Ofcom rejects anti-Zionist's TV complaint

Ofcom, the media regulator, has rejected a complaint of unfair treatment against Channel Four by Tony Greenstein, the veteran anti-Zionist campaigner.

Mr Greenstein appeared in a programme made by Richard Littlejohn, the Daily Mail columnist, about rising antisemitism in the UK which was shown last July.

He complained that viewers might have gained the impression that he agreed with the idea that antisemitism was on the increase.

The programme, entitled The War on British Jews, had failed to include comments he had made in his interview which “countermanded” its theme, he said.

He also argued that he had received assurances from the makers of the programme that it would not “simply be a vehicle” for Mr Littlejohn’s views.

But Ofcom concluded that there was nothing to suggest that Mr Greenstein believed in rising antisemitism.

The programme “did not leave viewers with an unfair view” of him, the TV watchdog declared in a judgment which was published in its latest bulletin. It pointed out that the extracts of his interview had been shown in a particular part of the programme to illustrate a diversity of views about Israel among UK Jews.

The TV watchdog was “satisfied that Mr Greenstein’s decision to take part in the programme and allow the use of his contribution had been taken in full knowledge of both the fact that Mr Littlejohn was host of the programme and Mr Littlejohn’s views on the key issues”.

Mr Greenstein appeared in the final section of the programme looking at whether there would be less hatred of British Jews if Jewish leaders were more critical of Israel.

Speaking about the formation of the group Independent Jewish Voices, he had commented: “They’re people who do not like the idea that they are automatically associated with the war, with Israel and all the other things.”

He also said in the programme that as long as Jewish people in this country were associated with “what Israel does to Palestinians, some misguided people will then take it out on them, and that’s unfortunate and that’s wrong.

“However, it is also unacceptable for leaders of British Jews to say that they identify their communities with what Israel does, that is the problem.”

    Last updated: 10:26am, May 27 2008