Saturday, 29 Feb 2020 - 4 of Adar, 5780

‘BBC attempt to link the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the horrors of the Holocaust was crass and offensive’

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BBC News broadcast the report on Wednesday evening in which international correspondent Orla Guerin described Israeli soldiers entering Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center,  to “share in the binding tragedy of the Jewish people”, adding: “The state of Israel is now a regional power.For decades it has occupied Palestinian territories. But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival.”

Israel accuses the BBC of ‘belittling the Holocaust’

Jewish groups in the U.K. as well as the Israeli foreign ministry have denounced a BBC report on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau which linked the Holocaust to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

BBC News broadcast the report on Wednesday evening in which international correspondent Orla Guerin described Israeli soldiers entering Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center,  to “share in the binding tragedy of the Jewish people”, adding: “The state of Israel is now a regional power.For decades it has occupied Palestinian territories. But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival.”

In a statement, Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “The BBC is supposed to inform the British public, not feed them propaganda.’’

He added: ‘’Few could imagine perverting what is supposed to be an educational piece about the Holocaust to instead fuel the very antisemitism that such education is supposed to prevent, but that is what the BBC has done.’’

Falter said that ‘’it was utterly appalling to watch Orla Guerin hijack a segment dedicated to remembering six million murdered Jews and instead use it as a vehicle to desecrate the memory of the Holocaust with her hatred of the Jewish state.’’

He concluded: ‘’Ms Guerin and the BBC editors who allowed this to be aired must be made to face the consequences of this sick act, which is why we are now making an official complaint and will take the matter to Ofcom if necessary.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews also condemned the report and urged the BBC to apologise. Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman said: “In an otherwise moving report on the experiences of a Holocaust survivor, Orla Guerin’s attempt to link the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the horrors of the Holocaust was crass and offensive. Her lack of partiality on the Israel-Palestine conflict has long been a matter of concern and it is questionable why the BBC would even use her for this sensitive assignment. As we approach Holocaust Memorial Day, the Jewish community is within its rights to expect an apology.”

Liar Haiat, spokesperson of the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs said: “The remarks made by BBC News reporter Orla Guerin at the end of her report about an event dedicated to commemorating the Holocaust and fighting antisemitism, do exactly the opposite. They belittle the Holocaust by aggressively pushing an irrelevant issue. Shameful and disgusting.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “The brief reference in our Holocaust report to Israel’s position today did not imply any comparison between the two and nor would we want one to be drawn from our coverage.”

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