A journalist who tweeted “Hitler was right” and other antisemitic comments and images has revealed that she was fired from the BBC in a supposedly “heartfelt apology” in which she blames “industrial scale pro-Israel censorship” for her termination.
Tala Halawa, until recently a Palestine Affairs Specialist at the BBC Monitoring Service, posted a series of antisemitic tweets in 2014, including one that read: “#Israel Is more #Nazi than #Hitler! Oh, #HitlerWasRight #IDF go to hell. #PrayForGaza”. She also asserted that “ur media is controlled by ur zionist government in order 2 produce ignorant people [sic]”, shared the graphic that caused Naz Shah MP to be suspended from the Labour Party several years ago as well as an image of a child being burned on a menorah, and posted on Facebook: “They [Zionists] are crying the holocaust every single moment but they’re practicing it every single moment as well.” The social media posts dated from prior to Ms Halawa’s employment at the BBC.
Campaign Against Antisemitism and others submitted complaints to the BBC, which subsequently announced that she no longer works for the BBC.
But in a social media post, Ms Halawa has revealed that the BBC fired her.
The post was ostensibly a “heartfelt apology”, focusing on the one Hitler tweet to the exclusion of her other inflammatory posts. She wrote: “The offensive and ignorant words I posted at the time do not reflect my political views then as much as they do not today. I hope those who were hurt by them will accept my heartfelt apology for posting without thinking”.
However, Ms Halawa then went on to blame “pro-Israel interest groups”, “right-wing media outlets”, a “pro-Israel mob” and a “pro-Israel censorship campaign…industrial in scale and international in its reach” for her termination, thereby implying that her posts were not in fact antisemitic and that those who campaigned for her to be disciplined or removed were acting in bad faith and potentially at the behest of Israel – accusations that, falling firmly within the Livingstone Formulation, are themselves antisemitic.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has “graded” Ms Halawa’s “apology” and found it severely wanting.
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].