Rabbi quits broadcasting on the BBC due to Chanukah antisemitism coverage

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Rabbi quits broadcasting on the BBC due to Chanukah antisemitism coverage

Broadcaster YY Rubenstein ends 30-year association with the corporation over its 'inexcusable attempts to turn the victims of antisemitism into perpetrators'

YY Rubenstein and his Facebook 'resignation'
YY Rubenstein and his Facebook 'resignation'

A rabbi who’s appeared on the BBC for 30 years has boycotted the broadcaster over its “utterly damning” coverage of the antisemitic bus attack.

New York-based YY Rubenstein took to facebook, announcing he was ending his 30-year association with the broadcaster, following widespread anger over its coverage of last month’s Chanukah bus attack.

A group of six males made Nazi salutes, spat and shouted anti-Jewish slurs at Jewish youngsters on board a bus on Oxford Street, but the BBC’s report of the incident carried the line: “A slur about Muslims can also be heard from inside the bus.”

Writing a ‘resignation letter’ on social media, Rabbi YY Rubenstein shared the “bad news” with ‘Gaby’ at the corporation, saying:  “I will not be able to do the BBC Radio 2 recordings discussed in February and March 2020.

“This is a very sad moment for me as I have been a BBC Broadcaster for some thirty years. I was a regular on Thought for the Day, Wake up to Wogan and countless other BBC Radio and TV programs. I was the co-writer and presenter of BBC World Service’s, “Sunrise Sunset” which the Times cited as their pick of the week and which was rebroadcast twice in the same week to 300 million people. I was a regular on BBC One’s, Heaven and Earth Show. I have been with the Beeb for a very long time.”

YY’s ‘resignation’

Reflecting on recent coverage of the Chanukah incident, the Glasgow-born rabbi said the “current crisis over antisemitism at the Corporation and its attempts to turn the victims of the recent antisemitic attack on Jewish children in London and claim that the victims were actually the perpetrators, was and is inexcusable.

“The obfuscation, denial that followed, was and is utterly damning.”

He referenced a report by The Simon Wiesenthal Center which included the BBC in its annual global antisemitism, “Top Ten”. He said the report “does not in any way reflect on your own production company [for the show on BBC Radio 2] whose own record in this regard is exemplary. It also does not apply to many of the individuals I have worked with at the BBC over three decades.

“They were among some of the most courteous, kind and talented people I ever met or worked with.

“I simply don’t see how I or in fact any Jew who has any pride in that name can be associated with the Corporation anymore.

After the BBC refused to apologise or retract the comments, last week the Board of Deputies released two expert-led reports claiming to prove the slur was not used – and calling for a formal apology.

President Marie van der Zyl is due to meet with the Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie, over the incident, this month.

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