The Jewish community’s standoff with the BBC over its report on last week’s antisemitic attack on youngsters celebrating Chanukah took another dramatic turn today after it was claimed the allegation that an anti-Muslim slur was heard on the bus was added AFTER the report was filed.
A line in the BBC’s coverage of the incident – in which a group of around six males made Nazi salutes, spat and shouted antisemitic slurs at a busload of Charedi youngsters last Monday – read: “A slur about Muslims can also be heard from inside the bus.” No other media has so far published such a claim. The Board of Deputies has called for the BBC to issue an apology to victims and clarify where it obtained this information from, saying: “The BBC thought that they heard a slur in English. What they were actually hearing was a distressed Jewish man speaking in Hebrew appealing for help.”
When approached for comment on Sunday, a BBC spokesperson told Jewish News: “The article is about the police’s appeal for information. The main focus is the actions of the individuals the police want to identify. The audio appears to show that a slur can be heard coming from the bus. We have changed our story to clarify only one such slur can be heard clearly.”
Jewish News understands the journalist submitted the original article without any mention of an alleged anti-Muslim insult and the words “a slur about Muslims can also be heard from inside the bus” were subsequently added after the piece was filed.
Jewish News has asked the BBC to comment on this latest allegation.
UPDATED 12.26PM: On Tuesday afternoon, in response to this article appearing online, a passenger on the Chanukah bus contacted Jewish News claiming they saw and heard a child on the bus utter the Hebrew phrase “Tikra lemishehu, ze dachuf” (“call someone, it’s urgent”) while the attack took place. It is believed the BBC understood this to be an anti-Muslim slur spoken in English.
Police inquires are continuing. Detective Inspector Kevin Eade said: “We are now in a position to release three clearer images of the men we would like to speak to.
“Despite extensive inquiries over the past week, we are yet to make any arrests; however, I am confident that somebody will recognise the people in these images, and I would urge anyone who does to contact us immediately.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or tweet @MetCC quoting 6184/29Nov.
Alternatively, call the Charing Cross Hate Crime Unit on 07900 608 252 or email AWMailbox-.HateCrimeUnit@met.police.uk.
To contact police anonymously call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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