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. 

4 comments on “This is why the BBC’s making do with Tim Willcox’s Twitter apology is pernicious

  1. I am at stage two with the BBC on this : this was my stage 1 compliant I tried to complain to OFCOM but my online complaint would not go through-I tried three time. Any one else complained to ofcom?

    Re: Tim Willcox’ vile comparison of French Jews being slaughtered by an Islamic terrorist with what is an ongoing war situation between Israeli and ‘ Palestine’.

    Willcox: “Many critics, though, of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffered hugely at Jewish hands as well.”
    NOTE THE USE OF THE TERM ‘JEWISH’ NOT ISRAELI, JEWISH!!! Ignoring the FACT that those of the non Jewish faith also serve in the IDF and the Israeli police force, did he ask the Muslim person also being interviewed if ‘Many critics, though, of the Palestinians policy would suggest that the Israelis suffered hugely at Muslim hands as well’ ? NO OF COURSE NOT, that would be disgraceful, totally out of context and hugely inappropriate!
    ” When Hava ( the Jewish woman) began saying that the two situations could not be compared, Willcox broke in again, saying: “But, you understand, everything is seen from different perspectives.”
    So he doubles down and shows just how disgusting his anti Jewish sentiments are!

    In light if this, I am shocked that you have not at very least suspended Tim Willcox pending an investigation for his appalling comments he made in an interview with a Jewish woman right after the slaughter of Jews in Paris.

    When I called the BBC complaints dept about this on the night of the 11th. The guy on the phone agree it was appalling

    I asked him are Muslims in France or Britain held responsible for the MUSLIM dictator Assad murdering 200000. He agreed they weren’t

    I asked him are Muslims in France or Britain held responsible for the slaughter of Christians and Muslims by Boko Haram in Nigeria ( and Cameroon ) he agree they weren’t

    I asked him are Muslims in France or Britain held responsible for the flogging of a blogger in Saudi Arabia. He assured me they weren’t

    I asked him are Muslims in France or Britain held responsible for the slaughter of Muslims by ISIS he assured me they weren’t

    I asked him so how on earth Jews in France who have no vote no say and no influence on Israeli politics can possibly by singled out for Willcox’ interjections/condemnation . He said he didn’t know but would pass it swiftly to his superiors.

    So a question to Willcox would be, was the MUSLIM police officer killed as a response to these killings of Muslims (and Christians of course)being carried out by Muslim dictators and terrorists and Islamic regimes all over the ME and N and W Africa?

    In fact if Willcox was sincere, and NOT singling out JEWS for his opprobrium he would ask CHRISTIANS in interviews if they think any of the Christians killed in the attacks were a response to Britain America Canada Norway Australia Italy etc killing Muslims in wars in Iraq Afghanistan Libya Syria etc

    Of course only Palestinians- including of course the (Muslim) HAMAS and PLO/ Fatah terrorists – are offered any empathy from Willcox, and apparently (murdered?) French Jews are responsible (according to Willcox) for what’s happening in Israeli politics, which is why they were slaughtered eh Tim?

    Remember Willcox has ‘form’ when it comes to singling out Jews. 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. See

    BBC NB : The EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism includes the following:
    “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”

    Ergo the anti-Semite Willcox should get his jotters!

  2. The BBC is endemically racist. They would never ever make these comments to Muslims because their reporters may loose their lives for doing so. Obviously Jews would not so it is safe to bully them.

  3. Pingback: Update on the BBC’s response to complaints about Willcox statement | BBC Watch

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