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Israel-Palestine war: Calls for Ofcom probe after 'racist' interview with Palestinian politician

Julia Hartley-Brewer suggested Mustafa Barghouti is 'maybe not used to women talking' during exchange on TalkTV
Julia Hartley-Brewer during her interview with Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti on 3 January 2024 (Screengrab/Talk TV)
Julia Hartley-Brewer during her TalkTV interview with Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti on 3 January 2024 (Screengrab/Talk TV)

Commentators and online users have called for an Ofcom investigation following a British TV presenter's interview with a Palestinian politician, which has been described as "racist". 

Journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer interviewed Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti on TalkTV on Wednesday, in a clip that the broadcaster has since promoted on social media. 

During the interview, a visibly angry Hartley-Brewer clearly does not like Barghouti's answers, and says: "We haven’t got time to do the entire history of Benjamin Netanyahu, who is not a popular figure in Israel!"

She later adds: "Please don’t say that again, we don’t have time for that, you’ve made that point five times already."

"I don’t know what you have time for," Barghouti responds. 

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After which, Hartley-Brewer shouts: "For the love of God, let me finish a sentence, man! Maybe you’re not used to women talking, I don’t know, but I’d like to finish the sentence!"

Barghouti responds that the interview is "misleading the public", before briefly answering a follow-up question. 

Hartley-Brewer concludes the segment by saying: "Sorry to have been a woman speaking to you, but there you are."

The clip has since been viewed millions of times on the social media platform X, with several commentators and social media users condemning the British journalist's conduct. 

"No matter who is being interviewed, presenters shouldn’t get hysterical like this," wrote academic Lina Khatib on X. 

"On this occasion, you also have added racism masked as feminism," she said, adding that it merited mass complaints to Ofcom, the UK's broadcast media regulator. 

Barghouti himself took to X following the interview, writing: "The arrogance of a racist and unprofessional journalist." 

Meanwhile, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, Husam Zomlot, described the interview as "the remarkable and sorry state of some journalism in the UK on Palestine".

In response to a request for comment, Ofcom told Middle East Eye that any programme which prompts over 50 complaints "will be included in our weekly audience complaints bulletin, published on a Wednesday".

Barghouti, who is also a physician and medical doctor, is the leader of the Palestinian National Initiative political party. He has been a lawmaker in the Palestinian Authority since 2006. 

War broke out in Israel and Gaza on 7 October, when Hamas and armed Palestinian groups launched an attack on Israel that killed around 1,140 people, according to the Israeli government's death toll.

Meanwhile, Israel has killed more than 22,000 Palestinians in its aerial bombing campaign and ground assault, mostly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

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