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

Ex-BBC chief on Corbyn Holocaust Memorial Day
Support us and go ad-free

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.

Read on...

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.

Get Involved!

– Read more about Holocaust Memorial Day.

Join us, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured image via screengrab/Wikimedia

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us

Comments are closed