Wednesday, 19 Jan 2022 - 17 of Shevat, 5782

Jewish broadcaster resigns from BBC over ‘inexcusable’ anti-Semitism

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In its coverage of the Oxford Street incident, the BBC reported that the explicit expressions of antisemitism evident in footage of the incident were merely “allegations”, and simultaneously claimed — alone among all media outlets — that “some racial slurs about Muslims can also be heard from inside the bus,” an assertion made with no evidence to support it and which was even contradicted in the article by a witness from the bus who said that she heard no such slurs.’’

 

Campaign Against Antisemitism, a British charity focusing on countering antisemitism, praised the ‘’courageous and principled’’ decision of Rabbi YY Rubinstein to resign from the British Broadcasting Corporaation (BBC) where he worked for decades.

His resignation was in response to the BBC’s handling of a story about a Hanukkah night attack on a group of Jewish teens in central London.

In a letter, Rabbi YY Rubinstein, who has worked for both BBC radio and television, said, “This is a very sad moment for me as I have been a BBC broadcaster for some 30 years. … The current crisis over anti-Semitism at the corporation and its attempts to turn the victims of the recent anti-Semitic attack on Jewish children in London and claim that the victims were actually the perpetrators, was and is inexcusable. The obfuscation, denial that followed, was and is utterly damning.’’

‘’ I simply don’t see how I or in fact any Jew who has any pride in that name can be associated with the corporation anymore,” he added.

In its coverage of the Oxford Street incident, the BBC reported that the explicit expressions of antisemitism evident in footage of the incident were merely “allegations”, and simultaneously claimed — alone among all media outlets — that “some racial slurs about Muslims can also be heard from inside the bus,” an assertion made with no evidence to support it and which was even contradicted in the article by a witness from the bus who said that she heard no such slurs.’’

On its BBC London Evening News, the BBC even suggested
that “it’s not clear what role [the supposed slurs]may have had in the incident.” After public fury, the BBC amended the article to refer to an “anti-Muslim slur” in the singular, but failed to show any evidence why a supposed slur that nobody could hear with certainty was described as “clearly heard” and reported as fact — and even implied to have been a cause of the antisemitic harassment — while the harassment itself remained mere “allegation”.

The incident was treated as a hate crime by police and was condemned by the Prime Minister and by the Mayor of London.

In its original report, BBC News said ‘racial slurs about Muslims could be heard inside the bus’, a claim criticised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.

An independent report by forensic audio experts and a linguist concluded there were no anti-Muslim insults.

It found the phrase thought to be a slur was actually a Hebrew phrase, ‘Tikrah lemishu,ze dachuf’ meaning: ‘Call someone, it is urgent.’

‘’This is just the latest sign of the collapse in the Jewish community’s confidence in the Corporation. No self-respecting Jewish person wants to be publicly associated with the BBC after it yet again demonstrated its bias against Jews in its reportage of the antisemitic incident on Oxford Street,’’ said Campaign Against Antisemitism.

The President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, has  called the BBC’s reporting ‘’a colossal error’’, which ‘’has added insult to injury in accusing victims of antisemitism of being guilty of bigotry themselves’’.

She demanded the BBC to ‘’publicly apologize’’ but the corporation stood by its report of the incident.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘’Antisemitism is abhorrent. We strive to serve the Jewish community and all communities across our country, fairly.’’

‘’Our story was a factual report that overwhelmingly focused on the individuals the police want to identify; those who directed abuse at the bus. There was a brief reference to a slur, captured in a video recording, that appeared to come from the bus. We consulted a number of Hebrew speakers in determining that the slur was spoken in English.’’

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