The BBC and the ‘Jewish Lobby’

In a clip which you can view here (together with useful transcripts), taken from a recent BBC News Channel review of the papers, several tendentious points are made in response to reports that some Jewish donors are turning against Ed Miliband in the wake of his criticisms of Israel’s actions in Gaza and support for recognition of a Palestinian state. First of all former Lib Dem spin doctor Jo Phillips refers to the “Jewish lobby”, and then the presenter, Tim Willcox, leaps to a quite unearned assumption about other possible motives for Jewish donors to turn against Labour:

“Yeah and a lot of these prominent Jewish…ah….ah….faces will be very much against the mansion tax presumably as well.”

This is immediately challenged by Willcox’s other guest, Nigel Nelson of the Sunday People, who points out that non-Jewish donors would be equally likely not to favour the tax.  Willcox did backtrack, when challenged, but the problems don’t stop there. Jo Phillips implies that there is some kind of special taboo on criticism of Israel.

“…but it is this terrible thing if, you know, you’re not supposed apparently to say anything anti-Israeli. Ahm…and if you attack Israeli political…ahm…policies or the government policies then, you know, this is what you get.

It’s interesting that she does not simply say that one is not allowed to criticise Israel’s policies – but that one is not allowed to ‘say anything anti-Israeli’ when there is an important difference between criticising an entire country, or its people, and criticising a particular government or action. For more responses to this broadcast see Marcus Dysch’s article in the Jewish Chronicle.

6 Responses to “The BBC and the ‘Jewish Lobby’”

  1. Howard Says:

    I didn’t see the broadcast but did read the article in The Independent on Sunday. Whatever the facts of the matter, you couldn’t tell from the article as there were no named sources just anonymous ones; it wasn’t clear how many sources or indeed how many donors were involved. The only named person was a rerun of Maureen Lipman’s comments reported the week before. I thought it was a thoroughly tendentious piece of journalism and though it was not marred by any overt antisemitism I think it fuelled the sort of ‘Jewish lobby’ comments on the BBC News Channel.

  2. Michael Says:

    I am afraid you are wrong Howard, the whole premise of the article was anti-Semitic. The Independent wasn’t talking about the “Zionist” Lobby, which it could have done and would have probably been more accurate, rather it spoke about the Jewish lobby. Just to clarify, I do not think criticism of Israeli policies is anti-Semitic (even when made by anti-Semites) although criticism of Israel, as a state, is racist or just sloppy.

  3. zaccaerdydd Says:

    Philips undermines even her specifically anti-‘Israeli’ thrust by her initial ‘Jewish’ lobby comment.

  4. Inna Says:

    There are two issues quite separate from the Jewish lobby. There is the contention that all Jews are rich (which is why they would object to a mansion tax) and that these rich Jews want to (and indeed do) control what good, honest, real English men and women do/say. There is also implicit and perhaps more than implicit the notion that if you are Jewish you cannot really be English.

  5. Jim Bergin Says:

    No one can honestly try and deny the fact that there is a pro Israeli attitude within the BBC.You only need to look at any of the dreadfully one sided,biased and misleading news items produced by them.I do not agree with having to pay a licence fee to this organisation under these circumstances.It should be like SKY or Virgin…if you want it,you pay for it. The same balanced reporting was on view during the Scottish Referendum.The BBC really excelled during this campaign,once again being biased and misleading.

  6. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Excuse me, Jim, but did I read that right: “No one can honestly try and deny the fact that there is a pro Israeli attitude within the BBC.”? Have you really been watching/listening to the same BBC as the rest of us during Operation Protective Edge? Do you honestly see Jeremy Bowen, et al, as pro-Israel?

    Or did I miss the irony? (It’s possible, it’s been a very tiring weekend)


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