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Palestinian Journalist Who Tweeted “Hitler Was Right” Says BBC Ousted Her Because of “Pro-Israel Interest Groups”

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July 17, 2021
BBC Television Centre (Peter Dazely/Getty Images)

A Palestinian journalist who was recently fired from the BBC over tweeting that “Hitler was right” in 2014 blamed “pro-Israel interest groups for her ouster.”

The journalist, Tala Halawa, tweeted in July 2014, “#Israel is more #Nazi than #Hitler! Oh, #HitlerWasRight #IDF go to hell. #PrayForGaza.” The tweet was written during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, known as Operation Protective Edge. She issued the tweet three years before working for the BBC and was let go from the news outlet in June after the pro-Israel watchdog Honest Reporting brought the tweet to light.

In a July 14 statement posted to Twitter, Halawa said that she was “a young Palestinian woman tweeting in the heat of the moment as I witnessed horrific, undeserved deaths met with international media silence and used a popular hashtag at the time without thinking.” She acknowledged that the tweet was “ignorant and offensive” and that it does “not reflect my political views now then as much as they do not today. I hope those who were hurt by them will accept my heartfelt apology for posting without thinking.”

Halawa then went after the BBC for “amplifying troll voices and capitulating to external pressure from pro-Israel interest groups and right-wing media outlets determined to eliminate Palestinians from public life.” She claimed that pro-Israel groups were targeting her because she had “recently published a video report for the corporation about celebrities being criticized, trolled and canceled for supporting Palestinian self-determination,” adding that “what happened seems familiar to me both as a Palestinian woman and as a woman of color.”

 

Emanuel Miller, the Honest Reporting writer who first covered the Halawa tweet, responded to her statement in a Twitter thread. “I remember when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists in 2014,” he wrote. “But I did not suggest the genocide of Palestinians is the answer. That you did is to your eternal shame.”

Miller added that he had “mixed feelings” when he heard that the BBC had fired her, sharing his own statement at the time saying that he was “proud” for achieving “real results” but was also “saddened because I do not believe in cancel culture.” “If she no longer believes in what she wrote, then it really is a shame that the organization did not give her a chance to apologise publicly and unreservedly, and move forward.” He added that the BBC needs to ask “deeper questions” as to how Halawa’s tweet didn’t come up in their background check of her.

“Even now, you seek to downplay your antisemitism,” Miller wrote in his July 14 Twitter thread. “Your tweets made fun of the massacre of orthodox Jews in prayer months later, for crying out loud. Yet most of your statement serves to portray YOU as the victim. You’re not. You got what you deserved, as harsh as it may be. Now stop making excuses.”

Various Jewish and pro-Israel Twitter users didn’t buy Halawa’s statement.

“Siri, show me a non-apology for saying ‘Hitler was right,’” StandWithUs Israel Executive Director Michael Dickson tweeted.

“YOU PRAISED HITLER! THIS is why the BBC canned you,” Stop Antisemitism tweeted. “AND they never fire anyone so congrats on that prize.”

Actor Josh Malina simply tweeted, “The BBC was right.”

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