January 23, 2020
Various Jewish groups are criticizing the BBC for saying that Israel “has occupied Palestinian territories” during a Jan. 22 segment dedicated to the Holocaust.
BBC reporter Orla Guerin said over B-roll of attendees at Yad Vashem after interviewing a Holocaust survivor, “The state of Israel is now a regional power. For decades, it has occupied Palestinian territories. But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival.”
Simon Wiesenthal Center Founder and Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier denounced Guerin’s remarks in a phone interview with the Journal.
“They want us to say, ‘You have no right to commemorate this. Don’t portray yourself as victims when you are perpetrators,’” Hier said. “Why is the state of Israel perpetrators? Because they defended themselves against Palestinian terrorism, just as Britain defended itself – rightfully so – against fascism in the Second World War. In the same way that Great Britain had a right to defend itself against fascism, the state of Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorism.”
He added: “This is [a] typical BBC double-standard. When is the last time the BBC ever mentioned on any of their broadcasts that it was the Grand Mufti, the leader of the Palestinians, that sat at Hitler’s side and encouraged him to gas the Jews?”
StandWithUs Israel Executive Director Michael Dickson urged his Twitter followers to sign a petition calling for the BBC to issue an apology and censuring Guerin for the remarks.
“As global leaders arrived in Israel to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz concentration camp liberation & paid respects to the millions of Jews murdered, the BBC politicized the coverage with a shameful report: protest it here!” Dickson tweeted.
The petition states, “Politicizing the most catastrophic event in the history of the modern history of the Jewish people is not just poor taste, it carries with it an undercurrent of a bigoted and hateful agenda.”
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lior Haiat tweeted that Guerin’s remarks “belittle the Holocaust by aggressively pushing an irrelevant issue. Shameful and disgusting.”
A BBC spokesperson defended Guerin’s remarks to the Jewish News, saying: “The brief reference in our Holocaust report to Israel’s position today did not imply any comparison between the two and nor would we want one to be drawn from our coverage.”
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