British MP Slams BBC Over Biased Coverage Of Itamar Massacre


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[By: MP Louise Bagshawe]

Who is Tamar Fogel? The chances are that you will have no idea. She is a 12-year-old girl who arrived home late on Friday, March 11, to discover her family had been slaughtered. Her parents had been stabbed to death; the throat of her 11-year-old brother, Yoav, had been slit. Her four-year-old brother, Elad, whose throat had also been cut, was still alive, with a faint pulse, but medics were unable to save him. Tamar’s sister, Hadas, three months old, had also been killed. Her head had been sawn off.

There were two other Fogel brothers sleeping in an adjacent room. When woken by their big sister trying to get into a locked house, Roi, aged six, let her in. After Tamar discovered the bodies, her screaming alerted their neighbour who rushed in to help and described finding two-year-old Yishai desperately shaking his parents’ blood-soaked corpses, trying to wake them up.

I found out about the barbaric attack not on BBC news, but via Twitter on Monday. I followed a link there to a piece by Mark Steyn entitled “Dead Jews is no news’. Horrified, I went to the BBC website to find out more. There I discovered only two stories: one a cursory description of the incident in Itamar, a West Bank settlement, and another focusing on Israel’s decision to build more settlements, which mentioned the killings in passing.

As the mother of three children, one the same age as little Elad, who had lain bleeding to death, I was stunned at the BBC’s seeming lack of care. All the most heart-wrenching details were omitted. The second story, suggesting that the construction announcement was an act of antagonism following the massacre, also omitted key facts and failed to mention the subsequent celebrations in Gaza, and the statement by a Hamas spokesman that “five dead Israelis is not enough to punish anybody”.

There were more details elsewhere on the net: the pain and hurt, for example, of the British Jewish community at the BBC’s apparent indifference to the fate of the Fogels. The more I read, the more the BBC’s broadcast silence amazed me. What if a settler had entered a Palestinian home and sawn off a baby’s head? Might we have heard about it then? On Twitter, I attacked the UK media in general, and the BBC in particular. I considered filing a complaint.

The next morning, the BBC’s public affairs team emailed me a response that amounted to a shrug. The story “featured prominently on our website”, they said. It was important to report on the settlements to put the murder in context, they said. In reply, I asked a series of questions: for how long did the massacre feature on TV news bulletins? On radio? On BBC News 24, with all that rolling airtime? Why were the Hamas reaction and Gaza celebrations not featured? And what about the omission of all the worst details?

It was only when I tweeted about their continued indifference that the BBC replied. Then they informed me that the Fogel story had not featured on television at all. Not even News 24. It was on Radio Four in the morning, but pulled from subsequent broadcasts. The coverage of Japan and Libya, they said, drowned it out. Would I like to make a complaint?

Do you know, I think I would. The BBC has long been accused of anti-Israeli bias. It even commissioned the Balen report into bias in its Middle Eastern coverage, and then went to court to prevent its findings being publicised. As a member of the select committee on culture, media and sport, I was at the confirmation hearing of Lord Patten of Barnes as chairman of the BBC Trust. I asked him about political neutrality. In reply, he said that he would give up his membership of a Palestinian aid organisation. Both I and another member asked about bias against Israel. Lord Patten denied any existed. What would he do if shown an example of it? He would ultimately take it to the BBC Trust, he said.

The day after Lord Patten uttered those words, the Fogel children were butchered to almost complete silence from the BBC.

I have asked the corporation to let me know why, if the story was “prominent on the website”, it was not deemed of sufficient merit to broadcast on television, and barely on radio. I have asked them to explain the inaccuracies and omissions in the reporting. And I have asked them what non-Japan, non-Libya stories made it to air, in preference. Twenty-four hours later, I have yet to receive a reply.

Like many of us, I consider the BBC to be a national treasure. I am not a BBC basher; I have never before complained. I do not support nor do I condone the Israeli settlement building. But none of that matters. This is a story about three children and their parents, slain with incredible cruelty, and its effect on the peace process. As a mother, I am shocked at the silence. As a politician, I am dismayed at the apparent bias and indifference. Yes, I will be filing a complaint – about a story I never heard. I hope Daily Telegraph readers will join me.

Louise Bagshawe is MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire.

(Source: Telegraph UK)


  1. Email Ms. Bagshawe and thank her for highlighting this issue.
    Her email address is [email protected] .

    I emailed her, thanking her and offering my support on this topic.
    Make sure to be polite and grateful and keep your email free of political or religious rants.

