FURY over the BBC’s refusal to call Hamas “terrorists” hit boiling point today – with broadcast bosses told to “find their moral compass”.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps today said the Corporation’s coverage of the war is “verging on disgraceful”, while Sir Keir Starmer demanded the publicly-funded broadcaster explains itself.
Entire families were gunned down by Hamas terrorists in Kfar Aza – a village close to the Gaza border[/caption]
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer today called on the BBC to label Hamas as terrorists amid fury the broadcaster refuses to do so[/caption]
But in a stubborn statement the BBC this morning doubled down and insisted it is for viewers to make up their own minds.
The Corporation has been under mounting pressure to unequivocally brand Hamas – a proscribed group – “terrorists”.
He told Times Radio: “The murder of men, women and children in cold blood, it’s terrorism by Hamas that needs to be called out as such.
“And Israel obviously has right to defend herself but I think it’s important now that all responsible Middle East states call this out for what it is, call out terrorism and make it clear that we stand with Israel in what is a very, very dark time.”
Sir Keir added: “I think the BBC needs to explain why it isn’t.
“I said ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’, and to me that’s obviously what we are witnessing.
“I think other channels may not be either, but I’m not across all the detail of that.”
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It comes as MPs across the political spectrum have expressed fury at the BBC’s refusal to describe Hamas savages as terrorists.
Instead the public service broadcaster calls them “militants”.
This morning Defence Secretary Grant Shapps slammed the Beeb for its “disgraceful” language on the conflict.
He told LBC: “What Hamas have done as a proscribed terrorist organisation, meaning that they are illegal in Britain, is to have gone out and slaughtered innocent people.
“Babies, festival-goers, pensioners.
“They’re not freedom fighters. They are pure and simple terrorists.
“And it’s remarkable this morning to go to the BBC website and still see them talking about gunmen and militants and not calling them terrorists.”
Mr Shapps added: “I don’t know what’s going on there, but I think that it’s time to get the moral compass out.”
In a statement today a BBC spokesperson said: “We always take our use of language very seriously. Anyone watching or listening to our coverage will hear the word ‘terrorist’ used many times – we attribute it to those who are using it, for example, the UK Government.
“This is an approach that has been used for decades, and is in line with that of other broadcasters.
“The BBC is an editorially independent broadcaster whose job is to explain precisely what is happening ‘on the ground’ so our audiences can make their own judgement.”
“Stop appeasing them with weasly language.”
Last night the Board of Deputies of British Jews wrote a stinging letter to BBC Chief Tim Davie, imploring him to urgently review his organisation’s reporting guidelines.
Board President Marie van der Zyl said: “Not calling Hamas terrorists is not impartiality, it is undermining the true nature of these attacks.
“I hope you urgently change BBC guidelines so they truly reflect the nature of Hamas.”
The outrage comes as Israel last night claimed Hamas massacred at least 40 babies and kids in a sickening rampage in one town – with some found beheaded.
Israeli soldiers discovered scenes of unimaginable horror in Kfar Aza – a village close to the Gaza border that was captured for two days by the Hamas militants.
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Sir Keir said that Wembley should light its arch with the colours of Israel’s flag during England’s friendly against Australia.
He told LBC: “I do think they should be on the arch because I think the message has to go out that we stand with Israel, the UK stands with Israel, and that is a manifestation of that support.”