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In the poems . . . the actions of Israelis were likened to those of the Nazis, and victims of the Holocaust are asked why they "have not learnt their lesson?"


Sunday, September 9, 2002


BBC slammed for 'anti-Jewish' broadcast

London, England

The Board of Deputies, the representative body of British Jewry, last week complained to the BBC over the "violently anti-Israel and anti-Jewish language" contained in poetry broadcast on the BBC Radio program, Poetry Proms.

The poems were broadcast during the intervals of the evening Proms, the annual season of summer promenade concerts, on August 13 and 20. The poems were also posted on the BBC Proms Web site.

In the poems, written by Jean Breeze and Michael Rosen, the actions of Israelis were likened to those of the Nazis, and victims of the Holocaust are asked why they "have not learnt their lesson?"

The BBC has told the Board of Deputies it will not be possible to give a response to the complaint before the end of September, some six weeks after the broadcasts.

NaggerNeville Nagler, director-general of the board, expressed surprise that the BBC commissioned such poetry and broadcast it "at such an inappropriate time." He added that the long delay in responding to the complaint indicates that "the BBC does not take seriously complaints from the British Jewish community."

"This is deeply concerning at a time when anti-Jewish rhetoric is increasing," he said.


MEANWHILE, the British Zionist Federation has expressed "increasing concern" at the positions adopted on Israel by the University and College Lecturers Union.

The National Executive Council of the union recently advocated cutting academic links with Israel and concluded that Israel is carrying out a deliberate policy of destroying the Palestinian educational system.

A statement made by union declared that, "It is difficult to escape the conclusion that Israel, on balance, has been the main aggressor in respect of the Palestinian population at large, clearing populations for settlements and security zones, destroying the fragile infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority."

The union recently sent a delegation to the Palestinian territories, and Gargi Bhattacharyya, a member of the union's national executive and lecturer at Birmingham University, later described the West Bank and Gaza as "open-air prisons." Such conditions have had an effect on all aspects of life, she reportedly said, adding that there has been a concerted attack on access to education for Palestinians.

She is also said to have supported the decision to call for an end to the EU funds to Israeli institutions.


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