Not funny: BBC supported 'Comic Relief' and the demonization of Israel

Comic Relief is a UK charity with which readers in Britain are no doubt familiar. The charity’s prominent supporters include the Sainsbury supermarket chain, British Telecom and the BBC and its main fundraising event is Red Nose Day – to be held this year on March 15th – with the BBC devoting much of its programming on that day to the event and running a telethon to collect donations. 

War on Want Christmas card

One of the charities which has enjoyed considerable funding from Comic Relief is War on Want which is heavily involved in anti-Israel activity, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.  War on Want’s president, Rodney Bickerstaffe, is – unsurprisingly –  also a patron of the Hamas supporting and enabling Palestine Solidarity Campaign. 
Just this last week, two of War on Want’s employees – including senior campaigns officer Rafeef Ziadah who is also a representative of the Palestinian BDS National Committee – took part in an Israel Apartheid Week event in London. Richard Millett was at the event and has written about it on his blog. 

“At last night’s event Ziadah called for a boycott of Tesco and Sainsbury’s due to their trade with Israel. She also unveiled War On Want’s new campaign for Britain to instigate a two-way arms ban against Israel; both selling arms to Israel and buying arms from Israel, which, she claimed, are “tested on Palestinian bodies and then used in Afghanistan.” “

“Ziadah finished by holding up “a rock from Haifa” which, she said, was as close to home as she could get as “a Palestinian refugee”. She said she hoped that herself, Eid, Kopty and Jarrar will all one day meet on Haifa’s beach without being oppressed by the “racist state of Israel”.”

Read the full account here.
As a publicly funded body committed to impartiality, it is imperative for the BBC to ensure that – via its partnership with Comic Relief – it is not associated with organisations such as War on Want which demonise Israel as part of a racist campaign to deny self-determination to one specific ethnic group. 

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