Readers may recall that last month we noted some inaccuracies in BBC produced educational videos. Using BBC Watch’s post, Mr Dennis Levene contacted BBC Teach to raise the problematic points.
In the response received, BBC Teach’s producer denied that in the video titled “J is for Jesus“ viewers are told that the Jews “…turned against him [Jesus] and had him executed by the Romans; nailed to a cross.”
BBC Teach stated:
“We don’t […] say that ‘The Jews’ turned against Jesus and had him executed. The script says: “Eventually, many of the religious teachers and the people… turned against [Jesus] and had him executed by the Romans’. This is fair reflection of widely-accepted events.” [emphasis added]
Apparently it is not sufficiently clear to BBC Teach that – like Jesus himself – those “religious teachers and the people” were Jews or that the ‘Jews killed Jesus’ calumny has been at the root of Christian antisemitism for centuries.
The video titled “T is for Temples” tells viewers that:
“Centuries later the Jewish people were able to rebuild, only to have the Second Temple destroyed by the Roman as punishment for a rebellion. But a small part – the Western Wall – still stands and it is the most sacred place for Jewish people.”
“It’s [Jerusalem] also where the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. The rock he ascended from was incorporated into the Islamic shrine the Dome of the Rock. It’s built where the Jewish Temple used to stand and is sacred to both Jewish people and Muslims.”
BBC Teach’s response to Mr Levene’s email states:
“The Western Wall formed part of the second temple complex. It was a section of the retaining wall of the temple plaza. Because the terms ‘temple complex’ and ‘temple’ can be, and are, used interchangeably, the Western Wall could reasonably be described as part of the temple.” [emphasis added]
However, BBC Teach did concede two other points.
“The Rock is sacred to the Jewish and Muslim faiths. But, as ‘BBC Watch’ points out, the Dome of the Rock isn’t sacred to Jewish people. I don’t believe the script writers intended to say it was, but I can see how the phrasing of the sentence could give that impression.”
“‘BBC Watch’ is right to say that Temple Mount is the most sacred place for Jewish people, not the Western Wall. The Western Wall should have been described as the most sacred place where Jewish people can pray.”
BBC Teach producer Sam Datta-Paulin added:
“The producers of this content consulted with specialist educational consultants throughout the film-making process. The mistake about the most scared [sic] place was made in good faith and we apologise.
We are having the film edited to correct errors and confusion, and ensure it is correct in future.”
At the time of writing the film remains available in its original form and has not yet been edited.