9 October 2023

Why won’t the BBC call Hamas terrorists?


The Times Radio journalist stumbled as she pondered the right way to describe Hamas operatives who had slaughtered 250 teenagers at a rave, kidnapped grandparents with dementia and slaughtered entire families. Finally Chloe Tilley came up with ‘bravery’ before marvelling at the ‘incredible ability’ of Hamas to ‘go for Israel in such a way that we have never seen before’. 

The BBC’s Lucy Hockings – a senior presenter, not a pundit – marvelled at ‘the game changer’ adding: ‘The ways that their lives in the West Bank and Gaza are controlled by Israel, that Netanyahu’s government has abandoned the peace process. If you live in Gaza as a young man, it is highly likely they feel this was their only option.’

Channel 4 did a whole half an hour segment on the Hamas bloodbath with one of the terrorist organisation’s spokesmen but without managing to speak to a single person in Israel who had been attacked. While on GB News they were reading out pro Hamas messages such as: ‘You get what you deserve. I wish Hamas the best of luck against a tyrannical cohabitant and hopefully peace and a bit more respect comes out of it.’

Back to the BBC – the first alert about Saturday’s massacre wasn’t about how Israel was under attack, but how it had retaliated by trying to close down the thousands of rockets being fired at it – it read: ‘Israel launches airstrikes on Gaza Strip and calls up reservists after Palestinian gunmen infiltrate its territory.’

Its live feed was full of quotes like this: ‘Imagine, Israel takes your lands in 1948, kills your family, storms Al Aqsa mosque, attacks woman and elderly people and so on,’ while commentators justify the attacks as ‘exactly like the Warsaw ghetto uprising

While even specialist reporters like Frank Gardner talk about how the death toll of Israelis vs Palestinians has finally evened up without explaining Israelis all have bomb shelters and safe rooms in in their homes – Gazans do not. None of them seemed to talk about how the biggest victims of Hamas are their own people who are imprisoned when they dare to speak out against this fascist dictatorship or because they are gay. Too much complex content for what they prefer to see as a David vs Goliath contest. 

Meanwhile the HuffPost has given up any claims of neutrality; in a rambling report justifying the attacks the writer, a former AP reporter, called Hamas ‘freedom fighters’. 

Ironically, one should look at the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera to see what those ‘freedom fighters’ have actually been doing. We can see the videos on Twitter/X – of terrified children crying about their dead sister, raped women being shoved among a baying mass, the near-naked body of a German party goer being paraded in the streets. 

This is the work of terrorists. Hamas is designated in this country a terrorist organisation. But why are our television outlets, in particular, so afraid to call them what they are?

That the broadcast media, and the BBC in particular, is biased against Israel is something much talked about in the British Jewish community, to the point that I have friends who work there who have to justify why to their friends and family. 

Our national broadcaster has employed people who have written ‘Hitler was right and the famous Chanukagate scandal – in which the corporation attempted to blame Jewish kids for an antisemitic attack. These are just two examples. 

It is no wonder that even the former director of television Danny Cohen last night insisted that the corporation needed to start calling Hamas what it is, writing that ‘words matter’ and ‘The BBC, and other news organisations are failing the public when they fail to accurately report terrorism and war crimes for what they are.’ 

He added: ‘The point-blank murder of children and the elderly in their homes cannot be explained away by electricity shortages in Gaza. If the UK Government has defined Hamas as a terrorist organisation there is no reason why the barbarous acts of Hamas terrorists cannot be described for what they are.’

The reality is that this is proxy war – with Iran using the Palestinians to attack those it hates. Hamas aren’t freedom fighters and could never be partners for peace – they don’t want to share the land; they want it all. When oh-so-good leftwingers sing ‘From the River to the Sea/ Palestine will be free’ they are following the lead of Hamas who wants the entire region free for Jews. And when they sing: ‘Intifada everywhere’ and they do, they mean attacking me and my family. 

The reality also is that many in the Muslim world are appalled by the actions of Hamas and Iran – including most Iranians. They recognise Hamas for the monsters that they are, even if the British media is intent on coming up with excuses for them. 

Words matter, and this pro-Hamas propaganda – what else could it be called? – is already having real-world consequences here in the UK.

At ‘The World Transformed‘ event running alongside Labour Party Conference, activist Yasmin Elsouda was applauded at a fringe event for saying, ‘Yesterday over 230 of our siblings… ascended to martyrdom at the hands of the Zionist entity.’

In the meantime a kosher restaurant has been attacked and the words ‘Free Palestine’ were graffitied on a bridge in Golders Green, one of the most Jewish districts in London. The terror alert for my community, British Jews, was already frighteningly high and the Metropolitan police have increased patrols; now everyone is scared because when things happen in Israel, attacks on us grow. 

Britain is our nation. I am a proud journalist. But I’m ashamed of the way our broadcast media is behaving. 

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Nicole Lampert is a freelance journalist.

Columns are the author's own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of CapX.