BBC ties itself in Neturei Karta knots

As was noted by a commenter on this thread, a BBC News website UK page report from January 26th concerning the visit to London by the leader of the far-Right, openly antisemitic Hungarian party Jobbik included a photograph of several individuals belonging to the extremist Neturei Karta sect and the statement “Members of the Jewish community also joined the protest against Jobbik”. The original wording of the article can be seen here and the photograph here.

On January 28th the photograph was removed and a footnote was added to the amended article.

footnote Jobbik art

That amendment was apparently prompted by Neturei Karta itself, which took pains to explain on its Facebook account that in fact the protesters were demonstrating in support of Jobbik rather than against. NK facebook

“Members of Neturei Karta were demonstrating against the strident and aggressive actions of the Zionists against Jobbick [sic]and Mr. Vona, The Rabbis of NK were carrying a banner with a clear message: ”Authentic Jewry is Against Zionist Aggression”. 

The BBC ignored the banner and totally distorting our message. They stated that the Rabbis were there to demonstrate against Mr. Vona and Jobbick. That is totally false.

I have lodged a complaint with the BBC and await the outcome.”

Those familiar with the activities of Neturei Karta will of course not be surprised by this latest display of support for yet another antisemitic cause.

Also on January 28th an article titled “Israel jails anti-Zionist for offering to spy for Iran” appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page. 

In that article a reasonable short description is given of the Neturei Karta sect to which the convicted man belongs.

“Bergel belongs to the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect which is vehemently opposed to the State of Israel’s existence.”

The report ends:NK art ME pge

“Neturei Karta members have travelled to Iran in the past. In 2006, there was outrage in Israel when a delegation hugged then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a conference questioning the historical truth of Holocaust.”

That anaemic and misleading description of course hinders BBC audience understanding of the fact that criticism of Iran’s Holocaust denying ‘conference‘ and Neturei Karta’s participation in it (rather than merely of hugs with the Iranian president) was expressed by many others besides Israel, including the US State Department and the president of the German parliament – as reported by the BBC itself at the time.

When this article originally appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page it was accompanied by two links to ‘related articles’. One of those links was to a 2009 BBC report about a visit by members of Neturei Karta to the Gaza Strip in which Hamas’ antisemitism is downplayed .

“Mr Haniya welcomed them, saying Hamas rejects Zionist ideology, not Jews.

“We feel your suffering, we cry your cry,” the Associated Press quoted Rabbi Yisroel Weiss as saying.

“It is your land, it is occupied, illegitimately and unjustly by people who stole it, kidnapped the name of Judaism and our identity.” ” [..]

“Mr Haniya described the men as “heroes”, according to Palestinian media reports.

“Our problem is with the occupation, that stems from the Zionist ideology and its desire to disperse all the Palestinians,” he said.

“Those religious figures that express their objection to the siege, the aggression and the crimes – we can’t help but respect them and for their beliefs and their culture.” “

The other link was to a BBC article from December 2006 concerning Neturei Karta’s participation in the Iranian Holocaust denial event. NK GMJ b

“A handful of Orthodox Jews have attended Iran’s controversial conference questioning the Nazi genocide of the Jews – not because they deny the Holocaust but because they object to using it as justification for the existence of Israel.” […]

“Rabbi Friedman told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme that he was not in Tehran to debate whether the Holocaust happened or not, but to look at its lessons.

He says the Holocaust was being used to legitimise the suffering of other peoples and he wanted to break what he called a taboo on discussing it.

The main thing, he argued, was not Jewish suffering in the past but the use of the Holocaust as a “tool of commercial, military and media power”.”

In addition to promoting and amplifying the views of a miniscule extremist sect dedicated to the destruction of a UN member state (and affording the title of Rabbi to a man whose rabbinical qualifications are at best unclear), that article also includes reader comments; some in the style shown below.  

comment d NK Iran art

comment a NK Iran art

 Several hours later those two ‘related articles’ links were removed from the Middle East page and the report now stands alone.Neturei Karta visiting the tomb of Imad Mughniyeh, Beirut March 2012

It would appear that Neturei Karta presents something of a conundrum for the BBC. Its description of the London demonstrators as “members of the Jewish community” clearly indicates that it does not adequately comprehend the fact that Neturei Karta has a negligible number of followers who have no contact with mainstream Jewish communities. On the other hand, the temptation to amplify the views of a handful of anti-Zionist Jews – and thereby downplay the antisemitic aspects of many an anti-Israel demonstration, meeting or conference – is apparently irresistible.

Now that members of Neturei Karta have made their support for European fascists (rather than ‘just’ Middle East ones) known directly to the BBC, perhaps the penny will finally drop.

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