It has not been a happy week for the British Broadcasting Corporation. The UK broadcaster has spent the last four days grappling with the fall out from Lord Dyson’s damning report into the Martin Bashir affair and Prince William’s angry response. Now a fresh controversy has blown up in the BBC Monitoring unit.
Digital journalist Tala Halawa has been closely involved in the Beeb’s recent coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict, providing additional reporting in a piece on children who have died and fronting a video about the model Bella Hadid’s views on the issue. Halawa is the Palestine Specialist in BBC Monitoring, specializing in Palestinian affairs and reporting for BBC services such as the Arabic website and the BBC World Service. All of these services are supposed to subscribe to the BBC’s rules on impartiality and rigorous journalism.
Tala Halawa is a "digital journalist" for the @BBC.
Halawa directly influences and creates news content watched by many millions around the world.
In what world can someone like this work for a professional news outlet? pic.twitter.com/r2LIHmZfF2
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) May 23, 2021
But now it has emerged that Halawa’s controversial views were made clear the last time the Israel-Palestine conflict flared up. Back in July 2014 the journalist tweeted: ‘#Israel is more #Nazi than #Hitler ! Oh, #HitlerWasRight #IDF go to hell. #PrayForGaza’ with other posts making clear her views that: ‘ur media is produced by ur zionist government in order 2 produce ignorant people’ that ‘#Zionists can’t get enough of our blood’ and that ‘they’re are crying the holocaust every single moment but they’re practicing it every single moment as well.’
Cockburn understands the BBC are currently investigating the incident, which occurred before Halawa was hired by the corporation, following a social media backlash. Screenshots are also circulating of Halawa posting a graphic of a child being burned on a menorah and that she shared on Facebook the same image which forced Naz Shah MP to resign from the Labour frontbench – a poster titled ‘Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict’ and ‘Relocate Israel into United States’. Halawa shared it on Facebook with the caption ‘easy and simple! world peace solution! to enlightening the ‘dark radical’ middle east.’
A BBC spokesperson told Cockburn: ‘These tweets predate the individual’s employment with the BBC but we are nevertheless taking this very seriously and are investigating.’
Let’s hope this investigation doesn’t take 25 years to conclude.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.