(January 24, 2020 / JNS) The Board of Deputies of British Jewry said that the BBC should apologize for a report on Wednesday evening about International Holocaust Remembrance Day that linked the Israel-Palestinian conflict to the Holocaust.
In a report broadcast on BBC News, international correspondent Orla Guerin described Israeli soldiers entering Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum to “share in the binding tragedy of the Jewish people.” She then said, “The State of Israel is now a regional power. For decades, it has occupied Palestinian territories. But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival.”
Amanda Bowman, a senior vice president at the Board of Deputies, said “in an otherwise moving report on the experiences of a Holocaust survivor, Orla Guerin’s attempt to link the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the horrors of the Holocaust was crass and offensive.”
She added that “her lack of partiality on the Israel-Palestine conflict has long been a matter of concern, and it is questionable why the BBC would even use her for this sensitive assignment. As we approach [International] Holocaust Memorial Day, the Jewish community is within its rights to expect an apology.”
The United Kingdom’s Campaign Against Antisemitism said it was filing an official complaint.
“It was utterly appalling to watch Orla Guerin hijack a segment dedicated to remembering 6 million murdered Jews, and instead use it as a vehicle to desecrate the memory of the Holocaust with her hatred of the Jewish state. Ms. Guerin and the BBC editors who allowed this to be aired must be made to face the consequences of this sick act, which is why we are now making an official complaint,” said Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism.
A BBC spokesperson denied that Guerin’s comments suggested a connection between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Holocaust.
Said the spokesperson: “The brief reference in our Holocaust report to Israel’s position today did not imply any comparison between the two, and nor would we want one to be drawn from our coverage.”
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