The ZF condemns the BBC for broadcasting a sketch that not only propogates the oldest and most baseless stereotypes about Israelis, but also ridicules anti-Semitism at a time when anti-Jewish bigotry is on the rise.
BBC 3’s ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ programme, broadcast in December, included a candid camera sketch where the presenters dress up as workmen and pretend to be representatives for the Israeli Embassy. The presenters then begin informing local property owners that the embassy is taking their land for a variety of spurious reasons – mocking Israel for its supposedly expansionist policies.
The satirical explanations given to the members of the public perpetrate the oldest stereotypes about Israel’s alleged attempts to justify its supposedly illegitimate presence in the Middle East: “Before it was your land it was our land, so we are really going to take what was rightfully ours,” “This is our land that was given to us by the Almighty,” and “We’ve been doing it for years.”
Given that such one-sided and prejudiced portrayals of Israel contribute to anti-Jewish bigotry, perhaps the most shocking aspect of the programme is the open ridiculing of complaints about anti-Semitism. When one member of the public expresses amusement at the situation, a presenter tells him: “I’m finding that smile a bit anti-Semitic… so I think you should really wipe it off your face” - suggesting that anti-Semitism is not a valid concern. It is hard to imagine that the BBC would allow racism against another minority group to treated in this way.
ZF Chairman Paul Charney added:
“No doubt the makers of ‘The Revolution Will be Televised” thought they were being tremendously edgy and brave, mocking Israel by suggesting it takes land with impunity. Instead, they simply pandered to the prejudices of those who believe that the less-than-one-percent of the Middle East which is devoted to Jewish national self-determination is still too much.
“This biased viewpoint would be woefully inaccurate at the best of times, but it seems especially egregious given that Israel is not only currently negotiating with the express desire of ceding land to the Palestinians, but continues to release convicted murderers just to keep them at the negotiating table. But I’m sure the makers of this programme will turn their sights on Israel ’s neighbours soon enough. The PA’s glorification of terrorists? The collapse of democracy in Egypt ? Syria ’s civil war? Or maybe the lack of human rights in the rest of the Middle East just isn’t that much of a laughing matter?”