THE BBC has allowed hate speech targeting an Israeli World Cup reporter to remain on its YouTube and Facebook pages for more than three weeks, breaking its own guidelines.
One of the posts claims that Jews are “monkeys and pigs” who deserve to be killed.
Another, on a BBC Arabic YouTube page, asks God to “not leave a single Jew around”.
A third says Jews “are rejected by Allah… because they have killed the prophets and disciples and occupy Arab Palestine and Arab Jerusalem”.
When offensive comments have been posted on other occasions — such as following the death of the Queen — BBC Arabic locked its social media sites.
By contrast, even after the JC brought it to the corporation’s attention, the comments remain on Facebook 24 hours later, though they have now been removed from YouTube.
It comes a week after the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry into its coverage of the Jewish community, Israel and the Middle East.
The corporation failed to moderate the posts despite recent instructions to staff at its BBC Arabic service that they must ensure that its outlets observe corporation guidelines — including a ban on hate speech.
In June, the JC reported that earlier posts praising terrorist attacks and denying the Holocaust had been allowed to remain on BBC Arabic social media sites for months.
Corporation guidelines say that “BBC-run spaces” must “reflect similar values” to those of its programmes, and that staff must “take responsibility” to ensure racist comments are removed.
The trigger for the comments — dozens of which have been identified by the JC and translated by the media watchdog CAMERA Arabic — was a report on BBC Arabic of a pro-Palestinian protest that took place while Israel’s Channel 13’s sports reporter Tal Shorrer was broadcasting live.
The BBC report showed protesters waving a Palestinian flag and shouting political slogans such as “free Palestine”.
But further video footage, not shown on the BBC, also revealed that immediately afterwards, the same protesters turned on Mr Shorrer, subjecting him to antisemitic abuse and shoved him, claiming his microphone was “red with blood” and that as a Jew, he was “killing babies”.
Mr Shorrer told the JC: “I have no problem with people supporting Palestine, but being pushed while I was broadcasting live and told I was a murderer for representing what they called a Jewish channel was a very unpleasant experience.”
In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said: “The comments you’ve highlighted are offensive and totally unacceptable and should have been removed sooner.
“We always look to remove any offensive comment or material as soon as possible. We, in common with many other media companies, face some real issues with comment moderation on social media sites. Although we deploy filtering software, this doesn’t always identify problems, so much of our moderation is manual – and with millions of followers and tens of thousands of comments, we have not always been able to remove comments as quickly as we want to.
“These comments are abhorrent and we strive to delete them as quickly as possible. We welcome people pointing them out so we can take action.”