Voice of the Jewish News: BBC has a serious question to answer

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Voice of the Jewish News: BBC has a serious question to answer

In its passion striving for the very balance which once gave it respect, the BBC overstepped the mark in its reporting of the distressing Chanukah attack - turning victims of antisemitism into racists

Violent yobs spat, banged on windows and chased the bus
Violent yobs spat, banged on windows and chased the bus

Like red phone boxes and black taxis, the BBC, our national broadcaster, was once the pride of Britain.

It was independent and even-handed, committed to showing a balanced picture of our lives. But in its passion for that very balance, the BBC seems to have overstepped the mark in its reporting of the distressing Chanukah attack on a bus load of Jewish teenagers in Oxford Street. It told its audience that while there had been “alleged antisemitism” from yobs outside the bus, inside the bus there had been an unqualified “anti-Muslim” slur.

This mania for “whataboutery” – flying in the face of all analyses of the soundtrack to the video of the attack – has now rightly drawn a trenchant and unprecedented letter of complaint from the Board of Deputies to the BBC. It puts the Jewish community unnecessarily at war with the BBC, all because some editors higher up the food chain than the original reporter thought the Jewish victims must have, in some way, instigated the repellent behaviour outside the bus.

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The BBC may have thought it could weather the outrage by refusing to apologise.

But the Board’s complaint has been copied in to the anti-BBC culture minister, Nadine Dorries.

The BBC may come to regret its insistence that an understandable Hebrew-language call for help had suddenly morphed into non-existent English Islamophobia.


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