After 35 years on the BBC, a senior ultra-Orthodox Jewish broadcaster announced his resignation on radio and television, in protest of biased coverage of an antisemitic attack in which Jewish victims were accused of insulting Muslims. Rabbi Yehuda Yona Rubinstein posted the letter of resignation on his Facebook account this week – and in an interview with Ynet he reveals a series of harsh accusations against the British state network, which he says suffers from anti-Semitism: “I feel that a Jew proud of his Judaism can no longer work there.”
Rabbi Yehuda Yona Rubinstein is a well-known spiritual man in Britain, who authored 15 books and is also considered esteemed by Queen Elizabeth. Among other things, he presented the programs “Good Morning Sunday” and “Thoughts on the Day”, and is considered one of the most well-known presenters and broadcasters on the BBC network. “I’m afraid I have bad news,” he wrote in the resignation letter, which he sent to the directors of his production company. “I will not be able to continue broadcasting. This is a very sad moment for me as someone who has been presenting on the net for 35 years.”
Rabbi Rubinstein’s resignation follows a BBC report on an antisemitic Muslim attack on Jewish boys on Oxford Street in London, which was videotaped. A video taken about a month ago, on Hanukkah, shows Muslim men cursing and spitting at a group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish teenagers, who were sitting inside a bus. The Muslims shouted insults and sweared at them, shouted “knock on the Jews” and “liberate Palestine,” punched the windows of vehicles – and one of them even threw an object at the bus, as documented in the video.
The incident was treated by the London Police as a hate crime, and was even condemned by the British Prime Minister and the Mayor of London. However, a BBC report said that “racist slander can be heard about Muslims from the bus, in the style of ‘dirty Muslims'”. But in the video, the Jewish boys are heard saying in Hebrew only, “Call someone, this is urgent,” after they apparently wanted to call the police following the antisemitic attack against them.
“I stand with my people”
The heads of the British Jewish community were outraged by the BBC’s misreporting, claiming the network had added insult when it accused the anti-Semitic victims of being guilty of attacking them. The president of the Jewish community in Britain, Mary van der Zil, demanded that the network apologize publicly. According to her, the network’s behavior “raises serious questions about deep biases within the BBC towards Israelis, and towards Jews in general.”
35 years at the BBC. Rabbi Yehuda Yona Rubinstein
Not only did the BBC not back down from the report, it even insisted it was accurate. A spokesman for the network said that “anti-Semitism is abominable. We strive to serve the Jewish community and all communities across our country fairly. Our story was a factual report that focused mostly on people the police want to identify. We consulted with a number of Hebrew speakers … The brief reference to this was included in the full description of the event. ”
This event was for him the last straw. Rabbi Rubinstein’s resignation caused a stir in Britain, and was reported in many media outlets in the kingdom. “The BBC has crossed a red line,” he says in an interview with the Ynet studio. “I was aware, of course, of the anti-Semitism disguised there as ‘anti-Zionism’ and ‘anti-Israel’ for a long time. When I posted the letter of resignation to my Facebook page, almost everyone supported it. Some people wondered, ‘Why don’t you stay and fight?’ But I stayed and fought maybe for too long.
“But when the Jewish children were attacked on Oxford Street in London, the busiest shopping street in the capital, by a group of Muslims, and the children snatched threats, Nazi salutes, harsh insults and were forced to flee – the BBC received the story, reporting that Jews shouted ‘anti-Islamic insults’. In the plural. Then it was changed to one insult, and it too was proved wrong – while they refused to back down from the report. It is protecting anti-Semites, while pretending that the real perpetrators are the victims. So I stand with my people, and this is a border I will not let them cross, at least not when my name is linked to them. ”
Blaming a victim on the BBC
In his letter, Rabbi Rubinstein accepted that “the current crisis against the background of anti-Semitism on the Internet, and its attempts to make victims of the recent antisemitic attack on Jewish children in London, and claim that the victims were in fact the perpetrators – is unforgivable. In the list of the ten most antisemitic events in the world. ”
He tells Ynet that “the BBC is not a private organization, it is funded by the taxpayer in the UK. But despite the fact that I am actually their boss, as a Briton who pays taxes – there is no accountability to the public … The BBC has no institutions “For letters or complaints. And when you get through all the checkpoints and complain, they just say ‘thank you’ – and then you are ignored. So the BBC just goes on and on.”
