Community holds anti-BBC protest over Chanukah bus attack coverage
An estimated 250 people attended a demonstration outside Broadcasting House on Monday night to protest against the BBC’s news coverage of the antisemitic attack on Oxford Street during Chanukah.
The “BBC News Stop Blaming Jews” protest, which was organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, took place after a news report accused a passenger on the bus of making an anti-Muslim slur.
Jewish community organisations reject the BBC’s claim that a voice can be heard making the slur in video footage of last month’s incident.
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Police are still investigating the attack and no arrests have been made.
The CAA said: “We are demanding explanations over the BBC’s outrageous coverage of the recent antisemitic incident on Oxford Street during the Jewish festival of Chanukah, when the BBC’s reports victim-blamed Jewish teenagers for being attacked.
“This incident is one of many in which the BBC has victim-blamed Jewish people for antisemitism, downplayed racism towards Jews, platformed antisemites and fuelled antisemitism in Britain.”
Dame Maureen Lipman and the former BBC chairman Michael Grade were among those who offered their support to the demonstrators.
Monday night’s protest was briefly marred by the appearance of the chairman of the far-right National Front, who was spotted with a camera filming at the event.
Video footage from the event showed Gideon Falter, the CAA’s chief executive joining in with other protesters who chanted “Racist scum off our streets” as the NF’s Tony Martin was ushered away from the demo by angry demonstrators.
The BBC has so far stood by its reporting of last month’s attack.
In a letter published in this week’s Jewish News, BBC nations director Rhodri Talfan Davies said its coverage has been “misrepresented” and revealed it “consulted Hebrew speakers” in determining an anti-Muslim slur was spoken in English as the bus was under attack.
But it has separately emerged that Chief Rabbi Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has written privately to Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, to express his concerns.