The British Broadcasting Corporation has apologized after one of its news anchors claimed that the Israeli military “targeted” Palestinian medical teams in and around a Gaza hospital which is believed to house a key Hamas command post.
The controversy erupted on Tuesday when Monica Miller, a Singapore-based news anchor for the UK public broadcaster’s World Service, read from a Reuters dispatch that detailed Israeli operations at Al-Shifa Hospital.
Miller told viewers that the Israeli military was “targeting people including medical teams as well as Arab speakers.”
But the Reuters report included a quote from an Israeli military spokesperson who told the wire service: “Our medical teams and Arabic-speaking soldiers are on the ground to ensure that these supplies reach those in need.”
The BBC issued an on-air apology hours after Miller’s report sparked outrage, particularly among Jewish groups in the UK who accused the service of perpetrating a “blood libel.”
BBC News said that Miller “misquoted a Reuters report” which clearly stated that “IDF forces included medical teams and Arabic speakers.”
“We apologize for this error that fell below our editorial standards,” the BBC News said in a statement.
The apology was demanded by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, an umbrella group representing a wide swath of Jewish organizations in the UK.
“We are absolutely appalled by BBC News footage which appears to show a newsreader misquoting a Reuters report which cited the IDF saying it was taking ‘medical teams and Arabic speakers’ into Al-Shifa hospital to help patients,” according to a statement put out by the Board of Deputies.
“At best, this shows a staggering lack of care when reporting on a highly volatile situation, which can have a knock-on effect all over the world, including in Britain, where antisemitic attacks have risen by more than 500% since October 7th.”
Hamas terrorists staged a surprise assault on Israeli towns and villages along the frontier with the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7 — killing at least 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostage.
Many of those abducted were believed to be held in underground tunnels used by Hamas terrorists, according to Israel.
The Israeli military on Tuesday announced that it was undertaking a “precise and targeted operation” at Al-Shifa Hospital.
The US government has backed up Israeli claims that Hamas leaders are operating an underground facility beneath the hospital.
This is the second time in the last month that the BBC acknowledged one of its on-air journalists erred in covering the events in Israel and Gaza.
Jon Donnison, a BBC correspondent, speculated on air that Israel was behind an explosion at the Ahli hospital in Gaza, which Hamas claimed killed more than 500 people.
“It’s hard to see what else this could be really given the size of the explosion other than an Israeli air strike or several air strikes,” Donnison said on the air.
The BBC later admitted that it was “wrong” for Donnison to speculate who was to blame for the hospital strike.
The BBC and The New York Times amplified initial Palestinian claims that it was an Israeli military strike that killed 500 people at the hospital.
But the blast actually occurred in a nearby parking, lending credence to US and Israeli claims that it was likely an errant Palestinian missile fired by either Hamas or Islamic Jihad that led to the explosion. The actual death toll was placed at around 50.
The BBC has been harshly criticized for its coverage of the weeks-long war between Israel and Hamas.
Just days after the Hamas attack, a Jewish freelancer who contributed sports radio commentary to the service announced he was severing ties with the broadcaster over its refusal to label the Palestinian Islamist group a terrorist organization.
The BBC’s editorial stance also prompted hospital officials at a northern Israeli medical facility to bar its camera crews from filming B-roll footage for its news reports.
The service also took several of its Arabic-speaking journalists off the air after they posted social media messages in support of Hamas.