LONDON — Angered by the BBC’s biased reporting minimizing an antisemitic assault two weeks earlier, 250 people gathered in front of the company’s central London offices Dec. 13, chanting, “BBC News: Tell the truth!” and “BBC News: Stop blaming Jews!”
On Nov. 29, a group of young Jews from the U.K. and Israel were touring London in an open-top bus to celebrate Hanukkah. Organizer Rabbi Shneor Glitsenstein, from the Chabad Israeli Centre, told The Times that on Oxford Street some got off and began dancing. Moments later three “men began playing Arabic music from their phones and dancing next to us. They quickly became aggressive … yelling ‘Free Palestine!’ … Our group returned to the bus to avoid an inevitable confrontation.” Glitsenstein says the men then threw objects at the bus.
A video circulated online shows three men giving what appear to be Nazi salutes, spitting, using their shoes to bang on the bus and making offensive gestures as the bus tries to move off in traffic.
In its reporting, the BBC referred to the antisemitic threats as “alleged” and then claimed “anti-Muslim” slurs could be heard from Jews on the bus. No other media made this claim. The BBC also said, “It’s not clear what role [the alleged slurs] may have had in the incident,” implying Jewish teenagers were responsible for provoking the antisemitic attacks.
On Dec. 3, the BBC amended its coverage saying there was only a single “anti-Muslim slur.” The Jewish Chronicle reports there is no clear audible evidence of any such remarks.
Gideon Falter, chief executive officer of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, and Fiyaz Mughal, of Muslims Against Antisemitism, addressed the rally.