BBC Radio 4 promotes Nazi analogy in a discussion on antisemitism

BBC Radio 4’s programme ‘The Briefing Room’ describes itself as follows:

“Series looking at important issues in the news. Presented by David Aaronovitch.”

The May 19th edition of that programme (available here) purported to address an issue which has indeed recently been making headlines in the UK.Briefing Room R4

“Labour activists, councillors, an MP and a former Mayor of London have all been suspended for comments which many regard as anti-Jewish. But why might a left of centre, progressive, pro-minority party have a problem with Anti-Semitism?”

Serious discussion of that topic would obviously not be enhanced by having one-third of the invited panel taken up by a person who subscribes to the view that it is no more than a “scam to smear Labour activists” and who has in the past collaborated with notorious propagators of conspiracy theories in order to promote her anti-Israel propaganda.

Nevertheless, the programme’s production team saw fit to give Kerry-Anne Mendoza a platform – and the results were entirely predictable. Having presented her ‘credentials’ (“half of my family are Jewish”) Mendoza went on to address:

“…the comparison – which I completely understand why it’s offensive – the comparison of Israel to Nazism or the atrocities of the Third Reich. I say well; what evidence is there for that?”

Listeners then heard the following:

“And so, well, what other state in the world do I know of in the present day who’s [sic] been behind the forced sterilization of Jewish women? That would be Israel. It was applying Depo-Provera – long term contraceptive injections – to Ethiopian Jewish women. I think that’s an anti-Semitic act. I think it has horrific echoes…eh…of some of the atrocities – not all of them – some of the atrocities perpetrated by the Third Reich and I think it’s right to call that out. I would call that out in any state, anywhere in the world where Jewish women or any other group of women were subject to forcible sterilization to prevent some sort of racial dilution which was the theory behind that process.”

Leaving aside Mendoza’s medically ignorant and obviously inaccurate portrayal of (temporary) contraception as “sterilization” (a procedure designed to be permanent), the fact is that her completely baseless slander – which has unfortunately appeared in BBC content before – was disproved in a report published by Israel’s State Comptroller in January of this year.

“There is no evidence that Ethiopian women who immigrated to Israel were required to take birth-control shots against their will, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira wrote this week in a letter obtained by Haaretz.

Shapira wrote that he had concluded his investigation into the allegations, which surfaced in December 2012, and that “no evidence could be found for the claims raised that shots to prevent pregnancy were administered to Ethiopian women under pressure or threats, overt or covert, or in any way that was improper.””

So how did the programme’s host David Aaronovitch react to that very transparent promotion of a Nazi analogy based on what is known to be a blatant lie? He allowed her to continue unchallenged.

KAM: “Do I think it’s helpful for people to go around willy-nilly attempting to bait Jewish people by calling them Nazis? Absolutely not. But do I think there is some evidential case for saying there are echoes here of some of the worst behaviour that we have committed in Europe? Yes I do. Ahm…and actually that was an opinion that was actually [laughs] given to me originally by a Jewish Israeli. I was reporting from Gaza during Operation protective Edge. I was there and witnessing it. Do I think it’s wholly comparable? No – but I don’t think any situation is. But to dismiss out of hand those concerns as intrinsically anti-Semitic – I would disagree with.”

Listeners do not get an answer to the curious question of how Mendoza managed to find “a Jewish Israeli” in the Gaza Strip nine years after all the people answering that description were evacuated from the territory, but they do get to hear David Aaronovitch pass the buck to David Hirsh.

DA: “David, how do you respond to that?”

DH: “Well, I think we need to talk about what the Nazis did. The Nazis created a racial categorization of human beings. They created an industrial network in order to round up, identify and gas and murder all of the Jews of Europe. Now, Kerry-Anne’s story about…ehm…one incident in which some people were given long-term contraception is a really good example of how particular incidents are used to kind of demonise Israel. The claim that there was a campaign to stop black people from breeding in Israel is just appalling actually. It’s not true, when in fact black people have been brought and rescued and brought to Israel and are part of Israeli society – a half of Israeli society….

KAM: “But they are not brought and rescued by Israel. They’ve been treated abysmally…”

At that point Aaronovitch interrupts and redirects the discussion elsewhere.

The question which must be asked about this particular segment of the programme (which includes additional material no less worthy of comment) is what impression the average listener would have taken away. On the basis of past evidence one can well assume that the BBC’s response to any complaint on this issue would be to claim that Mendoza’s allegations were rebutted by David Hirsh.

