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BBC USE PROMS TO BROADCAST ANTI-ISRAEL POETRY

Last updated: 2002-09-03

The Board of Deputies has lodged a formal complaint with the BBC over violently anti-Israel and anti-Jewish language contained in poetry broadcast on the BBC’s Radio 3 Poetry Proms. These poems were broadcast during the intervals of the evening Proms on 13 and 20 August and were also posted on the BBC Proms website.

In the poems, written by Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze and Michael Rosen, the actions of Israelis were likened to those of the Nazis, and victims of the Holocaust were asked offensively why they “have not learnt their lesson”. The BBC have advised the Board that it will not be possible to give a response to the complaint before the end of September, some 6 weeks after the broadcasts.

Board Director General Neville Nagler commented:

“It is surprising that the BBC would commission such poetry and broadcast it at such an inappropriate time. That a response to our complaint will take so long would appear to suggest that the BBC does not take seriously complaints from the British Jewish community. This is deeply concerning at a time when anti-Jewish rhetoric is increasing. One normally looks to the BBC’s Promenade Concerts to promote harmony and reconciliation rather than discord and hostility.