Sunday 26 December 2021

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, antisemitism in 2021 and the BBC

It's truly quite something when the world's most famous Nazi war criminal-hunting organisation, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, puts the BBC third this year on its annual ‘Global Antisemitism Top Ten’ list. 

Only Iran and Hamas beat the UK licence fee-funded broadcaster. 

The Mail on Sunday has the story

To its founder Marvin Hier's concerns about antisemitism and inaccuracy in BBC reporting including about Israel, a BBC spokesman is quoted replying in the usual BBC fashion: ‘‘Antisemitism is abhorrent. The BBC strives to serve the Jewish community, and all communities across our country, fairly with accurate and impartial reporting.’’


Rabbi Hier may have been too early to for the latest issue - a tweet from the BBC's Middle East reporter Tom Bateman on 23 December:
Israeli soldiers have shot dead a 26-year-old Palestinian man - Muhammad Issa Abbas, killed last night near al-Amari refugee camp. IDF says they fired on a gunman who’d shot at them from a car. Palestinian health ministry says he was shot in the back and died in hospital.

The way this was put provoked a strong reaction from many British Jewish commentators because of the tweet's ordering of events - putting the killing of a Palestinian man by Israeli soldiers outside a refugee camp first, and because the 26-year-old Palestinian man was quite literally a Hamas terrorist. There are even photos of him posing with his many guns. And the later 'one side says, the other side says' equivalence doesn't appear to be borne out by the facts which favour the Israeli version. 

Tom Bateman didn't respond to any concerns.

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