Hendon MP urges BBC to pull Desert Island Discs with Alexei Sayle
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Hendon MP urges BBC to pull Desert Island Discs with Alexei Sayle

Matthew Offord wrote to the broadcaster's director general, saying he should 'be wary of giving a platform to anyone who is seen to be excusing antisemitism'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Matthew Offord .(Photo credit: Jacob King/PA Wire) and Alexei Sayle (Wikipedia/ Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisboland/33474375101/ Author	Chris Boland/ (www.chrisboland.com)  Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))
Matthew Offord .(Photo credit: Jacob King/PA Wire) and Alexei Sayle (Wikipedia/ Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisboland/33474375101/ Author Chris Boland/ (www.chrisboland.com) Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Hendon MP Mathew Offord has written to the Director-General of the BBC to demand he stop the broadcast of Desert Island Discs featuring Alexei Sayle, scheduled for this Sunday.

The parliamentarian said his request came in response to the antisemitic incidents which occurred last weekend in the UK over the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

In a letter Offord said that every broadcaster “should be wary of giving a platform to anyone who is seen to be excusing antisemitism. ”

It pointed to a 2017 interview with Sky News in which the TV comedian claimed that all allegations of antisemitism “amongst supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are a complete fabrication”.

In 2014, Sayle claimed that a BBC presenter, Emma Barnett, was abusing antisemitism to discredit Palestinians before denouncing her as “supporting the murder of children, the murder of women…from a fascist, Zionist ideology”.

On his website Offord said:” For a person to state publicly that another who made allegations of antisemitism is a liar is not only wrong but also allows antisemitism to continue and in some cases flourish.

“In addition, to conflate Jewish identity with Zionism ensures that British Jews are physically and verbally attacked for actions that occur in Israel, for which they have no cause or control.”

The MP added: “ITV recently took the decision not to broadcast the final episode of a drama starring Noel Clarke after allegations were made against him.

” In light of Alexei Sayle’s continuing behaviour and the distress this is causing my constituents and others, the BBC should take the same action and not broadcast the next episode of Desert Island Discs which features Mr Sayle.”

Jewish comedian David Baddiel criticised the call to ban Sayle tweeting :”Me and Alexei Sayle don’t agree on much about the present nature of antisemitism. But he’s a very great comedian, the Godfather of modern alternative comedy, and perfectly entitled to his opinions. The idea of banning his Desert Island Discs is culture war nuts.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “In common with many Desert Island Discs castaways during the programme’s long history, in this interview Alexei Sayle reflects on his professional life, family upbringing and private life rather than discussing his personal political views.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments