BBC reporter commits “blood libel” against Israel, saying that “Israel is happy to kill children”

July 6, 2023 • 10:00 am

The “blood libel” mentioned in the two articles below is a medieval antisemitic trope that’s explained by Wikipedia:

Blood libel or ritual murder libel (also blood accusation) is an antisemitic canard which falsely accuses Jews of murdering Christian boys in order to use their blood in the performance of religious rituals.

Often those “religious rituals” were said to comprise making the Passover matzoh (unleavened bread) with the blood of Christian children.  The reason why both articles below make the analogy of this BBC interview with “blood libel” is that the BBC reporter uses essentially the same anti-semitic trope: that Jews were happy to kill non-Jewish children. I don’t think making this comparison is too far off the mark.

So the short video below shows Anjana Gadgil, a hostile and anti-Israel BBC reporter (is there any other kind?) going hard after former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for the recent shootings of terrorists in Jenin. The raid into Jenin was meant to find terrorists responsible for some 50 recent deaths of Israelis, terrorists who holed up in the town. For a pretty objective view of the conflict, see the Reuters piece, “Why did Israel attack Jenin?

Three or four of the 12 Palestinian dead were between 16 and 18, but, as Bennett notes and which has now been verified, all of the Palestinians killed in the Jenin raids were terrorists, including those 18 and under. (Had nonterrorist civilians been called, you better believe that the PA would have announced it, but there has been no such announcement.)

And, as the article at the bottom says, it’s not a violation of international law to kill child soldiers—even if you think terrorists of that age are “child soldiers”.  It’s remarkable to me that the IDF went into Jenin targeting specific terrorist and got them all without any civilians being killed. Only Israel is that careful about who they go after in warfare. In contrast, the Palestinians target anybody, including Israeli civilians and children who are not “child soldiers.”

This is not a long video—8½ minutes long—and I urge you to listen to it to see the explicit and completely unhinged hostility towards Israel from the BBC.  Gadgil’s repugnant statement, “The Israeli forces are happy to kill children” occurs at 1 minute, 16 seconds in.

Bennett answers calmly and incisively.


I found photos of three of the four “children” that the Israeli forces were “happy to kill”:


And below are two articles—both invoking “blood libel”—defending Bennett against the BBC anchor. Click on either screenshot or on the links to the left:



Elder of Ziyon:

Here’s the text of the second piece, which is short:

Here is a blood libel from the BBC.

In response to Naftali Bennett saying that every single person killed in Jenin was a terrorist, the presenter said, as a fact, “Terrorists but children. The Israeli forces are happy to kill children.”

Bennett’s answer was good, but here is another case where news interviewers are either ignorant or willfully twisting international law.

Child combatants are still combatants under international law. No matter whether they were forcibly recruited, whether they are under 14, whether they are girls – once someone is shooting at a soldier they are legitimate targets, according to every article I can find on the subject.

In 2000, a group of child soldiers in Sierra Leone known (in the West) as the “West Side Boys” captured a patrol of British soldiers from the Royal Irish Regiment along with their Sierra Leone Army liaison officer. Several of the British soldiers were held for two weeks before the British Army decided to free them in an operation that killed between 25 and 150 of the West Side Boys.

Was the deliberate, planned killing of those children a war crime? Of course not.

Absolutely no international law scholar disputes that the British Army had the right to free their fellow soldiers because they were held by combatants under 18. And no BBC reporter responded to the event by saying on the air, “The British Army is happy to kill children.”

No, only Jews are routinely accused of relishing the murder of children. The accusation is centuries old and it is as popular today in England as it was in 1144 when Jews were accused of happily murdering William of Norwich.

Unlike the West Side Boys, who were obviously children, the two “children” killed by the IDF in Jenin were heavily armed, fully grown near-adults. One was a member of Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigades.

UPDATE: The BBC has tendered a tepid apology after Gadgil made a fool of herself attacking Bennett in the video above. The apology is quite lame, but the tone is expected given that the animus that the BBC harbors towards Israel:

BBC spokesperson told the JC: “BBC News has received comments and complaints concerning an interview with Naftali Bennett broadcast on the BBC News channel about recent events in the West Bank and Israel.

“The complaints raised relate to specific interview questions about the deaths of young people in the Jenin refugee camp.

“The United Nations raised the issue of the impact of the operation in Jenin on children and young people.

“While this was a legitimate subject to examine in the interview, we apologise that the language used in this line of questioning was not phrased well and was inappropriate.”

However, the corporation stressed the BBC covered the wider events in Jenin in an “impartial and robust way.”

I consider this tepid given the horrible things that the reporter said, implying that the IDF is a sadistic organization that likes to torture and kill children. A better apology would be a bit more contrite than just saying “the language used in this line of question was not phrased well and was inappropriate”. Perhaps something along the lines of “we are very sorry that the reporter implied that the IDF delights in killing children” would have been a bit more appropriate. But you can believe that this apology was issued through gritted teeth!

h/t: Malgorzata

22 thoughts on “BBC reporter commits “blood libel” against Israel, saying that “Israel is happy to kill children”

  1. I think you’re right about child soldiers. The war crime comes in recruiting them and deploying them into combat. Killing them in regular combat operations is just normal war. It’s not on the other side to scruple to avoid killing armed children if that would compromise the military objective.

    My father went to enlist in the Canadian Army in on 1 Sept 1939 when he was 16 and some months. I can’t see a 16-17 year-old as a “child”, whether as a soldier or as a criminal. If Hamas was arming 13-year-olds, Israel would still have the right to kill them. But criticizing Israel for killing an armed 17-year-old, and accusing it (Israel) of taking joy in killing children is despicable.

    1. Yes, precisely. If killing a 17 year old (or even a 12 year old) combatant is criminal, it is a crime by those that made them combatants, not by those defending against them. After all, a bullet fired or a grenade launched by a 15 year old is as deadly as fired or launched by a 51 year old.
      The crime is to indoctrinate, train and use children as combatants. IIRC it is even considered a war crime to use ‘child soldiers’.

      [I noted that Gadgil refused to answer the question twice about what she would do if a 17 year old was targeting her family, I found that craven and despicable].

  2. Gotta love how the BBC justifies its commentary by referencing the UN, as if the UN is an objective source wrt Israel. The anti-Israel echo chamber at work.

    1. And I think it was a weak argument anyway saying the UN defined them as children. So what?

  3. If there is a country in the world that is “happy to kill children”, it would be the likes of Russia, North Korea, or Iran. Perhaps a few others.

    I’ve not heard BBC interviewers use that phrase with regard to these countries, though.

  4. What a jackass reporter. Very good video. If the BBC is hiring that kind of reporter they need to find another career. Maybe start a child care

  5. Enthusiasts of the Islamic State would no doubt have accused France of killing children, after its police shot the teenager who decapitated a teacher in 2020, as reported below.

    “PARIS (AP) — A suspect shot dead by police after the beheading of a history teacher near Paris was an 18-year-old Chechen refugee unknown to intelligence services who posted a grisly claim of responsibility on social media minutes after the attack, officials said Saturday.
    France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said authorities investigating the killing of Samuel Paty in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Friday arrested nine suspects, including the teen’s grandfather, parents and 17-year-old brother.
    Paty had discussed caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class, leading to threats, police officials said. Islam prohibits images of the prophet, asserting that they lead to idolatry. “

  6. It is actually good that the interviewer was so aggressive in questioning because Bennett was excellent at addressing what she said & I think comes off as much more reasonable and makes some very good points on the attack on Israeli citizens; I actually wish he had said more on that because I think people don’t really get that.

  7. “While this was a legitimate subject to examine in the interview, we apologise that the language used in this line of questioning was not phrased well and was inappropriate.”

    The most British thing I have heard this week.

  8. This was shameful and cowardly reporting. And note the reporter not responding to the point Bennett raised: “What would *you* do if they were attacking *your* family?” She says that’s not the point? That’s EXACTLY the point.

    This reflects so poorly on the BBC one has to wonder if there will be any fallout.

  9. My dad was an orphan through the 20’s and 30’s. He enlisted in the Canadian Army shortly after WWII began. The CA wanted a special unit to deal with the Hitler Jugend, the crazy SS teenagers indoctrinated since youth. Why? Because they were indoctrinated SS teenagers and their near life-long indoctrination made them another level of crazy and barbaric than the regular SS. So they thought that soldiers who had grown up as orphans like my father would be as tough as you could get to deal with them. My father and his unit were specially trained for 2 years and were only put on the battlefield when the SS were present.. That was how afraid the Canadian Army was of teenagers in WWII.

  10. As a German now in my 5th decade, I have seen a lot of grappling with Antisemitism. I have come to the opinion, that the creation of Israel in its current form was a mistake. Not the part where Jews get their own state, but the location of it. Given the crimes of Germans against.. well.. pretty much anyone, it would have been much more fitting to have Germany cede territory.
    I wonder, if a slow, voluntary relocation would be feasible and if the Jewish people would accept that. Given the population decline of Germany, we’ll soon have land to spare and a population that would probably be more accepting of Isreal being created on their former territory. EU membership could also be very fruitful. Jerusalem with its holy sites would become a UN enclave held by UN troops that allow access to holy sites to everyone.
    I also have a question to Jewish readers:
    One of the peculiarities of Jews is the duality of faith and ‘being a people’. Our host probably does not highlight the anti-Jewish media pieces because he sees the Jewish faith attacked, but because he sees himself as a Jew despite not adhering to the faith. As an outsider, I have never quite understood, how that is supposed to work. Given that there are Jewish people of different ethnicity, I have always considered the term Jew as of the same category as Muslim or Catholic – describing religious affiliation. But discussion of this topic is a very thorny issue in Germany.

    PS: I have posted once before and I’m not 100% sure which email I used. Please forgive me for posting from two different email addresses, should I pick the wrong one.

