There should be a public outcry against the BBC’s refusal to call Hamas a terrorist organization, Israeli President Isaac Herzog told visiting British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday.
“We are dealing with one of the worst terrorist organizations in the world,” the president told Sunak, calling the broadcaster’s policy “a distortion of facts.
“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 “terrorists.” The Islamist group’s recent murder of more than 1,400 persons in Israel, most of them civilians, and kidnapping of over 200 others, including dozens of foreign nationals, did nothing to change its longstanding policy.
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.
Separately, Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel stressed the importance of fighting against “fake news” and lies in reporting about Israel, speaking on Thursday in a video call with 20 pro-Israeli lawmakers and activists from parliaments around the world.
Her Zoom call with leaders of Israel Allies Caucuses from parliaments across Europe was briefly interrupted by sirens warning of an afternoon rocket attack on Tel Aviv.
“I thanked them for their support for Israel at this difficult time, and I asked them to continue to fight against the lies directed at Israel,” Gamliel said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The Zoom call also followed an explosion near a Gaza hospital Tuesday night caused by an errant Palestinian rocket that Hamas immediately blamed on Israel and which was reported as such to much fanfare by the foreign press for hours.
Meanwhile, The Guardian newspaper has fired a longtime editorial cartoonist and refused to run a caricature of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that critics say drew on antisemitic imagery.
The latest cartoon by Steve Bell, who worked for the left-wing British newspaper for the last four decades, was posted on social media. It shows Netanyahu holding a scalpel and preparing to cut out a Gaza-shaped incision in his abdomen with the caption “Residents of Gaza, get out now.”