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March 5, 2015 2:55 pm

Another BBC Journalist Under Fire: Bowen Slammed for Saying Netanyahu ‘Played Holocaust Card’ in Congress Speech

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BBC Correspondent Jeremy Bowen accused PM Netanyahu of "playing the Holocaust card" during his address to Congress. Photo: Screenshot.

Yet another BBC correspondent has come under fire for offending Jewish sensitivities after he accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of using the Nazi Holocaust to elicit sympathy during his address to Congress on Tuesday.

Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor, tweeted, “#NetanyahuSpeech He acknowledges [Holocaust survivor] Elie Wiesel in audience. Once again Netanyahu plays the holocaust card. don’t repeat mistakes of the past.”

In response, Alex Brummer, a well-known journalist himself and vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, condemned Bowen’s statement, saying it was “beneath contempt,” the United Kingdom’s Daily Express reported. The UK-based campaign group, North West Friends of Israel, also slammed Bowen, saying on Twitter, “err-‘Holocaust card’? The holocaust wasn’t a game, Jeremy. Maybe take a trip to Europe again to see how world treated Jews.”

Other critics labeled the veteran journalist a “slime bag” and calling his statement “deplorable,” the UK’s Daily Mail reported.

Defending himself, Bowen wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, “Suggestions I’m an anti-Semite, or a denier of the Holocaust, are untrue and offensive.”

Bowen’s articles have previously been criticized for running afoul of BBC guidelines, according to the Express. In 2009, an inquiry into one of his pieces for the BBC website found that a reference to “Zionism’s innate instinct to push out the frontier” breached guidelines. His coverage last year of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in the coastal enclave also had some asking if he was trying to persuade audiences that Hamas does not use human shields. Bowen was additionally accused of “clear bias” in 2013 for mourning  the death of Dr. Eyad Sarraj, a member of the anti-Israel Free Gaza Movement.

The controversy surrounding Bowen’s offending tweet comes just weeks after his BBC colleague, Tim Wilcox, was accused of antisemitism and faced calls for his resignation after he told a French woman that “Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well.” His charge was made as he covered the mass rally in Paris following the deadly attacks on the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and at the kosher Hyper Cacher supermarket. The woman, who was the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, told Wilcox she feared the resurgence of anti-Jewish persecution as seen in 1930s Europe.

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  • it is not only “beneath contempt,” but it is foolish, stupid and showing his (Mr. Bowen) ful ignorance in what has recently happened in the world. On January 26, all civilized world, except of Mr. Jeremy Bowen, celebrated 70-year jubilee of liberation of Auschwitz. Elie Wiesel is one of very few survivals. And great thanks to Mr. Netanyahu, who recognized Elie Wiesel in the audience. Everybody had to do it, and Elie Wiesel should be piled with (by)flowers. Shame on Mr. Bowen for his ignorance He must be fired from BBC

    • It is time we actually did more for the Survivors. I write constantly for and about them but perhaps World Governments should be reminded we have Survivors because of the little done in the first place to prevent The Holocaust. It is an honour when I have been in the presence of those who know, and I am proud of those Survivors I have met!

  • Behind you

    Oops! Someone broke the Bull**** Broadcast Corporation rule.

  • Stephen Kohn

    Mr. Bowen your remarks have been offensive to me. You fit the pattern of first anti-Israel and then anti-Semite. Deny what you want, but it is quite who and what you are.


    Where is what’s going on worldwide and including the present US administration, any different than the actions of Nazi Germany???
    Show me where there’s any difference… we have to wait for six million Jews and several other groups to be slaughtered TO ADMIT THIS IS THE PATH THW WORLD IS ON.
    Herb Rogoff

  • Michael McDonald

    To those criticising Bowen: it was a political speech intended to influence US policy, Bowen’s inference is accurate whether it irritates you or not. Israel must understand at last that it is in the Middle East, not Europe, and its neighbors are mostly Muslem as are the native people of the land. Begin treating them justly. The US will not be there forever to protect you nor can nuclear weapons save Israel.

    • Janet Sachs

      I question “native people.” We’re Jews not there first thousands of years ago.

