BBC News ‘explanation’ of antisemitism promotes the Livingstone Formulation

On March 27th an article titled “Jeremy Corbyn told to act on ‘stain’ of anti-Semitism in party” was published in the ‘politics’ section of the UK page on the BBC News website.

Relating to the previous day’s protest organised by two British Jewish community bodies, the article includes an insert ostensibly intended to help readers understand the story.

Titled “What is anti-Semitism?”, the insert commences by giving a definition attributed to the Oxford English Dictionary.

“Anti-Semitism is “hostility and prejudice directed against Jewish people” (OED)”

BBC audiences are then told that:

“Campaigners for Palestinian rights – a popular left-wing cause – say they are against Zionism rather than anti-Semitic”

The insert goes on to give an explanation of Zionism which, notably, does not include the term self-determination.

“Zionism refers to the movement to create a Jewish state in the Middle East, roughly corresponding to the historical land of Israel, and thus support for the modern state of Israel. Anti-Zionism opposes that.”

Obviously an insert purporting to explain antisemitism to BBC audiences should have clarified that according to the IHRA working definition (adopted by the UK government, among others), opposition to the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in the Jewish state is defined as one possible manifestation of antisemitism.

“Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

Finally, the insert presents readers with a dose of the Livingstone Formulation:

“But some say “Zionist” can be used as a coded attack on Jews, while others say the Israeli government and its supporters are deliberately confusing anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism to avoid criticism”

As regular readers will be aware, this is far from the first time that the BBC has promoted the notion that “the Israeli government and its supporters” deliberately and dishonestly raise the issue of antisemitism in order to delegitimise criticism of Israel.

Neither is this the first time that the BBC has tried – and failed – to explain antisemitism and anti-Zionism to its audiences. Indeed, this insert was obviously for the most part recycled from the opening paragraphs of a ‘backgrounder‘ first published in April 2016.

In other words, in nearly two years of BBC coverage of the issue of antisemitism within the UK Labour party, audiences have not once been informed of the existence of accepted definitions of antisemitism which have already answered the question of whether anti-Zionism – i.e. the denial of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination – is an expression of antisemitism.

Moreover, it is obvious that even the high profile of the latest related story covered in this article did not prompt the BBC to come up with an accurate definition of its core issue.

Given the fact that the BBC still does not work according to an accepted definition of antisemitism and in light of its own record on that issue and its repeated failure to inform audiences what anti-Zionist groups such as the PSC and the BDS campaign really stand for despite frequently showcasing their agendas, that is perhaps hardly surprising.

But this insert does demonstrate once again is that the BBC is currently incapable of properly serving its funding public’s interests on this topic.

Related Articles:

IHRA adopts working definition of antisemitism: when will the BBC?

BBC News tries – and fails – to explain antisemitism and anti-Zionism

BBC article on antisemitism report recycles problematic backgrounder

BBC again ignores the existence of accepted definitions of antisemitism





8 comments on “BBC News ‘explanation’ of antisemitism promotes the Livingstone Formulation

  1. The very fact that Palestinians object to Israel’s building houses in Judea and Samaria is itself racist and apartheid. Why should Jews not live there ?

  2. Pingback: 03/27 Links Pt1: Slain Paris Holocaust survivor was targeted because she was Jewish; British Jews Rally Against Anti-Semitism in Labour; Liberals refuse to face the left’s growing anti-Semitism – 24/6 Magazine

    “Have the allegations of anti-Semitism put you off the Labour party?”

    First off, BBC Wales presenter and former sports reporter Jason Mohammad discusses Anti-Semitism with Stanley Sofer, Chairman of the South Wales Jewish Representative Council.

    Second up, Jason interviews journalist and editor Michael Segalov of, “Is it a smear campaign, do you think?”.

    He asks Martin, one of the old white male Labour supporters so loyal to Jeremy, “Is it a smear campaign, do you think?” Martin replies in the affirmative. Jason grunts in agreement.

    For the sake of balance, Jason follows this by energetically and enthusiastically reading out an email in support of the mural.

  4. Pingback: Reviewing BBC R4’s ‘World at One’ background on the Labour Party story | BBC Watch

  5. Although Jesus Christ was a Jew he spoke out against the Jewish religion which he saw as a form of racism . Jesus was a Universalist believing all men to be equal and he formulated the parable of ‘The Good Samaritan’ to answer the question who is my neighbour?
    We might well ask the rich European Countries if they are behaving as neighbours towards the migrants ?
    We all originated from tribes long before there were cities or nations in existence and these tribes competed with one another often with much cruelty and bloodshed. We are still tribal in our thinking as the attendance of any football match will quickly show.
    The Jews are perhaps the most tribal of nations and they had twelve tribes in the old testament and for thousands of years they have insisted on their identity even when they had no homeland.
    The curious fact about all this is shown by the modern use of DNA which shows homo sapiens came out of Africa about 60,000 years ago .
    Incase anyone should think they are pure the scientists have found Neanderthal DNA in ancient and living humans . So it would appear that Homo sapiens mated with Neanderthals before those humanoids died out.

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