LONDON (Bywire News) - The BBC has taken the decision to remove a series of educational videos about Palestine and the origins of the ongoing conflict with Israel after pressure from a pro-Israel lobbyist organistion.
The videos formed part of a 7-part GCSE Bitesize series, and were intended to teach school children the facts about the decades-long Israel-Palestine situation.
Following a complaint by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), the BBC announced that they had withdrawn the videos for review.
In a letter sent to the corporation in March, UKLFI claimed that the videos were "unbalanced and partisan", and accused the BBC of "encouraging illegal conduct in schools".
UKLFI's letter goes on to claim that the BBC content was:
"contrary to section 406 of the Education Act 1996, which forbids political indoctrination at maintained schools, and section 407, which requires maintained schools to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that pupils at maintained schools are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views."
In response, the BBC yesterday confirmed they had suspended the content and ordered a review to "ensure that it remains compliant with the most recent BBC Editorial Guidelines."
The Head of BBC Education, Helen Foulkes, stated:
“These films form part of Bitesize’s legacy content, which was migrated to the current site several years ago. They are part of a range of content which we have begun to review to ensure that it remains compliant with the most recent BBC Editorial Guidelines. The series will be suspended from the site whilst this editorial review is carried out. Once the review has been completed, we will decide which content to retire permanently and which to reinstate and / or edit.”
Following the decision, Jonathan Turner, Chief Executive of UKLFI, said:
“We asked the BBC to investigate this matter and remedy it in an appropriate way to promote a balanced presentation of this controversial subject and we hope that the BBC is now doing so.”
UKLFI's complaint was based on analysis of the BBC educational videos conducted by an organisation called Camera UK, formerly Media Watch and BBC Watch.
One of Camera UK's gripes, on a video about the origins of the two-state solution, slammed the BBC for not highlighting links between Palestinian contributors and their previous "anti-Israel activities".
Another of Camera UK's complaints, on the same video, derides the BBC for describing Palestinian behaviour during the 1936 General Strike as "civil disobedience" rather than "violence".
And the organisation's first video analysis sums up their argument by claiming that the BBC had omitted "crucial context" prior to 1930.
Camera UK's full analysis of all seven videos can be found here.
(Writing by Tom D. Rogers, editing by Jessica Miller.)