  • albert

    Put Netanyahu in the cell next to his friend Pollard the second he steps out of his plane. Netanyahu received American citizenship during his study years at MIT and has never renounced it. Netanyahu is a “DUAL Citizen” which means he sucks up the BENEFITS of being an American but he is LOYAL only to Israel. He must be arrested for TREASON to America,. Israel set the PRECEDENT of kidnapping with Eichmann ….so the FBI/CIA should go grab Netanyahu out of Israel or anywhere he HIDES.
    Report: Netanyahu may have leaked US secrets to hurt Iran negotiations
    US officials believe that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized his government to release secret details of the US nuclear negotiations with Iran to the Israeli press, according to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.
    The alleged leaks would appear designed to undermine the negotiations, which Israel opposes. In response, according to Ignatius, the US has decided to “reduce the exchange of sensitive information about the Iran talks” with Israel.
    1992: Netanyahu predicts Iran will have nuclear weapon in “3 to 5 years”.
    1992: Shimon Peres predicts an Iranian nuclear warhead by 1999.
    1995: NY Times quotes Israeli officials saying that Iran will have bomb by 2000.
    1998: Donald Rumsfeld say Iran will have an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the USA by 2003.
    2012: Netanyahu says Iran will have nuclear bomb in one year.
    2013: Snowden leaked Israeli Intelligence cables from 2012: Iran is “not performing activities necessary to produce weapons” and “Uranium enrichment is not increasing.” Read more:
    Leaked cables from Israel’s intelligence agency reveal Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu misled the United Nations about Iran’s nuclear program. In Sept. 2012, Netanyahu stood before the UN General Assembly with a cartoonish diagram of a bomb and warned that Iran was about a year away from completing its “plans of building a nuclear weapon,” calling for action to halt the process and justifying Israel’s rights to act militarily if necessary. “By next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move[d] on to the final stage,” Netanyahu told the U.N. “From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.” But in Oct. 2012, Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad sent a top-secret cable to South Africa’s state security agency saying that the Islamic Republic was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons and doesn’t appear to be ready to enrich Uranium to the higher levels needed to the nuclear bomb,” according a secret cable obtained by Al Jazeera and shared with the Guardian.

  • william

    So how did ISRAEL assist in the nuclear threat to AMERICA? Israel HELPED OUR ENEMIES.
    How did Israel REPAY America for 60+ years, $1TRILLION of aid?
    Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg were JEWISH-American sayanim executed for conspiracy to commit espionage, relating to passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union (zionist communists).
    By far the most egregious damage done by JohnathanPollard was to steal classified documents relating to the US Nuclear Deterrent relative to the USSR and send them to Israel. According to sources in the US State Department, Israel then turned around and traded those stolen nuclear secrets to the USSR in exchange for increased emigration quotas from the USSR to Israel. Other information that found its way from the US to Israel to the USSR resulted in the loss of American agents operating inside the USSR. Casper Weinberger, in his affidavit opposing a reduced sentence for Pollard, described the damage done to the United States thus, “[It is] difficult to conceive of a greater harm to national security than that caused by… Pollard’s treasonous behavior.”
    This should end the suggestion that Israel’s spies are harmless. They are not. The United States’ nuclear deterrent cost an estimated FIVE TRILLION taxpayer dollars during the 50s and 60s to build and maintain, and less than $100,000 for Pollard to undermine. Israel waited 13 years to admit Pollard had been spying for them, and now lobbies for his release, having granted him Israeli citizenship.
    Israel SELLS America’s drone/military technology to China ….. Israel has helped China LEAP forward with America’s technology.
    The Israeli Defense Ministry’s Head of Defense Export Control, Meir Shalit, resigned last week after the United States expressed anger over a decision he made to sell sensitive military equipment to China, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Sunday. At the time, Shalit did not provide a reason for his resignation.Washington asserted that his authorization of the sale of a miniature cooling system for missiles was in direct violation of Israel’s preexisting obligations to the United States.
    Israel has been stealing and selling Our secrets to our enemies and stabbing America in the back for too long. ………34 Sailors MURDERED on the USS LIBERTY —– Rachel Corrie ——- Johnathan Pollard —– 135 Mossad operatives were detained after 9/11 and deported to Israel. Israel had sole interest and opportunity in 9/11. ———— 60+ years living off American WELFARE

  • John Weston

    I see nothing offensive in pointing such matters out.
    Well done Jeremy Bowen for exercising your right to free speech and free opinion. Those offended by the truth have a problem.

