BBC broadcast report supporting terrorist; victim's family demands apology

The family of Malka Roth, who was killed in 2001, has called on the BBC to apologize for a report on the mastermind of the bombing which glossed over the details of that deadly attack.

A gaping hole is left in the shop front of the Sbarro pizzeria after a suicide bombing, August 9, 2001 (photo credit: REUTERS)
A gaping hole is left in the shop front of the Sbarro pizzeria after a suicide bombing, August 9, 2001
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The family of Malki Roth, who at 15 years of age was killed in the Sbarro Pizza parlor bombing in Jerusalem in 2001, has called on the BBC to apologize after its Arabic television service broadcast an appeal for the mastermind behind that attack, Ahlam Tamimi, to be reunited with her husband following his deportation by the Jordanian government.
On October 1, 2020, Tamimi's husband Nizar, who is also a convicted terrorist, was deported by the Jordanian authorities to Qatar.
Seven days later the BBC's Arabic TV service broadcast a report in its program Trending on how Tamimi had called into a popular Amman-based radio station in a bid to appeal directly to King Abdullah II to intervene and have her husband returned to Jordan.
“Ahlam Tamimi, the Jordanian prisoner of Palestinian origin… has returned to the headlines following the expulsion of her husband Nizar to [Qatar’s capital] Doha," viewers were told by the program's host. 
They continued: "The story of the relationship between these two people is that they first met in the Israeli military courtroom, and were engaged inside the prisons… After their release as part of a prisoner exchange deal in 2011… they got married and settled in Amman [Jordan]…When Ahlam spoke [on Jordanian radio] about the decision to expel her husband, and about her rights, and when she directed a request to [Jordan’s] king to solve her problem, the broadcasters cut off the call… The staff of the [BBC] program Trending reached out to Ahlam to hear her request to the Jordanian king, which was cut off... Let’s listen.”
Tamimi can then be heard making her appeal, saying: "I, Jordanian citizen Ahlam Tamimi, turn once again to His Majesty King Abdullah II in order to be united with my husband Nizar Tamimi on the blessed land of Jordan. It is my right to be beside my husband."
A video of the segment has been uploaded to the BBC's YouTube site, carrying the description: “‘Ahlam Tamimi, your voice is loud’ – responses of solidarity on Jordanian and Palestinian sites with Palestinian Ahlam Tamimi.”
THE BBC's report glossed over key elements of Jordanian-born Tamimi's story, reporting that she had been "accused" of the Sbarro terror attack but not that she had boastfully pled guilty to the charges in an Israeli court – or that she had said she would be happy to carry out such an attack again.
Tamimi was sentenced to 16 life sentences following the attack, but only served ten years as she was released in the deal that secured the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas's hold.
The BBC's Arabic service, which is funded by Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, further failed to mention any of her victims by name.
BRITISH MP Bob Blackman, who also serves as an officer for the Conservative Friends of Israel, told The Jerusalem Post that he was "shocked to learn that the convicted Hamas terrorist Ahlam Tamimi was given a platform last week by the BBC’s Arabic language TV," adding: "Giving a platform for Tamimi’s appeal to be reunited with her husband is understandably deeply distressing for the families of her victims, who will never be reunited with their loved ones."
Blackman has now written to the BBC, calling on management to redress the situation.
"The UK Government’s policy of non-engagement with the Hamas terror group is well-known, and I have written to the BBC for clarity on this shameful editorial decision," he said. "The BBC should immediately seek to remedy the situation by removing the videos from YouTube and apologizing to the families of the victims of the 2001 Sbarro bombing masterminded by Tamimi. Dedicating more coverage to the ongoing extradition attempts by the US to bring Tamimi to justice would be a welcome step.”
Following her release, Tamimi hosted a weekly show for nearly five years, between 2012 and 2016, which was filmed in Jordan and produced by Hamas and Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood.
"In taking up child-murderer Tamimi’s cause, BBC is picking up the baton from Hamas ‎TV," Malka's father Arnold Roth wrote in an email bulletin for NGO Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), after contacting the organization over the broadcast.
"If the BBC comes through this latest scandalous chapter unscathed, there will be many ‎losers," Roth wrote.
"For giving a sympathetic megaphone to one of the world’s most loathsome, ‎unrepentant child murderers, the BBC must be brought to account," he continued. "The power of its ‎brand, its high operating budget, and its smooth-talking self-justification may make this ‎hard to accomplish. The public cannot remain apathetic or BBC will continue ‎to feel free to glorify murderers of Israelis and Jews at will.‎"
ITAMAR MARCUS, Director of PMW, said that in airing Tamimi's appeal in this way, the BBC has sent a signal to other would-be terrorists that their actions are justifiable. 
“Terror is successful only when the terrorists receive media attention," he said. "Without media, terror would have no purpose. BBC’s “reaching out” knowingly to a child murderer of Israelis in order to be the platform for this terrorist to speak, not only supports the terrorist of the past, it serves as a catalyst for those considering terror in the future. The knowledge that BBC and other media will be there to honor, promote and support them is the fuel that the terror infrastructures need to thrive.”
Together with PMW and his wife, Frimet, Roth has called on BBC's management to review how the segment came to be aired so that it can learn the lessons of its glorification of terror.
They further called upon the BBC to "immediately remove the videos from YouTube, and issue a ‎sincere public apology to the families of Tamimi’s victims whose memories BBC has ‎desecrated by promoting their murderer," adding: "We additionally call on BBC to counter the damage it has done by supporting a ‎terrorist – by using the force of its international media presence– to raise the call to ‎demand that Jordan take the moral step of extraditing the murderer to the US to stand ‎trial for murder.
"The BBC should counter the platform they gave to the terrorist, by inviting ‎family members of the victims into their studios to raise the call for justice. It is the least ‎BBC could do now – after raising the voice of terror to the international media."