Sunday 27 January 2013

Don't mention...

Following on from Sue's posts, I did note that Sunday (with Ed Stourton) marked Holocaust Memorial Day.   All power to their elbow for so doing.

First came an interview with a Teesside University professor who is involved in a new centre to study "modern fascism, anti-fascism and post-fascism". The professor, Dr Matthew Feldman, laid out the centre's mission - it would look into the resurgence of fascism (the BNP, the EDL) and the way "extreme anti-fascist" groups (presumably Unite Against Fascism) are mirroring the resurgent fascist groups. Ed completely ignored the the second element and concentrated solely on the first one. Dr Feldman said that anti-Semitism was on the decline while anti-Muslim feeling was on the up. The interview (on Holocaust Memorial Day, remembering the Jewish victims of fascism) then focused on anti-Muslim prejudice -, given that the culturally-intolerant "new far-Right" groups are anti-Muslim rather than anti-Semitic. Oddly, the growing threat across the world -including in the UK - of Muslim-specific anti-Semitic violence wasn't discussed at all, by either Prof. Feldman or Ed Stourton. 

Later Ed did what BBC programmes so often do on days such as this. He interviewed a modern artist who had been commissioned to produce a work of art about the Holocaust. The BBC is comfortable doing this and I'm glad to hear them doing it. Chava Rosenzweig, the grand-daughter of a Holocaust survivor, has produced a work consisting of hundreds of porcelain stars (representing the stars the Nazis forced the Jews to wear) fired in a gas kiln:

Then came the inevitable more-heat-than-light debate. This is something the BBC seems to specialise in. (Please see my post on the Remembrance Day poppy row brewed up by Today on the day of the launch of the poppy appeal last October). The usual contrarian (from the BBC's favourite contrarian organisation - the  post-communist Institute of Ideas), Angus Kennedy, was on hand to rubbish the whole idea of Holocaust Memorial Day as "a made-up idea to sugar coat history". David Cesarini (or "Cesarnai", as the programme's website calls him), one of the founders of Holocaust Memorial Day, was forced to answer Mr. Kennedy's concerns and justify himself. On Holocaust Memorial Day itself. Typical.

That glowing example of post-Holocaust hope, the State of Israel, got no mention. The anti-Semitic extremism of the new leadership in key states of the Muslim world, threatening (as ever) the existence of that country, got no mention. Present day anti-Semitism was downplayed in favour of present day anti-Muslim prejudice, which was openly presented as the new anti-Semitism.

That's the BBC for you.

Talking of whom...

Sarah AB, over at Harry's Place, makes a telling point about the main subject of Sue's last couple of posts:
Returning to the David Ward story on the BBC site – the headline reads ‘David Ward ‘sorry’ over Israel Criticism’.   This is not very accurate.  Whether or not Ward is sorry, he most certainly isn’t sorry for criticizing Israel – he has declared quite clearly that he will continue doing this ‘in the strongest possible terms’.  And, whatever his defenders persist in saying, neither was that the reason why so many were outraged by his words in the first place

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