A Veteran Broadcaster Explains Why the BBC’s Anti-Semitism Drove Him to Resign

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.

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Read more at Forward

More about: Anglo-Jewry, Anti-Semitism, BBC, Media, Queen Elizabeth II

 

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy