Lord Grade condemns BBC over Israel coverage

In a debate on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, the former BBC chairman drew attention to media coverage of the death of an Israel police officer last month


A peer and former chairman of the BBC has condemned the broadcaster, accusing it of anti-Israel bias in a House of Lords debate.

Speaking in yesterday’s debate on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, Lord Grade highlighted a headline the BBC ran on its website after the fatal stabbing of an Israeli police officer last month.

Lord Grade said: “On 16 June two Palestinians, unprovoked, attacked Israeli police officers in Jerusalem with guns and knives, while a third stabbed to death Border Police Staff Sergeant Hadas Malka, aged 23.

“The BBC’s headline on its news website was ‘Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem’. The BBC eventually changed its headline to ‘Israeli policewoman stabbed to death in Jerusalem’.

“The BBC accepted its mistake and subsequently changed it. Of course, I am not accusing BBC journalists of antisemitism but this example demonstrates the drip-drip effect of unqualified, un-contextualised singling out of Israel for criticism.

“If the BBC can get this wrong, it is little wonder that Israel finds it so hard to put aside the idea that some critics are motivated by something more sinister than political commentary.”

Lord Grade was born to a Jewish father, theatrical agent Leslie Grade, and his uncles were renowned theatre impresarios Lew Grade and Bernard Delfont.

Lord Grade said some critics of Israel “leave themselves open” to accusations of antisemitism by singly out the country for criticism, without offering context.



Baroness Sheehan also spoke, calling on the British government to pressure Israel to “stop changing the map of the Occupied Territories and progress a two-state solution”, while Lord Palmer of Childs Hill, a member of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, drew attention to the expulsion of Jews from north Africa and the Middle East since 1948.

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