Saturday, 29 April 2017

Open Thread



As usual (and thank you)...

Flags of inconvenience (updated)



The closing song by The Cranberries on last night's The One Show struck a discordant note - or two. 

Alas, that was partly because the singer, Dolores, was somewhat out of tune

(I feel for her. I'm apparently tone-deaf when I sing, in that I think I can sing but truly, truly can't. I once belted out Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' to a very rude Karaoke game at a friend's party. The game flashed up a running commentary. I remember "Ouch!" and "Don't give up your day job!".)

The other discordant note came from there being an absolute mass of EU flags (well over a dozen of) being waved behind the performers, with just a single Union Jack for company. 

The social media response was huge and instantaneous. Large numbers of Leavers took to Twitter to ask countless variations on the question "WTF?" while, simultaneously, many a Remainer (including one with the tell-tale moniker Remainy McRemainface‏) took to Twitter to admire all the EU flags, or to gloat at the Leavers, or to do both. 

So what were all those EU flags about? Were they stage-managed by the BBC - and, if so, for what reason? Or were they a stunt (a 'photobombing') by pro-EU activists? 

It was all very strange.


Update: With a very strong tip of the hat to Quelly in the comment below, it's now clear that this was a stunt by pro-EU activists, namely a group called EU Flag Mafia - the same people behind the Proms pro-EU flag campaign last year.

They are jubilant about their One Show action and are, indeed, calling it "a stunt":

Have I Got Tigers For You





This week's Have I Got News For You saw (Establishment lackey) anti-Establishment hero Ian Hislop making a suggestive remark about BBC bias. 

The first segment had focused its satirical mockery on Labour - which, to my mind, is quite unusual for the programme. 

Of course, all of that mockery focused personally on Jeremy Corbyn (which surprised me a good deal less). 

There then followed a short burst of mockery for Tim Farron over the gay sex thing.

And then came the utterly charming mockery of an 84-year old UKIP lady...a "would-be councillor in Glasgow". 

When they mock UKIP, even an 84-year-old woman who isn't even a councillor (and who only wants to be) is obviously fair game. 

Oh, how the audience laughed at her!

(Makes you proud to pay the BBC licence fee, doesn't it?)

At this point Ian began chomping at the bit to have a pop at the Tories, saying:
Are there no questions about the Conservatives at all? Is that the new BBC policy?
The typical metropolitan BBC comedy audience burst into huge applause and cheers. (They must be the same kind of people who tweet about the BBC being 'Tory' on Twitter).

Ian was being very helpful to the BBC there. ('Complaints From Both Sides' and all that.)

Kirsty Young, however, said that the Tories would get their share of the mockery soon enough - and so they did,...

(And they kept a little more till the very end when they did a 'Jacob Rees-Mogg is posh' joke.)

....as indeed they did the previous week when mocking of those very Tories dominated the first few minutes of the programme (with Ian in his element) and mockery of Jeremy Corbyn (personally) was a mere passing whim.

Still, I laughed quite a bit at this week's HIGNFY - especially at the statue of the tiger mascot of the Siliwangi Military Command in Indonesia. The police there had commissioned a statue to represent the fierce and noble beast which they'd chose to represent everything they stand for...


and this was it: 


When asked why did the statue didn't end up looking like the ferocious beast it was supposed to resemble, the police spokesman said it was because "the artist was not that good". 

"Injecting a bit of realism"


Another beauty?

And, on a similar front, the following report from Damian Grammaticas on tonight's BBC One early evening news bulletin reported the remaining EU's position whilst framing it in terms of Angela Merkel's talk of British "illusions". Damian then added, without appearing to quote either directly or indirectly, and thus giving the impression that he was 'telling it how he sees it'...:
What EU leaders are most worried about is what Angela Merkel has called "illusions" on the British side about what can be achieved in Brexit negotiations. This process today is about injecting a bit of realism into the debate: The EU's red lines. 
Then came a clip from a Mrs Merkel press conference where our Damian, like Chris Morris before him, was shown NOT exactlasking the German leader tough questions from the opposite standpoint (the British pro-Brexit standpoint): 
What illusions do you think some in the UK harbour?
Further EU points followed, from EU spokesman and Damian himself, all pointing to the difficulties for the UK. Anyone waiting for a British pro-Brexit riposte or some points from the BBC reporter putting the counter arguments (for the sake of balance)...


