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Cohen speaks out

November 24, 2016 23:22

The concern expressed by Danny Cohen over the future for Jews in UK is all the more powerful for coming from a man who is not known for expressing his views on anything except culture, and who rarely makes public reference to his Judaism. Mr Cohen referred in his remarks in Jerusalem to the litany of antisemitic attacks and incidents over the past year with which we are all too familiar. But one has to wonder whether he has also had direct experience of antisemitism himself. And whether, perhaps, he has in mind the very organisation in which he works. Mr Cohen has no responsibility for the BBC’s news output but there are times at which it feels as if antisemitic tropes are casually trotted out as if they are perfectly normal. Last month, for example, during a newspaper review on the BBC’s news channel, the presenter, Tim Willcox, asserted that “prominent Jewish faces will be very much against the mansion tax”. They’re all stinking rich and live in mansions, after all. That was after a guest had attacked the “Jewish lobby” for attempting to silence criticism of Israel. Mistakes happen on live TV. But, far from apologising, the BBC vigorously defended the remarks. And we have not even mentioned the BBC’s anti-Israel bias, which renders toxic much of the public debate about the Middle East, and thus, by extension, helps create a climate in which antisemitism flourishes. So we applaud Mr Cohen for speaking out — and hope that his own employer will take note.

November 24, 2016 23:22

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