Big BBC yawn at anti-Israel incidents in UK universities

A foreign diplomat has to be evacuated under threat from a British university.

A British MP flounces out of a debate at another UK university because of his opponent’s ethnicity.

One might have thought that both those stories would have been reported at least on the respective regional pages of the BBC News website, if not in its UK section.

But no: the February 20th incident  (not the first of its kind at a UK academic institution by any stretch of the imagination) in which the deputy Israeli ambassador Alon Roth-Snir was prevented from speaking at Essex University (details here, courtesy of Avi Mayer) is not reported in either the Essex section, the England section or the UK section of the BBC website. 

Neither will one find in those latter two sections or in the Oxford section of the BBC News website any mention of George Galloway’s petulant exit from an Oxford University debate on the same day after discovering that his British-born debating opponent Eylon Aslan-Levy holds Israeli nationality. 

As The Times succinctly put it:

“Given his willingness to talk to Saddam Hussein and congratulate the murderous dictator on his ‘indefatigability’, and to present programmes on the Iranian state-run Press TV, one might be forgiven for thinking that George Galloway would talk to anyone. But now we learn that Mr Galloway is rather picky. It is just that in picking, he prefers dictators.”

So perhaps instead, one may be thinking, the BBC chose to report these two dismal incidents in British institutions of higher education on its website’s UK Education page? Well actually no – but one can find two reports there on another subject: one filmed report entitled “Palestinian children in Gaza start to learn Hebrew” and one written article titled “Hebrew taught in Gaza schools, but barriers remain”.


By any standards, those are strange editorial priorities.

16 comments on “Big BBC yawn at anti-Israel incidents in UK universities

  1. “A British MP flounces out of a debate at another UK university because of his opponent’s ethnicity.”

    As your own post makes clear later on Galloway objected to debating with Roth-Snir because of the latter’s nationality, not his ethnicity. In the context this is a very significant distinction since objecting to ethnicity implies racism as opposed to political difference.

    • Mighty lingual callisthenics there(Though I am not surprised, given that you often struggle with the English language).
      How does a person’s nationality covey a “political difference”? Is Eslan-Levy(not Roth-Snir, sigh, learn to read the article before spouting your nonsense) to blame for having been born in Israel? Or his clinging to his right to self-determination? Or better yet, how would you have responded, had someone declared his opposition to engage with a Palestinian, because that person was… a Palestinian?
      In what way does being an Israeli give ground to “political” objections, whereas holding any other nationality does not?
      Finally, the “Race Relations Act” defines a “racial group” as:

      “racial group” means a group of persons defined by reference to colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins, and references to a person’s racial group refer to any racial group into which he falls.

      Very feeble attempts to whitewash Galloway. Try harder.

      • OK, I confused Roth-Snir with Eslan-Levy – careless of me.

        However your choice of the UK Race Relations Act as a source for a definition of ‘racial’ is bizarre. Why not use a dictionary? Typical definitions are:
        “1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of race or races.
        2. Arising from or based on differences among human racial groups”
        No reference to nationality there.

        Definitions of ‘ethnicity’ similarly exclude any mention of nationality (go on, look them up for yourself).

        The original article used ‘ethnicity’ as a smear to imply racism when there is no reason to believe Galloway was being racist. It may be that he doesn’t debate with Israelis because he doesn’t believe Israel to be a legitimate state – a political judgement not a racist one.

        Incidentally I am no fan of Galloway and do not agree with his reason for pulling out of the debate.

        • How quaint: an appeal to the “Dictionary”.
          Galloway is an MP.
          The bill, as stated, applies to the entirety of the United Kingdom.
          This is an Act of Parliament, and as such, is the law of the land.
          Galloway effectively committed an offence, as stipulated by the act, by inciting against a “Racial Group”, as defined by British law.
          He does enjoy Parliamentary immunity, but if here were an ordinary citizen, he could rightly be sued under the provisions of the act.
          He is a criminal(unfortunately, due to his credentials, he won’t be prosecuted), and you are aiding and abetting.
          I think that’s quite enough said. And furthermore, how does(which is what my rejoinder to you discussed at length) a nationality communicate a “political difference”? We’ll never know, I suppose. Neither from you, nor Galloway.

          • Galloway seems not to see the same barriers when dealing with Israeli Arabs such as Raed Salah., so I can only assume he won’t engage with Israeli Jews.

            My guess is that either Galloway has gone five minutes without attention and banked on a good old flounce to get back on track or perhaps he thought he’d lose when facts take to the podium.

          • Pennylan, exactly so!
            Eslan-Levy seems to me a cogent and articulate young man.
            Galloway would have been shamed there.
            So as you say, he calculated his best PR move, and evidently, deep within his own radical ranks, he’s being treated with tributary fanfare.
            For rational people however, this smacks of rank bigotry. And there’s more to that than meets the eye: A particular sort of Israelis are pugnacious to Galloway(whose ideological partners have warned of “dual-loyalties in Finchley”), and you can clearly guess which Israelis he disdains the most.

          • It’s all a bit suspect, Commentary101. Debates offer a great opportunity to present your point of view to an interested audience, and, for every person you convince you may have an ever wider reach via their future discussions on the topic.

            If Galloway doesn’t believe in dealing verbally with Israelis, then one can only speculate as to his views on peace talks.

          • Commentary – Parliamentary immunity only applies when an MP (or member of the House of Lords) is acting in discharge of his official duties, and is in place to enable free speech within Parliament. Galloway is just as subject to criminal law as anyone else when outside Parliament. (See the recent prosecution of former cabinet member Chris Huhne MP as an example).

      • Oh, I’m sure Galloway would engage with far-left anti-Israel Israeli Jews, and also ‘anti-Zionist’ Israeli Arabs. He just wouldn’t engage with the vast majority of Israelis.

  2. Meanwhile The Times reports that senior government members are suggesting that Chairman of the Trust Patten may wish to hand in his resignation after the the new D/G beds in…………..

  3. The BBC’s silence is utterly typical. If a Jew had said he wouldn’t talk to a Palestinian, you’d never hear the end of the BBC’s outrage. Hypocrites.

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