)

.... will have been left waiting. It was the EU's case, presented as "firm" and "very clear", all the way.


P.S. Though ITV's coverage this evening reported much the same thing, they did at least cite the views of Theresa May and David Davis and described the EU summit as "a carefully staged show of unity" - and that's a good deal more than the BBC did. 

Question



Hm. Here's an exam question based on the opening of tonight's BBC One early evening news bulletin. (I'll let you decide it it's a good one).

Which of the following (if any) do you think are more biased in their way of putting it than all the others? (There may be more than one answer). And, if so, in which direction(s)? Or are they all equally impartial?

The second part of the questions is: And which one of them do you think the BBC actually used tonight?
  1. Good evening. The President of the European Commission has said that many people in Britain are underestimating the difficulties of Brexit. 
  2. Good evening. The President of the European Commission has claimed that many people in Britain are underestimating the difficulties of Brexit. 
  3. Good evening. The President of the European Commission has warned that many people in Britain are underestimating the difficulties of Brexit.
  4. Good evening. The President of the European Commission has told fellow EU leaders that many people in Britain are underestimating the difficulties of Brexit. 

Not speaking truth to power



This afternoon's EU Summit press conference, starring Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, featured a question from a BBC journalist, Chris Morris. 

Did Chris emulate the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg, Jon Sopel & Ian Pannell in 'speaking truth to power', as they all did so ostentatiously with Donald Trump? Did he put 'tough', 'cheeky' provocative questions to the EU's powers-that-be and make them recoil with disdain or fury?

Er...not exactly. In fact, quite the opposite:
Prime Minister (of somewhere): Thank you. I now open the floor to questions. We'll start with the gentleman in middle here. Chris?  
Chris Morris, BBC: Thank you, Prime Minister. It's Chris Morris, BBC. And there's obviously been a lot of concern growing about a potential gap in expectations between London and the rest of the EU about how these negotiations are going to proceed. Mrs Merkel, as you know, spoke about illusions in London this week. Can you give any clarity about what the problem is? Is it about the size of the actual settlement? Is it about the fact that, Mr Tusk you seem to suggest, that you haven't had a serious British proposal yet on the issue of citizens' rights? And, secondly, was there anything in the debate today between the 27 which surprised you? Or is your unity so absolute that there were no surprises at all?
As Diane Abbott was wont to say of Keith Vaz, "Slurp, slurp!"

"Little Tim"


If there's one bias that even BBC insiders will sometimes admit to it's that the BBC has a strong social-liberal bias - though, of course, that's also true of many broadcast media journalists well beyond the BBC (though we don't pay for them via a compulsory licence fee).

One of the odder events of last week seemed to manifest that: namely what Stephen Daisley at The Spectator called "the cruel hounding of Tim Farron" over his views on gay sex. 

Though it was Channel 4 News (in the form of Cathy Newman) and ITV (in the person of Robert Peston) who really set this fox running, the BBC sounded the tally-ho too, most strikingly in a report/interview with Mr Farron by Eleanor Garnier which appeared on BBC One's News at Six last Tuesday. The report's introduction was accompanied by this photo of the 'shame-faced' Lib Dem leader:


The tone of the reporting was of Tim Farron finally 'fessing up after "having declined to answer the question" or having "refused to answer this question" despite being asked about it "again...and again":
It's taken him almost two years, since becoming the leader of the Lib Dems, to clarify his position. But the pressure has increased since the election was called. 
- and it was explicit about his Christianity ("Mr Farron, who's a Christian...", "the Lib Dem leader, a committed Christian...", "your Christian belief"...). 

Plus the questioning was accusatory:

  • So, what's changed in the last 48 hours that you are now able to say that you don't think gay sex is a sin, yet for the last two years you have very blatantly swerved the question? 
  • So you were either misleading people before, or you are misleading people now. Which is it? 
  • Isn't it just that it is your Christian belief, and you didn't want to admit it? 
  • So this is blatant electioneering? 

Some have wondered, doubtless reasonably, whether a non-Christian politician would ever be asked such questions (especially the third one). 

*******


Tim Farron, of course, got called all sorts of things last week - "bigot", "homophobe", etc - but at least someone at the BBC was prepared to stand up to him - though naturally not over the gay sex issue.

