Backlash after BBC Politics Live discuss Jewish minority status

The BBC has come under fire for allowing four non-Jewish panel members to hold a debate titled, “Should Jews count as an ethnic minority”.  

Jo Coburn, the presenter of BBC Politics Live, is Jewish herself, but has suggested that because Jewish people have succeeded in politics, they: “don’t need to be seen as a group needing recognition in the same way as others”

Originally, a tweet from Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner prompted the discussion, after she congratulated Anas Sarwar on becoming the new leader of Scottish Labour and the UK’s first Muslim to lead a party.

https://twitter.com/AngelaRayner/status/1365622984757686272

The Deputy received criticism for calling Sarwar the: “first ever ethnic minority leader” when she was elected under Ed Miliband, a Jewish leader.

Benjamin Cohen commented under her tweets and was invited to talk during the debate on the BBC.

https://twitter.com/benjamincohen/status/1365655216331325448

When the idea was passed over to the non-Jewish panel, viewers took to Twitter to complain, including British journalist Hadley Freeman. 

https://twitter.com/HadleyFreeman/status/1366431056988172288

21-year-old Lily Collins is a student and member of the Jewish Society at the University of Sheffield. She described the BBC’s debate as ‘irresponsible’ saying: “With arguing against the existence of a Jewish minority, comes the implication that such a group is privileged with the status of a non-oppressed group, which simply isn’t the case”.

The UoS 2019 Jewish Society committee at their Holocaust Memorial Day talk (Lily Collins is pictured in the skirt).

Another issue unveiled by the debate is the use of ‘Jew’ during the broadcast. Miss Collins added: “the BBC should be tentative with the terminology as it is often aligned with pejorative implications. If they want to make the choice to say Jew instead of Jewish, they should make sure that they have multiple Jewish voices in the room, and that they are open to criticism”.

Written by Kerry Violet

Student journalist at The University of Sheffield. Current Screen Editor for Forge Press. Contact me on Twitter @KerryVJourno or via e-mail kerryviolettt@gmail.com

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Written by Kerry Violet

Student journalist at The University of Sheffield. Current Screen Editor for Forge Press. Contact me on Twitter @KerryVJourno or via e-mail kerryviolettt@gmail.com
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