Senior members of Conservative Friends of Israel have written to BBC Director General Lord Hall of Birkenhead to express their “grave concerns” over the inclusion of public health expert Professor John Ashton in BBC programming after the JC revealed his history of inflammatory statements about ‘Zionists’, Israel and Jews.
CFI Parliamentary Chairmen, Stephen Crabb MP and Lord Pickles, and CFI Honorary President Lord Polak, wrote in the letter that Prof Ashton had “repeatedly compared Zionists to Nazis, and attacked former Jewish Labour MPs online for their views on Israel”.
They added: “One of his most troubling comments exposed by the JC this week stated that it is ‘surely time for Jews to reflect’ on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
“This falls foul of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism as it conflates people of Jewish heritage with Israelis thereby suggesting that all Jews have influence and responsibility for the actions of the Israeli government in its relationship with Gaza”.
Mr Crabb, Lord Pickles and Lord Polak wrote that “Professor Ashton’s past comments should not be excused by any expertise he may possess on public health issues” and that the “BBC has a responsibility to thoroughly vet all contributors”.
They urged the BBC Director General to “remove Professor Ashton from your list of contributors, and publicly acknowledge that he should not have featured in recent broadcasts”.