And the word which broke the camel's back for that particular BBC presenter? Alex Deane's use of the word "little" to describe the Lib Dem leader on last night's The Papers on the BBC News Channel. 

Martine Croxall took great exception to him calling Mr Farron "Little Tim"; indeed, she gave him such a prolonged, schoolmarmish dressing-down that she might as well have just told him to go and stand in the corner and stop being such a naughty political commentator. She just wouldn't let it go. (Alex took to Twitter straight after and began, "Well, that was weird".)

Though it might well make you cringe, you can watch the whole thing unfold by clicking this link to the programme (if I can get it to start at the right time).

It's well worth watching. I've never seen anything quite like it before. 

Ofcom (update)


Kevin Bakhurst

If you recall, last October a study by News-watch found that 10 out of the 13 members of the new Ofcom board charged with being the independent court of appeal for complaints against the BBC had close links to the BBC themselves. 

Though there has been one change to Ofcom's Content Board since then, it has simply reaffirmed the body's BBC links, with James Thickett, former Controller of Business Strategy at the BBC, being replaced by a very familiar name to BBC watchers - Kevin Bakhurst, former Deputy Head of the BBC Newsroom and Controller of the BBC News Channel, as well as Editor of the Ten O’Clock News. (He was forever on the BBC's own Newswatch telling us that the corporation had got it about right about whatever it was he'd been brought onto the programme to defend). 

I was thinking of this again because of an excellent comment at Biased BBC yesterday which included the following paragraph:
At time of writing 9 [he'd missed the past links of Dr. Zahera Harb to BBC Arabic, not mentioned on the Ofcom websiteof the 13 members of the Ofcom Content Board responsible for overseeing the BBC’s impartiality are ex-BBC employees. This is untenable. The arrangement is comparable to the hypothetical scenario of suing someone for libel only to arrive at the court to find that most of the members of the jury are ex-employees of the accused. This would never happen, for good and obvious reasons. In my opinion those charged with judging the BBC’s impartiality should be people with no previous employment at the BBC, and their judgments should not be subject to review by ex-BBC employees anywhere in the Ofcom management chain.
Though maybe asking for no people with previous employment at the BBC might be going too far, the point about the sheer scale of the Board's personal links to the BBC is an important one, and the commenter's "hypothetical scenario" makes for a sharp analogy.

It's all Greek to me


Clytemnestra (Mrs Agamemnon)

It should go without saying that the BBC is, despite the bias we mainly focus on here, still capable of producing many a delight and a few fair wonders. 

My non-work/non-ITBB recreation time this week (of which there was quite a bit) included listening, despite myself, to last week's Drama on 3 on Radio 3: Iphigenia in Crimea - Tony Harrison's gripping take on Euripides's Iphigenia in Tauris. I stuck with it and, in the end, thoroughly enjoyed it.

No dumbing-down there then from BBC Radio 3. 


I'd never seen it before, but it's what Wagner would have called 'Gesamtkunstwerk' (total art work), and I will admit to having become quite obsessed by it...

...despite the slightly jolting fact that Baldrick from Blackadder (Sir Tony of Robinson) is a prominent - and very recognisable - member of the chorus. So here's how I heard it: 
Chorus Member 1: Clytemnestra, we come to you as we would to our clan-chief.
Chorus Member 2: It is right that we honour the wife of the clan-chief when the man-lord himself's not here on the throne-stone.
Chorus Member 3: Is it good news or firm news?
Chorus Member 4: Or merely a cunning plan? I've got a cunning plan, my lady.
Clytemnestra: Like mother, like daughter. May last night's good news give birth this dawn-light to a day like her mother. What I've got to tell you is beyond what you'd hoped for...
Chorus Member 4: A turnip, my lady?
Clytemnestra: The Greek armies have taken the city of Priam.
Chorus Member 3: Taken Troy? Did my ears hear you right?
Chorus Member 1: My eyes fill with tears, tears of sheer joy.
Chorus Member 4: I'll get a little turnip of my own.
Clytemnestra: The cycle is broken and hope starts to happen, and a life-lot that's lucky gets crowned with the laurels. 

