WE COULD HAVE HAD ‘ISRAEL’S SIDE OF THE STORY’
Without wishing to undermine the very important work being done in the cause of Israel, I cannot help but smile ruefully when I read the pleas of national communal bodies and highprofile individuals for Jewish people to use the media to publicise “Israel’s side of the story”.
When the BBC axed its only radio programme of specifically Jewish interest (despite retaining its programmes for other ethnic communities), these same organisations and people were nowhere to be seen. I refer to BBC Radio Manchester’s decision in 2012 to cancel Jewish Hour, which it had broadcast for 21 years.
By the time the Board of Deputies contacted the BBC, some six months after being first asked to help, it was too late, and the battle was already lost. Similarly, one high-profile individual (who has recently been very vocal in imploring the community to use the media to publicise “the case for Israel”) wrote that he had “absolutely no time to become involved”.
It was left to private individuals (along with the local Jewish Representative Council), who contacted the BBC in their scores, to fight the campaign and to support the efforts of one brave individual who took the BBC to court. Needless to say, without the clout and the resources of the national communal organisations, the campaign failed.
It is interesting now to recall, after six weeks of pro-Palestinian demonstrators hurling antisemitic abuse outside an Israeli-owned shop in Manchester city centre (and a huge spike in reported antisemitic incidents), that one of the main grounds advanced for retaining Jewish Hour was that bringing a Jewish viewpoint to the wider public helped to combat antisemitism.
It’s worth reflecting that the real enemies of Jewish people are often ourselves. Jeff Lewis firstname.lastname@example.org