National Review (h/t Marvin W) BBC, the publicly funded British news outlet, has been accused by Jewish employees of applying a double standard after they were instructed to avoid participating in an upcoming march against anti-Semitism.
The demonstration, the Campaign Against anti-Semitism, is slated to take place on Sunday afternoon at London’s Royal Courts of Justice and is expected to be the largest British public rally against anti-Semitism in nearly a century. However, BBC staffers working the news and current events desk were instructed to avoid the anti-Semitism march because it may touch on “controversial” issues.
“Racism is racism and something we should all abhor — but not when it comes to anti-Jewish racism it seems,” an anonymous employee told the Times of London on Thursday. “If the BBC believes that racism is racism and not acceptable in any shape or form, then going on a rally against anti-Semitism shouldn’t be an issue.”
Employees wishing to participate in the march are pushing back against the guidelines citing the BBC’s approval of staffers attending similar anti-discrimation events such as Pride parades. “Attending Pride parades is possible within the guidelines, but due care needs to be given to the guidance and staff need to ensure that they are not seen to be taking a stand on politicised or contested issues,” the outlet’s director general noted in 2020.
“If news and current affairs staff are participating in such events they must be mindful of ensuring that they do not get involved in matters which could be deemed political or controversial.”
A senior producer at the publicly funded outlet disagreed with the explanation. “Anti-Semitism is not the same as overtly political support for Palestinians,” he added. “You can object to Israeli political positions and reactions, but fundamentally resurrecting anti-Semitic tropes and Jew-hatred is a completely different matter.”
“You would have thought that anti-Semitism was pretty straightforward. The world has turned on its head,” a third BBC member told the Times.
Leo Pearlman, a documentarian, accused the BBC of “hypocrisy” and revealing a “worrying distortion of reality and underlying bias,” in light of skyrocketing levels of anti-Semitism in Britain.
“Just when one thinks the BBC cannot find a new depth of incompetence to sink to in their reporting and handling of these tragic last six weeks, they seem to have decided to draw a clear distinction between anti-Semitism and every other ‘ism’ with this directive to their staff,” Pearlman told the Times.
The British public broadcaster has come under fire since the first days of the Israel-Hamas conflict in early October after it failed to label the latter a terrorist group. “The answer goes right back to the BBC’s founding principles,” the world affairs editor told readers within days of Hamas’ massacres.
“Terrorism is a loaded word, which people use about an outfit they disapprove of morally. It’s simply not the BBC’s job to tell people who to support and who to condemn — who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.”
The decision, in the face of revelations, that Hamas operatives burned people alive and beheaded civilians, came under intense scrutiny. By late October, the outlet reversed course and began referring to the Palestinian militant group as a “proscribed terrorist organization.”
On Monday, a former BBC director accused the platform of being “institutionally anti-Semitic.” “I think there’s institutional bias at play,” Danny Cohen told the Jewish Chronicle. “That’s why it keeps happening. Mistakes happen once, perhaps twice, but when they keep happening you have to ask why. I think there are institutional biases.”
“What’s clear to me is there is an ongoing issue with anti-Israel bias that there appears to be an inability to control.”
The BBC has a long history of anti-Semitism. For example, the BBC’s recent claim that Jewish people targeted by an anti-Semitic attack on Oxford Street were themselves guilty of an “anti-Muslim slur” has been proved beyond any doubt to be inaccurate, after the findings of two independent reports published today.