However, listeners would not have understood from David Hirsch’s response that an official investigation had taken place or that it found no evidence of the administration of Depo-Provera to Ethiopian women against their will. In fact, Hirsch’s reference to “one incident in which some people were given long-term contraception” would have prompted the average listener to go away with the mistaken idea that there is a factual basis to Mendoza’s deliberate smears. Moreover, the BBC itself – in the form of its presenter – made no effort to ensure that audiences were made aware of the facts behind that slander and actually left listeners to make up their own inadequately informed minds with regard to who is telling the truth – Mendoza or Hirsh. 

Any serious examination of the question of “why might a left of centre, progressive, pro-minority party have a problem with Anti-Semitism?” would necessarily include recognition of the fact that a major contributing factor to that phenomenon is the deliberate demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel by far-Left activists.

Briefing room tweet

In other words, by failing to adequately challenge Mendoza’s mendacious propaganda, this programme – which is also being promoted by the BBC on social media as a podcast – lent a helping hand to the spread of the blight of anti-Jewish racism it purported to discuss.



BBC Radio 4 contact details


50 replies »

    • Webber you shouldn’t promote your crap here. Everybody reading your posts knows what s/he can expect – ignorance, malevolence, stupidity and unprofessionalism.

        • Why should I stop reading your posts here? They are the best demonstrations proving the amazing ignorance and stupidity of a Israel-hating as a Jew trolls. I not only read them but send to my friends who ever had any doubt about your kind of wannabe “journalists” whose only achievement in his life to have a blog read about ten persons from the same school.

    • Gabby says that Commenters on this Blog = BBC Public Funded News Reporters Tossing Balls About Israel and the Nazis

      Well, Gabby, no one will ever confuse you for anything but a narcissist journalist (i.e. Twitterer) with no clue about context or proportion of reality.

        • “Take your adolescent ramblings and shove them, Webber.”

          “Care to describe how?”
          Webber are you sure you want John to answer that question?

            • It may be obvious to you Webber but, as you correctly stated you do possess “the most meagre of intellects”, which is why you will never be a journalist other than in your own fantasies.

              From your ‘answer’, and failed attempt at humour, I take it that you already know how, and where, to shove your adolescent ramblings.

    • Are you stupid or what? Who investigates charges of alleged malfeasance in your country, the French?
      Oh, wait and minute, I get it! You believe we can’t have Jews investigating other Jews, because, you know…, they’re all in cahoots. Am I right about that, old bean? It’s just the European tradition? Perhaps we can have the British Labour Party investigate. Ken Livingstone can be the chief prosecutor. We’ll make George Galloway the judge. We’ll import some kangaroos from Australia for a jury and hold the trial in your uncle Ned’s parlor.

      • But that is exactly what is happening Chakrabati is a card carrying member of the British National Socialist Party sorry Labour party and is chairman of the self investigatory inquiry probing her fellow member’s antisemitism.

        • How sad for you. Perhaps it is time to address the sad state of your own affairs rather than projecting them onto others.

    • Bellamy I understand your nostalgia for those times when your kind of shit was tasked to investigate Jews, but I have to inform you that you are late and instead of investigating and prosecuting the only thing you can do with your impotent rage is trolling on the web.

    • “What is so funny about this is Adam’s reliance…”
      No, Bellend what is funny or more accurately pathetic is that you have a fixation with Adam. The article is NOT by Adam.
      Still why let details and facts get in the way Bellend you never have before.

      What is also pathetic is your hypocritical whining about supposed bias, coming from you Stevie “I despise Israel” Bellend, or Stevie ” it is a basket case of a country” Bellend, or even Stevie “It is not about the Palestinians, it is personal” Bellend.
      Yes you know a lot about bias, Bellend you exhibit it against Israel often enough.

      Now back to the festering, pus filled swamp with Mad Cow Miranda and your nameless, drooling, pet idiot, where you belong.

        • No Bellend that you failed or didn’t bother to read who the author of the post was, is not very nice.
          But par for the course for you and the other members of the Axis of Arseholes who have a cavalier attitude to details, facts and the truth.

        • No it wasn’t nice at all. And why should Gerald be nice to a piece of turd? (I mean you.) What do you think Bellamy you are on the PC police website?