Friday, 28 April 2017

Meltdown over Israel

Brendan (extra Brownie points for not being a Jew) O’Neil has written a hard-hitting but amusing blog on “Jewish News”. 
It’s about antisemitism on campus again.  “This never-ending meltdown over Israel is the distress of fools” is the title.
You see, Mark Regev, the former spokesman for the Israeli Government and now Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, was invited to speak at SOAS about the prospects for peace in the Middle East. 



However, the good folk at SOAS feared his presence on campus would cause “substantial distress” to the SOAS community.

O’Neil alludes to the “cravenness”  of academics who demand the silencing of speakers they disagree with and call for the expulsion from campus of anyone who “thinks differently from them” and he writes:
“The irony is that anti-Israel activists talk about “Israeli Apartheid”, yet they enforce a discriminatory system against all things Israeli. They treat that nation’s professors, artists, politicians and produce as poisonous almost, liable to warp minds — or cause substantial distress — and therefore deserving of censorship or destruction. They single out Israeli people for nasty, censorious treatment, and then have the front to accuse Israel of having apartheid attitude.”
These are worthy arguments, and the recent descent into snowflakery in the academic world almost beggars belief.

However, there is one aspect of this that we shouldn’t  overlook. 
Fist of all we might ask - Who are the people who would be so distressed at the sight of Mark Regev? 

If they’re from a cultural background that traditionally hates and fears Jews, no amount of verbiage from a Jewish Israeli will bring them round, whether it’s about the prospect of peace in the Middle East or anything else under the sun. Their hostility is irrational and innate and they will cling to it come what may.
The ones that don’t come from such a background, but are nevertheless distressed by the sight of Israelis on campus have been seduced by the sheer passion of those that do, and in the absence of any rational counter-arguments from the likes of the BBC they, too, have abandoned reason. 

(Who truly knows the depth of their distress at the sight of Mark Regev?) 

Test this argument by supposing that the speaker in question was a hate-preacher. Should, say, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi be given a platform on campus? (It’s not such a wild supposition, is it?)  One might indeed wish to no-platform such a person for fear that his passion would persuade or seduce the more vulnerable members of the audience. (If that’s too far-fetched to imagine, think of those gatherings of Palestine Solidarity types who routinely eject Jews asking awkward questions.) 

I don’t relish the thought of, say David Irving’s ideas being given exposure and I’m not ecstatic at the thought of Professor Ilan Pappé and Ghada Karmi influencing gullible students at Exeter University. But there it is. They’re there and there’s nowt I can do about it.

No, the ridiculousness of the SOAS position is not merely a question of no-platforming people who disagree with or think differently from the SOAS community. They don’t merely ’disagree’ or  ‘think differently’. They hate Jews, therefore they hate Israel. Their distress is caused by the prospect of their fear and loathing being exposed for the sheer irrational racism it is.


The eventual outcome of Mark Regev’s night at SOAS was positive. Outside, there were demonstrations by both sides, but the actual event passed without incident. Read Mark Regev’s piece  “Why I accepted invitation to speak at SOAS to put forward Israel’s case.” The fact that he even needed to explain why he accepted the invitation says a lot about the atmosphere on campus, and the fact that he knew it was up to him to put the case for Israel says a lot about the BBC.




Thursday, 27 April 2017

Antisemitism on campus

Antisemitism on campus is rife. It turns out that student unions are charities so the Charity Commission is looking into the matter. 

A report about this only went out on the Victoria Derbyshire programme this morning and BBCWatch has covered it already. (!)
I came in halfway through Jon Ironmonger’s report. I missed the intro as well as the footage from the incident at King’s College London earlier this year. But I’ve caught up with it since.



As BBC Watch points out, Jon Ironmonger’s narration includes:
“The Jewish state of Israel is deeply controversial; accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses against the Palestinian people and provoking anger around the world.”
That’s all very well, apart from the fact that the ‘controversy’ and the ‘accusations’ come from the anti-Israel lobby. It’s a bit like me citing one of my own articles to prove that something I said has also been said by ….’me’.

His explanation of the “global BDS movement” contained this little gem:
“BDS pressures Israel to end the occupation of Arab lands by calling for the boycott of Israeli companies and institutions.”
That is so loaded a statement that it’s a wonder it was able to float.  It both reveals and conceals the aim of the BDS movement all in one go. 