Rabbi Rubinstein clarifies that the method is simple: repeat the lie many times. “There’s a phrase that has become popular recently, gazlating (dimming the mind). They just keep repeating the same lie over and over, assuming people continue to believe it. Well, the Jewish community in Britain no longer buys the BBC’s lie.”
In the most unusual way – “a step that was unparalleled,” he notes – Jews came to protest outside the broadcast headquarters, carrying signs that read “Stop spreading lies about Jews.” “British Jews are tired of the BBC,” he says. “They cut the ties between the BBC and the community, and I’m part of the community, so I ended my ties with them too.”
“This is a whole new level of anti-Semitism”
Rabbi Rubinstein has been living in the U.S. for the past few years, and from there has continued to broadcast on the British network. That the definition of British anti-Semitism is ‘hating Jews more than necessary’. “In this case, they hate Jews more than necessary: both in changing the story and blaming the victim, in their refusal to accept the fact that they made a mistake despite laboratory evidence proving that what they reported was not and was not created – and in their refusal to apologize, it is a whole new level of anti-Semitism.”
“British Jews are tired of the BBC. They cut ties between the BBC and the community, and I’m part of the community, so I ended my relationship with them too.”
He noted that his claim did not apply to many of the people he had worked with at the BBC for three decades. “They were among the kindest and most talented people I have ever met or worked with … There are some very good and talented people there, and I really learned a lot as a broadcaster and reporter there. I had a lot of good friends, and by the way, I got a lot of emails from former writers in support. “I just do not see how I, or any Jew who has any pride, can be more connected to the corporation.”
Is this your recommendation to other Jews who work there, to resign from the BBC?
“Let people do their calculations according to their considerations. This is definitely a sense of the subject, because they have crossed the border so clearly into the territory of anti-Semitism, in defense of Jewish child abusers in Britain. I’m Jewish – that’s what I like to be, that’s what I’m proud to be, I stand by my people, and this time it is clear that my people are right and the BBC was wrong, so I know where I stand. ”
“In Britain, I am guilty because I am a Jew”
During a visit by the Queen of England to Manchester about 15 years ago, she met with the heads of the Jewish community, and asked them “Is Rabbi YY (Yehuda Yonah, his nickname in Britain) here”. The president of the community replied in the negative, and the Queen was disappointed: “What a pity. We listen to him all the time on the radio.”
Do you feel there is a rise in anti-Semitism in the UK?
“There is no doubt, it is around the world. The rise in the level of anti-Semitism in Britain is terrible. The marches organized by Palestinians across London are completely similar to the Nazi marches, only instead of the swastikas at the beginning of the march there is a Palestinian flag. ‘. It feels like Kristallnacht is repeating itself.
“Britain, like most of Europe, is very afraid of Muslim communities. In this context it is interesting that although the images of those attackers are quite clear, and that Oxford Street has more security cameras than anywhere else in the world – so far no one has been arrested. This is tolerance for anti-Semitism. If it comes from Muslims – because ‘they are Palestinians’, and it does not matter if they are Jews, or Zionists.
“They hate Jews much more than they should: both in changing the story and blaming the victim, both in their refusal to accept the fact that they were wrong despite the evidence – and in their refusal to apologize.”
“When someone shouted at me ‘Palestine’ or ‘Gaza’ when I was walking on a street in London, he did not know if I was a Zionist, he did not ask me if I was Israeli, for him I am a Jew and that is enough. Today in Britain I am guilty of all the suffering of the Palestinian people. “I killed Jesus. It’s the same thing – the new anti-Semitism is the same as the old anti-Semitism.”