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BBC removes hate messages

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2007-07-20



Messages posted to a BBC radio forum in which anti-Semitic comments including a claim that Jews are allowed to kill non-Jews have finally been removed following a number of complaints from the public as well as Jewish communal groups.

For several days the BBC had refused to deal with the issue saying there was no breach of its own guidelines.

A poster under the name of Iron Naz had been submitting contributions to the Five Live message board in which they claimed that Jewish law "allows jews to lie as long as its to non-jews (sic)" and also claiming that "Zionism is a racist ideology where jews are given supremacy over all other races and faiths. This is found in the Talmud.(sic)".

A further posting by Iron Naz claims: "Why are Jews allowed to attack non-jews, and if a non-jew fights back, he must be killed? (sic)" and he further added: "Why does the Talmud say non-jews who insult a rabbi must be boiled in extrement until they die?? (sic)".

Despite a number of complaints from the public and communal groups, the BBC refused to remove them despite a breach of its own house rules in which it states: "We reserve the right to fail messages which are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others" and "are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable."

But when a number of people contacted the BBC to complain about the nature of the comments, the Corporation said that the posting "does not contravene the House Rules and are going to leave it on the site."

"It is astonishing and a profound concern that a post of this nature is deemed to be acceptable and in no way in contravention of the rule that prohibits ‘unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, racially offensive or otherwise objectionable material’," said Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies. "The allegation that Jewish teaching permitted Jews to deal dishonestly with non-Jews seems clearly to breach quite a number of these rules, as does the suggestion that Zionism is a racist ideology."

Benjamin added: "This particular posting has been removed, but the episode reveals a worrying mindset that can even countenance that this kind of comment is deemed an appropriate contribution to a reasoned debate.  The Community Security Trust were quick to pick this up and their measured intervention should have resolved the issue. It is particularly troubling that the trigger for this, a programme about the prevalence of anti-Semitism was carried, significantly, not by the BBC, but by another channel."