Help our BBC petition hit 10,000 signatures

Hitting this figure would place huge pressure on the corporation and Parliament to take the demands of Anglo-Jewry seriously


The JC appeals to readers today to sign our petition demanding a parliamentary inquiry into the BBC’s coverage of Jews and Israel, in a push to gain 10,000 signatures.

click here to sign the petition

This week, the campaign passed the 9,000-signature mark.

But hitting 10,000 would be a landmark moment that would place huge pressure on the BBC and Parliament to take the demands of Anglo-Jewry seriously. The petition was launched last month following a string of controversial stories published by the broadcaster recently that raised deep concern in the Jewish community.

That concern was shared by media watchdog Ofcom, who last week issued a damning verdict on the broadcaster’s coverage — and subsequent lacklustre apology — of an antisemitic attack on a bus of Jewish children who were celebrating Chanukah in central London’s Oxford Street.

Ofcom flagged up “significant editorial failings” in the BBC’s reporting of the racist attack and said it had failed to follow its editorial guidelines on due impartiality or accuracy rules.

The Ofcom report also marked a win for the Board of Deputies, which had commissioned forensic analysis that questioned the BBC’s claim that one of the Jewish victims of the attack had described the culprits as “dirty Muslims”, an allegation that prompted widespread outrage in the community.

The ruling reinforced the view of senior parliamentarians and Jewish activists that a full parliamentary inquiry was needed. Lord Roberts told the JC after the verdict: “This welcome decision by Ofcom greatly enhances the calls for a full parliamentary inquiry into BBC bias regarding Israel.

“The BBC, excellent in so many areas, does not recognise its own intense bias in this important one, but an inquiry would force it to examine itself critically, and root out a form of discrimination that it would be the first to highlight with any other group, ethnicity or nationality.”

His remarks were echoed by Lord Austin: “This is another reason why the parliamentary inquiry into the BBC’s coverage of antisemitism that the JC has called for is so necessary. The BBC’s reporting of this incident was disgraceful.”

Following the JC’s reporting of the Ofcom verdict, the BBC press office wrote an 845-word letter to clarify the broadcaster’s position.

It said that the JC had “either ignored or disregarded” the broadcaster’s apology for its “failings” in January this year, following its own Executive Complaints Unit (ECU)’s review.

The BBC did offer a partial apology in January, but Ofcom decided to launch its investigation in response, saying it “raises issues under due accuracy rules”.

The limited apology did not recognise concerns in Jewish organisations that the BBC report contained victim-blaming of the Jewish youngsters.

In his letter to the JC, the BBC press office argued that the watchdog’s findings last week were “almost entirely consistent with the findings of the ECU”, though that assertion is widely disputed.

click here to sign the petition

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