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BBC Arabic rife with antisemitism, says former TV director

One example cited by David Cohen was a report questioning whether the massacre at Kibbutz Kfar Aza even happened.

Close-up of the “BBC News” icon. Credit: Olga Ganovicheva/Shutterstock.
Close-up of the “BBC News” icon. Credit: Olga Ganovicheva/Shutterstock.

A prominent ex-BBC chief added his voice to the growing outcry over the network’s bias against Israel, which though long-standing, has become increasingly apparent post-Oct. 7.

“Something is going badly wrong. Mistakes don’t happen 80 times,” David Cohen, former director of BBC Television from 2013 until 2015, wrote in The Telegraph on Tuesday, noting that since Oct. 7, BBC Arabic “has been forced to make 80 corrections to its reporting.”

Among the most egregious examples: a report questioning whether the massacre at Kibbutz Kfar Aza even took place, playing into antisemitic conspiracy theories.

“How was a video of that nature produced and distributed by the BBC in the first place? How is it possible that editorial standards at BBC Arabic had fallen so low that this was seen as legitimate reporting?” Cohen asked.

Other examples he provided included a BBC Arabic presenter who asked an Egyptian guest to apologize for sympathizing with Israel and a BBC Arabic journalist who neglected to ask an Arab woman “about the time she stabbed an Israeli neighbor in front of her children.”

Another BBC Arabic correspondent “liked” tweets calling the Oct. 7 massacre “a morning of hope.”

Shortly after Oct. 7, the BBC said it was “urgently investigating” six reporters and a freelancer following complaints of anti-Israel posts on social media brought to its attention by media watchdog group CAMERA.

While the BBC employs people “who celebrated the worst massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust,” it makes the scandal far worse by not dealing seriously with the problem, Cohen wrote.

The BBC has even praised its Arabic service with Director-General Tim Davie describing it as something “we should be very proud of.”

Ironically, Cohen points out that Davie, when taking on his role, made “impartiality,” which is one of five “public purposes” of the BBC, his “number one priority.”

“[I]t now seems clear that, unfortunately, he has failed in his mission in the most shameful way possible,” Cohen wrote.

BBC‘s anti-Israel bias does not end with its Arabic service. Perhaps most egregious is its 20-year suppression of the Balen Report.

Commissioned in 2004, the 20,000-word document, written by senior broadcast journalist Malcolm Balen, looked at hundreds of hours of BBC coverage of the Israel-Arab conflict.

Elements that have leaked make it clear that Balen concluded BBC coverage was biased. But only a select few have seen the full report. The BBC has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in court to keep it from going public.

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