MPs, British Jewish groups urge BBC to adopt antisemitism definition

Lawmakers, watchdog groups charge that BBC must pledge to adhere to international standards around antisemitism, on the heels of multiple incidents of biased, inaccurate reporting about Israel and Jews.

By World Israel News Staff

British Jewish advocacy organizations and members of parliament are urging the BBC to adopt the international definition of antisemitism and pledge to adhere to fair standards around Israel and Jews, as the British broadcaster repeatedly faces calls to amend its biased reports.

The Jewish Chronicle revealed that pressure for the BBC to hold its reporting up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism is rising after both the English language and Arabic reports from the broadcaster were found to have “systematically slandered” Jews and Israel.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) recently dubbed the BBC with the dubious distinction of being ranked third on the watchdog group’s “Global Antisemitism Top Ten” list.

The SWC cited a recent report by the BBC on a Hanukkah party bus filled with Orthodox Jewish passengers being attacked by Muslims in London, which falsely stated that the Jewish victims had started the incident by yelling slurs at the assailants – a completely untrue and unsubstantiated claim.

A tweet by a BBC journalist which read “Hitler was right,” as well as reports branding victim of antisemitism Alfred Dreyfuss “a notorious Jewish spy,” and a panel featuring no Jews which debated whether or not Jews are an ethicity and can be the victims of racism were some of the other causes for concerns referenced by the SWC.

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“The BBC director general, Tim Davie, needs to urgently sit down with Jewish community leaders and senior editors and producers to ensure that antisemitism or so called anti-Zionism is banished from every last BBC office and corridor,” MP Robert Halfon told the Chronicle.

“The BBC should be a public service for those of the Jewish faith, just as it is for everyone else. The questions Tim Davie should ask himself are: Do Jews count? Or will the BBC get mired into the ugly swamp of antisemitism? A welcome step would be for the BBC to adopt the international definition of antisemitism.”

“The threat the BBC poses is of a globally trusted brand which is putting out information about Jews and Israel that is often misleading or outright wrong,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, director of the SWC.

In a laconic statement which did not address the ranking on the antisemitism list or the specific incidents cited by the SWC, the BBC said it” strives to serve the Jewish community and all communities across our country fairly with accurate and impartial reporting.”