Blatant BBC online anti-Semitism (& Iran proposes lashing dog-owners)

November 10, 2014

Above: Just a few of the examples of anti-Semitic hate the BBC allows to stay up on its Facebook page (these are from Nov. 6) – although none of this is, in my opinion, as dangerous as the lies and misinformation that some BBC correspondents and presenters themselves use to stir up ill will against the Jewish state, and anyone whom might support her (i.e. Jews).


Update: The Director of BBC News, James Harding, who subscribes to my Middle East email list, has now written to me about this and says the anti-Semitic posts will be removed and steps will be taken to prevent this happening again.



1. Five nuclear engineers “murdered in Syria”
2. 9-year-old Aleppo girl becomes star of YouTube show on Syrian civil war
3. Chairman of Joint Chiefs: Israel went to “extraordinary lengths to limit civilian deaths”
4. While Hamas kills Israelis, Israel treats senior Hamas official’s sister
5. Media misleads by being dismissive about Judaism’s holiest site
6. Palestinian hit song praises car attacks, encourages more
7. Outrage after senior Amnesty International figure compares Israel to Islamic State
8. Online BBC anti-Semitism flows from on air BBC deceptions about Israel
9. Netanyahu: Israel subjected to “triple standard”
10. Iranian parliamentarians propose people be lashed for walking their dogs in public
11. Five more journalists executed in Mosul
12. Paris kosher supermarket arsonist sentenced


[Notes below by Tom Gross]


Someone appears to know who they are targeting.

Unidentified assailants killed five nuclear engineers on Sunday while they were on a bus just north of Damascus, near the research center where they worked. The claims were made by the well-informed, British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights -- a monitoring group that has a track record for being accurate in its statements concerning events in Syria.

It is believed that at least some of the nuclear engineers were not Syrian and there is speculation they may have been North Korean or Russian.

Another nuclear research center, also near Damascus, was targeted in an Israeli raid in May last year.

And in September 2007, on the orders of Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, Israel hit another nuclear installation. Although Israel did not claim responsibility for that action, others have later made clear Israel was behind it.

For example, the Deputy National Security Advisor responsible for the Middle East in the Bush administration, Elliott Abrams (who is a longtime subscriber to this email list) discussed this in his memoir last year.



“A nine-year-old girl has become the star of a YouTube comedy that depicts with bittersweet humor the harsh reality of everyday life in rebel-held areas of Syria’s Aleppo,” reports AFP from Beirut.

The show (“Umm Abdo al-Halabiya”), which so far comprises 30 episodes, was shot on location in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. All the actors are children playing adult roles. It has been watched tens of thousands of times on YouTube.

The show’s star, Rasha (aged 9), plays the role of a Syrian housewife who must cope in a city devastated by three years of war and severe shortages. Other children play fighters and neighbors caught up in the conflict.

As AFP points out “The script is resolutely anti-regime and the show is the first of its kind to give a bold insight into life in rebel-held areas of Aleppo.”

The director, Bashar Hadi, told AFP that he chose to make a comic show about the tragic everyday life in Aleppo because “humor goes straight to the heart”. Rasha, he said, “represents a generation of children caught up in war, but who have become a symbol of resistance”.

“Several times, shells would fall all around us, forcing us to postpone our shoots,” he added.



The highest-ranking U.S. military officer, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that “Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” in the recent war in Gaza.

Dempsey made his comments during a speech in New York last Thursday at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. He added that the Israel Defense Forces “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.

He also added that he had sent military representatives to Israel to learn from the IDF, so impressed was he by the IDF’s ability to minimize civilian casualties. (The real numbers of civilians that were inadvertently killed by Israel are much lower than the inflated figures given by media such as the BBC.)

What Dempsey said contradicts criticism of Israel by the U.S. State Department and by political anti-Israeli groups such as Human Rights Watch. Amnesty International said in a report released on Wednesday that Israel showed a “callous indifference” to civilian life.

Tom Gross adds: what is interesting (but predictable) is that media such as BBC have not given much prominence on air to Dempsey’s remarks, while media such as Al-Jazeera, which these days is not quite as biased against Israel as the BBC, have reported widely on them, for example, here:

* Among related dispatches:

Hamas’ (and the BBC’s) phony statistics on civilian deaths

Israel’s record on civilian casualties compares well to America’s


Hamas political leader Musa Abu Marzouk (right)



Hamas claimed responsibility for the deadly car attack on tram stop passengers in Jerusalem last Wednesday, the second such attack in two weeks. On the very same day, the sister of senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk was being treated in an Israeli hospital.

