The BBC should call Hamas terrorists says culture secretary at St John's Wood shul

Lucy Frazer told a solidarity service for Israel that the UK government stands with the Jewish community


In the wake of the attacks in Israel, which have claimed the lives of 1,200  people and left at least 2,700 wounded, the culture secretary has urged the BBC to use “terrorist organisation” to describe Hamas.

Speaking at a solidarity service for Israel at St John’s Wood Synagogue on Tuesday evening as news emerged that 40 children had been murdered on one kibbutz, Lucy Frazer said: “What I see is terrorists carrying our murders, kidnappings, threatening executions, a terrorist organisation, proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK government and many other governments. What I see are acts of terror and I think it should be called out.”

She said that this week she had met the director general of the BBC “to raise […] thoughts about has the BBC were covering the tragedies that are taking place in Israel”. The move comes after the Board of Deputies wrote to the culture secretary, asking for her support.

Despite senior MPs and the Chief Rabbi condemning the BBC’s use of “militants” to describe members of Hamas, the BBC say their choice of language is in keeping with their editorial guidelines, which state: “[…] our responsibility is to remain objective and report in ways that enable our audiences to make their own assessments about who is doing what to whom.”

The corporation has, however, used “terror” to describe previous atrocities, including 9/11, the 7/7 London bombings, and the attack on the Bataclan Theatre in Paris in 2015.

At the end of 2021, Hamas was declared a terrorist organisation by the UK government.

Lucy Frazer, who is of Jewish descent, told the synagogue audience: “We are at the moment witnessing the most horrific and terrible tragedy, something we had thought and hoped we would never see or never see again in our lifetime.”

“I wanted to come here today to tell you on behalf of the government that you are not alone.”

The MP was speaking alongside Defence Minister Tom Tugendhat and several senior rabbis.

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