    • Redlow

      There is no truth in an opinion – you are contradicting yourself. What facts did he use to base his snide comment on. It’s contemptuous to call it ‘the holocaust card’ when the FACTS are 6 million Jews died and 60 million people in world war II by another tyrannical leader. If you cannot draw parallels in History, why bother to learn History in the first place, Netanyahu was using the reference as a grave warning to the world.

    • Mike

      What about those who propagate lies? Do they have free speech? What if they are government-paid journalists?

    • yuval Brandstetter MD

      Let us seen how long Bowen lasts in Tower hamlets if he dons a skulcap and talith fringes to a short walk around town. I give him 30 seconds before the first jab, or spit, or dirty jew invective.

    • Jeff Makor

      There’s absolutely no offence taken. The Jewish community have made it clear we expect anti ZIONIST/anti Jewish views from the historically and institutionalised agenda set out by the British Biased Corporation.
      Perhaps if there is any offence lingering, it’s the way the public have body swerved history in order to replace it with that biased reporting as seen last summer in the gaza conflict. The media made every effort to cast Israel as the bullies and cared nothing for the basic truth and proper store of the violence. Instead, they vilified Israel’s right to defend itself and put an end to the hamas operation.
      How the world fell for such obvious propaganda is the real sadness that remains. The media went on to recently report that anti semitism in the UK was at an all time high and that the government are concerned. Well, if the media hadn’t spun the good guy/ bad guy to death last year, Jewish people in Britain and Europe would NOT be in this position.

  • Jonesy

    At least he didn’t say the British are really the ones responsible for the mess in the middle east or at the very least, the Germans. Let’s be real. There are 24 Arab countries to choose from should one opt to live amongst ones people entirely. There is only one Israel. It arose out of the ashes of the Holocaust. Without acknowleging the Holocaust would have been shameful.

    • Gene

      I think you missed Netanyahu’s point. It wasn’t about the Holocaust of the past, but about the one Iran intends for the future. Wiesel’s role is to keep people focused on what the consequences can be of ignoring those who declare their intentions to engage in one, which is what Iran’s “Death to America, death to Israel” is.

  • I am not against ” Honest Journalism”, but indeed a proponent of educated Journalists, well rounded in their knowledge of “why as Jews we say never again” visit any concentration camp.
    Take time to sit with two or more survivors of these camps, not listen but “Hear”what it was like what they suffered and lost,before we lose them.
    We are in a very strange social situation, white politicians are afraid to criticize Black Politicions,
    Latin (Mexican) who cross the border in mass, for fear of them invoking the “Black, Latino” race card.
    Power is insatiable, once some is elected like a drug, they will pander to any special interest group to retain their fix !
    We as Jews have never invoked the “Holocaust” card as a instuarment to press for sympathy,special rights, though we have millions of valid reasons to do so,
    Israel is the cork in a bottle holding back a Jihadic “Hydra”, whoever intention is to control the Earth, every last inch !
    All we want is to live in peace.

  • steve

    Make him spend 4 days in a crowded cattle car with a s$%T bucket in the center.

  • steve

    Make him spend 4 days in a crowded cattle car with a shit bucket in the center.

  • Don’t spend your money in the U.K. Skip it and go to Israel!

  • The BBC has proved itself time and time again to be a network loaded with Israel/Jew haters.Lets not forget the reporter who cried like a little girl when Arafat died.

    • Behind you

      Your idiotic comment carries no weight.

  • S Lerner

    That is what you would expect from Jeremy Bowen,it is par for the course.

  • richard sherwin

    IF and only IF these 2 bbc commentators do NOT represent BBC’s usual snide anti israel and anti judaism, perhaps they got the same problem with ‘tenured’ commentators that british universities (repeat the IF and only IF… re their integrity) have with their professors professing BDS, judenrein intellectual integrity, and their own untouchable power lust. Maybe throw in Manchester’s former Guardian, with same conditions…..

    By the way, would someone please list a few BBC/ MG/ and English Uni more or less self-controlled and honestly bipartisan commentators, professors, et al. Come to think of it, in parliament also.