  1. @Hadar Sela –

    Kerry-Anne Mendoza’s “totally baseless slander” was hardly likely to have been countered by the Comptroller’s report (since only Haaretz apparently covered it at all, and that was merely a pre-publication summary, with no follow-up details from the promised document appearing anywhere as far as I can see). Chances are that she – like most of the world – didn’t even know the report existed…

    To further claim – based solely on the Haaretz story – that the Comptroller had “disproved” the Ethiopian women’s Depo-Provera allegations is a stretch way too far. Some important passages in the article @ are these:

    (a) “… the comptroller’s probe into the role of the Joint Distribution Committee, whose activists looked after the women in the Ethiopian transit camps, leaves open questions, the report shows. The JDC official who handled family programming in Ethiopia refused to give the comptroller any information.”

    (b) ” … neither the Health Ministry nor health maintenance organizations IN ISRAEL had issued instructions to inject the immigrants from Ethiopia …” (My caps for emphasis.)

    (c) [But the] “inquiry into the PRE-IMMIGRATION PERIOD found no unequivocal evidence of the absence of coercion, IN CONTRAST TO the probe in Israel.” (My caps.)

    (d) The investigation was mainly held with the Jewish Agency, JDC and Health Ministry, who dealt with the women waiting to immigrate to Israel and against which the women’s main accusations were leveled. The comptroller says no evidence was found of forced injections, but also said it was difficult to investigate the Jewish Agency and JDC, as the two organizations are not subject to state comptroller investigation.”

    (e) “Officials in the comptroller’s office said they did not talk to these women while investigating the affair and did not refute the women’s allegations.”

    Statements like those made by Mendoza may, indeed, someday be proved to be “slanderous”, but until you come up with a LOT more concrete evidence, the Ethiopian women’s complaints are most likely to prevail.

    • Haaretz has the same degree of credibility as the National Enquirer does in the US. Depo Provera is a contraceptive, it does not sterilize women, and lasts approximately 3 months. The reason many of the women stated that they preferred this was because of the patriarchal nature of Yemenite society and the pressure from their husbands to conceive. Unlike most other contraceptives this method can be easily concealed.

      By now no-one expects you to present a persuasive case or one not laced with anti-Israel bias. That you abandon the cause of empowering women to control their own bodies and misrepresent the effects of the drug in a vain attempt to score bogus political points is hardly surprising.

  2. “inquiry into the PRE-IMMIGRATION PERIOD found no unequivocal evidence of the absence of coercion,
    Basner I have the feeling that you never would understand the utter stupidity and logical fallacy of this sentence.
    BTW What does coercion means? Injecting them while threatened at gunpoint? Or saying them that in those special circumstances (secrecy, lack of proper setups for pregnant women, potential physical challenges not exactly suggested during pregnancy, etc) either they are ready to get injected or must stay in Sudan/Ethiopia?
    And just for your kind of ignorant assholes – all of the refugees including the males got many shots against different diseases endangering them during the journey, one of them was the injection or pill against malaria containing Mefloquine. Getting this treatment and pregnancy during the treatment is a huge medical no-no because it greatly endangers the mother and the fetus.
    Don’t worry I never expected you to know these facts – they contradict your blind hate.

    • @peterthehungarian –

      Those are all issues you should take up with Haaretz and/or the Comptroller – not me. I was directly quoting the article on which Hadar Sela relies for her “proof”. So if you don’t like the way they’ve reported, or think they have left things out, how come your wrath is directed at me for THEIR failure to present a persuasive case…?

      • “.. how come your wrath is directed at me…”
        Poor Mad Cow Miranda, bullied as a child and now that naughty peter is directing his wrath at her.

        Nature has not been very kind to you has it Mad Cow Miranda?
        Nobody likes you and you were born remarkably ugly and useless.

        • Poor Gerald –

          Unfairly accused of “juvenile” name-calling.

          Nature has not been very kind to you has it, Poor Gerald?

          Hard as you try to be a grown-up, those playground taunts just keep popping up in your brain whenever you get cross. “Ugly-useless-mad-cow-nobody-likes-you-nah-nah-nah” going round and round, over and over again…

          It must be very frustrating – and obviously something you just can’t help – so please accept my apologies for failing until now to appreciate the seriousness of your problem.

          • Mad Cow Miranda no doubt the gibberish in your post has some meaning to you, perhaps you would be kind enough to put it with subtitles in English next time so that others may understand.

            But to answer your question,
            “Nature has not been very kind to you has it, Poor Gerald?”

            Nature has been very kind to me. I live an enjoyable and healthy life, in a healthy climate, with healthy food and very good friends.
            And I’ve been blessed with the ability to spot an anti-Semitic fraud and loser such as you Mad Cow Miranda at any distance.

            By the way, what you claim to be taunts about you are statements of fact.

