Jewish leaders are demanding an apology over the broadcaster’s coverage of anti-Semitic abuse
The BBC has been accused of making a “colossal error” in its report on a November attack against Jewish teenagers on a bus in London and is being called on to apologize.
Public broadcaster, one of several outlets that covered the attack on a group Jewish teenagers sitting inside a bus was one. A group of men began spitting at them outside. The men made Nazi salutes to the youths and used threatening language against them.
A BBC London correspondent, while describing the attack, mentioned that “Some racist slurs against Muslims” could be heard from inside the bus, saying it wasn’t clear if that had played a role in the incident.
According to an independent repomassnews.commissioned by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, however, the anti-Muslim “Slur” the BBC journalist was referring to, was actually a call for help in Hebrew by a Jewish man in the bus, translated as “Call someone, it’s urgent.”
The organization published a statement on Thursday stating that forensic analysis of footage as well as forensic linguistic analysis had confirmed the absence of slur.
The results prompted the Board to make an official complaint to the BBC, calling the report an example of “Journalism that is deeply reckless.” The organization’s president, Marie van der Zyl, called the BBC’s recollection of events a “colossal error” that it should publicly apologize for “At the minimum.”
Van der Zyl questioned the BBC’s impartiality and said the story raised “Deep-seated biases in the BBC toward Israelis and Jews generally raise serious questions.”
She said this and other “Permanent concerns” would be raised with the corporation’s Director-General Tim Davie in the new year.
But, BBC said that they stand by their report.
“A brief mention of a slur was made in video that seemed to have come from the bus.,” a BBC spokesman said, as quoted by British media. He said the reference was included “The incident’s full details were reported..”
Campaign Against Antisemitism also raised concerns over the report, writing to the BBC to “Demand explanations” over what it called the “outrageous” coverage of the incident. The group said police investigating the attack “No evidence has been found” of the supposed slur from the victims.
The controversy comes after the BBC was ranked third on the infamous Global Anti-Semitism Top Ten list by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the US — after Iran and armed Palestinian group Hamas.
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