A BBC presenter has been accused of repeatedly comparing Israel to Nazis and calling for “Death to you Zionist scum.”
According to media watchdog HonestReporting, Nasima Begum, an occasional presenter for BBC Radio Manchester, reportedly tweeted “whats sad is that the Jewish population faced genocide themselves in Hitlers Germany but theyve implemented the same on Palestine for years [sic]” in 2011. The following year, she tweeted: “exiling a people from their own land justifies anything. It’s the holocaust all over again except this time it’s innocent Palestinians and ironically the perpetrators are you Zionist scum.”
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism.
In another 2012 tweet, she called for “Death to you Zionist scum.”
While these tweets date from some years ago, her habit of inflammatory utterances on social media has persisted. Earlier this year, for example, Ms Begum allegedly claimed that Zionists have a “hold on mainstream media.” Ms Begum also claimed this year that for similar reasons she attended a rally against the BBC – her own employer – and praised the controversial rapper Lowkey.
She has also reportedly posted other shocking remarks, such as questioning the very idea that any Israelis can be “innocent” and saying: “I swear Israel is just the most vile ever thing to exist.”
Ms Begum recently tweeted a long apology, writing that “I am deeply apologetic for any harm or offence that I have caused with my ignorant language,” referencing the “tweets from over a decade ago” but not her more recent remarks.
She further claimed that the old tweets “do not reflect my views and are not a reflection of whom I am as a person – now nor at the time that they were written. However, I take full responsibility for the utterly reprehensible and unacceptable language that I used at a time when I was driven by what I felt and considered to be the lack of fair reporting in the wider media.”
The statement went on, eventually concluding with the “hope that my apology is accepted and that my character shines through however I understand and appreciate that it may take time to heal the wounds of those that I have hurt and I do not expect anyone to forgive me. But I do want all those affected to know that this apology is sincere.”
Mr Begum’s record – coming, moreover, from someone who tweets from the handle “viva viva falesteena” – raise serious questions about the BBC’s vetting and impartiality.
Earlier this year, Tala Halawa was fired by the BBC over numerous antisemitic comments she had made on social media.
Campaign Against Antisemitism monitors traditional media and regularly holds outlets to account. If members of the public are concerned about reportage in the media, they should contact us at [email protected].