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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

avatar by Ben Cohen

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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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