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July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

UK Drops Probe of BBC Reporter’s Anti-Semitism at Paris Unity March

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has condemned a decision by ‘Ofcom’ not to uphold complaints made against BBC reporter Tim Willcox over remarks he made to a French Jewish woman in Paris.

Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the communications industries in Britain.

The incident took place at the unity march in Paris, held in solidarity with the victims of radical Islamist terror attacks in the city the previous week. The woman was expressing her fears about the rise of anti-Semitism throughout Europe and particularly in France. While speaking with Willcox during his interview at the event, the BBC reporter told the woman, “Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well.”

Ofcom ruled the reporter’s remarks were “justified by the context in which they were presented.”

However, noted UK Board of Deputies of British Jews’ vice president Jonathan Arkush, “The objection to Willcox’s interview was his suggestion that French Jews could expect to be targeted by terrorists because of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Ofcom seem to have missed the point entirely. Ofcom also seem to have forgotten that Willcox himself admitted he had got it wrong and apologised.”

But a bigger problem was the fact that the complaints were dropped altogether, as noted in a statement on its Facebook page by Campaign Against Anti-Semitism UK, and the regulator refused to explain why the anti-Semitism was not investigated. This does not reflect a vow by UK Communications Secretary Eric Pickles to “censure” anti-Semitism in government institutions.

“Ofcom quietly dropped the 22 complaints you submitted… in a table listing complaints that had been assessed and then not investigated at the bottom of page 58 of Ofcom Bulletin 272, the regulator confirmed that it would not be looking into 22 complaints against a breach of “Generally accepted standards” by BBC News in a broadcast on 11th January. We contacted Ofcom and they confirmed that this relates to the Willcox interview but they refused to explain why they had decided not to investigate the complaints.”

The BBC, to its credit, is conducting its own investigation into the reporter’s comments and is expected to reach a conclusion by February 23.

An Ofcom spokesperson responded to this JewishPress.com report with the following statement:

“Ofcom carefully assessed complaints about alleged anti-Semitic comments made by Tim Willcox at a Paris rally and decided not to take the issue forward for further investigation.

“While the comments clearly had the potential to cause offence, Ofcom considered a range of factors, including the live nature of this coverage and the need for an appropriate degree of freedom of expression, especially in news coverage of such a significant event.”

BBC’s Holocaust Tweet Shocker

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Originally published at Honest Reporting.

January 27 is International Holocaust Memorial Day and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. With this in mind and the aftermath of the Paris terror attack on a kosher supermarket, there has been a great deal of discussion and commemoration in the media.

But could the BBC have asked a more crass, insensitive and downright offensive question on Twitter?

— The Big Questions (@bbcbigquestions) January 25, 2015

This was the question asked on The Big Questions, a BBC debate show on moral, ethical and religious issues. However, irrespective of the quality of the debate on the show itself, the tweet needs to be seen in isolation because many of those who saw it on Twitter would not have seen it in a larger context.

And how inappropriate for the BBC to even be debating the topic with such a question precisely during the buildup to events commemorating the biggest crime in modern history.

Perhaps the question may have related to a poll that found that some 58 percent of Germans say the past should be consigned to history in reference to the Holocaust. This, however, does nothing to excuse the BBC from raising the issue in such a format that lacks any relevant context to such a sensitive topic.

In addition, a TV debate or discussion is a controlled environment with a moderator as is the case on The Big Questions. Twitter, in comparison, is a virtual jungle where the only moderating influences are those of other tweeters.

The BBC has proudly publicized its comprehensive coverage of Holocaust Memorial Day, drawing attention to a wide range of programming. This included The Big Questions on the BBC’s media release which stated:

A one-hour special Big Questions on BBC One will look at the anniversary and the issues involved from never forgetting, to man’s inhumanity. It will also ask: could something like this happen again? 

How did the original question, “could something like this happen again?” and the stated emphasis of the program change so drastically? That it has indicates something insidious within the BBC.

