Last week, HonestReporting documented the outrage of the Jewish community in Britain after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) falsely claimed that Jewish youths on the receiving end of an antisemitic tirade had themselves made “racial slurs” during the abuse.

Indeed, careful analysis of an audio recording of the incident left no room for doubt: the BBC’s allegation simply, objectively and verifiably did not happen.

Despite a wave of complaints on social media, most notably on Twitter, with many claiming that the BBC had engaged in victim-blaming and pushed a ‘two-sides’ narrative about an antisemitic attack without any evidence that any such slurs had been made, the BBC has refused to fully retract the allegation.

The BBC did edit its story about the attack – but only to slightly alter the wording of the baseless allegation. The original passage alleged that “some racial slurs” about Muslims could be heard from the bus where the Jewish students took shelter. This has now been revised to claim — still falsely — that a single “slur about Muslims” was made.

However, eleven days after the article was originally uploaded to the BBC website, the London’s Jewish Chronicle (JC) reported that the Metropolitan Police informed local organization Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) that no evidence of any such hateful speech against Muslims has been found.

As a result, the Met Police, which has been probing the whole incident, has found no evidence to support the BBC’s claim and consequently shut down this part of its investigation into the attack, CAA told the JC.

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For the last twelve days, the British community has continued to protest against the BBC, with the issue dominating local Jewish media coverage, as well as making national news, too.

Related Reading: Outrage as BBC Falsely Insinuates Victims of Antisemitic Attack Spread ‘Anti-Muslim Slur’

With the news that the police have dropped the part of its investigation which pertained to allegations of anti-Muslim slurs, the BBC should now retract all claims, apologize, and explain how this serious lapse in journalistic ethics happened.

Therefore, HonestReporting has filed dual complaints with the BBC and Ofcom, the government-approved independent regulatory body responsible for the British media.

In our complaint to the BBC, we note that, contrary to the BBC’s allegations, “the Metropolitan police have examined the evidence and heard no such slur,” before making clear that the “claim is an utter sham and deeply offensive to the Jewish community. There are no ‘two sides’ here. Jews were being abused. They did not do any abusing of their own. Insinuating that they did is outrageous.”

We also note the BBC’s failure to adequately address the problem, despite widespread condemnation from Britain’s Jewish community:

The BBC has repeatedly parried complaints about this false accusation instead of doing the decent thing and admitting that the claim simply has no basis. It’s outrageous and deeply offensive. It’s bad enough when Jews are attacked on the streets of London, but for them to then be falsely accused of hurling abuse themselves constitutes a total failure to meet basic journalistic standards.”

The message ends with the simple call: “Apologize already.”

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Now that the Met Police has announced that it has examined the evidence and found no proof of any anti-Muslim slur, why has the BBC still failed to respond?

With the corporation so far unwilling to admit any wrongdoing, HonestReporting has also lodged a formal complaint with the regulatory body, Ofcom. In our complaint to the independent industry regulator, we note that:

The issue is so severe and so outrageous, with the BBC refusing to apologise for over 10 days now, that Ofcom’s intervention is clearly necessitated.”

BBC Repeatedly Tarred by Antisemitism

This episode is just the latest in a string of incidents that call into question the BBC’s impartiality regarding Israel and Jewish people. In May, HonestReporting helped expose the antisemitic tweets of reporter Tala Halawa, following a lead by GnasherJew. After an HonestReporting tweet went viral, the issue received widespread media coverage, and the BBC eventually fired Halawa some weeks later.

And just last month, an HonestReporting investigation uncovered numerous antisemitic social posts by another BBC employee, Nasima Begum.

Hardly surprising for an organization that has suppressed an allegedly damning report which would have exposed its deep-seated anti-Israel bias.

It is now abundantly clear that the BBC has a serious problem that must be urgently addressed.

Join us and complain to Ofcom in order to demand that the BBC retract and apologise for this falsehood.

Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP

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