BBC report on antisemitism in France marred by its own record

On February 21st a report titled “Macron announces crackdown on anti-Semitism in France” appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Europe’ page. Readers were told that:

“French President Emmanuel Macron has announced new measures to tackle anti-Semitism, following a spate of attacks.

He told Jewish leaders that France would recognise anti-Zionism – the denial of Israel’s right to exist – as a form of anti-Semitism. […]

Mr Macron added: “Anti-Zionism is one of the modern forms of anti-Semitism. This is why I’m confirming that France will put forward the definition of anti-Semitism as drawn by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.””

Readers may recall that this is not the first time that Mr Macron has addressed the issue of anti-Zionism: he previously did so in July 2017.

““We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism,” Macron said an event in Paris marking the mass deportation of French Jews during World War II.”

As documented here, the BBC chose to sideline that statement at the time and subsequently failed to report a similar one made by the UN Secretary General. Two days after Mr Macron’s 2017 statement, BBC Radio Ulster held a phone-in presented as follows:

“We debate the very controversial claim by the French president that anti-Zionism is simply another form of anti-Semitism” [emphasis added]

Now that the BBC has got round to accurately reporting Mr Macron’s position on anti-Zionism it is worth taking a look at what its audiences have been told about that subject to date.

Although the BBC does not work according to the IHRA definition of antisemitism (which was adopted by the British government in 2016), in April 2016 it nevertheless considered itself sufficiently qualified to produce a backgrounder titled “What’s the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism?“.

As was noted here at the time, that article promoted the Livingstone Formulation, failed to inform readers what anti-Zionism actually means and focused on promoting the inaccurate and misleading notion that anti-Zionism is the same thing as expressing criticism of the policies and actions of the Israeli government, even while advancing the ‘Zionism is racism’ canard.

“The UK Labour Party has been at the centre of a row over anti-Semitism, including its relationship to anti-Zionism. What do these terms actually mean?

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

Zionism refers to the movement to create a Jewish state in the Middle East, corresponding to the historic land of Israel – anti-Zionism opposes that.

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.” [emphasis added]


“Some anti-Zionists say Zionism itself is a racist ideology, because of how, in their view, the Palestinian people have been treated by the Israeli state.”

Since publishing that unsatisfactory and unhelpful backgrounder, the BBC has continued to amplify those themes.

Given the BBC’s record on reporting the issue of anti-Zionism, its audiences obviously lack the background knowledge necessary for proper understanding of the French president’s statement reported in this article.

That state of affairs will continue as long as the BBC continues to ignore the existence of accepted definitions of antisemitism which long since 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.

Related Articles:

BBC Radio Ulster promotes ‘Zionism is racism’ and the ‘apartheid’ smear

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

BBC again ignores the existence of accepted definitions of antisemitism

More promotion of the Livingstone Formulation from BBC News

5 comments on “BBC report on antisemitism in France marred by its own record

  1. Since Zionism itself is a realization of a Jewish dream, the BBC doesn’t include the context of HOW anti-Zionism itself is anti-Semitism. It obviously wants to reinforce the perspective that the accepted definition of anti-Semitism is politically motivated.

  2. Let BBC Watch readers not forget the anti-semitic record of the corrupt BBC’s “shagging” Tim Willcox in Paris in 2015 after 17 people were murdered by terrorists there:

    “…Allegations of antisemitism
    Willcox has twice been accused of antisemitism for his on-air comments.

    On 8 November 2014, Willcox stated that the Labour Party would lose funding from Jewish sources because “a lot of these prominent Jewish faces will be very much against the mansion tax”. The tax refers to a Labour proposal for an additional tax on properties worth $3.5 million or more.

    At a unity rally on 11 January 2015 after 17 people were killed in terrorist attacks in Paris, many of them Jews, Willcox, while interviewing a Jewish woman who was explaining that Jews live in fear in France, interrupted her saying that “Many, many, many, many critics though, of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well”.[8] This question was criticised by many including historian and BBC presenter Simon Schama, Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard and the Campaign Against Antisemitism as antisemitic for assigning collective responsibility of Israel’s actions to all Jews. The woman was later identified as the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Willcox apologised the next day on Twitter, saying his question had been “poorly phrased”.

    Personal life
    Willcox was married to Sarah, and the couple had three children together. In November 2012, it was widely reported that Willcox was having an affair with BBC colleague Sophie Long. In January 2015 it was reported that Willcox was in a relationship with Tessa Hardy and was no longer involved with Sophie Long.” (Wikipedia)

  3. The BBC, with its ceaseless anti-Israel narrative, is one of the main causes of anti-Semitism throughout the world.

  4. The zionisn is racist canard.huh

    Zionism is a country for Jews, something very ironically supported by Nazi Germany as shown by Adam Tooze in Wages of Destruction, is for only one set of people. Certainly Ben Gurion recognised that which is why he used Jewish terrorist groups so adroitly in 1949. It certainly got rid of the pesky palestinians quickly when they either were murdered or fled in terror

    Do Jews and Arabs receive the same treatment and allocation of public resources in israel. No.

    In terms of balance we must recognise that Jews also do not receive the same benefits in Arab countries. Mind none of those countries could be called democratic.

  5. Pingback: 02/21 Links Pt2: Why should we hate Israel?; Did UNC Promote Sarsour Talk by Using Photo of Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial?; Israel’s first moon mission set for liftoff from Florida – 24/6 Magazine

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