BBC describes antisemitism as ‘criticism of Israel’

The BBC News website  says that one of the reasons the US is likely to stay away from the Durban review conference is because the draft of its final document “criticizes Israel.”

Analysis from Ben Cohen here.

More on the Livingstone Formulation here.

11 Responses to “BBC describes antisemitism as ‘criticism of Israel’”

  1. Saul Says:

    I went to see Chelsea play (apologies to David Rosenberg!), and was warmed by a clear statement that antisemitism and racist chanting would not be tolerated.

    And then I thought, hmmmm, the scumbag Chelsea supporter who shouted “Yids, you belong in the gas ovens” to the visiting Spurs’ fans earlier in the season should have prefaced his rant not with “Yids” but “Supporters of Israel” and that way he could have claimed he was merely “criticising Israel”. At lease the BBC would have fallen for it!

    Gary Lineker: Well, Alan, was that criticism of Israel or antisemitism?

    Alan Hanson: Well, Gary, in the old days, definately antisemitism; but, what with the changes in the game, and the way its switches from the right wing to the left hard to say. Sometimes, referree’s are funny about this; a clear foul on the right, the whistle blows, but when it’s from the centre or left, they tend to let play continue, even if a player or two is down.

    As a postscript, when I contacted Chelsea about the incident, they were fantastic. They took it seriously, made enquiries and got back to me as to the outcome.

    Maybe the Royal Court could learn something from the “beautiful game”.

  2. Ben Cohen Says:

    What’s more soul-destroying: trying to explain the offside rule or trying to explain left-wing antisemitism?

  3. Inna Says:

    Yet one more reason for us to call upon the BBC to release the Balen Report–as the High Court ordered it to. Let us see how the BBC reports on all things related to Israel.



  4. Charles Barton Says:

    So David Duke is just a critic of Israel?

  5. Inna Says:

    “So David Duke is just a critic of Israel?”

    Apparently so.

    But there is something more here. A public broadcaster, at least as this American perceives it, has the (perhaps unique) role of both articulating and shaping our values. So when a public broadcaster equates racism–terribly ugly and terribly blatant racism–with “criticism” (thus justifying it and blaming the people who are being persecuted by the racists) one has to wonder about the values this broadcaster is propagating and expressing.

    There is something trashy; something very ugly about such values, don’t you think?



  6. Noga Says:

    “.. one has to wonder about the values this broadcaster is propagating and expressing.”

    This question should be asked within the larger context of the discussion: What are the aims of the Geneva Conference (Durban II)?

    “JD: They [the US] should try to discredit it because of its essential ridiculousness. It’s a focused hatefest. It’s a hatefest against one entity, the Jewish national movement. Iran and Libya are organizers, after all. I think the whole negotiating text is meant to exclude the kind of hatred that took Danny’s life. The hatred was directed at the U.S., Israel, and the Jewish people. Durban protects this kind of hatred. Durban wants to criminalize any criticism of groups that say they are acting on behalf of Islam. Religions do not have a monopoly on human sensitivity. There are other symbols, other aspects of people’s lives that deserve respect, such as the belief in Jewish national quality, the belief that Jews are entitled to sovereignty in the country where they were born.”

    I am wondering whether the BBC has any clear idea of where it is going with this kind of obfuscation.

  7. Saul Says:

    As a follow up to the soccer incident.
    As the scumbag was screaming “Yids belong in the gas chambers”, I turned round and told him to “shut up””.

    His response was to see whether I was worth hitting – (I guess I failed on that one!) – and then to shout that “I belonged over there” (i.e. where the Spurs fans were sitting).

    Later on, I thought how this little interchange mirrored events and perceptions elsewhere.

    Apparently, this racist thought that since he was only “criticising Tottenham” in a “legitimate” manner, my indicating to him the antisemitic nature of his comments meant that I could only be a Tottenham fan (shudder).

    Sounds familiar?
    You raise the question of antisemitism within “criticism of Israel” and, what happens, you immediately become an “apologist” for “Zionism” in a world divided between “friends” and “enemies”.

    I would not have been surprised had the racist fan not turned round and said “free speech – are you trying to silence debate on which is the better team?”

    (n.b. it was a draw 1-1)

  8. Efraim Says:

    “You raise the question of antisemitism within “criticism of Israel” and, what happens, you immediately become an “apologist” for “Zionism” in a world divided between “friends” and “enemies”.”

    Hannah Arendt said that we you are attacked “as a Jew” you have to fight back “as a Jew.”

    Same here: if you are attacked as a “Zionist Jew” you have to fight back as a “Zionist Jew.”

    There is no sense in getting into prolonged discussion about the fine points of “criticism of Israel” vs. antisemitism because the people making antisemitic comments don’t care. Their aim is to destroy the Jewish sovereignty which is the very definition of antisemitism.

    These folks are not interested in honest and constructive criticism of Israel; they are interested in its destruction. Under the circumstance we need to stop being defensive about our support (critical or not) of the Jewish State.

  9. Saul Says:

    Maybe you are right. But, it is also the case that many who slip over between criticism to antisemitism are not aware that they are doing so.
    It is for this reason that, even if some do not recognise the distinction, it is incumbant upon us to do so.

  10. Susan Says:

    I was listening to the World Service one night and a BBC reporter said that “Jews were naturally good a business.” I suppose that he was merely being critical of Israel as well.

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