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UK ministers blast BBC for not labeling Hamas militants terrorists

Personal belongings including a child's stroller are seen on the road next to a car days after a mass infiltration by Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip, near Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel, October 10, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Several government ministers in Britain blasted the BBC network’s coverage of the Hamas terror attack on Israel and the response of the Jewish state, condemning the BBC for its biased coverage.

Minister of Immigration Robert Jenrick called out the BBC on Monday evening during a Jewish community vigil held on Downing Street in London.

“Let us be clear what the world has witnessed. These weren’t, as some in the media say, militants or fighters. They were terrorists. They were murderers,” Jenrick said.

“They were barbarians and the BBC or whoever else we see on the television should say it as it is.”

On Tuesday morning, during the program "BBC Breakfast," British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly also challenged the presenter, Sally Nugent, on the BBC’s use of terminology. 

“Hamas, which is a terrorist organization – I just want to make sure you recognize that in your reporting, these are not militants, they are terrorists,” Cleverly affirmed.

“The murders that they have perpetrated in Israel, the kidnaps they have perpetrated and the threats of summary executions that will be televised and broadcast – these are all terrorist attacks and I would urge you to reflect that in your reporting.”

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Lucy Frazer raised the issue of BBC’s skewed reporting in a prescheduled meeting with the head of the BBC, Tim Davie.

Frazer responded to a letter from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which urged her to raise the issue with the BBC.

She wrote: “I asked the Director General whether the BBC was considering, in the light of this and recent events, if it was now appropriate to review their guidelines, and if not, whether they were confident that they were, in fact, abiding by their own BBC News Style Guide which specifically refers to the fact that ‘an action or event can be described as a terror attack or an act of terror."

"I strongly believe that the language used to describe these horrific attacks matters, and I highlighted this to the Director General,” she added.

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis also made it clear to the BBC during a live-broadcast interview that the network’s use of terminology is problematic.

“I noticed that the BBC has a reluctance to use the term 'terrorist,'” Mirvis said. “If one doesn’t use the term 'terrorist,' it is as if one is providing a window of opportunity for justification, and nothing can justify this.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also made clear his solidarity with Israel at a packed service at the Finchley United Synagogue in North London.

“I am unequivocal. There are not two sides to these events. There is no question of balance. I stand with Israel. We stand with Israel. The United Kingdom stands with Israel,” Sunak said.

The BBC defended itself, making the following statement: “We reported the Hamas attacks and the response by Israel in line with the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines. We have included contributors who have condemned the attackers as terrorists and we have reported that Hamas is designated as a terrorist group by many Western governments, including the UK.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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