Palestinian activists take care to disguise their wish to dismantle Israel and to replace it with yet another Islamic state. But the 5 emboldened words accidentally reveal the truth; they want to end “the occupation”  but as they consider Israel itself to be ‘occupying Arab lands’ (What are Arab lands?) their true aim is more than clear. 

The problem with superficial reports like this is that they take place against a background of disinformation. BDSers justify their anger at “what Israel is doing to the Palestinians” by citing myths and memes based on falsehoods, anti-Israel propaganda and sheer ignorance of history. I doubt that Jon Ironmonger is any better informed than the anti-Israel activists he’s talking to.

We are told that the NUS did not want to comment, and there was no mention of Malia “Zio” Bouattia’s recent defeat in a new election for the NUS presidency. 

At the same time as the enquiry into antisemitism on campus is taking place, a letter signed by a huge number of anti-Israel activists is doing the rounds. The signatories are ‘artists, musicians and people in the arts’, all of whom want to stop Radiohead performing in Israel.
Some of the signatories are prominent figures and well known Israel-haters such as Roger Waters and Ken Loach; others are more obscure.  The most interesting name on the list is is that of Peter Kosminsky, the Bafta winning director of Wolf Hall. 

 In 2011, when “The Promise”, Kosminsky’s Channel 4 drama series was aired Channel 4 gave it the full treatment. 
The publicity surrounding the production promoted it as a drama-cum-history lesson. Channel 4’s International Editor Lindsay Hilsum's Middle East ‘expertise’ was brought in to enlighten viewers who wanted to know what it was all about and there was a ‘livechat’ in the form of a Q & A session, where curious viewers were ‘educated’ by Kosminsky himself. He claimed to be both an impartial observer and a great authority on the conflict.
After a respectable period of silence the mask slipped and Kosminsky started appearing on the panels of virulent anti-Israel /  pro-Palestinian events alongside several other well-known haters.

It’s hard to see how this state of affairs can ever change while antisemitic / anti-Israel myths and memes continue to thrive and the BBC and Channel 4 does nothing to counteract them.



Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Losses and gains



Sad to lose Eric Pickles, glad to lose David Ward  (and Malia Bouattia

My Conservative woes

Ever since the election was announced I have been avoiding bias-watching and blogging about political programmes. It’s not that I’m not interested, I certainly am. It’s just that I’m incapable of separating my subjective political views from the business of critically objective bias-watching. 
I find it hard to leave my views at the door, so to speak, and as you’ll have noticed, the stop-watch department is in the hands of my co-blogger.

However, there are certain things that I might as well get off my chest. The only credible party at the moment is of course the Conservative Party. That goes without saying. But there are certain things that Theresa May has said that have me deeply worried. Policy issues.
One is her bizarre insistence that it’s only when violence is incited or is being plotted, or after it has taken place that we need to be concerned about Islamic extremism, let alone take action against the perpetrator. It’s plain stupid. As politicians are wont to say - “What kind of country do we want to live in?” 

The  other matter is the ring-fencing of international aid. I don’t even think it’s a vote-winner.
I watched Charlie Webster talking about her near-death experience from a malaria-related complication, and her heartfelt appeal for aid towards malaria prevention, worldwide. She said eradicating malaria is not only do-able, but in the long-term, completely cost-effective. I understand she spoke about this on Capitol Hill recently.




I’m sure there are other worthy causes we might support, and I have no problem with the government aiding genuinely humanitarian causes.
However, the waste associated with present arrangements concerning the distribution of our foreign is shameful. On The Conservative Woman Karen Harradine has written a powerful two-part study of how the DFID money is really spent, which you must read. That topic would make a terrific BBC investigation. You’d think they’d snap it up before Channel 4 gets its hands on it.

Not only the £800 that is being paid (from your money) by the PA as a monthly salary to the murderer of British student Hannah Bladon who happened to be travelling on the Jerusalem light railway when she was stabbed to death by a disgraced and certifiably insane Palestinian man who believed  the act would give him “a way out of his problems”. Which it did - so, not quite so insane after all. That’s Mahmoud Abbas’s peacemaking strategy for you; his preparation for Statehood.

