More than three quarters of Jewish people think the BBC’s coverage of the war in Gaza is biased against Israel, a survey has found.
The BBC has faced criticism since it refused to describe Hamas as terrorists in the wake of the Oct 7 massacre. It now says in its reports that Hamas is designated as a terrorist organisation by the Government.
An opinion poll commissioned by the Jewish Chronicle newspaper suggests that British Jews do not feel the BBC has done enough to address accusations of bias in its reporting.
It shows that 77 per cent of Jewish people surveyed regard the BBC’s reporting of the war as biased against Israel, with just 11 per cent thinking coverage is impartial.
Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, has expressed “outrage” at the BBC’s reporting, and a spokesman for the organisation said her view remained unchanged.
Tim Davie, the BBC’s director-general, has taken on oversight of the corporation’s complaints unit amid a welter of complaints about bias and anti-Israel comments, often from presenters.
In October he had to apologise after a BBC reporter suggested Israel was responsible for a missile attack on a hospital in Gaza which quickly turned out to be a mis-fired rocket launched within the Gaza Strip.
Presenters on the BBC Asian Network have posted anti-Israel material on social media, as The Telegraph reported last month.
Staff working in news and current affairs have also been told not to take part in marches against anti-Semitism.
‘High standards of impartial reporting’
A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC holds itself to high standards of impartial reporting and rejects the suggestion that we are biased against Israel. The conflict is a challenging and polarising story to cover, and we are dedicated to providing impartial reporting for audiences in the UK and across the world.
“Our own audience research shows that BBC News is considered the most impartial provider for coverage of the conflict. Recent research by More in Common echoes this and shows the highest proportion of people in Britain sees the BBC as neutral. BBC News will continue to listen carefully to all audience feedback.”
Just over half of respondents to the Jewish Chronicle survey believe that the Government should place a limit on the number of Palestinian Solidarity Campaign demonstrations being held in the UK, which have been taking place every weekend.
A total of 77 per cent of respondents from the survey of 759 people say the Government is not doing enough to tackle Islamist hate preachers.
The poll also shows that almost half of British Jews feel unsafe on the street as a result of Hamas’s war with Israel.
While 29 per cent said they felt safe, 47 per cent said they felt unsafe, with the majority of those saying they felt very unsafe.
When the results are broken down by sex, 51 per cent of Jewish women say they feel unsafe, compared with 42 per cent of men.