The BBC have received dozens of complaints about a “problematic” Panorama programme which the programme maker says has “deepened resentment” in the city.
Anger followed Monday night’s episode, watched by 1.7 million people, in which film-maker Adam Wishart, a British Jew, explained that the Jerusalem Light Rail “makes it easier for Jews to travel into Palestinian suburbs”.
Wishart examined the increased tension brought about by the nine-mile train route, hearing that up to 20,000 Israeli Jews now travel into Palestinian areas every day, a 30-fold increase since before it opened.
The programme then covers the violent confrontation between Jews and Muslims at Temple Mount, including the Jewish groups that want to rebuild the Jewish temple on a site held holy to both religions.
You can watch the programme here.
Luke Akehurst, director of advocacy group ‘We Believe in Israel,’ led a chorus of disapproval by suggesting that the programme was “inaccurate” and “biased” in favour of the Palestinian narrative.
“The significance of fringe Jewish groups was exaggerated,” he said. “The role played by Palestinian extremist groups and incitement in both bringing about and celebrating deadly attacks on Israeli civilians was overlooked.
He added that the programme focused inordinately on the “abhorrent” murder of Mohamed Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped and burned alive by a group of Jewish men, compared to the kidnap and murder of three Jewish settlers.
A spokeswoman for the BBC, which had received 24 complaints by Tuesday evening, said: “It explored the tensions in Jerusalem through the eyes of a British Jewish filmmaker, reflecting what he witnessed in the city and hearing from a range of voices expressing alternate views”.
The train, built at a cost of $1 billion, serves 800,000 Jerusalem residents, 60 percent of whom are Jewish. Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat said in the programme that the JLR’s aim was for “people to feel freedom”.