 That particular abuse of foreign aid is absolutely appalling, but it’s not the only abuse Ms. Harradine exposes. The widespread corruption and misuse of British taxpayers’ cash is truly shocking. Do read both articles, part one here and part two here

HARDtalk and the man on the Clapham omnibus

The BBC’s HARDtalk covers a vast breadth of issues. Stephen Sacker sweeps in on all sorts of scenarios and situations, tasked with confronting his prey with a set of penetrating questions designed to expose weakness or hypocrisy. He’s armed with several sheets of paper; perhaps he prepares his own notes or perhaps they are prepared for him by a research team.

Analogy:

Imagine a complex fraud investigation. Just like on TV.
An official body spends hours, days, weeks constructing a watertight case against a devious fraudster whose ‘business’ activities extricated thousands of pounds from customers who cannot immediately tell they’ve been swindled.
Evidence has been seized, statements and counter statements taken, character references concocted and a solicitor painstakingly prepares umpteen charges. Even as the case is ready to go to court the criminal activity is ongoing,
A learned barrister sweeps in from on high and after a cursory glance at the evidence and a last-minute tête-à-tête with the defence, a plea bargain is agreed. Guilty to half the charges and the rest - dropped. Just like that. The upshot: a suspended sentence, not a hefty custodial one as was hoped for.

End of analogy.

Due to being parachuted in with little more than a sketchy overview and a necessarily limited grasp of crucial minutiae, Stephen Sacker is the BBC’s jack-of-all-trades who can only be master of none. (Like that barrister.)
Instead of a bundle of painstakingly prepared evidence, Sacker is only armed with his own research, or that of the BBC. He wades in, woefully ill-prepared, and achieve an inevitably unsatisfactory outcome. I felt this too about Sarah Montague’s interview with Kenneth O’Keefe.

They mean well, but they are only as good as the research they are armed with. They can succeed only as much as that famous passenger on the Clapham omnibus, should he decide to take on an argument he is not absolutely familiar with. 

BBC Watch deconstructs the shortcomings in Sackur's interview with former head of UN ESCWA Rima Khalaf in far more detail than I can. They gave Sackur due credit for the challenges he did make, but like the fraudster in my analogy, Rima Khalif got away with most of her offences.

The woeful inadequacy of another Stephen Sackur episode of HARDtalk has also been mentioned elsewhere on the www. The interviewee was a staunch critic of Islam, the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner. Sackur’s principal argument seemed to be  accusing Bruckner of Islamophobia.

I watched Sackur’s latest episode, which was broadcast yesterday. The interview took place in northern Germany and was with the writer Nicklas Frank, the son of Hans Frank the brutal Nazi governor of Poland 1939-1945 who was “hung” (sic) when Nicklas was seven years old. 

Rather than a confrontation, after all there was nothing much to confront Nicklas Frank about, this interview morphed into one of those heart to heart counselling sessions that Victoria Derbyshire specialises in.  The only hook upon which to hang a HARDtalk approach was to question the need for transferred collective guilt and the folly of taking responsibility of the crimes of others.

One point passed by without a challenge from Sackur, one I could really have done with. Nicklas Frank equated criticism of Angela Merkel’s generous refugee policy with the world’s inhospitable response to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. A variant of the Kindertransport / refugee analogy. Interestingly, he also said that he fundamentally distrusted the German character because of a collective refusal to properly acknowledge the crime committed by Hitler (and his own father.) He said ‘the swamp has not been drained’. 


Here endeth the lesson.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Defining Terror

Using apprentices or work-experience personnel to fob off complaints from less than tenacious complainants might seem like prudent use of licence payers' money. It might even be a cost-effective method of deterring all but the most indefatigable complainant, for instance those of us whose real life eats into our complaining time.

Why waste valuable brainpower on the initial stage of a complaint when there are far more pressing matters to occupy the abundant creative talent within the publicly funded BBC?

After all, with luck, at the first stage of the procedure the complainant might be so daunted by the prospect of rewriting the complaint more forcefully than before, carefully saving their 'crime number' for posterity and asking politely for the complaint to be 'elevated', that they give up altogether. Much easier to go away and eat worms.

I certainly hope that's the explanation for the letter BBCWatch reproduces here.

