For over three decades, Y.Y. Rubinstein has appeared regularly on the BBC, and even the queen has mentioned that she finds “Rabbi Y.Y.” to be “awfully good” and listens to him “all the time.” Rubinstein quit on Monday, citing incessant anti-Semitism. While the government-sponsored network has long been especially hostile toward Israel, Rubinstein points to a single incident in November that, for him, was the last straw:
On Hanukkah, a group of Chabad-affiliated teenagers left their tour bus and danced on the sidewalk in celebration of the holiday. They were quickly surrounded by a group of men who threatened them [and] screamed anti-Semitic abuse at them. The attackers gave Nazi salutes, howled “F— the Jews” and attacked the tour bus after they fled back inside, kicking and spitting on it. The footage is ugly. The kids were terrified.
When the BBC first reported the story, they alleged that the Jewish kids had shouted an anti-Muslim slur at their attackers. Numerous forensic experts who listened to the recording said that this claim was a complete lie. . . . The BBC doubled down and defended its reporting, arguing that a “brief reference to a slur was included so that the fullest account of the incident was reported.” Even after the “fullest account” has been widely refuted, the BBC still refuses to back down. . . .
I posted about my decision and shared a copy of my letter of resignation on my personal Facebook page. I quickly received many posts congratulating me, while others said that I should have stayed to fight anti-Semitism at the BBC from within. That argument brought a smile to my lips: I had been doing precisely that for decades, and given the vastness of the organization and the extent it is infected with the cancer of anti-Semitism, that’s a bit like inviting me to make a sandcastle on the shore to stop a tsunami.
In a recent interview with the UK’s Jewish Chronicle, I was asked: “Do you think that the BBC can be cured of its anti-Semitism?” I didn’t hesitate before answering “No.” The reason is simple: the BBC cannot fix its anti-Semitism problem if it refuses to acknowledge that it has one. The BBC is simply unwilling to do so.