    1. Umm. . . . I won’t go after your completely bonkers suggestion to put Israel in Germany, but I do take issue with your claim that I don’t highlight the anti-Jewish media pieces because I see myself as a Jew. There are plenty of anti-Jewish media pieces that I don’t agree with, and I criticize them, but they ARE highlighted. Would you like me to parrot all the anti-Jewish media pieces that come out of Arab states? I do highlight them, too, but it seems that you want me to AGREE with them. (And, by the way, I do criticize bad Jewish behavior, for example the Orthodox refusing to sit next to women on planes,.)

      Sorry, but if you want me to parrot all the stupid criticisms of Israel and agree with them, that is not going to happen.

      1. First of all, I want to apologize for any offense caused. It was not my intent to attack you as host of this site, nor to criticize your selection of topics. I enjoy reading the site and I simply skip things I find not as interesting. I also want to thank you for your work.

        I think there might have been a misunderstanding (I have probably not made myself very clear). From what I have read on this site, it seems to me that:
        1) you are offended by anti-Jewish media pieces because you identify as a Jew
        2) you don’t subscribe to the notion of god
        (if any of these observations are incorrect, please accept my humble apology)
        Thus the Jewish identity seems not to be based on faith. I was raised a Catholic, but the moment I identified as agnostic, I was no longer a Catholic.
        On the other hand, there seems to be different ethnic groups among the Jewish population, which makes the classification as a purely ethnic identity tricky.

        I see many non-Jewish Germans struggle to understand this ethnic/faith duality of the Jewish identity and it often puts more distance between them and their Jewish fellow citizens.

    2. For centuries Jews (expelled from their country time and time again) wanted to return to their own countries and did just that as soon as a new ruler of their country was a bit more lenient (only to be expelled again). In Diaspora, Jews prayed “Next year in Jerusalem” year after year, century after century. You think that they should have come to Germany, a country which annihilated every third Jew on the planet – all of them: Jews from Warsaw, who barely survived German barbarity, Jews from Timbuktu, Jews from Moscow, Algeria, Iraq, India, China, US and more? According to you, it would be better for all of them were to live surrounded by people who just finished murdering their families than in a country where their culture, language, nation originated and to which they wanted to return during almost 2000 years of exile? I have huge trouble understanding how your mind works.

      Yes, there is a peculiarity in that Jewishness is both religion and ethnicity. But we, Jews, are a peculiar people. We survived all the expulsions, pogroms, hatred and the Holocaust thanks to religion. But Jews were exterminated whether they were religious or not. Even Catholic nuns were not spared if their parents were Jews. Many of us are atheists. I am one and I feel that I belong to the Jewish nation partly because of some cultural traits I got from my family, partly because of the hostile attitudes of the three countries in which I’ve lived, partly because I would have ended in a gas chamber if Germans managed to get me into their hands, but mostly because I feel a kinship of blood – the blood which was spilled by our unwilling hosts because we were Jews. 48 members of my mother’s closest family (parents, siblings, nieces, nephew, aunts, uncles) perished in the German death industry. Yes, I feel very Jewish.

      1. I also want to apologize to you, for any offense caused. My suggestion of locating Israel in formerly German territory was based on the logic of redress. I am fully aware of the horrors my ancestors have brought on the Jews. I have grown up being confronted with this fact of our history over and over and it is beyond shameful. I would hope, that we Germans will never fall so low ever again.

        Since the Jewish state has been under siege since its inception, I wondered if all the violence that spring up around the state could have been avoided. That was the main motivation for such a suggestion. If the geographic location of the Jewish state is of vital importance due to cultural reasons, then of course my suggestion is foolish.

        1. Thank you for your answer. I started to write about why Israel is indispensable to the Jewish nation and I realized that the explanation would be much longer than the rules for the comments allow. So if you want to know more I would suggest that you read a book by Alan Dershowitz, “The Case for Israel”.

          When it comes to the duality of peoplehood-religion it’s not too complicated. Let’s take an example of a man who is an engineer and a husband. When he gets divorce he doesn’t stop being an engineer, he just stops being a husband. And so I do not stop to be a Jew only because I stopped believing in Jewish “Invisible Being”.

          1. Thank you for your answer. I’m not sure though, the engineer/husband example holds. For one, because I’m not aware that there are different terms for someone holding to Jewish faith and someone of Jewish descent. Your example seems to suggest, that being Jewish is just an ethnicity. Would that mean that if a community of Jews convert to Islam, their grand-children who grew up as Muslims would still be considered Jews, provided no intermarriage with other populations has happened?

            1. It depends. They may consider themselves Jews and thus they will be Jews. Or they would think about themselves as citizens in whatever Muslim country they reside. And some of their neighbors would accept them, others would think about them as “those Jews”. Some Jewish rabbis would accept their Jewishness, some not. Hitler would take all of them into the gas chamber without hesitation. Think about Spanish conversos. The Holy Inquisition didn’t have any problems with burning them as Jews.
              And you are right. There are no different terms for someone holding Jewish faith and someone of Jewish descent. But why should that be a problem? There are many words which describe two different things and we know from the context which meaning the speaker has in mind.

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