Former BBC chief caught in fake smear on Jeremy Corbyn refuses to apologise [TWEETS]

Ex-BBC chief on Corbyn Holocaust Memorial Day
Sam Woolfe

January 27 was Holocaust Memorial Day, a time to remember the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust. Various politicians wrote messages to mark the day. But former BBC Director of Television Danny Cohen used the occasion to imply Jeremy Corbyn was being antisemitic. He claimed, twice, that Corbyn left out mention of the Jewish people in his Holocaust Memorial Day message. He was wrong.

Wrongful accusations

Cohen claims that Corbyn omitted mention of the Jewish people in his message. The Campaign Against Antisemitism said Corbyn should make an apology after leaving out mention of the Jewish people in his message in the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) memorial book. The group described this as “appalling” and “disgraceful”. The Jewish Leadership Council argued it showed “a complete lack of sensitivity” on his part.

But this isn’t the full picture. Corbyn produced two messages; one which he wrote by hand in the memorial book and another, submitted in advance, for inclusion in the printed sheet for a memorial service. His message in the memorial book noted “the millions who died” and in response to criticisms of it, a Labour Party spokesperson said:

Jeremy was clearly referring to the millions of Jewish victims of the Holocaust and their descendants. 

The memorial book message:

We should never forget the Holocaust: The millions who died, the millions displaced and cruel hurt their descendants have suffered.

We should understand the way fascism arose in Germany and the circumstances that gave space for the Nazis to grow.

At this, and at all other times, we should reflect and make sure succeeding generations understand the power of words.

Their power to do immense good and inspire; and their power to promote hate and division.

Let us use their power to educate to inspire but above all to build values of trust and respect.

In the longer statement for the service on 25 January (when Cohen made the accusation), Corbyn did include mention of the Jewish people:

Commenting on this other statement, Cohen later tweeted:

But he is still mistaken. The message which doesn’t explicitly mention the Jewish people is shorter (95 words). And the statement printed in the service sheet is longer (187 words).

Double standards

Theresa May left out mention of the Jewish people in her Holocaust Memorial Day message. As did Lib Dem leader Vince Cable. They did not come under similar criticism. Interestingly, the UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis didn’t explicitly refer to Jewish victims in his Holocaust Memorial Day statement. Yet the media did not criticise Mirvis or accuse him of antisemitism. It seems Corbyn has been uniquely singled out in these accusations.

Cohen has so far failed to make an apology for his accusation against Corbyn. As Jewish Voice tweeted:

The Canary contacted the former BBC chief for a comment but did not receive a response.

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