British communications regulatory authority Ofcom has found UK talk radio station LBC Radio to be in breach of broadcasting regulations after it repeatedly called the Israeli Embassy in London the “Jewish Embassy” in broadcasts made last May during protests over the conflict between Israel and Gaza.
Ofcom rules that LBC Radio “broke our rules on due accuracy in news and offence.” The Ofcom investigation found that during coverage of anti-Israel protests in London, an LBC reporter repeatedly called the Israeli Embassy the “Jewish Embassy.” The term was used nine times during three news story, the UK Jewish News reported.
Two complaints about the segments were made to Ofcom, which stated that upon reviewing the incidents the broadcasts could be a contributing factor to antisemitism in the UK.
On Monday, Ofcom said in a statement: “Our investigation found that LBC News broke our rules on due accuracy in news and offence, by repeatedly describing the Israeli Embassy as the ‘Jewish Embassy’ during three news reports… Given these reports aired at a time of increasing antisemitic attacks against Jewish communities in London, we considered it was particularly important that these reports were accurate. We also recognized the clear offence this conflation was likely to cause to listeners.”
The reports were made on May 15, 2021 by an LBC reporter who was stationed outside the Israeli Embassy in London, nearby a pro-Palestinian protest was occurring.
In one instance, he said: “About 40 metres down the road from me is the gates to the Jewish Embassy but between me and them is a sea of protestors.”
And in another case: ”The Jewish Embassy’s gates are closed.”
In response, LBC News said that the reporter had “tripped over his words in error during the heat of the moment whilst recording this segment of the program from what was a stressful and tense situation.”
It added that “there was absolutely no intention to cause any harm or offence during the recording or broadcast of this report,” stating that the term was used in error and was “in no way malicious or purposefully intended to offend the Jewish community.”