A NUMBER of Jewish BBC staff members are reported to have defied the broadcasters ban to attend last weekend's march against antisemitism.

Employees working in the current affairs and factual journalism departments told Times Radio podcast that their religion “took precedence over what the BBC thinks”.

Tens of thousands attended a march against antisemitism in London on Sunday, as the crowd heard that the Jewish community will “not be intimidated”.

Those who addressed the marchers included Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis and immigration minister Robert Jenrick, as organisers claimed the pro-Palestinian rallies in recent weeks had made the capital a “no-go zone for Jews”.

Staff members attended the march on Sunday despite previously being referred to rules on impartiality that say that editorial staff “should not participate in public demonstrations or gatherings about controversial issues”.

The BBC’s stance was contrasted by employees with the position taken during the Pride parades in 2020 when Tim Davie, the director-general, told all staff that they were free to attend.

An anonymous Jewish BBC employee told the podcast why they decided to attend the demonstration - regardless of any consequences.

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They said: “I learnt last week that the BBC was barring members of staff from attending the planned march against antisemitism — and let’s face it, we’re really talking about Jewish members of staff here, because they’re the only ones who would really be wanting to go — so the BBC knew exactly who it was stopping.

“The BBC described the ban as “guidance” but that’s just a euphemism for “instruction” because we all knew that non-compliance could result in disciplinary action.

“This created a real dilemma for Jewish staff, and we’re talking about dozens of people. We understood the BBC’s rationale that staff risk creating a perception of bias by attending marches which are political or controversial, but this was not a march about Brexit or the NHS but a march against antisemitism and there is nothing controversial or political about that.

The National:

“Antisemitism has soared in Britain since the Hamas attacks and the start of the war on October 7, and as Jews we are all too well aware. Whether or not we have experienced it directly, our families and communities are affected by it daily, and it is on our minds, whether we are at home or at work."

The staff member also added that Jewish staff thought their employer had “got it badly wrong here”.

“Personally I was unwilling to comply, as I felt my attendance as a Jewish person took precedent over what the BBC thinks, and I went to the march.

“I know several other Jewish staff did too, and I am sure there were more who I don’t know about. The march was dignified and civilised and did nothing other than demonstrate an utter rejection of antisemitism by not just Jews but other communities and faiths who also attended to show their support.”

The individual said the BBC had shown “insensitivity towards us which is going to be hard to repair" whilst defending their position.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC is clear that antisemitism is abhorrent. We have established guidance around marches, which explains that different considerations apply depending on what you do for the BBC.

"Corporately, we have not issued any staff communication on any specific march this weekend, but this does not mean discussions which consider the guidance have not taken place between colleagues.”