Adam Ma’anit, Digital Communications Officer at the Board of Deputies, wrote to the synagogue to update the community about their work on the BBC’s false allegations against Jewish victims of an anti-Semitic attack.
I am writing to inform you of certain actions that the Board has taken with regard to the BBC’s misreporting of an antisemitic incident on the second night of Chanukah in London. You may recall that videos circulated of a bus full of Jewish people attacked on Oxford Street on the night of November 29th. The BBC subsequently claimed that “anti-Muslim slurs” could be heard coming from the bus, and even hypothesized that those carrying out the antisemitic attack might have been provoked into doing so by the Jewish people themselves. The Corporation subsequently stated that only one “anti-Muslim slur” could be heard coming from the bus. Despite mounting evidence that no such slurs were made at all, the BBC has refused to further change its story, despite the significant further distress this has caused to the victims of the antisemitic bus attack.
- Following the BBC’s continued denial that it has misreported the incident in question, the President of the Board of Deputies, Marie van der Zyl, took the decision that the Board would submit this incident for expert independent verification, which we believed would prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the BBC’s reporting was inaccurate.
- The Board, with the help of the Jewish Chronicle, obtained the original video footage of the incident directly from the person on the bus who took it. We commissioned an independent report, undertaken by an open source Internet and social media investigations agency, to ascertain whether the BBC or the Jewish community were correct. The report, which can be accessed here ( https://www.bod.org.uk/bbcreports ), and also attached to this e-mail, confirms that the BBC’s claims of an “anti-Muslim slur” being uttered on that bus are completely groundless.
- Additionally, the Board commissioned an expert forensic linguist to examine the footage and report on the findings. The forensic linguist in question has also confirmed what we have said all along; the words which the BBC appears to have interpreted as being an “anti-Muslim slur” in English are not English at all, but rather the words “Tikra LeMishu, Ze Dachuf” (“Call somebody, it’s urgent”) spoken in Hebrew. Note: although formally the word is “mishehu” native Hebrew speakers tend to drop the last syllable rendering it ‘mishu’ in common speech. We attach that report as well and you can also find a link to it on our website: https://www.bod.org.uk/bbcreports
- The Jewish Chronicle has reported on this story at length in this week’s issue. You can read their front-page story here: ( https://www.thejc.com/news/news/damning-new-evidence-undermines-bbc’s-oxford-street-racist-slur-claim-5QMDcvQg2mg3yAXxTJIzif )
- Additionally, the paper has published an opinion piece by our President, which can be read here ( https://www.thejc.com/lets-talk/all/to-restore-public-trust-the-bbc-must-apologise-B3tyTU73bGn5YaiBJTsAo ). In this article, she makes a number of important points, including calling for the BBC, “at the very least”, to issue a public apology to the victims of the antisemitic attack. She has also pointed out the following:“It should not have been left to us, a Jewish communal organisation, to commission an independent report to prove this point. The BBC should have done this itself, rather than apparently conducting an internal investigation and finding no wrongdoing. To us, this apparent attempt to mark its own homework is reminiscent of the behavioural pattern the corporation has displayed amidst past scandals. Once again, instead of approaching a potential error with an open mind, its default response appears to be to circle the wagons and deny everything. This is clearly a calamitous approach to retaining the public’s trust.”
- The JC has also published a piece by our Digital Communications Officer, Adam Ma’anit, detailing the process which the Board took in its efforts to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the BBC’s reporting on this issue has been inaccurate. This can be read here ( https://www.thejc.com/lets-talk/all/keep-calm-and-call-someone-it’s-urgent-4b0V0ePYYtD6gF0zVnIQL9 ).
- You may also be aware of reports that the President is due to meet the BBC’s Director General and some other senior corporation executives in January. Of course, the BBC’s misreporting of the antisemitic incident on Oxford Street will be a primary topic of discussion at this meeting, as will the BBC’s misreporting on other areas of great concern to our community. The Board has already identified a number of actions we believe the BBC needs to take in order to address this serious problem, but will be consulting further with the Defence Division regarding topics to raise and recommendations to make. If you have any thoughts on this matter, we would ask you to make these known to Deputies who sit on the Defence Division, so that this can be discussed in further detail at the Division’s upcoming meeting on January 10th.
A key part of our work involves promoting and defending the interests of our community, and we believe this is a prime example of our efforts in this regard. We will continue to update you with further reports on this issue in the coming period.