‘Israel lobby’