BBC coverage of Forde Report promotes problematic past content

On the afternoon of July 19th the BBC News website published an article on the topic of the publication of the Forde Report under the headline ‘Anti-Semitism used as factional weapon within Labour, says report’.

The BBC’s article begins by explaining how the Forde Report came about and summarising some of its findings before going on to present a two-paragraph response from a Labour party spokesperson.

Readers also find a response from the co-chair of the Corbyn supporting group ‘Momentum’ and some two hours after its initial publication, parts of a statement put out by Jeremy Corbyn (which, as has been pointed out, does not include the word antisemitism at all) were added to the article. No responses from Jewish groups or organisations were included in the BBC’s account. 

The BBC’s article closes:

“In October 2020, a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s found Labour to have been responsible for “unlawful” acts of harassment and discrimination during Mr Corbyn’s four-and a-half years as party leader.

Its investigation identified serious failings in leadership and an inadequate process of handling anti-Semitism complaints.

Mr Corbyn said the scale of anti-Semitism within Labour had been “dramatically overstated” by his opponents and that he had always been “determined to eliminate all forms of racism”.

He was suspended from the party and was readmitted a month later.

But Mr Corbyn was not readmitted to Labour’s parliamentary party and continues to sit in the House of Commons as an independent MP.” [emphasis added]

The Jewish Chronicle’s coverage of the Forde Report notes that:

“Jeremy Corbyn was fundamentally wrong to suggest that antisemitism in Labour was “overstated for political reasons” with no evidence that it was “fabricated”, a long-awaited inquiry has found.

The Forde report, commissioned by Sir Keir Starmer and led by Martin Ford QC, stated unequivocally: “There is nothing in the Leaked Report (or elsewhere in the evidence we have seen) to support the conclusion that the problem of antisemitism in the party was overstated.”

This directly contradicted the former leader’s assertion that the scale of antisemitism in the Labour Party during his leadership was “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by opponents and the media, a position which cost him the party whip.”

Nevertheless, the BBC chose to uncritically reamplify Corbyn’s inaccurate claim without informing readers of that aspect of the Forde Report.

At the bottom of the article, readers are offered “More on this story”, with the first item being a November 2020 item titled ‘A guide to Labour Party anti-Semitism claims’. As was noted here at the time, that BBC produced ‘backgrounder’ promotes the Livingstone Formulation – which was classed by the EHRC as “unlawful harassment”.


That 2020 backgrounder also suggests additional reading, including a link headed “Read more about the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism” which leads audiences to another item of BBC content produced in April 2016. As was noted here when that ‘backgrounder’ first appeared, it also amplifies the Livingstone Formulation:

“…others say the Israeli government and its supporters are deliberately confusing anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism to avoid criticism.”

“On the other hand, it’s regularly claimed that accusations of anti-Semitism are deployed to silence criticism of the Israeli government or to further other political ends.

Pia Feig, of Manchester Jews for Justice for Palestinians, told BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine programme that “anti-Semitism has been used to quieten down and suppress my concern and the concern of other people for Palestinians”.”

The same backgrounder also amplifies the ‘Zionism is racism’ canard and the ‘apartheid’ smear.

“Some anti-Zionists say Zionism itself is a racist ideology, because of how, in their view, the Palestinian people have been treated by the Israeli state. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign says it opposes all racism, including anti-Jewish prejudice and the “the apartheid and Zionist nature of the Israeli state” – although the PSC has itself been accused of racism for its anti-Zionist stance.”


Like the rest of the British media, the BBC has been reporting Labour party related antisemitism stories for nearly seven years. That should surely have been time enough for Britain’s national broadcaster to have produced a backgrounder on the issue which properly serves its funding public’s interests (and to learn to spell the word antisemitism) rather than simply recycling sub-par content that whitewashes antisemitism in the form of the Livingstone Formulation.

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1 Comment

  1. says: Neil C

    So the BBC continues to promote and condone antisemitism, which basically proves to anyone with more two brain cells that the BBC is itself antisemitic. Combine that with the fact that they refuse to disclose details of their financial support from countries like Iran and the only conclusion you can draw is that the BBC itself should be prosecuted for the promotion and broadcasting of antisemitic and anti-Israel propaganda., so why is this not happening? #defundthebbc

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