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Anti-BBC Israeli-British Lawyer Considered for Top Prize

Lawyer waging a decade-long struggle to prove the BBC’s bias against Israel is a candidate for the most prestigious prize in British law circles.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 10/21/2010, 11:32 AM / Last Update: 10/21/2010, 11:22 AM

The Israeli lawyer from Great Britain who has been waging a decade-long struggle to prove the BBC’s bias against Israel is a candidate for the most prestigious prize in British law circles.

Kippah-wearing Trevor Asserson, who made Aliyah to Israel several years ago in the midst of his campaign, has published seven reports detailing BBC’s prejudice. Pressure upon him to stop by both the BBC and even Jewish circles has had no effect.

His Jerusalem-based law firm, Asserson Law Offices, has reached the final round in the contest for annual excellence prizes run by The Law Society of England & Wales. The winners will be announced in ten days’ time in London.

“I think that the BBC has been a significant element in poisoning the minds not just of English people, but people around the world,” Asserson told Globes earlier this year, “and the strength of its message is hugely increased because it is the ‘official, fair, balanced’ reporter.” He has set up a website detailing his findings.

ALO, a top firm in commercial law, is being considered for a prize for the new business model it has created. The idea is that young, successful British lawyers move to Israel in mid-career, and carry on with their high-quality work here while charging Israeli rates, tens of percent lower than those charged in Britain.

In 2001, Asserson asked a British student to record all reports of the Middle East conflict and analyze them, in the belief that a government-funded news organization has an obligation to be truly fair and balanced. He explained that he deliberately took a very left-wing student because he “wanted to be absolutely sure that this student would be pushing me to prove that what I was doing was fair... I found that when the BBC was not balanced, it was almost always biased against Israel. In most of my studies, the percentage has been between 80% and 90%."

Middle East Bureau Chief Jeremy Bowen
Asserson's most recent study, which he presented at the Ariel Conference on Law and Mass Media earlier this year, focused on Jeremy Bowen, head of the BBC's Middle East desk. Asserson found that Bowen that had “reached the highest record - 100% against Israel.”

As an example, Asserson told Globes, "A soldier in the IDF spokesperson's unit told me that during an inspection of humanitarian aid going into Gaza, they found night vision equipment that was meant to help Hamas see IDF soldiers. It was hidden among the food. They called Bowen and said to him, 'Look, that's why Israel is suspicious of the humanitarian aid.' He refused to broadcast it. He said there was no story. There can be no explanation for that other than that he is biased."