"Thank you for getting in touch about our report on the attack carried out on Westminster Bridge in London and please accept our apologies for the delay in our response. 
The BBC sets out clear parameters on how terms such as "terrorist" might be used:
https://bbcwatch.org/2017/04/24/a-new-bbc-explanation-for-its-double-standards-on-terror/ 

Where there is an ongoing geopolitical conflict - as in the Middle East - to use the term "terror attack" or similar might be seem to be taking sides. There are those who might consider the actions of the Israeli government to be considered as terrorist acts. 
In a situation where a country that is not involved in a direct physical combat comes under attack, it may be reasonable to construe that as a terrorist incident. 
The use of such terminology is never an exact science but where a continuing conflict exists, it is reasonable that the BBC would not wish to appear to be taking sides. 

Thank you again for raising this matter. 
This letter doesn't seem to have been signed by a named individual so I can't make fun of anyone in particular; just the generic BBC complaints division.

Although this letter doesn't follow the BBC's normal practice of re-framing the complaint in its own words, presumably to show that the complaint has been 'listened to' (though sometimes it shows the opposite) the nature of the original complaint is  self-evident. It's about the double standards the BBC applies to violent attacks against civilians going about their daily business in Israel and identical religiously motivated attacks that occur almost anywhere else on the planet.

The complaint refers to the recent attack in London. The one that killed five innocent people and injured fifty others, which was carried out by ISIS fan Khalid Masood. You know, the Lorry attack. Or terror attack. Which is it?

Well,  the dictionary definition of 'terrorism' goes like this:

"the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”

The ideologically anti-Israel UN rejects that definition and the BBC must have followed suit. 

The sentence in the letter that BBCWatch has emboldened is both illiterate and incomprehensible.
Who, exactly, are:
"those who might consider the actions of the Israeli government to be considered as terrorist acts"?

And what does that garbled sentence even mean? Those who might wish the actions of the Israeli government to be considered as terrorist acts, perhaps?
I think, if one were to stay with the  dictionary definition, the preceding sentence has just as much significance:
“Where there is an ongoing geopolitical conflict – as in the Middle East – to use the term “terror attack” or similar might be seen to be taking sides.”
Or - when the term is used in circumstances when you have decided to take sides - for example, say, in London or Paris, not using it when such an attack occurs in Israel can equally 'be considered' to be taking sides.

There are 'some who consider' all Israeli civilians as combatants, therefore legitimate targets for their heroic car-rammings, stabbings and suicide bombings.

There are even 'some who consider' civilians here in the UK and throughout Europe to be legitimate targets as their countries are participating in 'direct physical combat' in the 'ongoing geopolitical conflict' against radical Islam. 

So how does the BBC's argument against the original complaint about double standards hold up? Not very well, I'd say.

Of course, when it comes to not using the term 'terror' for what is obviously 'terror,' (but has taken place in Israel) "there are those who might consider" the actions of the BBC "to be considered as taking sides." 

For example, people who see Israel as a diverse and democratic country rather than a terrorist state, or people who view Hamas as a terrorist organisation, even if some of them qualify that view by only counting the 'military wing' of Hamas "The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades" as terrorists - as if Hamas has a benign political wing (If Hamas does, then so must ISIS). Those people will definitely see the BBC's selective use of the term as "taking sides", and in the case of terrorism, so they bloody well should. How could the impartial BBC judge terrorism as anything other than 'bad'?

The BBC should urgently untangle their hypocritical Editorial Guidelines and call a spade a spade. Their muddled thinking, or maybe their hapless work-experience letter-writer's, is of course due to the BBC's ongoing partial, selective and 'half-a-story' reporting, which, in turn, causes the muddled thinking that leads to the painfully obvious double standards we can clearly see here.

The origin of this unfortunate situation is that the supposedly impartial BBC aligns itself with with the factually questionable "Palestinian narrative" and is ideologically opposed to Israel. The BBC's Editoral Guidelines virtually admit this within their peculiar, inconclusive and muddled exploration of the use of the term 'terror' and the vexed question of 'value judgements' , when they state:
"For example, the bombing of a bus in London was carried out by 'terrorists', but the bombing of a bus in Israel was perpetrated by a "suicide bomber".

Trying to make this anomaly appear "not taking sides"  is more of a task than a work-experience student or apprentice is up to. Such an exercise demands the full brainpower of the BBC most creative talent.