An Astonishing Omission by the BBC

This morning the BBC published an article about whether free speech is under threat in British universities. Placing requests under the Freedom of Information law, the BBC sought evidence about restrictions from the Department for Education and every UK university.

Screen shot of BBC article on their websiteScreen shot of headline on BBC News website (2:00pm 23rd October 2018)

This BBC research produced evidence of just ten student complaints about course content and six occasions on which universities cancelled speakers as a result of complaints. Thus the BBC concluded that the number of incidents was small and went on to discuss whether there was a big problem despite the small numbers.

Astonishingly, there was no mention in the article of major incidents that have occurred when Israelis have been invited to speak at British universities.

The BBC did not mention the violence at University College London when Israeli activist Hen Mazzig spoke there in October 2016. Attendees at the event were forced to remain in the lecture room as they waited for police to escort them through the crowd of around 100 demonstrators who eventually broke into the room and assaulted two female Jewish students.

Neither was there any mention of the university events that were cancelled in the early months of 2017 as controversy raged over the so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’. That ‘week’ often extends to more than a month and involves speakers trying to prove that Israel is an apartheid state, despite clear evidence to the contrary that has been presented by Arab Israelis as well as other observers.

Nor did the BBC mention the occasion in June 2017 when Richard Millett, a supporter of Israel, was physically assaulted after a panel discussion following the screening of an anti-Israel film at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Another omission was the attempt to stop a talk by Dan Meridor at Kings College in London in February 2018. Protesters called him a war criminal and labelled Israel ‘a terrorist state.’ They made so much noise outside the lecture room that it was a clear attempt to intimidate the audience and disrupt the event.

YouTube video of the protest at Kings College London.

It is inconceivable that the BBC is ignorant of all these events. So their omission from this morning’s article can only be seen as evidence of bias against Israel – a total failure to acknowledge that there are major problems when it comes to free speech concerning Israel.