Halamia Shcata, 60, is suffering from cancer and has been hospitalized in Israel on a number of occasions in the past.

Last month, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s daughter was also treated in Israel. (See the first item in this dispatch.)

“What other country would do this for the sister of an enemy terrorist? Only Israel,” said one woman interviewed on Israeli TV.

Meanwhile, thousands attended the funerals of the teenager (a grandson of one of Israel’s most prominent rabbis) and the border policeman from Israel’s Druze minority, who were murdered by Hamas in last week’s attack. Israeli President Reuben Rivlin attended both funerals.

The border policeman, Jedan Assad, 38, left behind a three-year-old son and a pregnant wife. He was buried in the northern Druze village of Beit Jann. Hundreds of Israeli Jews also attended the funeral.

Western-funded Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s office again praised the murderer of this Jewish teen and Druze adult.



There is much exasperation in Israel and elsewhere at the misleading way many western media outlets have been describing the Temple Mount, which is the most sacred site for only one religion, Judaism.

Many media have been dismissive of Jewish connections to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, both of which (of course) are at the heart of Jewish religion and identity.

For example, in the British paper The Guardian, journalist Kate Shuttleworth casually referred to the Temple Mount as “also a sacred spot for Jews”.

In fact it’s Judaism’s holiest site, just as Mecca is Islam’s holiest site and the Vatican is very important for Roman Catholics. It is far more important to the identity of many Jews than, for example, The White House is to Americans, or Buckingham Palace is to British people.

Nor has the media explained that while Jerusalem is mentioned dozens of times in the Hebrew bible, it is not mentioned once in the Koran (and not many Muslims put emphasis on Jerusalem until Yasser Arafat, for political reasons, turned it into a nationalistic issue). Or that whereas the centrality of the Temple Mount to Jews dates back thousands of years, Islam wasn’t even founded until the 7th century.

The BBC and others keep on reporting that the site “is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.” This isn’t true. It is known as “Har haBayit” to Jews. English-speaking Christians call it the Temple Mount. The Financial Times goes further and just called it Haram al-Sharif in the middle of an English sentence, as though English speakers (other than a few pro-Palestinian activists) call it Haram al-Sharif.



A new Palestinian song which has already been watched hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube, encourages more car terror attacks against Israelis.

The lyrics read:

“Run them over, destroy,
annihilate, blow them up;
Don’t let the Zionist live long
O Al-Aqsa, we’re your defenders
O son of Jerusalem, cry ‘Allah is great’!”

“Wait for them at the intersection
Let the settler drown in red blood
Terrorize them”

In one of the video versions of the song, the Palestinian singers have added pictures to illustrate their message. There are photos of the recent terrorist attacks with cars and the Israeli victims, including a three-month old baby. The killers are lauded as “Martyrs.”

Another version of the song has these lyrics:

“We ran over a two-month-old,
For you, glorious Al-Aqsa
We’ll run over settlers”

Run over the settler!
Run over the settler!

Lay an ambush on the road
And run them over, Allah will aid you

The whole Arab nation is telling you:
Al-Akari, bless your [soul]
Run over the settler!
Run over the settler!”

(None of those killed in the car attacks were settlers to my knowledge.)



Kristyan Benedict, Amnesty International’s campaigns manager in Britain, has called the “Israeli regime” “#JSIL” in a tweet.

“#JSIL” has recently been used both by extreme left-wing anti-Zionists and extreme right-wing anti-Semites to try and suggest that the terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIL) is somehow comparable to Israel, which they now term JSIL.

After Amnesty, whose British branch has a track record of stoking anti-Semitism (as I have outlined several times before on this list) was bombarded with calls of complaint from British Jews and others, it responded in a statement: “This tweet was made in a personal capacity by a member of staff. It’s being investigated internally. We take issues of social media misuse very seriously.”

The Jewish Leadership Council said: “This is not the first time Kristyan Benedict has shown grave misconduct when carrying out his professional duties. Without internal action being taken, we must seriously question Amnesty International’s sincerity in preventing the misuse of social media by its staff.”

As I have previously outlined on this list, Benedict in 2012 singled out three Jewish MPs (Louise Ellman, Robert Halfon and Luciana Berger -- all of them subscribe to this email list) to make what many felt were anti-Semitic comments about them.

