Why?

Created on 22/6/2008

During the last week the BBC showed two programs with Jewish themes on one night. They were an interview with the gay Liberal Rabbi Blue and another, which was the first episode of a three part documentary series, entitled “Jews”.

On the surface these programs were both philo- Semitic hours sympathetic to the Jewish community in modern Britain. They are not, they are, in fact, barely concealed, sophisticated anti Semitism. Why do I come to this conclusion?

The reasons are complex but no less real for this. Once again British television will trot out certain facts in mitigation and denial of this. I don’t even know if they realize that they are being anti-Semitic, such is the deep-seated bigotry within that organization.

The first defense they will trot out is that the maker of “Jews” is herself, a Jewish woman. The other program maker’s religion is unknown to me, but they will point out that the interviewer was clearly sympathetic to the Rabbi. It’s all a lot more subtle than that.

Why do you suppose that a gay rabbi is spoken with at such length? Do you think that the fact this rabbi also appear to despise Israel and Zionism has anything to do with it?

The way this works is that the anti-Semites look for and find a useful idiot, to use Stalin’s term, and let him or her do the work of Jew loathing for them. After all who could accuse the BBC of any intolerance if the person doing the hating is, in fact, a self-hating Jew?

Don’t misunderstand me, I think Rabbi Blue is a mostly well intentioned man, who unfortunately is coming to the end of his earthly journey, and who I have watched in his one man show and who’s book I have read.

In “The Jews” the program makers chose to observe the ultra orthodox, Stamford Hill (an area of London) Charedi community. I won’t question the selection of this very small and unrepresentative group because this is one of three programs and the remaining two might bring some balance. However the choice of this as the first episode is questionable. No, much more worrying for me is that despite this community being acknowledged as ultra law abiding when compared to the rest of the country is that the BBC then zeroed in on one man in that community in particular. That man was a convicted drug smuggler. I question whether there is another drug smuggler in the entire community, or probably, for that matter another individual who has served three prison terms.

However you dress it up you now had two continuous hours of supposedly superior British network television about the British Jewish community in which the featured Jews were either gay, criminal, convict, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist or plainly confused. No room here for any of us who might fit a more “normal” profile, support Israel, or feel good about being a Jew. Those that hate the Jews, and there, unfortunately still many of that persuasion, don’t need help like this.