Undoubtedly, had the BBC’s media release published in October 2014 included the question that ultimately was asked, those figures involved in Holocaust remembrance would have raised the alarm.

In light of this and Tim Willcox’s appalling questions to the child of a Holocaust survivor, it seems that insensitivity is something that the BBC is getting rather good at.

HR Managing Editor Simon Plosker adds:

What or who exactly does the BBC want to lay to rest? Holocaust survivors? The memory of six million Jewish victims of Nazi genocide? The BBC evidently has no moral compass when it comes to Jews or Israel. Why should this even be up for debate and why is it only issues of immense importance to Jews that the BBC is prepared to ride roughshod over?

The BBC originally asked could something like the Holocaust happen again. Asking whether people should forget about the Holocaust could very well increase the possibility of it happening again.

BBC Reporter Needles French Jewish Woman at Unity Rally

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Outrage has begun to make its way around the Internet in the wake of a nasty interview by a BBC correspondent who was unable to keep his personal bias out of his coverage of Sunday’s mega-million unity rally in France.

The heads of 40 different nations attended the event; nearly four million demonstrators came to march with them and hear them speak.

But apparently BBC reporter Tim Willcox just couldn’t resist needling a French Jewish woman during his interview with her there.

The woman, a member of the badly traumatized French Jewish community, expressed her fear that Jews are being targeted in Europe – only to be interrupted by Willcox contradicting her. Here’s how the dialogue went:

French Woman: The situation is going back to the days of 1930 in Europe.

Tim Willcox: Do you think that could be resolved, though, now, before it’s too late?

FW: Yes, of course… we have to, not to be afraid to say, that Jews are, that they are the target now. It’s not only the…

TW: Many critics, though, of Israel’s policy would suggest the Palestinians suffered hugely at Jewish hands as well.

FW: We cannot do amalgam… yes?

TW: But, but, but, you understand, everything is seen from different perspectives.”

FW: Of course, but this is not my …

TW: No, I understand.”

Quite apart from the obvious point that anti-Semitism has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of Israel’s policy vis a vis the Palestinian Authority,  — and that the subject of Israel and the PA was a complete disconnect from that of the rally — the question is whether the interview really was meant to be part of a BBC special report on the rally at all.

(This writer wonders: Does one feel more powerful making insinuations and bullying a woman who has already been traumatized and clearly fears for her life?)

The rally itself was intended to show solidarity with the surviving victims of last week’s radical Islamist terror attacks and to honor the memories of those who were murdered. It was also intended to send a clear, unambiguous message that France will not tolerate radical Islamist terror. And world leaders won’t either.

Perhaps they will even call it what it is, now.

For the terrorists yelled “Allahu Akbar!” at the start of their murderous rampage at the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine last Wednesday. Methodically going from one target to the next, they slaughtered their way through a hit list, killing everyone at an editorial meeting in addition to a maintenance worker, two police officers and an additional employee.

A day later, another member of the terror cell shot and killed a policewoman. It later turned out that he and his common law wife had bungled the job: their real target was a Chabad-Lubavitch elementary school, but they got into a car accident and when police arrived, they opened fire and ran instead.

The next day, Friday, Hayat Boumedienne allegedly dropped her husband, Amedy Coulibaly off near the Hyper Cacher grocery store for his next and last terror attack. He held more than a dozen people hostage and killed four before French police finally stormed the site in coordination with a parallel operation at the other end of the city.

By that time, Boumedienne had caught a plane to Turkey. From there she made her way to Syria, according to various media reports.

Cherif and Said Koachi, who together with Hamid Mourad had attacked Charlie Hebdo, had taken a hostage at a Paris printing factory on the edge of the capital. But their time was brief as French police finally stormed their site.

Yehuda Glick on Hardcopy

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

BBC TV’s Director Fears for Future of Jews in Britain

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Danny Cohen, the director of television at the BBC, is usually in the news to talk about the next big thing in British television. He is known for helping commission popular British shows such as the coming-of-age sitcom “The Inbetweeners” and the BAFTA award-winning “Skins.” Now he oversees the BBC’s four main channels.

