Jewish war veterans have demanded an apology over a “disgraceful” BBC News at Ten report about the Holocaust containing a reference to the Palestinian territories.
The BBC’s international correspondent Orla Guerin was accused of linking the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the horrors of the Holocaust in her report.
She made the reference during a clip filmed inside Israel’s Shoah memorial Yad Vashem after an emotional interview with Holocaust survivor Rena Quint, broadcast last Wednesday.
“In Yad Vashem’s Hall of Names, images of the dead. Young soldiers troop in to share in the binding tragedy of the Jewish people. The state of Israel is now a regional power. For decades, it has occupied Palestinian territories,” she concluded after interviewing Quint. “But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival,” she added.
In a sharp rebuke, the chairman of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women warned Guerin’s remark could “only serve to feed and fuel antisemitism.”
The association’s chairman Mike Bluestone demanded an apology in a complaint to the BBC’s director general Tony Hall, who is to step down from his role this summer to join the National Gallery as chair.
Bluestone said the reference was a “new low” for Guerin and a “smack in the face” for veterans.
“The actions of Guerin and the support afforded to her by the BBC for her disgraceful comments, are not only a smack in the face for our veterans, but indeed for all British and Allied veterans, of whatever faith, race or ethnicity, who fought so valiantly for our country, and for freedom from Nazi tyranny,” he said on Monday.
But a spokesperson for the BBC denied the accusation last week. “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,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The BBC declined to comment any further.