Thursday, February 5, 2015

British News Anchor: Anti-Semitism OK 'If You're Palestinian'

(INN) In what is becoming an all too common occurrence for many British Jews, a UK news presenter is facing criticism for comments in which he appeared to at least partially justify anti-Semitic attacks.

The comment was made by senior Sky News correspondent Eamonn Holmes, during a live show discussing recent findings that anti-Semitism in the UK reached an all-time high in 2014.

Noting that the study - conducted by the Community Security Trust (CST) anti-Semitism watchdog - points to last summer's war between Israel and Gazan terrorists as "the single biggest factor" in the massive spike in anti-Semitic crimes, the show's guests emphasized that regardless of one's opinions it could not justify attacking innocent Jews in Britain who have no connection to the conflict.

In making that point, Jewish radio and TV presenter Jonny Gould noted that "the fact that it is happening around the Gaza conflict and as a consequence of it might be an understanding as to how to tackle it, but it can never be justification."

Holmes response? "It can, if you are Palestinian."

"If you are an anti-Semitic Palestinian, yes," Gould shot back.

Watch - Sky News presenter justifies anti-Semitism "if you're a Palestinian":

Gould's comeback aside, Holmes continued to play down the unacceptable nature of anti-Jewish hate crimes by suggesting that the fact that people used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a pretext to attack Jews wasn't "surprising."

A spokesman for the UK's Campaign Against Anti-Semitism slammed the comments.

"Eamonn Holmes seemed to be suggesting being Palestinian is a justification for carrying out anti-Semitic attacks. This is ludicrous," Jonathan Sacerdoti told Arutz Sheva.

"That Gaza is now frequently evoked when people are abusing British Jews, only shows that some have found a new way to express their anti-Semitism safe in the belief that they will not be challenged," he said. "But nothing can ever justify anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish people, whatever Eamonn Holmes says."

Sacerdoti also noted the ironic implications of Holme's comments regarding Palestinians as well, pointing out that "quite apart from anything else, Holmes' assertion is offensive to Palestinians who are not anti-Semites."

Media watchdog Honest Reporting also criticized Holmes for the comments.

"What exactly did Eamonn Holmes mean?" read a statement on its website. "The context of the conversation was specifically dealing with anti-Semitism in Britain. Would Holmes find it justifiable for a Palestinian living in the UK to carry out an anti-Semitic act against a British Jew?

"Or is he simply stating that Palestinian anti-Semitism against Israeli Jews is understandable and even justified?"

Par for the course in merry old England

This is far from the first such incident of a prominent news presenter or reporter either playing down, justifying or blaming Israel for anti-Semitism on a major UK TV outlet.

Just last week, on none other than International Holocaust Memorial Day, another senior Sky News anchor did the very same thing.

Interviewing British Chief Rabbi Efraim Mirvis, Adam Bolton repeatedly suggested that Israel was to blame for anti-Semitism, as opposed to those actively carrying out or inciting anti-Semitic attacks, triggering outrage among British Jews.

The BBC has also come under fire for similar such incidents - most notoriously the outrageous heckling of a Jewish demonstrator at last month's anti-terror march in Paris by senior BBC correspondent Tim Wilcox.

In a bizarre response to the woman's fears over rising anti-Semitism in France following the attack on a kosher supermarket in which four Jewish shoppers were murdered, Wilcox tied the attack to Israel, interrupting mid-sentence to inform her that "many critics though of Israel's policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well."

Since then, the BBC has come under fire for a tweet on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day asking whether it was time "to lay the Holocaust to rest."

The Corporation - which is funded by British taxpayers' money - has also been accused of "race-baiting" the Jewish community, after inviting radical anti-Israel MP George Galloway to a televized debate in the heart of London's Jewish community.