British foreign secretary Cameron says BBC should call Hamas ‘terrorists’

British foreign secretary Cameron says BBC should call Hamas ‘terrorists’
David Cameron has said that the BBC should call Hamas terrorists, after a British-Israeli hostage died while being held captive by the group.
2 min read
13 May, 2024
David Cameron said that Hamas were 'callous people' [Getty]

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron has called on the BBC to start referring to Hamas as a “terrorist” organisation, after the group announced that a British-Israeli hostage they took on October 7 died.

Fifty-one-year-old Nadav Popewell died of wounds he had sustained in an Israeli airstrike, Hamas said last Saturday.

They released a video of the hostage showing him with a black eye.

Speaking to journalist Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday, Cameron said “Like everyone else, I watched the video on Twitter, X, last night, put out by Hamas of Nadav answering a question as to who he was. And I watched that video and you just think, what callous people they are to do that, to play with the family’s emotions in that way.”

“Maybe it’s a moment actually for the BBC to ask itself again, shall we describe these people as terrorists? They are terrorists.”

Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, killing around 1160 Israelis and taking around 250 hostages, of whom around 128 remain in Hamas captivity. Some 36 of these are presumed dead.

Since October 7, Israel has been engaged in a ferocious and indiscriminate war on the Gaza Strip, deliberately targeting schools, hospitals, and residential areas and wiping out entire families.

More than 35,000 people have been killed with most of the devastated territory’s population forced to flee to the southern city of Rafah.

The UK has offered support to Israel since October 7, while expressing some reservations regarding the conduct of its war, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak telling his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, “We want you to win” on a visit to Tel Aviv.

Cameron recently said that the UK would not stop supplying arms to Israel if it invaded Rafah.

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The BBC has a long-standing policy of avoiding using the word “terrorist” to describe armed groups and non-state actors, pointing to its impartiality guidelines.

It has often been criticised for its Gaza coverage, however, and has previously published an article which appeared somewhat sympathetic to Israeli extremists who wanted to establish settlements in the devastated territory.

Following the October 7 attack, veteran BBC correspondent John Simpson wrote, “Terrorism is a loaded word, which people use about an outfit they disapprove of morally. It's simply not the BBC's job to tell people who to support and who to condemn - who are the good guys and who are the bad guys”.