National Jewish Assembly Condemns BBC for Airing Disputed Footage of Alleged “Jewish Spitting on Christians”

The National Jewish Assembly strongly condemns the BBC for using disputed footage to illustrate alleged incidents of Jewish spitting on Christian nuns in the Old City. The footage was aired on the BBC’s nightly news bulletins during a report about heightened tensions in Israel.

It has since been revealed that the response was not aimed at the nuns but at a bystander who made a highly offensive and antisemitic remark as the group of Jewish men walked past. This incident has been grossly misrepresented by the BBC, causing unwarranted offence and further exacerbating tensions in the region.

Moreover, the BBC’s misleading coverage of this incident comes only a day after it had published an erroneous report blaming the Israeli Police for allegedly denying Christian worshippers from visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The NJA is deeply concerned that the repeated errors in airing misleading reports is indicative of a pattern in the BBC’s biased and inaccurate reporting regarding Israeli affairs.

To many in the Jewish community, this unfortunate episode is reminiscent of the BBC’s flawed and misleading reporting about an antisemitic incident on a bus during Chanukah in December 2021. After the BBC inaccurately began to blame the Jewish victims instead of the Muslim agitators who were hurling abuse, the BBC was caught victim-blaming and subsequently was compelled to apologise for misrepresenting the facts.

This type of biased and irresponsible reporting only serves to fuel divisions and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. The NJA calls on the BBC to retract the report and issue a public apology to those who have been affected by this gross misrepresentation. The apology should also be aired during the programs on which the original misleading report had appeared.

As an institution with a significant reach and influence, the BBC must ensure that it upholds the highest standards of journalistic integrity and accuracy. It is unacceptable for the BBC to use disputed footage that distorts the facts and promotes harmful prejudices.

The NJA urges the BBC to take steps to prevent such incidents from happening in the future and to strive for impartial and accurate reporting.

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