BBC defends right to compare Israel’s actions against Hamas to Hitler’s Final Solution

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BBC defends right to compare Israel’s actions against Hamas to Hitler’s Final Solution

Audience member’s contribution to flagship Question Time debate – suggesting war on terrorists is akin to the Holocaust – remains on iPlayer

Richard Ferrer has been editor of Jewish News since 2009. As one of Britain's leading Jewish voices he writes for The Times, Independent, New Statesman and many other titles. Richard previously worked at the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, edited the Boston Jewish Advocate and created the Channel 4 TV series Jewish Mum Of The Year.

“There is a talk about clearing Hamas out of Gaza. Isn’t that a little bit like the Final Solution?”
“There is a talk about clearing Hamas out of Gaza. Isn’t that a little bit like the Final Solution?”

BBC Question Time has defended an audience member’s right to compare Israel’s actions against Hamas terrorists to the Holocaust.

During the segment of Thursday night’s show focusing on the ongoing war in Gaza, an man who appeared to be in his late 70s or 80s, asked: “There is talk about clearing Hamas out of Gaza. Isn’t that a little bit like the Final Solution?”

Host Fiona Bruce reacted: “Well, that is quite a thing to say,” before inviting panelist Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies, to respond.

A BBC spokesperson told Jewish News: “The significance of the phrasing and seriousness of the historical reference in the question were immediately recognised by the chair who offered Marie van der Zyl a moment before responding. Marie van der Zyl said she was happy to respond in that moment and did so, speaking at length before the chair invited the rest of the panel to respond accordingly.”

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “The massacre committed by Hamas terrorists on 7 October was the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust and yesterday we saw live on the BBC’s Question Time, a member of the audience ask whether Israel’s efforts to defeat these murderous terrorists was comparable to The Final Solution – this is not only shocking and ignorant but also deeply offensive.

“The Final Solution was the attempted systematic eradication of European Jewry and this sick attempt of an analogy displays not only a deep lack of understanding but is also an insult to the 6 million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust.””

The audience member’s contribution remains available to view on the iPlayer. BBC did not clarify whether it would be edited out of repeat airings.

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