      • Miranda,
        Do you have proof that Ethiopian Jewish women have been sterilized as a policy of the State of Israel for the purpose of some sort of goal of racial purity? If so, how many? Please state you information and the numbers affected. Are all other Israelis considered “white?” Are they racially “pure?” (This again raises some issues about the “racial” credentials of your favorite NUS president.)

        I ask you, because this flagrant, irresponsible charge was made on the BBC in an attempt to liken Israel, the State, to the Nazi regime which murdered millions of Jews for being Jews. Unlike other genocides, the Nazi effort went out of its way to find Jews wherever it could, simply so it could murder them, for the good of humanity, of course, in the mind of the Nazis. (Let’s remember that the Nazi effort resulted in the coinage of the very term “genocide”.) Whereas Israel has ingathered Jews from many places and brought them to Israel so they can have a refuge, and live there lives unmolested by the specter of antisemitism.

        Do you have an opinion? What is it? Or are you as per usual waiting for an anti-Israel PC statement to parrot?
        I mean, really shouldn’t the overwhelming burden of proof be put on those who make such accusations rather than on those whose job, and chosen and dedicated profession it is to ensure people’s good health? Or are you of the opinion that it is OK to simply bandy about those accusations irresponsibly and wait for someone to disprove them to the satisfaction of those who would never be satisfied?

        You see, Miranda, this is all very easy for me. I wasn’t raised in the UK where organs of anti-Israel propaganda have been so ubiquitous and Jews number in the low hundreds of thousands. I think that the very idea that the Israeli government is involved in a diabolical plot to ensure that black people never procreate is the province of nutters to bolster the fabricated case that Israel is a Nazi/apartheid state and therefore ought to be dismantled. As I see it, this was the fantasy being pushed by Ms. Mendoza on the BBC, unchallenged. It is part of a very real “Plan D,”i.e., the notorious Durbin strategy. It is racism repackaged as “social justice” and sold to fat, lazy, incompetent and under-confident westerners.

        • @Jeff21st –

          RE: “Do you have proof that Ethiopian Jewish women have been sterilized as a policy of the State of Israel …?”

          No, I don’t – but since I neither MADE that claim, nor subscribe to it, your challenges are redundant. If Hadar Sela had simply blasted Mendoza for drawing a parallel between the alleged treatment of Ethiopian immigrants and Nazi policies, I wouldn’t have taken issue with her article at all.

          What Sela did, however, was purport to have proof that no wrongdoings WHATSOEVER occurred. She based this “proof” on a Comptroller’s report that not only seems to have remained under wraps to this day but – according to the Haaretz summary she cited – actually did no such thing.

          The Ethiopian women laid complaints of coercion and misinformation (something the Comptroller apparently “did not refute”) and these need to be properly acknowledged and addressed rather than blithely brushed aside. Among the reasons that suspicions of “diabolical plots” take root – in any country – are lack of transparency by investigating authorities and their failure to demand that those under investigation adequately account for themselves.

          On both these scores, Israel repeatedly shoots itself in the foot.

          • There is no evidence that Ethiopian women who immigrated to Israel were required to take birth-control shots against their will, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira wrote this week in a letter obtained by Haaretz.
            read more:

            So the Comptroller did refute the claim, which you could have discovered by a simple use of google

            • @Margie In Tel Aviv –

              RE: “So the Comptroller did refute the claim, which you could have discovered by a simple use of google.”

              I don’t have a Haaretz subscription, so can’t always read its stories beyond the headline. The one I did manage to access (and copied in full/quoted from @ ) is dated Jan 29 – and therefore an UPDATE on the Jan 20 one you link (and from which I’m … currently, at least … “gated”)

              Impossible for me to tell what changes/corrections may have been made between the two accounts. Any chance of pasting the relevant bit(s) from the Jan 20 story so I can find out? It would be very helpful.

              • I posted the link. Surely you could have clicked on it and accessed it before indulging yourself in pointless correspondence?

                • @Margie In Tel Aviv –

                  “Surely you could have clicked on it and accessed it…”

                  No – only Haaretz SUBSCRIBERS are guaranteed access. At the moment, all I’m getting is the headline and sub-heads. Sorry if it was too much trouble for you to copy/paste the letter’s text. I shouldn’t have so “pointlessly” thought you might have a fair point to make.

                  • Not so.
                    I am not a Haaretz subscriber.

                    If you’re unable or unwilling to do research we have an explanation for your ignorance and prejudice.

  3. Basner you quoted it as an argument for doubting the assertion of Hadar Sela obviosly accepting its fantastic stupidity. Dig your hole deeper Basner you can pop up in China in no time.