Bye-bye Bari – at the BBC too?

It seems that the recent Twitter rumours were true: BBC ‘frequent flyer’ Abdel Bari Atwan has resigned as editor of ‘Al-Quds Al-Arabi’.

Whether or not that means that BBC audiences will be seeing any less of him in the future remains to be seen, but it is doubtful that Atwan’s  comparatively mild (for him) parting rant will be a factor in that decision. 

” “I have received death threats from Arab and Western and Israeli police states, and waged a fierce battle against supporters of the Zionist lobby in Europe and the US, before the US prevented me from visiting it. They all have tried and continue to try to defame me and silence my voice,” Atwan wrote in his op-ed Wednesday.”

After all, until now the BBC has had no qualms whatsoever about making extensive use of Atwan’s “voice”, despite his obvious extremism.

“In March 2008, Atwan was quoted justifying a terrorist assault by a Palestinian gunman on Jerusalem’s Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in which eight students were killed, since the religious seminary was responsible for “hatching Israeli extremists and fundamentalists.” During a TV interview last month, he said he considered Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden only “half a terrorist” due to his positive engagement with US forces in Afghanistan. Atwan was also famously quoted as saying that he would dance in Trafalgar Square if Iranian missiles were to hit Israel.”

In fact, Atwan’s latest star turn at the BBC was just one day before he announced his resignation, when he was quoted by security correspondent Frank Gardner in an article about Egypt. 

Gardner article Atwan

One has to wonder if anyone at the BBC will think to join the dots between the chronic promotion of fringe voices such as those of Atwan and the fact that a new poll shows that a majority of licence fee payers do not think they are getting value for money. 

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