TV host rapped for 'cancer' slur

Vincent Browne

Vincent Browne

Irish TV channel TV3 has been ordered to apologise live on air after its presenter Vincent Browne called Israel a “cancer”.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has upheld a complaint against the well-known TV host of Tonight With Vincent Browne, who said on an October show that Israel was “the cancer in foreign affairs”.

He went on to say that Israel “polarises the Islamic community of the world against the rest of the world” and that the creation of Israel was “a massive injustice — they stole the land from the Arabs.”

The BAI found that these comments did not meet the requirement of being “fair, objective and impartial” and said that the statements were “not balanced by contributions from the programme guests”.

Defending his remarks shortly after the show, Mr Browne said that by calling Israel a cancer, “I didn’t mean it should be eliminated. It was an infelicitous use of the word.

“The reality is the Israeli state was founded by confiscation of land previously occupied by Arabs. That injustice is at the centre of the conflict.”

The complaint was made by Paul Rossiter, who said he found the comments “deeply offensive”, that he regarded them as “antisemitic” and “indefensible coming from a journalist who is supposed to show objectivity.“

Mr Browne responded: “I’m not antisemitic and will not be blackmailed.” The BAI did not uphold the accusation that his remarks were antisemitic.

Last updated: 10:45am, March 7 2013