A group of at least 22 Jewish staff members at the BBC have submitted formal complaints about the cooperation’s coverage of the Middle East, its workplace culture and its social media practices.
Jewish staff said they are “fighting fires all over the place”.Several employees said they are unhappy, and one warned “so many Jews believe they [the BBC] are antisemitic, and so many Jewish staff are unhappy”.
They have accused BBC management of meeting their concerns with “indifference.”
Jewish staff also condemned the corporation's poor handling of public comments made by Gary Lineker on social media. According to The Telegraph, some said their unhappiness related to the BBC’s continued defence of Lineker in the face of criticism from the Jewish community.
In recent weeks, the Match of the Day presenter has sparked outrage, including an incident when he shared a tweet by an anti-Israel account which called for the Jewish state to be banned from international football tournaments.
Lineker claimed he did not understand the post he shared with his 8.9 million followers and misread it as a statement that the ban on Israel had already happened.
The former director of television at the BBC, Danny Cohen, said Lineker had “breached the BBC’s impartially guidelines” and the BBC's response to Lineker’s comments proved they were “willfully blind to issues of bias and antisemitism within the corporation.”
Lineker also used X (Twitter) to share a video of Guardian columnist Owen Jones interviewing Raz Segal, in which Segal claimed Israel was engaged in “genocidal killing.”
In a weekend Guardian interview, Lineker said he has lost “associates” because “their views [on Israel] are so hardcore.” He said “I don’t see it as a Jewish thing. I see it as the Israeli government... one atrocity does not deserve 80 atrocities. Or more.” He went on to admit that some Jewish friends had privately asked him “to try to support Israel on Twitter, to back what they’re doing. I had to say, ‘What?! Look, absolutely no. And nor should you.’”
Apart from one reply to a tweet condemning Hamas, Lineker has not used his social media platform to publicly call for the hostages to be returned nor to condemn the terror group which caused the October 7 massacre.
A BBC spokesperson said: “The welfare of our staff is paramount and we have well-established and robust processes in place to handle any issues, concerns or complaints raised with us, along with a range of support available to anyone who may need it.”
The spokesperson highlighted the corporation's “multicultural staff network”. In October, the network facilitated “safe spaces for Arab, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim and Palestinian staff members”. The BBC said this resulted in two communities - Arab and Muslim, and Jewish – being set up "to offer peer support to staff.”