A BBC Arabic news anchor shared an article on his Twitter account defending David Miller, the controversial Bristol University professor who claims that Jewish students are “directed by the State of Israel” to pursue a “campaign of censorship”.
The article shared by BBC Arabic presenter Nour Eddine Zorgui was from the website Electronic Intifada. The presenter added the text: “Who are the Israel lobbyists that want David Miller fired?” to his tweet. The article claims that Miller has been the victim of a campaign led by the “usual-suspect anti-Palestinian activists and Israel lobbyists”.
In response to the JC, a BBC spokesperson said: “The tweets have been removed and our journalist reminded of the BBC social media guidelines”
The same presenter is alleged to have broken BBC guidelines twice previously. In 2019 he shared photos on Facebook showing himself working for the BBC in Western Jerusalem, captioned as being “in Palestine”. The BBC Academy’s guidance on Israel and the Palestinians says, “there is no independent state of Palestine today” so staff “should not affix the name ‘Palestine’ to Gaza or the West Bank”.
A BBC spokesperson said: “Our journalist stated his location incorrectly in this post. It has now been corrected”.
Also that year, he tweeted a link to an article on an Arabic news website which alleges "Israel is trying to wipe out” the “Palestinian identity in every sense of the word, including the fashion of the people, the names of places, and the way of life of its people”.
Last October, BBC Director General Tim Davie introduced new guidance on social media usage, designed to force staff to maintain impartiality. It requires BBC employees and presenters not to express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics or controversial subjects. The guidance says bias can be shown through follows, likes, retweeting or other forms of sharing. The news rules are particularly aimed at “staff in news, current affairs, factual journalism and… presenters who have a significant public profile".
This latest incident follows a JC investigation into BBC Arabic which detailed other infringements of the corporation’s own impartiality guidelines, including systematically downplaying terror attacks on Israelis; repeatedly using Hamas-inspired language; showcasing extreme views without challenge; broadcasting a favourable interview with a confessed terrorist responsible for the deaths of 15 Israelis; and publishing a map in which Israel was erased.
The broadcaster has also regularly given a platform to the British-Palestinian commentator Abdel Bari Atwan, who previously said on Lebanese TV that if Iran attacked Israel, he would “go to Trafalgar Square and dance with delight.”