BBC Accused of Anti-Semitism For Its Coverage of Altercation Between Jews and Muslims in London

© AP Photo / Frank AugsteinIn this file photo dated Wednesday, July 19, 2017, an entrance to the headquarters of the publicly funded BBC in London. Britain’s government announced Wednesday Feb. 5, 2020, that it is considering a change in the way the nation's public broadcaster, the BBC is funded
In this file photo dated Wednesday, July 19, 2017, an entrance to the headquarters of the publicly funded BBC in London.  Britain’s government announced Wednesday Feb. 5, 2020, that it is considering a change in the way the nation's public broadcaster, the BBC is funded - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.12.2021
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According to the BBC, the incident occurred on 30 November in London when a group of teenage girls arrived on a tour during the first day of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. The whole situation was filmed on video, which was posted on social media and quickly went viral.
The British Broadcasting Corporation has been accused of anti-Semitism following its report about Jewish girls on a bus being abused by a group of Muslim men in the UK capital. The outlet’s article included a video of the incident and a comment that racial slurs about Muslims can be heard inside the bus, appearing to suggest that the girls were the ones who began the altercation.
At the same time, the outlet described the actions of the men, who spat on the bus, hit it with their shoes and hands, and showed the middle finger as an "alleged" anti-Semitic attack. Two of the men also did what looked like a Nazi salute.
Multiple voices are heard in the video, but nothing appears to suggest that anti-Muslim slurs are being said by someone.

The BBC’s article caused anger and indignation among the Jewish community in the UK and prompted leading Jewish organisations to accuse the outlet of anti-Semitism, as well as victim blaming. The Charity Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) organised a protest in front of the outlet’s headquarters in London. Pictures and videos posted online show people holding placards reading "where’s the proof?" and "stop blaming Jews".

"Tonight's rally sends a message to the BBC that the Jewish community has had enough of years of the BBC victim-blaming Jewish people for anti-Semitism, downplaying racism towards Jews, platforming anti-Semites and fuelling anti-Semitism in Britain", a spokesperson for the CAA said.

"We also call on the BBC to finally adopt the International Definition of Anti-Semitism and accept anti-Semitism training from us for its staff and reporters. We demand explanations over the BBC's outrageous coverage of the recent anti-Semitic incident on Oxford Street, when the BBC's reports victim-blamed Jewish teenagers for being attacked”, the spokesperson went on to say.


The organisation claims hundreds of people attended the demonstration. The charity has demanded an explanation from the BBC over its coverage of the story, noting that there was no evidence in the video to support the broadcaster’s claim that someone on the bus had uttered an anti-Muslim slur.



The rally was attended by the founder of Muslims Against Antisemitism, Fiyaz Mughal, who addressed the audience.



English actress of Jewish origin Dame Maureen Lipman also threw her support behind the protest.

Criticism From Colleagues

The Campaign Against Antisemitism said the BBC had not responded to its statement, something the organisation said was not "out of the ordinary". The CAA said a survey it conducted last year showed that two thirds of British Jews were concerned "by the BBC's coverage of matters of Jewish concern, and 55% by its handling of anti-Semitism complaints". "These figures reflect years of eroding confidence in the BBC on the part of the Jewish community", the charity said.

The BBC has also come under criticism from its UK colleagues. Lord Grade, a former chairman of the BBC, described the outlet’s story as "shoddy journalism". The Telegraph called on the BBC to provide answers on its coverage of the story.

"Was it attempting to draw an equivalence between a group of men intimidating children and their victims? And why did it report the abuse from thugs on the street as 'alleged' but present the disputed allegation of a slur inside the bus by children as a fact? It needs to listen to people from the Jewish community and look at this very carefully. We can’t have people thinking that incidents of racism are handled differently depending on who the perpetrators and victims might be", read the newspaper’s article.

Meanwhile, London police have called for help in identifying the men who attacked the bus. The Campaign Against Antisemitism said the Metropolitan Police had found no evidence of the BBC’s claim that an anti-Muslim slur was voiced by people on the bus.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has released a video saying the racial slur the BBC referred to was a Jewish man pleading for help in Hebrew.
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