Barely a week after the mainstreaming of the antisemitic ‘Jewish lobby’ trope in a review of the papers on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Stephen Nolan show, another papers review – this time on the BBC News Channel – promoted the same trope and others on November 8th.
In addition to its being broadcast on television, the item was also posted on the BBC News website’s UK page the following day. The relevant section can be seen in the video below.
Presenter Tim Willcox’s guests are Nigel Nelson of the ‘Sunday People’ and former Lib Dem spin-doctor Jo Phillips who is introduced as “our political advisor”.
Asked by Willcox to explain the story appearing in the ‘Independent’ to viewers, Phillips says:
“…what you get is a lot of unnamed people…ahm…from sort of the Jewish lobby and obviously, you know, they’ve been very supportive of the Labour Party and they are abandoning ‘toxic’ Labour.”
Obviously as far as Phillips is concerned, any British Jew – identified or not – who contributes to a political party can automatically be categorised as a member of a supposed “Jewish lobby”. She goes on:
“But they’re not abandoning it because of Ed Miliband’s personal ratings according to this. This is because of what Ed Miliband actually said…ahm…in the summer; his aggressive condemnation of Israel’s attacks – disproportionate attacks and incursion into Gaza.”
Ms Phillips’ qualifications – legal or military – for judging whether or not Israeli attacks were “disproportionate” are of course highly debatable, but Willcox makes no effort to rectify the misleading impression given to viewers by Phillips’ employment of a loaded label without evidence-based justification.
Instead, Willcox bizarrely introduces into the conversation the equally evidence-free notion that Jewish donors to the Labour party will automatically be opposed to a proposed tax on high-value properties, thus tapping into the old stereotype of ‘rich Jews’.
“Yeah and a lot of these prominent Jewish…ah….ah….faces will be very much against the mansion tax presumably as well.”
Phillips later adds:
“…but it is this terrible thing if, you know, you’re not supposed apparently to say anything anti-Israeli. Ahm…and if you attack Israeli political…ahm…policies or the government policies then, you know, this is what you get. Ahm…you know it seems to me that it’s totally hypocritical that on the one hand they [Labour] are now going to have to look perhaps to the unions to get some funding but will be accused of being in the unions’ pockets. But when he’s [Miliband] being brave and principled and standing up and saying, you know, this time Israel has gone too far, people take their money away…”
So, here we have the BBC once more promoting the age-old antisemitic trope that a “Jewish lobby” made up of rich Jews uses its power and financial clout to manipulate political policy. Moreover, viewers are fed the ridiculous idea that a British politician with a “brave” and “principled” stance is being punished by a wealthy ‘lobby’ (which obviously does not share the same characteristics) simply because “you’re not supposed to say anything anti-Israeli”.
This is just one more example of the growing phenomenon of BBC enablement of the mainstreaming of antisemitic discourse. Broadcasting House: you have a very serious problem.