Simon Wiesenthal Centre labels BBC as “anti-Semitic"

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has placed the BBC at No 3 on its annual Global Antisemitism Top Ten list, released on Tuesday,.

Rabbi Marvin Hier (pictured), head of the centre, told The Mail "People might be surprised to see the BBC on our list but the decision to place the BBC at No 3 came after months of intense debate and discussion. We believe the BBC has been guilty of several incidences of anti-semitism during the past year.

"People might assume we would put neo-Nazi groups on our list but the BBC is there because when a globally recognised organisation allows antisemitism to creep into its reporting, it makes it all the more insidious and dangerous."

The Rabbi singled out the Corporation’s reporting of an attack on a busload of Jewish teenagers by a group of men who chanted anti-Israel slogans. The incident took place in London’s Oxford Street as the teens celebrated the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

"The BBC falsely reported that a victim on the bus used an anti-Muslim slur. But what was heard on tape was a distressed Jewish man speaking in Hebrew appealing for help," he said.

"If far-Right thugs attacked a bus of Muslim children in central London, I would hope and expect universal condemnation and wall-to-wall coverage, with mug shots of those responsible broadcast until they had been identified and prosecuted. That is not what happened when a group of Asian men on Oxford Street attacked a bus of Jewish children celebrating Chanukah. The men hit the bus, spat at and threatened the children, and made Nazi salutes. The BBC called the anti-Semitism 'alleged'....." Lord Ian Austin, writing in The Telegraph, December 6th 2021.

The allegations against the BBC come against a background of rising - and openly displayed - anti-Semitism in the UK.

On December 17th 2021, Feras al-Jayoosi, a 34-year old Hamas supporter from Swindon, was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for two years. He had spotted walking around Golders Green in North London, in the vicinity of a synagogue, wearing a large backpack, and a t-shirt supporting Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an organisation associated with suicide bombings, and which since March 2001 has been on the UK Government list of proscribed terrorist organisations.

Of the seventy-eight terror groups on the proscribed list sixty-seven are Islamic groups. However, Neil Basu, National Police Chiefs Council lead for Counter Terrorism Policing, and the man currently being touted as the next Commissioner of the Met is quoted as saying that the main threat comes from the far-right: there are just four such groups on the list.

CCTV footage revealed images of the same man walking around the same area of Golders Green on the previous day wearing a similar t-shirt, but this time with a Hamas logo.

During the May 2021 conflict with Israel, Hamas fired over 4,000 rockets indiscriminately into Israel, killing innocent civilians, including two children. In the months after the May conflict the number of anti-Semitic attacks in the UK spiked.

Following the conviction, Head of Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command Commander Richard Smith said “Al Jayoosi’s actions caused a great deal of concern within local communities, and an investigation was quickly launched as a result of a call to police.

“This case further underlines how important information from communities is to our work, and how seriously we take reports of this nature. I would urge anyone with concerns or suspicions about crime in their neighbourhood to call police – we will listen, and we will act.”

Anti-Semitism Festering, says Lord Austin.

"Anti-Semitism has festered on campuses, and in the far-Right and hard-Left, but it became mainstream during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party," said Lord Austin, who is Chair of the anti-extremist campaigning group Mainstream.

"Israel became an obsession on the Left, held to standards never applied to other countries, and Jewish people in Britain were expected to account for a government of another country.

"The demonisation of Israel leads to racist attacks against Britain’s Jewish community. Our national broadcaster should be shining a spotlight on that, exposing the racists and standing up for the victims, not bending over backwards seemingly to find an equivalence where none exists."

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