Nearly 80 percent of UK Jewish community sees BBC bias against Israel

A new report shows that the vast majority of Jewish people living in Britain perceive an inherent anti-Israel bias in BBC reporting

by The Commentator on 19 April 2013 12:38

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Almost 80 percent of Jews in the Britain have reported that they believe the BBC is biased against Israel.

A new report published this week shows that 36 per cent of British Jews polled thought that the corporation was "heavily biased" against Israel while 43 per cent thought that it was "somewhat biased". Only three percent felt that the BBC favoured Israel and just 14 percent that its coverage was "balanced".

The damning report comes on the back of justified criticism over the obstructionism within the BBC over the Balen Report, which the BBC has spent over a quarter of a million pounds on to stop its public release. The report was commissioned in 2004 following allegations of anti-Israel bias. It has never been released.

The findings of the new study come in the week that the Jewish former Times editor James Harding was announced as the BBC's new director of current affairs and news. The results are based on an online poll of more than 4,000 respondents conducted three years ago by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research. The report is entitled, "Jews and the News: News consumption habits and opinions of Jews in Britain".

Despite the report's findings over the perception of bias, it states that the BBC is still, by and large, the "most important provider of terrestrial and online news among respondents to the survey". Interestingly, it states that "Respondents who supported the Conservative Party were twice as likely to perceive the BBC as being ‘heavily biased’ against Israel as Labour Party supporters. Further, self-defined ‘Religious’ respondents were more likely than ‘Secular’ respondents to consider the BBC to be biased."

The Times was the most popular printed newspaper read by almost half the sample. This title was also the most popular Jewish choice in 1995. The Evening Standard came next with 26 percent, followed by the Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday with 24 percent, The Guardian/Observer ranked at 22 percent with the Daily Telegraph at just 21 percent.

Dr Graham, the author of the report said: "It is apparent that the BBC news coverage does not reflect the way most Jews see Israel." But as the survey was about attitudes to Israel, the results, he said, "may over-represent individuals with an interest in politics and international affairs".

During the London Olympics, the BBC was criticised for refusing to publish any mention of an Israeli capital city on its website, while maintaining that the capital of the Palestinian Territories was "East Jerusalem". Monitoring of the BBC's coverage of last year's Israel-Hamas war revealed that the corporation's Gaza correspondents were promoting Hamas propaganda which turned out to be false.

That the BBC continues to dominate British news and online media coverage in spite of widescale perceived bias is incredibly concerning and has been highlighted by campaigners previously.

Recently, the BBC was criticised for its "neither impartial, nor reliable" coverage of the Middle East, with almost 4,000 people signing a petition calling for a referendum on the mandatory licence fee, paid by all British television owners to the BBC.

Writing for The Guardian today, Lisa O'Carroll insisted that those who work at the BBC cannot have pro-Israel views.

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