NATIONAL NEWS
Guerin rap for Shoah with Palestinians

Is it the Biased Broadcasting Corporation?

A BBC journalist was slammed last night after she linked the Holocaust with Palestinian "suffering".

It happened during Orla Guerin's report on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

In a segment for Wednesday's BBC News at Ten, she described footage of Israel Defence Force soldiers at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust museum, stating: "Young soldiers troop in to share the binding tragedy of the Jewish people".

But then, as the camera showed more IDF soldiers, Guerin added: "The State of Israel is now a regional power. For decades it has occupied Palestinian territories. But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival."

The footage appeared directly after her interview with a Holocaust survivor.

It has been alleged that this breached the globally-accepted IHRA definition of antisemitism.

Israel foreign affairs spokesman Lior Haiat declared: "The remarks made by Orla Guerin at the end of her report about an event dedicated to commemorating the Holocaust and fighting antisemitism, do exactly the opposite - they belittle the Holocaust by aggressively pushing an irrelevant issue.

"It is shameful and disgusting."

Gideon Falter, the chief executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, was also outraged.

He said: "It was utterly appalling to watch Orla Guerin hijack a segment dedicated to remembering six million murdered Jews and, instead, use it as a vehicle to desecrate the memory of the Holocaust with a perceived hatred of the Jewish state."

According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, which has been adopted by the British government, "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis" is antisemitic.

Mr Falter added: "The BBC is supposed to inform the British public, not feed them propaganda.

"Ms Guerin and the BBC editors who allowed this to be aired must be made to face the consequences of this sick act."

He said that Campaign Against Antisemitism will now make an official complaint to the BBC and, if necessary, take the matter to broadcast regulators Ofcom.

There have previously been complaints about Guerin's alleged anti-Israel bias.

She was appointed the BBC's Jerusalem correspondent in 2001, a position she held until 2005.

In 2002, the Israeli government wrote to the corporation, accusing her of a "deep-seated bias against Israel" in a report on a teenage would-be suicide bomber.

However, the BBC defended her reporting.

In March, 2004, when a would-be teenage Palestinian suicide bomber was apprehended at an IDF checkpoint, Guerin's report made out the whole event was an Israeli PR stunt.

It led to then-minister Natan Sharansky hitting out at Guerin, calling her report " a gross double standard to the Jewish state".

A year later, while Palestinians were rampaging through former Jewish settlements in Gaza, months after Israel had pulled out of the territory, Guerin reported: "Palestinians came streaming to the settlements that caused them so much pain, to sightsee and to loot.

"Israel stole 38 years from them; today, many were ready to take back anything they could."

And, even though Israelis had left Gaza, the BBC refused to condemn her, stating: "The UN believes that settlements - to which Orla Guerin was referring in this report when she used the word 'stole' - have no legal validity and obstruct the peace process."

The Board of Deputies also hit out at Guerin. Vice-president Amanda Bowman said: "In an otherwise moving report on the experiences of a Holocaust survivor, Orla Guerin's attempt to link the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the horrors of the Holocaust was crass and offensive.

"Her lack of partiality on the Israel-Palestine conflict has long been a matter of concern and it is questionable why the BBC would even use her for this sensitive assignment."

Guerin's report from Yad Vashem caused widespread anger on Twitter, too.

Historian Simon Sebag-Montofiere called it "truly foul, managing to be both shamefully amoral and historically inaccurate, utterly cynical and complacently self-righteous all the same time".

And journalist Nicole Lampert wrote: "For most reporters a piece about the Holocaust on the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz would be enough.

"But BBC reporter Orla Guerin has to conflate it - horrifically - with the 'occupation of Palestinian lands' while pretending to be oblivious to continued antisemitism in Europe.

BBC News also led much of its coverage of the ceremony at Yad Vashem with the fact that Polish president Andrzej Duda had snubbed the event.

Mr Duda complained that he has not been allowed to address the audience, as opposed to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The BBC also interviewed Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who said Israel's decision was a "disrespect to Poland".

The chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Karen Pollock, commented: "While a moving report about the Holocaust and the importance of remembrance, it is simply wrong to frame the modern Israeli-Palestinian conflict alongside the horrors of the Holocaust and, in my view, an offensive and unnecessary reference."

A BBC spokesman told the Jewish Telegraph: "The brief reference in our Holocaust report to Israel's position today did not imply any comparison between the two and nor would we want one to be drawn from our coverage."


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