BBC Radio 2 platforms ‘go back to Israel’ and ‘Jewish power’ trope

The May 7th edition of BBC Radio Two’s Jeremy Vine show included items relating to “protests at UK universities over Gaza”.

Jeremy Vine began that part of the programme (from 04:14 here) by misleading listeners with the statement that “Hamas accepted a ceasefire deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar but Israel then rejected it”. Listeners then heard a report form the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell which similarly failed to fully inform on the details of that Hamas public relations exercise.

Listeners then heard from two British university students, one of whom twice touted the ‘genocide’ trope with no meaningful challenge from Vine.

From 17:26 Vine began a phone-in on the topic of protests at British universities. His first caller was introduced as Paul Dunwell from Cambridgeshire who told listeners that he has “always had Jewish friends” before continuing: [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Paul: “But because of the historic nature of their displacement over the centuries – and it goes back to 700 BC as I recall – they are all over the globe and sometimes – because they’ve been very successful as a people – they wield perhaps undue influence on governments…”

Rather than explaining to his listeners that the caller’s comments are a known form of antisemitism, Vine’s response was as follows:

Vine: “Oh well, yeah, I mean we’re getting into some…some tropes there – aren’t we? – I suppose. Because if you’re listening to this show and you’re a Jewish listener, you’re thinking ‘wait a minute; I’m not involved in any kind of…eh…programme of influence on the British government. I’m just listening trying to work out what’s going on’.”

At 20:01 Vine brought in another caller – Ryan from Nottingham – who noted that protests in the UK are “making one particular faction of society feel very unwelcome or even threatened”. Vine then interrupted him:

Vine: “Stay…stay there. Don’t go. Let me bring in Tom Holley in Taunton who I know has a different view. Tom, what do you say to that?”

Tom: “Well yes, I mean to say I would echo the previous caller’s views in that the Jewish community have always – whichever country they’re in – seem to have a disproportionate wielding of influence and power. I think something like seven or eight members of the current government are either Jewish or are married to Jewish [unintelligible]…”

Vine: “Well again we’re getting into that thing – aren’t we? – of sort of suggesting there’s a network. Ryan in Nottingham; can you answer that?”

Ryan in Nottingham did not get the chance to answer that because Vine allowed Tom Holley in Taunton to interrupt and continue with promotion of the Livingstone Formulation:

Tom: “Well not so much a network but [sniggers] unfortunately they’ve hidden…the Jewish people have hidden behind calling people who criticise Israel antisemitics [sic] for decades and it just can’t simply…we can’t wash everything under the carpet just because of what happened in Germany in the 1940s.”

The item continued with assorted allegations and whataboutery from Tom Holley in Taunton and the following response to a question from Vine as to whether campus protests should stop “if Jewish students feel threatened”:

Tom: “Jewish people can do what Palestinians can’t do. If they don’t like it, they can get on a plane and go back…go to Israel. The Palestinians can’t do that. If they don’t like it, leave the country.

Vine’s abysmal response to that call for British citizens of one particular ethnic group to leave the UK was as follows:

Vine: “OK but when you say go back to Israel, many of them have maybe not even been there at all, so…”

As long-time readers will know, the BBC is no stranger to promotion of both the antisemitic ‘Jewish lobby’ trope and the Livingstone Formulation. Nevertheless, especially in a time of unprecedented antisemitism in the UK, the fact that the publicly funded station BBC Radio 2 was happy to air antisemitic tropes and a call for Jews to “leave the country” without any appropriate challenge from a presenter who acknowledged that he was fully aware of the “different view” of one of his callers should be cause for serious concern.

Clearly BBC Radio Two has forgotten that one of the corporation’s obligations is to “contribute to the social cohesion and wellbeing of the United Kingdom”.

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  1. says: Stephen Lewis

    Yes I heard this. It was shocking. These callers should have been sifted out and not have been allowed to get on air. One can only assume the people who answer the phones are sympathetic to these callers.

    Compare and contrast with Iain Dale and Nick Ferrari (LBC) who are far more robust dealing with this type of call.

  2. says: Raymond Mann

    Help, I attempted to post this page on my Facebook page “Scottish Friends of Israel” and it gets blocked. I also attempted to share from your Facebook page and that also was blocked.

    1. says: Hadar Sela

      Hi Raymond. Several people have informed us that they have had exactly the same experience. One Facebook user who appealed later had the post reinstated.

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