Anger over "ridiculous" BBC panel discussion

BBC Politics Live also asked if Jews should be included in Census - and whether some Jews' success means they should no longer be seen as ethnic minority


PinkNews CEO Benjamin Cohen has expressed his anger after today's Politics Live on BBC2 discussed whether Jews should be classified as an ethnic minority.

The panel of four non-Jews each offered their view on the subject, with Mr Cohen commenting as a guest.

After the programme he tweeted: “I’ve just been on the BBC’s Politics Live where the BBC literally just asked four non-Jews if they agreed with me that Jews are an ethnic minority. Imagine if I was Black and four white people were asked to judge if I was a member of an ethnic minority. It would be as offensive.”

He went on to criticise the “bizarre suggestion” made by host Jo Coburn (who is herself Jewish) that due to their political success, Jews don’t need “recognition in the same way as others.”

The BBC panel comprised Conservative MP Lee Rowley, Spectator columnist Kate Andrews, Labour life peer Lord Wood and Miatta Fahnbulleh from the New Economics Foundation.

The discussion, which also asked if Jews should be included in the forthcoming Census as a separate category, was prompted by a tweet posted on Saturday by Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner, which congratulated new Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar as “the first ever ethnic minority leader of a political party anywhere in the UK.”

Mr Cohen responded at the time: “I guess Jews don’t count Angela? You were first elected in a general election fought by a Jewish Labour leader”, in reference to Ed Miliband.

Ms Coburn asked: “Benjamin, isn’t there a wider point that actually perhaps the fact that Angela Rayner didn’t immediately recognise previous Jewish political leaders in her tweet underlines the fact that many Jews have succeeded in reaching high political office, and therefore don’t need to be seen as a group needing recognition in the same way as others?”

He replied: “We face antisemitism and racism very clearly. We’ve just seen that with the many years of racism and antisemitism within the Labour party.

“So to suggest that Jews don’t face racism, and therefore we’ve reached such a high office that we’re not an ethnic minority is frankly ridiculous.

“Frankly the notion of this debate is ridiculous.”

He added: “It’s not the case that Jews have reached such high positions in society they don’t face discrimination.

“The Holocaust is still in living memory, and whether you practiced or you were not practising you still faced murder by the Nazis.”



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