  2. I was horrified at the senseless murders in itamar….However, the English have a history of not caring about Jews. One time it was true that the Sun Never Set on the British Empire…today the sun is setting on the british empire because of all the lies, deceit, and harm they have caused Klal Yisroel. The muslims are taking over in brittian and I am loosing little to no sleep over this fact. The english and other nations that have not treated Klal Yisroel fairly and with respect have gotten exactly what the asked for. US is next…..

  3. The BBC is sick, this is what left wing liberals are all about, bias “reporting” anti Israel pro arabs. You see Charlie Hall how liberal act wake up, come one.

  4. Halacha Hee, B’yaduah SheEssav Soneh es Yaacov. The press is no greater an example that this applies even in liberal western culture.

  5. While I am makeer tov for what Ms. Bagshawe has done, the truth is that…

    1) We can’t expect support or even caring about OUR matzav by other countries.

    2) It is upon US, upon klal Yisrael, to think about what message to take away from this horrific slaughter of innocents. Will we just go on with life as usual, and forget about what happened, or will we find a message in the korban of this family of kedoshim, tehorim, temimim…

  6. I thought it should have gotten greater media attention as well. However, I noticed that main stream media (e.g. NPR, LATimes, not sure about BBC) did pick up on yesterday’s bus bombing story. They gave it great prominence. I therefore don’t think that their silence can be attributed entirely to anti-antisemitism. I suspect that house break-in/murder in a disputed area sounds like a crime in a dangerous place. Whereas bus bombing in Jerusalem sounds like a terrorist attack in a nation’s capital. This is not an excuse, the story was emotional and exceptional and should have received greater prominence. There was no bigger international story at that time besides Japan and Libya. The BBC is biased and the UK should think again about continuing to fund it just as the US is having second thoughts about NPR.

  7. yes #7 they did give coverage to the bus bombing but thats because those victims werent “settlers” obviously settlers being attacked is not newsworthy

  8. I commend MP Louise Bagshawe for her moral fortitude in the face of this latest outrageous bias shown by the BBC.

    #7, I believe your sincerity but I disagree with your conclusion.

    There is no excuse, justification or explanation available for the barbaric and savage slaughter of an innocent and defenseless infant (and children and civilian parents).

    The only reason the media picked up on the bus bombing is that it’s politically worthwhile, not because it meant CH”V another dead Jew and countless more wounded and traumatized by another illegal and amoral attack on civilians.

    This is one of those stories that puts the question to those who claim to be only anti-Zionist but not anti-Jewish. No matter how illegitimate you feel Israel is, there is no excuse to savagely slaughter innocents. So if you have no care about those innocents, you are either clearly anti-Jewish or simply lacking any human emotion or comprehension.

    Many simchas.

  9. The Dutch media tend to do exactly the same. For example, each time rockets are thrown from Gaza on Israel, upon which the IAF kills those who fired the rockets, the article you will see afterwards is:

    “Israeli air force kills Palestinians in Gaza”
    Israeli fighter aircraft killed three Palestinians in a field in Gaza by shooting missiles at their car. Four innocent bystanders were wounded.
    …(two paragraphs later)…
    According to an Israeli air force spokesman, the attack was in response to home-made rockets shot by Gaza militants at Israel. The home-made rockets usually fall in open areas and rarely cause damage or casualties.

    They did the exact same thing, just like the BBC, with the Itamar massacre as well. There was NOTHING AT ALL about the Itamar massacre – but there was an article: “Israel approves construction of hundreds of houses in occupied West Bank”.

  10. The British have a history of anti semitism. They almost went to war with Israel in 1948, three years after the holocaust!

    #11 what is your point, the Dutch have also been anti-semitic look at WWII

  11. This reminds me of a ‘joke’ many of you may have heard…

    One day in the middle of Paris, a young girl loses control of her huge Rottweiler who proceeds to viciously attack a nearby young woman.
    At great personal risk, a man at the scene picks up a stick and begins beating the dog to save her. The dog turns on him, but finally he is able to kill it with the club.
    A BBC reporter happens to witness this and comes running over. “You are a very brave man” he says, “tomorrow the headline will be “Parisian man saves woman’s life!”
    “Well” says the man, “I’m actually not from Paris”.
    “No problem” says the BBC reporter, “so it will just say ‘Frenchman’s bravery saves young woman’s life!”.
    “But I am not French at all” answers our hero,”I’m Israeli”.
    “No problem” responds the reporter, “so the headline will simply read “Israeli man murders little girl’s dog!”