More than three-quarters of Jews in Britain — 77 per cent — believe BBC coverage of the war in Gaza is biased against Israel, an opinion survey commissioned by the JC has revealed.
Respondents to the poll were asked whether they agreed that BBC coverage was “biased” or “very biased” against Israel. An absolute majority of 51 per cent said it was “very biased” and a further 26 per cent that it was “biased”.
Only 11 per cent said the BBC was impartial, and 7 per cent thought that it was biased or very biased against the Palestinians. Four per cent said they did not know.
The result will further increase pressure on the BBC, which has prompted outrage over its coverage of the war, including the false claim that the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza had been destroyed by an Israeli airstrike.
The same percentage as those who considered the BBC to be biased — 77 per cent — said the government was “not doing enough to tackle Islamist hate preachers”, while just 12 per cent believed the opposite. The JC has highlighted numerous cases of extremist sermons in recent weeks, but to date, there have been no prosecutions.
Almost half of Jews polled — 47 per cent — said they have felt “unsafe” or “very unsafe” on UK streets since the October 7 terrorist attacks, while 30 per cent said they felt safe and 22 per cent neither safe nor unsafe, with 2 per cent saying they “don’t know”.
There was strong support — 75 per cent — for proscribing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist group, a move for which the JC has been campaigning.
A total of 54 per cent of Jews polled said there should be curbs on the number of anti-Israel demonstrations organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, while 38 per cent disagreed.
The poll, conducted by the polling company Survation, was based on a representative sample of 759 adult UK residents who said they identify as Jewish, weighted by age, sex and region, with 368 women and 386 men.
Veteran BBC editor Jeremy Bowen sparked outrage recently after he said he did not regret “one thing” about delivering an inaccurate report about a blast at Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza shortly after the war started. Another veteran BBC correspondent, Jon Donnison, also wrongly suggested Israel was behind the same blast in October.
There has also been widespread concern in the Jewish community over the widely-followed Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, who, a year ago, mourned the death of a Palestinian footballer who was later revealed to be a “martyr fighter” for Hamas.
A BBC spokesperson told the JC: “The BBC holds itself to high standards of impartial reporting and rejects the suggestion that we are biased against Israel. The conflict is a challenging and polarising story to cover, and we are dedicated to providing impartial reporting.
“Our own audience research shows that BBC News is considered the most impartial provider for coverage of the conflict. Recent research by More in Common echoes this and shows the highest proportion of people in Britain sees the BBC as neutral. BBC News will continue to listen carefully to all audience feedback.”