UK Jews demand apology after BBC links Holocaust to Palestinian conflict

A report on the Holocaust referred to 'occupation' of Palestinian territories, concluding "some [Israelis] will always see their nation through the prism of persecution."

A pedestrian walks past a BBC logo at Broadcasting House in central London (photo credit: OLIVIA HARRIS/ REUTERS)
A pedestrian walks past a BBC logo at Broadcasting House in central London
(photo credit: OLIVIA HARRIS/ REUTERS)
British Jews have called for an apology from the BBC and have made an official complaint, after a news item linked the extermination of Jews in the Holocaust to what it described as Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories.
In a four-and-a-half minute segment aired on the BBC's flagship News at Ten program ahead of the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, BBC journalist Orla Guerin interviewed Rena Quint, a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp whose entire family were murdered when she was nine years old.
Guerin accompanied Quint to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center, where Quint has in the past led tours of the centre to educate people on the horrors of the Shoah, and where she expressed her concern that the atrocities were being forgotten.
The video then cut to images of IDF soldiers visiting the center, and a voice-over from Guerin, who told viewers: "In Yad Vashem's Hall of Names, images of the dead. Young soldiers troop in to share the binding tragedy of the Jewish people. 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."
Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman slammed Geurin's report and asked for an apology, saying in a statement: “In an otherwise moving report on the experiences of a Holocaust survivor, Orla Guerin’s attempt to link the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the horrors of the Holocaust was crass and offensive.
"Her lack of partiality on the Israel-Palestine conflict has long been a matter of concern and it is questionable why the BBC would even use her for this sensitive assignment. As we approach Holocaust Memorial Day, the Jewish community is within its rights to expect an apology.”
The Campaign Against Antisemitism was similarly concerned. In a statement on their website, the organization pointed out that “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” constitutes antisemitism according to the International Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the British Government.
“The BBC is supposed to inform the British public, not feed them propaganda," Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said.
"Few could imagine perverting what is supposed to be an educational piece about the Holocaust to instead fuel the very antisemitism that such education is supposed to prevent, but that is what the BBC has done."
He added: "It was utterly appalling to watch Orla Guerin hijack a segment dedicated to remembering six million murdered Jews, and instead use it as a vehicle to desecrate the memory of the Holocaust with her hatred of the Jewish state. Ms Guerin and the BBC editors who allowed this to be aired must be made to face the consequences of this sick act, which is why we are now making an official complaint and will take the matter to Ofcom if necessary.”