The Board of Deputies of British Jews says it is “appalled” by a BBC report in which a newsreader wrongly claimed that Israeli forces would be targeting medics.
The broadcaster has apologised on air for the error in which journalist Monica Miller twice mistakenly claimed that Israeli forces were “targeting medical staff and Arab speakers” at Gaza’s largest hospital.
The apology came after Jewish leaders criticised the BBC for a “staggering lack of care”.
A clip of the broadcast showed Ms Miller citing a report by news agency Reuters, which described how the IDF had confirmed it would be carrying out a “precise and targeted operation” against terror group Hamas in Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital.
Reuters had included a quote from an IDF spokesman that read: “The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians.”
However, Ms Miller told viewers that medics and Arab speakers were being “targeted” by Israeli soldiers.
Speaking during what is understood to be a live broadcast, the newsreader said: “We are hearing from Reuters that is reporting that Israel, it says its forces are carrying out an carrying out an operation against Hamas in Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital and they are targeting people, including medical teams as well as Arab speakers.
“They are also saying that Israel is calling on all Hamas operatives in the hospital to surrender at this point.”
The newsreader then went on to repeat the misreported information, adding: “They are targeting ... it’s Arab speakers as well as some of the medical staff there and they are asking all Hamas operatives in that hospital to surrender.”
A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said it was “absolutely appalled” by the footage, adding: “At best, this shows a staggering lack of care when reporting on a highly volatile situation, which can have a knock-on effect all over the world, including in Britain, where anti-Semitic attacks have risen by more than 500 per cent since October 7th.
“Incidents like this make a mockery of the BBC’s oft-stated dedication to professionalism and impartiality.”
Shortly before 10am on Wednesday morning, a BBC newsreader addressed the issue, saying: “And now for an apology from the BBC.
“BBC news, as it covered an initial report, said Israeli forces has entered Gaza’s main hospital.
“We said that medical teams and Arab speakers were being targeted. This was incorrect and misquoted a Reuters report.
“We should have said IDF forces included medical teams and Arabic speakers for this operation.
“So we apologise for this error, which fell below our usual editorial standards. The correct version of events was broadcast minutes later.”
BBC must ‘do better’
Last night the Israeli Embassy in London called on the BBC to “do better”, stressing that the “words of journalists” had “very clear real-world consequences”.
Orly Goldschmidt, a spokesman for the embassy, said: “Regretfully, the BBC has, once again, fallen well short of its own editorial guidelines and, indeed, the minimum journalistic standards expected and required of any UK media outlet.
“Amid a time of war and, especially at this time, when the words of journalists have very clear real-world consequences, the BBC must do better in order to consistently meet journalistic standards.”
Referring to the rise in antisemitism reports, Ms Goldschmidt added “The BBC must be mindful of this and ensure it does not inflame divisions and tensions in the country.”
Meanwhile, fellow broadcaster Piers Morgan shared the BBC’s apology on X, formerly known as Twitter, which he described as “extraordinary”.
“Hard to imagine a more damaging ‘mistake’,” Mr Morgan wrote. “Especially from an organisation that still refuses to call Hamas ‘terrorists’.”
Mr Morgan was referring to another aspect of the BBC’s reporting on the Israel-Hamas war that it has been heavily criticised for.
The broadcaster has not been descricing Hamas or its members as terrorists – but instead states in reports that it has been “proscribed” as a terror group by certain government’s, including that of the UK.
The Telegraph is awaiting further comment from the broadcaster.
Reuters has been approached for a comment.