The BBC has been accused of peddling a centuries-old anti-Semitic slur after a newsreader and analyst discussed a “Jewish lobby” on-air.
Jewish community leaders from Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) and Community Security Trust (CST) reacted angrily after Tim Wilcox and his guest Jo Phillips talked about a story in the Independent on Jewish donors.
Under the headline “Jewish Donors Drop Toxic Miliband,” the story referred to a funding crisis after the Labour leader criticised Israel this summer.
“This was not an explicitly or intentionally anti-Semitic piece… but the BBC pre-emptively revealed how it would be understood,” said Gardner.
Referring to a “Jewish lobby,” Phillips, an analyst, said: “When he’s being brave and principled and standing up and saying, you know, ‘this time Israel has gone too far’, people take their money away.”
Wilcox then went a bit further, saying “a lot of these prominent Jewish faces will be very much against the mansion tax”.
The discussion triggered outrage from the community, with CST director Mark Gardner calling it a “stench of toxic assumptions about Jews and money / influence for Israel”.
While it “lacked the ugly obvious racism spewed by neo-Nazis at Luciana Berger MP” Gardner said “it is still a very slippery slope, liberally oiled with deep seated anti-Semitic toxins about Jews acting in concert with other Jews”.
Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, agreed that Wilcox and Phillips were peddling an age-old falsehood, and that this would simply reinforce the negative view many Jews held about the Beeb.
“The idea that a wealthy Jewish lobby uses money to manipulate political policy is a centuries-old anti-Semitic trope,” he said.
“The BBC’s unchallenged promotion of this slur is a shocking example of what many Jews feel is institutional anti-Semitism by the broadcaster.”