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Janner Protests to Bbc over Use of Term Guerrillas to Designate Arab Terrorists

August 12, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A Jewish member of Parliament is engaged in a dispute with the British Broadcasting Corporation over its designating Palestinian terrorists as “guerrillas” and “commandos” while it calls the Northern Irish revolutionaries “terrorists.” Replying to a complaint by MP Greville Janner, BBC chairman Lord Hill wrote that it was “misleading to draw a close analogy between events in the Middle East and events in Northern Ireland.” As he explained the difference, “In Northern Ireland there exists a group of men bent through armed force and murder on the subversion of law and order in a part of the United Kingdom.., In the Middle East, however, a state of war exists between Israel and her neighbors, some of whom are giving active support to terrorist activities within Israel as a means of continuing the fight, notwithstanding the existence of the cease-fire.” Lord Hill concluded that “the terms ‘guerrillas’ and ‘commandos’ have gained wide international currency,” and that “for the BBC to use these terms is not to imply any greater merit for Arab acts of terrorism than for similar acts by terrorists in Ulster…”

Janner retorted in a written reply that “To my mind the word ‘terrorist’ is clearly an accurate description for anyone who attempts to achieve political change through terror, no matter in what part of the world he happens to operate.” Janner continued: “I am afraid that I cannot see that the issue is any less clear-cut in Israel as it is in Northern Ireland… The fact that your audience have now come to recognize the Middle East terrorists by the name of commandos is precisely the basis of our protest.” Janner, son of Lord Janner, former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, asked Lord Hill to reconsider the BBC’s nomenclature. He added to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he planned to consult with his colleagues in the House of Commons who join him in his complaint as to the best means of raising the issue in the House.

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