Jewish broadcaster quits BBC over ‘inexcusable’ anti-Semitism
A Jewish BBC broadcaster has resigned after media coverage of an anti-Semitic attack falsely accused victims of insulting Muslims.
Rabbi YY Rubinstein, a contributor to BBC programs including Good Morning Sunday and Thought For The Day, resigned via letter.
He posted it on Facebook, addressing a staff member known only as Gabby.
The letter read: âThe current crisis of anti-Semitism at the Corporation and its attempts to turn the victims of the recent anti-Semitic attack on Jewish children in London into claiming that the victims were in fact the perpetrators was and is inexcusable. The obscuration, the denial that followed, was and is quite overwhelming.
âThe Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles actually includes the BBC in its annual global anti-Semitism, ‘Top Ten’.
âThis in no way reflects your own production company whose own record in this regard is exemplary. It also doesn’t apply to most of the people I worked with at the BBC for three decades.
Rabbi YY Rubinstein, a contributor to BBC programs including Good Morning Sunday, has left
The men were seen shouting curses and gesturing towards the bus after the teens boarded
âThey were some of the most courteous, kind and talented people I have ever met or worked with. The same goes for you and your colleagues.
âI just don’t see how I or indeed any Jew who is proud of this name can be associated with the Society anymore. “
It comes less than a week after it was announced that Jewish leaders would clash with BBC chief Tim Davie to demand a public apology.
The proposed action comes after an investigation revealed a “colossal error” in its report of an anti-Semitic attack on Oxford Street.
Earlier this month, a video emerged of a group of men cursing and spitting at a group of Jewish teenagers sitting inside a bus, before knocking on windows as they walked away. ‘moved away.
The incident was treated as a hate crime by the police and condemned by the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London.
Part of Rabbi YY Rubinstein’s later resignation, which he posted on Facebook
Footage showed the group of Jewish teens dancing as they celebrated Hanukkah moments before the attack
The Oxford Street incident earlier this month was treated as a hate crime by police and condemned by the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London.
Resignation letter from the rabbi in its entirety
Hope you are doing more than well.
I’m afraid to write with bad news. I will not be able to do the BBC Radio 2 recordings that we discussed in February and March 2020.
It is a very sad moment for me as I have been a BBC broadcaster for about 30 years. I was a regular at Thought of the Day, Wake up to Wogan and countless other BBC radio and TV shows. I was the co-writer and presenter of BBC World Service’s “Sunrise Sunset”, which The Times cited as its pick of the week and which was rebroadcast twice in the same week to 300 million people. I was a regular on BBC One, Heaven and Earth Show. I have been with the Beeb for a very long time.
The current crisis of anti-Semitism at the Corporation and its attempts to turn the victims of the recent anti-Semitic attack on Jewish children in London into claiming that the victims were in fact the perpetrators was and is inexcusable. The obscuration, the denial that followed, was and is quite overwhelming.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles actually includes the BBC in its annual âTop Tenâ global anti-Semitism.
This in no way reflects your own production company whose own record in this regard is exemplary. It also doesn’t apply to most of the people I worked with at the BBC for three decades.
They were some of the most courteous, kind and talented people I have ever met or worked with. The same goes for you and your colleagues.
I just don’t see how I or indeed any Jew who is proud of this name can be associated with the Corporation any more.
Wishing you only huge success, Rabbi YY
But in its original report, BBC News said “racial slurs on Muslims could be heard inside the bus,” a claim criticized by the British Jews’ Council of Deputies and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.
And the board has now commissioned its own independent report by forensic audio experts and a linguist who concluded there were no anti-Muslim slurs.
He discovered that the expression considered an insult was in fact a Hebrew expression, “Tikrah lemishu, ze dachuf” meaning: “Call someone, it is urgent.
Writing in the Jewish Chronicle, Council of Representatives Chairwoman Marie van der Zyl described the BBC’s “misrepresentation” as “a colossal mistake”, which “added insult to injury by blaming the victims of anti-Semitism to be themselves guilty of fanaticism “.
She continued: “What takes this from blatant failure to something much more sinister is the behavior of the BBC when confronted with its mistake. Instead of admitting it was wrong , he doubled and tripled.
Ms Van der Zyl has asked the company to apologize publicly and said the Council of Deputies will hold a meeting with chief executive Tim Davie this month which will include “a full and frank discussion of this matter”.
She said the company’s behavior “raises serious questions about the deep-rooted prejudices within the BBC towards Israelis, and indeed towards Jews in general.”
The BBC maintains its report on the incident and a spokesperson said: “Anti-Semitism is heinous. We strive to fairly serve the Jewish community and all communities across our country.
âOur story was a factual report that focused overwhelmingly on the people the police want to identify; those who directed abuses against the bus.
âThere was a brief reference to an insult, captured in a video recording, which appeared to come from the bus. We consulted with a number of Hebrew speakers to determine that the insult was spoken in English.
“The brief reference to this has been included so that the fullest account of the incident can be reported.”
It came as the BBC was ranked third – behind Iran and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas – in a list of “global anti-Semitism” compiled by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the United States.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the center, said the BBC was “guilty of several cases of anti-Semitism over the past year”.
He told the Mail on Sunday: âPeople might assume that we will put neo-Nazi groups on our list, but the BBC is there because when a globally recognized organization allows anti-Semitism to infiltrate its reporting, it makes it all the more insidious and dangerous.
“People all over the world trust the BBC and rely on it for truthful reporting on world events.”
Rabbi Yesterday said the decision to include the BBC on the annual list came “after months of intense debate and discussion.”
He pointed to the broadcaster’s report of the attack on a bus carrying Jewish teenagers by a group of men chanting anti-Israel slogans.