BBC article on rising bigotry hosts antisemitic comments

The US State Department’s recently published ‘International Religious Freedom Report for 2012‘ was the subject of an article entitled “Bigotry against Jews and Muslims on the rise, says US” which appeared on the Middle East page and the US & Canada page of the BBC News website on May 20th.  

antisemitism article

Interestingly, the BBC’s summary of the report chose to concentrate on rising antisemitism in Egypt, Venezuela and Iran whilst ignoring the State Department report’s observations regarding Europe.

“…a member of the Golden Dawn party in Greece read from the notorious Tsarist forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, during a parliamentary session. In a worrisome sign, such anti-Semitic and xenophobic parties gained seats in parliaments, and a rise in violent attacks on Jews in Europe included several shocking incidents. Hungary saw continued racist commentary by an openly anti-Semitic political party with seats in parliament, the Jobbik Party, and also witnessed an attack on a member of the Jewish community outside of a prayer house in Budapest. In France, an Islamist extremist killed a rabbi and his two children, along with another student, outside a Jewish school in Toulouse. While a number of governments took active measures to combat anti-Semitism, this pernicious evil continued to spread.”

Particularly notable – given the BBC’s own recent whitewashing of antisemitism in Tunisia (see here, here and here) – is the omission from the BBC article of the conclusions of the report relating to that country.

“In Tunisia, Salafists (fundamentalist Sunni Muslims) attacked synagogues and issued anti-Semitic messages, as did some imams during Friday prayer sermons. Certain Salafist imams preached anti-Jewish and anti-Christian messages, including calling for the killing of non-Muslim citizens. Police arrested five persons, including one police officer, for allegedly plotting to kidnap Jews in Zarzis in October for ransom.”

Unfortunately, the BBC’s own record on combating antisemitism is by no means as good as it could – and should – be. In addition to whitewashing and downplaying antisemitic remarks made by certain public figures in the UK, it has on occasion furthered the spread of anti-Semitic discourse by, for example, allowing the unhindered promotion of antisemitic tropes by interviewees as well as the airbrushing of a known antisemitic hate preacher, the promotion of a film company which uses antisemitic imagery and the hosting of an openly antisemitic guest on more than one occasion

On BBC internet comment boards it is not rare to see antisemitic comments permitted to stand (for example see here, here, here and here), with the overall impression being that the BBC’s moderators and the editors responsible for keeping the discussion within BBC guidelines are not sufficiently proficient in identifying comments which meet the definitions of antisemitism

That impression was once more reinforced by some of the comments which got past moderation in the discussion under this particular BBC article pertaining – ironically – to the spread of bigotry.  

AS thread 1AS thread 2AS thread 3AS thread 4AS thread 5AS thread 6 

Next week (May 28th – 30th inclusive) Jerusalem will host the 4th International Conference of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism. Readers interested in watching live streaming from the conference’s plenary session will be able to do so at this URL. BBC Watch will be participating in the working group on antisemitism on the internet and in the media. 



6 comments on “BBC article on rising bigotry hosts antisemitic comments

  1. “…editors responsible for keeping the discussion within BBC guidelines are not sufficiently proficient in identifying comments which meet the definitions of antisemitism. ”

    You are far too lenient with the BBC, which has been behaving like this since, at least, the Six-Day War in 1967. Hosting antisemitism is antisemitism by permission.

  2. Unfortunately, the BBC’s own record on combating antisemitism is by no means as good as it could – and should – be.

    Thanks for the chuckle. The idea of the BBC fighting anti-Semitism has a really funny side to it. BBC Middle East propagandists are generally slick enough to disguise their anti-Semitism as, for example, opposition to Israel, but occasionally the veil lifts and it shows.

  3. I try to read between the lines and consider the subtext (in italics) in order to get to the BBC spin:

    “Bigotry against Jews and Muslims on the rise, says US”

    “Discrimination against Jews and Muslims is on the rise around the world, according to an annual US Department of State report.”

    Attacks on Christians by Muslim hordes worldwide is not newsworthy enough to feature in the headline or beginning of the article (and is only touched on briefly near the end of the article).

    “It also said there was growing anti-Semitism, especially in Venezuela, Egypt and Iran.”

    No mention of the growing anti-Semitism in Europe, since much of it comes from Muslims.

    I’m surprised that this carefully spun propaganda piece even mentioned anti-Semitism in Iran. The standard BBC spin is to portray the despicable Iranian regime as injured innocents justified in defending themselves against the Je… er, Israelis.

  4. If I had a scale, on one side I would place the 1948+ Palestinian Arab refugees; and on the other, I would place the 1948+ Jewish refugees from ten ARAB countries, the scale would read 650,000 vs 850,000. If on that scale I would place the length of stay in Palestine of 70% of Palestinian Arabs on one side and 100% Jewish length of stay in 10 Arab countries on the other side: Arabs (50 years); Jews(2600 years). Refugee support for Palestinian Arabs (UNRWA, etc) billions of dollars; for Jews, zero. What seems to tip the scale repeatedly? I think the merchant has got his thumb on the scale. Let’s see if I can catch him. Let’s try that again:…….. Maybe I can get BBC to help me. Ooops, I think that BBC is the crooked merchant.

  5. I’d have thought that murderous racism was much more prevalent on Zionist talk-boards.

    I just went to YnetNews and very quickly found this: Arabs and Muslims savage beasts! Keep showing to the world how disgusting, primitive, ignorant, vile and evil they are! They don’t understand the meaning of respect in sports or anything they are just full of hate and evil. Phoenix , Israel (06.02.13)

    That must be worse than anything ever seen in any Western media talk!

    • Well, with your Stormfront-esque outbursts about “Israel-firsters”[sic], “Zionist death-squads”, and casual anti-Semitism(including, but not limited to, your citation and approval of Protocols-lauding Stan Rittenhouse), I believe that comment doesn’t even begin to approach your vileness and bigotry.
      It should be said it is even grace-itself, compared to you.

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