Ofcom verdict on BBC Chanukah bus attack report to be revealed Monday

The broadcaster claimed Jewish victims shouted 'dirty Muslims' before their attack


Handout video grab dated 29/11/21 issued by the Metropolitan Police of men wanted by the police after anti-Semitic abuse was directed towards a group of young Jewish people during an open-top party bus in Oxford Street. The group was spat at by a group of men in what was described as a "bigoted antisemitic attack". Photo.. Photo credit should read: Metropolitan Police/

Broadcast watchdog Ofcom is set to issue its verdict on the BBC’s reporting of a December 2021 antisemitic attack against a Channukah bus on Oxford Street on Monday.

The regulator's final decision over the corporation's controversial coverage will be made by Director of Standards and Audience Protection Alison Marsden, the JC can reveal.

Ms Marsden was previously employed by the BBC, where she produced and directed specialist factual programmes, before working for various independent production companies.

She joined Ofcom in 2007 as a broadcasting standards specialist, and since 2016 has been responsible for setting and enforcing the regulator's Broadcasting Code.

If the decision upholds the BBC’s initial reporting of the case it could potentially lead the Board of Deputies to launch a judicial review. 

A JC petition calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the BBC over its coverage of Jews and Israel has now passed 7,000 signatures. 

The demand was launched due to "deep concern in the Anglo-Jewish community" over a string of reporting errors including the use of Abdel Bari Atwan – who has repeatedly praised terrorists – as a high-profile pundit.

Ofcom launched an investigation into the BBC in January 2022 after the corporation released a partial apology for their reporting of the Oxford Street attack.

Two months earlier, a busload of Jewish teenagers were harassed by a group of young men who spat at their bus and chanted anti-Israel slogans.

A shocking video of the incident showed the men hitting the bus and spitting at it while passengers frantically called for the driver to leave. 

“Go, go,” one passenger shouted, while another called out: “Drive, drive.”

The BBC’s report on the November 29th attack claimed that one of the Jewish passengers said “dirty Muslims”, however.

That claim was denied vociferously by those who had been on board, and sparked protests from a range of Jewish groups.

Forensic experts hired by the Board of Deputies concluded that rather than an English racial slur, one teenager can be heard calling for help in Hebrew.

An internal review by the Executive Complaints Unit (ECU), published in January, dismissed complaints from Jewish organisations that its report was “victim blaming” but conceded “more could have been done” to “acknowledge the differing views... on what was said”.

The statement added: “The ECU has also found that more could have been done, subsequent to the original report, to acknowledge the differing views and opinions in relation to what was said; this should have been reflected in our reporting; and the online article amended. 

“We accept this and apologise for not doing more to highlight that these details were contested - we should have reflected this and acted sooner.”

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