An eclectic group of over a thousand people gathered outside the BBC’s headquarters in Oxford Circus on Monday night, protesting the organisation’s coverage of the ongoing war in Israel, and in particular their refusal to describe Hamas as terrorists.
The protest, organised by the National Jewish Assembly (NJA) was described by its chairman Gary Mond as being “a fantastic demonstration of support for Israel", amidst a very different crowd to those seen at the vigils last week in Whitehall.
In contrast to last week’s vigils, tonight’s demonstration seemed far less measured, as speakers were often drowned out by the anger of the crowd, armed with signs displaying the names of those abducted by Hamas, amidst a sea of Israeli flags and anti-BBC signs.
Although the event was officially intended as a protest against the BBC, with chants of “Shame on you” directed at the organisation, the rally featured a broad range of speakers, from former politicians to Iranian activists, protesting against their own government. As well as chants calling for the BBC to be defunded, other people voiced their support for the IDF.
“We know how it feels to live under Islamic extremism,” said Ariel, one of the Iranians present, carrying a pre-Revolution flag. Anti-regime Iranians were also at last week’s vigil in Whitehall, showing their support for Israel.
However, despite the broad selection of different speakers, one area that all agreed on was the BBC's coverage of Hamas' terrorist attacks on Israel. TalkTV presenter André Walker referred to the BBC as the “terrorist broadcasting corporation”, and called for its abolition, whilst businessman and former politician Lance Forman described it as “PBC” (Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation).
“Tonight was an extraordinarily uplifting event […] to shame the BBC for their complete and utter abject failure,”Forman said afterwards.