Antisemitism has pervaded the British Broadcasting Corporation for long enough. It’s time to demand change.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is under heavy pressure from Jews and British lawmakers to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism. And for good reason.
The BBC ranked number three on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s year-end “Global Antisemitism Top Ten” list — behind only Iran and Hamas.
BBC coverage of an antisemitic attack during Chanukah demonized British Jews by falsely reporting one of the Jews made an Islamophobic slur. The BBC has dug in its heels and has not retracted that charge.
Furthermore, a veteran BBC contributor of 30 years, Rabbi Y.Y. Rubinstein resigned over the corporation’s “inexcusable” antisemitism. He later described to the Jewish Chronicle a pervasive culture of antisemitism at the Corporation.
Unfortunately, the BBC has raised Jewish ire throughout the entire year, not just in recent weeks.
The BBC was forced to dismiss reporter Tala Halawa when tweets she made comparing Israel to the Nazis surfaced. The BBC was forced to remove a series of educational videos for children that painted an “unbalanced and partisan” picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And the BBC was forced to apologize for incorrectly reporting that Israel was responsible for vaccinating the Palestinians.
The common denominator was an inability to do the right thing until pressure was applied.
Last but not least was an insulting panel discussion on the question, “Are Jews an ethnic minority?” No apologies were ever made for that.
Adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism would give the BBC a firm guideline for addressing such issues in its programming, human resources and environment. It would also send a strong signal to the Jewish community that the Corporation is serious about addressing antisemitism.
The BBC is primarily funded by British taxpayers through a yearly standard license fee of £159 ($215). That raises the Corporation’s level of accountability, yet on matters of antisemitism, the BBC remains utterly incapable of policing itself.
The UK government adopted the IHRA definition in 2016, and the BBC is overdue to do likewise. British Jews cannot be expected to continue funding their own demonization.
Demand the BBC adopt the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism.
Email BBC Director General Tim Davie: firstname.lastname@example.org