However, on Sunday, Cohen gave the discussion about anti-Semitism in Europe a potent jolt.

“I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months,” Cohen told Israeli television anchor Yonit Levi at a conference in Jerusalem. “And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually? Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before.”

Cohen is a native Londoner who has lived in the UK his entire life. A month and a half earlier, Parliament’s opposition leader, Ed Milliband, posted about the rise of British anti-Semitism on Facebook.

Amid spikes in anti-Semitism across Europe, anti-Semitic incidents in England skyrocketed during the war in Gaza this summer.

Cohen’s position near the top of the BBC, which took a lot of heat for its coverage of the Gaza war, has helped draw great attention to his comments, including from some who suggested he uses his position of influence to defend Jews.

The UK Jewish News laid the blame in part at the feet of the BBC, saying its coverage of this summer’s war was biased.

Bennett Talks Israel on HardTalk

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Michelle Obama’s ‘Nigerian Girls’ Speech and What it Misses

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

United States First Lady Michelle Obama

offered her thoughts, prayers and support in the wake of the unconscionable terrorist kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls. The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, May 10, 2014. [White House Press Office]

Her argument against what the Islamist terrorists of Boko Haram did, and have been doing for years to their fellow Nigerians with sickening brutality, is summarized this way:

This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education – grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls… In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters. We see their hopes, their dreams and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”

From the official text of her speech, it’s hard not to notice that she uses the word “terrorist” three times in describing the Islamists of Boko Haram who have openly taken credit for the kidnappings.

But not once does she use the words Boko Haram or Islam or Islamist. 

There’s a flip-side to this. Although Michelle Obama herself (or her speech-writers, if one were to be coldly pedantic about this) calls them terrorists, the ever-delicate – and hugely influential – BBC does not use the word even once in its coverage of her speech. (Here and here are some background notes on the BBC’s obnoxious “use of terrorism” guidelines. And here is the policy itself.) Oddly, they have no problem inserting Boko Haram and Islamist into their report, though Mrs Obama’s speech does not mention either term. She does call them terrorists, but to the oh-so-doctrinaire BBC, they’re militants.

As for Mrs Obama’s perfectly justifiable outrage at grown men “determined to keep these girls from getting an education,” we wonder if she is aware of the other unconscionable atrocities for which this group has taken responsibility. Tragically, it’s not only about education or girls. A very partial list:

• Boko Haram terrorists bombed a Catholic church, filled with worshipers, in  January 2014, and killed 45 of them [source]. • Boko Haram terrorists carried out two roadside attacks on unsuspecting travelers in September 2013 and murdered no fewer than 159 of them, all fellow Nigerians [“22-Sep-13: A quiet weekend“] A week later they attacked the College of Agriculture in Yobe state and shot students as they slept, killing some forty of the young men. [“29-Sep-13: Sunday, bloody, bloody Sunday“]

• Boko Haram executed three human bomb attacks on Christian churches in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna in June 2012. At least 50 people were killed, according to the Red Cross. 131 were injured. This was “the third weekend in a row in which Boko Haram has carried out bombings on churches” [BBC] The report points out that “Kaduna lies on the dividing line between Nigeria’s largely Christian south and mainly Muslim north… Since 2009, it has targeted police stations and other government buildings, churches and schools. Hundreds of people have died in the attacks, and analysts suggest the group is trying to trigger clashes between Christians and Muslims.”

• Boko Haram gunmen launched a terror attack on a Christian church in Gombe in January 2012, and managed to kill 6 and wound 10 of the Christian worshipers [source] (A UN agency has a detailed and much fuller timeline of Boko Haram atrocities and body counts here. It’s a truly ghastly tally.)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/this-ongoing-war/michelle-obamas-nigerian-girls-speech-and-what-it-misses/2014/05/11/

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