Following that 2012 tweet, Amnesty released a statement saying it was “inappropriate and offensive” but continued to employ Benedict as their campaigns manager.

Last week, Amnesty released a report on this summer’s Gaza war, a report that was given much media publicity in Britain and beyond, but that supporters of Israel say was riddled with lies and skewered information. The report was heavily promoted by the BBC’s chief Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen on twitter and elsewhere.



The BBC is so riddled with bias against Israel that I would have to send several emails a day to catalogue it. (To take one small example, the BBC TV presenter on 8 November 2014 blamed the “Jewish Lobby” for trying to thwart the British Labour Party’s proposed mansion tax. )

At the top of this webpage are just a few examples from the BBC World Service “World Have Your Say” official Facebook page, posted on November 6, 2014. (Thank you to Hadar Sela of BBC Watch for sending them to me.)

These and other similarly anti-Semitic comments were posted following the BBC’s incredibly biased reports on the Hamas terror attack that killed two Israelis and left several others injured in Jerusalem that day.

It is not an accident that anti-Semites are attracted to the websites of media such as the BBC and The Guardian, given their highly inflammatory reports about Israel.

The BBC presenter asked whether the terror attacks were “a natural response to what’s been going on in Jerusalem.” (See two items above for reports of those murdered.)

The BBC World Service is under the full control of the British Foreign Office. There are several British diplomats and cabinet ministers who subscribe to this Middle East email list, as well as senior BBC staff. When are they going to take action to stop this kind of promotion of anti-Semitism by the publicly-funded BBC?



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an interview last week with the online publication Algemeiner, said:

“Well, there is a triple standard when it comes to Israel. There is a standard for dictatorships, there is a standard for democracies, and there is still a third standard for the democracy called Israel. Why is that the case? Because old traditions die hard, and anti-Semitism is a very old tradition. And just as the Jews were maligned, scrutinized, and vilified, and people attributed to us these horrible actions that had nothing to do with reality, the same is true now. What was true of the Jewish people is now true unfortunately of the Jewish state.”



Five more journalists have been murdered by the Islamic State in the Iraqi city of Mosul, according to press reports.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 90% of killers of journalists “get away with it” and “governments need to do more to catch them.”

Here is a list of 370 journalists killed in the last decade, in alphabetical order from Bangladesh to Zimbabwe.



A draft bill signed by 32 Iranian lawmakers could soon see Iranians who continue to walk their dogs in public being sentenced to 74 lashes with a whip, and fined up to 100 million rials (the equivalent of more than $3,500). According to the bill, their pet dogs could also be confiscated, placed in a zoo, or abandoned in the desert.

One MP claimed that walking dogs in public is both a “health hazard” and a “blind imitation of decadent Western culture.”

For years, hardline Iranian polticians have tried (but failed) to outlaw dog ownership, saying that according to their interpretation of Islam, dogs are “dirty animals”.

They are apparently concerned about what some say is a “growing trend” of dog walking in public in Tehran and other major Iranian cities.



The French authorities have begun to crack down on the wave of anti-Semitic attacks that took place last summer, partly as a result of inflammatory and often false or highly exaggerated media reporting about Israel.

A 27-year-old who set fire to a kosher supermarket during an anti-Israel riot in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles on July 20, has been sentenced to four years in prison, a jail sentence that was nearly double what the prosecutor in the case was seeking. The suspect was also convicted of assaulting police officers and aggravated theft.

However, the French watchdog group SPCJ say that the authorities still have a long way to go, given that anti-Semitic activity has doubled in France this year.

The anti-Israel hysteria in France became so severe this summer that French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said there was often now a a direct link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism and the French government temporarily banned some of the anti-Israel demonstrations.

* Athens’ Holocaust memorial has been desecrated with anti-Semitic slogans for the second time this year. Erected in 2010, the monument commemorates the more than 60,000 Greek Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. Today only about 5,000 Jews live in Greece.

A recent Anti-Defamation League survey showed that Greece has the highest rate of anti-Jewish attitudes in Europe, with 69 percent of Greeks espousing anti-Semitic views. That is nearly twice the rate of the next highest country, France, where 37 percent voiced anti-Semitic feelings.

For details of and commentary on that poll, see: “Auschwitz commandant’s grandson urges Europeans: please vote to stop the extremists”

* The German magazine Der Spiegel runs an article this week suggesting that the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party is losing support. You can read it in English here:

“Sun Sets on Golden Dawn: Greek Party Accused in Killings and Racist Attacks.”

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.