  • M Doffman

    One could perhaps accept Bowen’s claim that he is not antisemitic or indeed a Holocaust Denier but over the years he has certsinly demonstrated his visceral snti-Israel sentiments.
    From his exposure of the Jenin ‘massacre’ to his unquestioning and unchecked acceptance of any and all Palestinisn and UNWRA unverified claims of Israeli wrong-doing (in common with most of his BBC colleagues) one knows what to expect from him.
    Why should we be surprised at this latest crass Tweet?


    Bowen is plain stupid. He wants to ignore and forget the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust while the world was silent and now this maniatic apocaliptic regime in Iran is threatening to wipe all the Jews in Israel? What would Iran want an atomic bomb? For display in parades?

  • The Holocuast is part of Jewish history, if annihilation of Israel is called by Iranian leaders, it is equivalent to the Final Solution to the Jews in the hands of the German propaganda machine., Himler, Gobbler.

  • steven L

    Most of the BBC should be fired!!!

    • Dan

      It not enough to put him under fire !somebody need to push him to the fire

      • Dan

        very sorry but ……

  • Leo Toystory

    Perhaps Jeremy is still taking out on the Jews in general his anger over Julia’s affair with a Jewish writer of considerably more talent than himself?

  • Werner Strasser

    Saying “Netanyahu ‘Played Holocaust Card’ in Congress” is certainly deplorable. However, do we really think by banning all insensitive statements antisemitism will be stamped out? Hardly, it just will become invisible, inaudible and driven under ground where it continues to flourish.

    A disease that festers without signs is difficult to recognize, treat or prevent. Many nations suppress or conceal what they think, while others don’t beat around the bush. I rather know the true feelings and thoughts so I can discern between foes and friends, and know what to expect and to plan the appropriate corrective actions.

    Nothing has been or will change by putting a journalist under fire. As a member of society a journalist is a random sample of society. It reflects the property of the entire population. Trying to increase the quality of a population by throwing out a sample that is deemed unacceptable is a fools game. And so is the believe that the use of PC-tools will solve a systemic problem.

  • yvonne green

    He talked to Aipac of WW2’s 60 million victims, as a foil to the 6 million, in the context of what unchecked proliferation’s ends.

    This contradicts Bowen’s assertion. For first-hand eye-witness evidence of where I differ from Bowen read the reprints of my articles on FIPA website, written pre and post OPERATION Cast Lead. Most particularly on his myth of a war crime in what he, from what I saw, inaccurately called and depicted as Samouni Street.

  • The time has come to ask the BBC to reassign Jeremy Bowen to cover the Islamic State. Afterwards, he will have to prove that he has a head on his shoulders. Check out:

  • Bowen is no more an antisemite than Martin Heidegger.

  • Elaina Electrah

    Does this mean, as Jews are fighting back around the world, using media as a tool, as the suicidal left and Muslims do, that the tide is turning with knee jerk Muslim placating reporters now have to watch their backs and get their facts straight?

  • Howie Subnick

    Always remember, the Prime Minister ALWAYS has his finger on the pulse of the middle east while Bowan has his finger up his ass!

  • Joel

    why waste your breath on this guy.
    He has never reported anything that did not involve some swipe at Israel or Jews.

  • Avram

    Maniac Netanyahu has been ranting this BS propaganda since the 80’s, thirty years, where’s the nuclear bomb Bibi??! We need a new leader in Israel, this guy is going to drag the US in to another war and just like Iraq when Netanyahu spoke at congress saying we should strike them and we know how all that turned out, the WMD! and also Iran has not started a war with another country for close to 300 years! As a Christian Jew I would sadly say most so called Christians in the west are not Christians, they do nothing as biblical Jesus would do, but ignorant Zionists, which is an ideology, not a religion!

    • Nick

      “Ignorant?” Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

  • victoria brandeis






  • David

    Poor Poms. They must be sore about 1948 and 1776.

  • z

    When will people learn to stop feeding the nazi blood vultures on the various Vatican/CIA gov mafia propaganda outlets? Stop sponsoring these nazis with acknowledgement and attention. Stop feeding them, and start boycotting them.

  • Biodegradable

    Bowen is not just “another BBC reporter”, he is the Middle East Editor, the boss of all BBC reporters covering the Middle East. True to form he finds it “offensive” that others believe he’s an antisemite, playing the victim and blaming Jews, once more, for any negative reaction to his blatant antisemitism.