(March 22, 2018 / JNS) A Colombian Jewish journalist was forced to resign as anchor of a daily TV newscast after refusing to cross herself on air.
When Channel 1’s Cathy Bekerman was told by her newscast director to cross herself on air, “I did not do it, and he asked me to resign at that moment, to which I did not agree,” Bekerman told Colombian media.
The story came to light following a tweet by Jewish radio journalist Azury Chamah.
Colombia is a country that allows freedom of worship, which could open the channel and the newscast director, Yamid Amat, to legal action.
The Confederation of Jewish Communities of Colombia, an umbrella organization for the country’s Jewish groups, issued a statement demanding an apology from Amat “in light of his discriminatory and violative behavior of freedom of religion guaranteed in the Colombian Constitution.”
Israel’s ambassador to Colombia, Marco Sermoneta, tweeted that the case was a “serious anti-Semitic incident,” and urged that “anti-Semitism is everybody’s problem.”
According to Publimetro news, Amat issued an apology on the channel’s website, in which he expressed remorse for having “affected her religious convictions without that being my purpose.” He added: “May the Jewish community and other religious organizations always receive a respectful treatment from me.”
Chamah tweeted on Wednesday that Bekerman accepted the apology and may return to her previous position.