A reader has drawn our attention to a rather peculiar conclusion to an article entitled “Palestinian UN vote will hurt peace, says Israel’s Regev” appearing in the Middle East section of the BBC News website on November 30th.
“Hamas has not been part of any peace talks with Israel and does not recognise Israel’s right to exist.
Israel, the US and EU regard Hamas as a terrorist organisation.
Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh said in a statement sent to the BBC that Hamas support for the UN bid “is based on the ‘rule of non-recognition of the occupier’… and the right of Palestinians to return to their homeland”.”
So far, so good – although actually Canada and Japan also class Hamas as a terror organisation. But then comes this:
“In the aftermath of the latest fighting, both Israel and Hamas have joined the international community in calling for a durable and comprehensive solution to the conflict.”
Was that really written with a straight face?
The same article was also opened for reader comments. Among those which passed the BBC’s standards of moderation – based on ‘house rules‘ prohibiting – amongst others – comments which display racism, abuse or are deemed “otherwise likely to offend” and comments which are likely to “provoke, attack or offend others” – were the following.
The BBC’s moderators obviously need an urgent refresher course on the subject of definitions of antisemitism.
As the newly-released Community Security Trust report on ‘Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2011’ rightly points out:
“The internet and social media are providing new opportunities for the spread of antisemitic discourse”
It is the BBC’s responsibility to ensure that its comments sections do not provide platforms for such discourse.