On January 28th, prior to his meeting with the Lib Dem Chief Whip, the MP for Bradford East David Ward was interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds on the subject of his remarks about “the Jews” not having learned the lessons of the Holocaust. For reasons best known to himself, he has since seen fit to upload that interview to Youtube.
When asked by the interviewer Liz Green if he regretted the timing of his remarks, given their proximity to Holocaust Memorial Day, Ward replies:
“Well, one better. Which particular day of the year would the State of Israel prefer that I criticise them? There will never be a good day for them.”
Once again, it seems that Mr Ward is unable to distinguish between Jews (and non-Jews who have criticised his remarks) and Israel.
At 2:13 the interviewer poses what must be one of the most pointless questions ever asked on radio:
“OK. Are you antisemitic?”
But of course that just gives Ward the opportunity to distort his original statement even further.
One of the most remarkable – and worrying – aspects of the BBC’s coverage of this affair has been its superficiality. An almost pantomime quality of “Oh yes he did. Oh no he didn’t” has dominated its reports, which have consistently tried to play down Ward’s statements rather than explaining to audiences precisely why those criticising them find them so problematic.
One increasingly plausible explanation for that could be that the BBC itself does not properly understand the gravity of the issue and therefore is unable to provide those clarifications to its audiences. For an organisation committed to diversity, that is obviously a problem.