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December 24, 2014 12:03 pm

BBC is ‘Part of the Problem’ Says UK Jewish Leader, After Top Executive Highlights Rise in UK Anti-Semitism

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Jewish leader Jonathan Arkush says the BBC is "part of the problem" for British Jews. Photo: Twitter

Jonathan Arkush, the vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, has charged the BBC with exacerbating the sense of insecurity felt by British Jews following the rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes that accompanied Israel’s war against the Hamas regime in Gaza over the summer.

Arkush was responding to the unprecedented comments of Danny Cohen, the BBC’s head of television, that the situation facing British Jews had forced him to question the long-term future of the community in Britain, the Jewish News reported. At a conference held at Jerusalem’s Cinematheque over the weekend, Cohen declared: “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about… is it our long-term home, actually?”

Arkush, who is expected to run for the Board’s top job next year, said: “During the Gaza conflict last summer, sections of the media and society reacted to events in a manner that was so unbalanced that it left many British Jews feeling the same way as Danny Cohen. Ironically, the BBC was part of the problem.”

Reference to a “Jewish lobby” by a newspaper reviewer on the BBC News channel attracted dozens of complaints last month. Jonathan Sacerdoti, of the Campaign Against Antisemitism UK, which was among those who complained, said: “Of course, many suggest that the BBC has contributed to the rise in anti-Semitism in the UK and beyond, through its slanted news coverage. We will have to see if Mr Cohen is able to contribute towards turning that tide, despite his putative separation from BBC News.”

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  • Dr.Joji Cherian

    As of now BBC spares roughly only one third of its time on Jews and Jewish oriented news. Whether it is on Anne Franks mother’s cosine or some lost treasurers some where in Austria or some paintings that belonged to some Jew, may be a hundred years ago, and the likes. That is news for BBC.I have been watching and listening to BBC for quiet a long time .Now may may or may not see some head lines.That much for the credibility of BBC. Danny Cohen may be wanting to make it 100 % Jewish Chanel.Oblige him.

  • Joy Wolfe

    Jonathan Arkush is one of very few of our community leaders who is prepared to put his head above the parapet and speak out. We are far too laid back and reactive to the problems facing us instead of grasping the nettle and challenging those who spread lies and misinformation, promote antisemitism and do nothing to stop delegitimisation of Israel and support boycotts
    More strength to your elbow Jonathan
    Hopefully more of your colleagues and those at th head of other communal organisations will follow your example