Former BBC Boss Accuses Broadcaster of ‘Egregious’ Anti-Israel Bias

Protesters wearing fake blood make-up and holding placards take part in a demonstration "R

The former director of BBC Television has accused the publicly-funded broadcaster of holding an “egregious” anti-Israel bias and failing to uphold its commitment to impartiality in its coverage of the Middle East conflict.

The BBC, which is funded by an annual mandatory licence fee (tax) of £159 for anyone in Britain who watches live colour television in the country on pain of fine or potential jail time, has violated its legally binding commitment to impartiality, notably from its BBC News Arabic service, said former Director of BBC Television Danny Cohen.

The Royal Charter of the BBC, which provides the constitutional basis for its continued broadcasting, states that the BBC must provide “high-quality news coverage to international audiences, firmly based on British values of accuracy, impartiality, and fairness.”

However, Cohen, who ran the public broadcaster’s television arm from 2013 to 2015, wrote in The Telegraph on Tuesday that “the Israel-Hamas war has seen the BBC fail to deliver on this crucial test on more occasions than can be explained away as ‘errors’ or bad luck.”

The ex-BBC boss pointed to statements from regional reporters hired by the BBC News Arabic service as having mimed “the language you would hear from a Hamas spokesman,” adding: “Our licence fees are paying the wages of people who celebrated the rape and slaughter of men, women and children.”

Following the October 7th attacks on Israel, which saw Hamas terrorists kill over 1,200 people and take hundreds more hostage, a BBC News Arabic correspondent was reported to have praised the “Palestinian resistance” for “taking an initiative” while describing a video full of civilian hostages on the back of a truck as a “proud scene”.

A BBC Arabic editor also reportedly responded to a video of Israeli citizens hiding from Islamist terrorists as: “Settlers hiding inside a tin container in fear of the Palestinian resistance warriors”.

The broadcaster has long faced accusations of hiring reporters with an anti-Israel bias. For example, in 2021, a BBC “Palestinian Specialist” was reported to have pronounced that “Hitler was right” and that Israel was “more Nazi than Hitler”.

The scandals have not been contained merely to BBC Arabic, however, with a schedule coordinator for BBC 3, Dawn Queva, being fired earlier this year from the broadcaster after it emerged that she allegedly wrote on social media that Israelis were a “subcontinental Caucasian invader coloniser species with zero indigenous/blood” and that Jewish people were “Nazi apartheid parasites”.

Cohen commented: “The BBC is employing people who celebrated the worst massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust… If any other publicly funded organisation supported terrorist sympathisers, the outcry would be enormous. Yet the BBC seems to be impervious to its problems, unwilling to recognise and address the management failures that are poisoning one of Britain’s great institutions.”

“When breaches of impartiality are so egregious that they extend to the exaltation of a massacre, something has gone very wrong with the public broadcaster. But these scandals are made so much worse when the organisation fails to deal effectively with the problem,” the former BBC Television director added.

Cohen also noted that rather than issuing a mea culpa for the apparent anti-Israel bias of BBC News Arabic, BBC Director General Tim Davie has defended the service, saying that BBC Arabic was something “we should be very proud of”.

Despite Davie vows to maintain the BBC’s commitment to impartiality, the broadcaster has also faced accusations of bias over its editorial stances towards Israel, notably refusing to label Hamas as terrorists, instead referring to them merely as “fighters”, “gunmen”, or “militants”.

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