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BBC to stop calling Hamas ‘militants’ amid outcry

The broadcaster will instead refer to the Palestinian rulers of Gaza as a terrorist group proscribed by the U.K. government.

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

The BBC will stop describing Hamas as a “militant” group and instead refer to the rulers of the Gaza Strip as “a terrorist organization proscribed by the U.K. government.”

According to reports, the decision was made during a meeting between members of Britain’s Board of Jewish Deputies and BBC director-general Tim Davie.

The reports said that Jewish leaders expressed “outrage” at the BBC‘s coverage of last week’s explosion at the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza, which Hamas claimed killed hundreds of Palestinians and blamed on an Israeli airstrike.

The Israeli military quickly confirmed that the explosion was caused by a failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket launch, and Hamas is believed to have significantly inflated the death toll.

Davie is slated to be grilled by parliamentarians later this week about the broadcaster’s coverage of the war between Israel and Hamas, amid a groundswell of public anger over the outlet’s reporting.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog told visiting British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday that there should be a public outcry against the BBC’s refusal to call Hamas a terrorist organization.

“I know that in modern democracies, like ours and yours, you can’t interfere per se, but since the BBC has a certain linkage and is known as British all over the world, there has to be an outcry for it to be corrected, and that Hamas will be defined as a terrorist organization there as well,” Herzog said. “What else do they need to see to understand that this is an atrocious terror organization?”

The BBC has adamantly refused to call Hamas “terrorists,” even after the Islamist group’s murder of more than 1,400 persons in Israel, most of them civilians, and kidnapping of over 200 others, including dozens of foreign nationals.

Sunak responded that “we should call it what it is—an act of terrorism perpetrated by an evil terrorist organization, Hamas.”

The BBC is currently “urgently investigating” six reporters and a freelancer following complaints of anti-Israel posts by them on social media.

The posts included “statements justifying the killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas,” referring to the Oct. 7 massacre as a “morning of hope,” mocking relatives of an Israeli grandmother kidnapped by Hamas and saying that “Israel’s prestige is crying in the corner,” according to the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).

The BBC also apologized after a guest on one of its news programs compared Hamas terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians to Jews rising up against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto in the spring of 1943.

Citing BBC’s “biased coverage” of the war against Hamas, staff at the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya banned a film crew from entering the hospital on Saturday.

“When there is no clarity, and this is sometimes the nature of this situation, it is good for such a popular media outlet to check, delve and investigate before publishing its reviews to hundreds of millions of people in the world,” hospital director professor Masad Barhoum told Jewish News Syndicate.

“In everything related to the BBC network, too many red lines were crossed, so when they asked to film at our medical center and interview doctors, it was clear that they were looking for manipulations and distortions, so we informed them that we have closed our doors to them until further notice,” he added.

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