The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) is deeply appalled by the recent article published by BBC Arabic, which falsely claims that Jews were the “original suicide bombers.” Such unfounded and offensive statements perpetuate harmful stereotypes and historical inaccuracies, and the NJA strongly condemns the BBC’s irresponsible reporting.
The article, titled “The story of suicide bombers throughout history: from the fanatical Jews, through the assassins, to the jihadists,” not only misrepresents historical events but also distorts the truth about Jewish history. The claim that Jewish “Sicari” were the first suicide attackers is not only baseless but deeply offensive. This type of rhetoric only serves to fuel hatred and promote divisiveness.
Gary Mond, Chairman of the National Jewish Assembly in the UK, stated “It is important not to distort historic events to blame Jews for its development. Suicide bombers have been motivated by hate, including (and especially) hatred of life itself. Jews, on the other hand, honour life and do all they can to preserve it, in all types of circumstances. Jews must not be blamed for Israel seeking to wipe out Islamic terrorism in the Lebanon war, nor for in any way being responsible for suicide bombings organised by Palestinian terrorist factions.”
The NJA echoes the concerns of Lord Carlile, who rightly emphasised that the BBC should exercise caution when publishing articles that raise sensitive issues and avoid propagating antisemitism, deliberate or otherwise. This article not only misrepresents history but also creates a false equivalence that diminishes the gravity of modern acts of terrorism, such as the 9/11 attacks.
The NJA calls on the BBC to issue an immediate public apology for this offensive article and take corrective action to prevent the dissemination of false information and stereotypes. As an esteemed news organisation, the BBC should uphold its commitment to journalistic integrity and ethical reporting.
The NJA also urges the BBC to take this as an opportunity to review and address the ongoing concerns of inaccuracy and bias in its coverage of topics related to Israel and Jewish affairs, especially from its BBC Arabic desk.
The NJA, along with other concerned organisations, has noted over 130 corrections issued by BBC Arabic in the past due to similar issues. It is imperative that the BBC reassesses its editorial processes and takes concrete steps to prevent the repetition of such offensive and inaccurate reporting.