BBC chief is made to feel ‘uncomfortable as a Jew in the UK’

Danny Cohen, Director of BBC Television, has made some startling comments at a conference in Jerusalem.

Cohen, British born and raised, said:

‘I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually. Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before actually… And you’ve seen the number of attacks rise. You’ve seen murders in France. You’ve seen murders in Belgium. It’s been pretty grim actually. And having lived all my life in the UK, I’ve never felt as I do now about anti-Semitism in Europe.’

Cohen, 40, is one of the most influential figures in UK media and culture, earmarked as the BBC’s next director-general. Unlike past (and some present) BBC panjandrums who just happened to be Jewish, Cohen is rooted in his heritage and married in an Orthodox synagogue. His warning needs to be taken seriously.

Danny Cohen

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  • Alarming and curious. As a non-Jew living in London and working in a civilised academic environment I’m not aware of anti-Semitic attitudes or comments. There’s plenty of criticism of Israel, of course, but nothing anti-Semitic. Cohen mentions France and Belgium. Are they worse than the UK?

  • You are not aware of anti-Semitic attitudes or comments?
    Of course not.
    As a non-Jew how could you notice them?

    • Well they can’t be particularly overt, then. But how covert are they in the UK? Where is all the anti-Semitism in the UK.

      Of course, there is the argument that Israel’s actions against the displaced or oppressed Palestinians get disproportionate attention, given how much else is going on in the world which is as bad or worse.

  • I wonder how he would feel if he was a Muslim or Palestinian? And if he had to watch footage of Jewish children being murdered in their hundreds by a government backed by our own?

    It’s well-documented that lots of pronouncements and articles like this always appear whenever Israel is on the losing side of public opinion because of its latest murderous ventures against the people who it dispossesses.

      • I don’t know what it means to blandly ‘like’ people purely in terms of ethnicity or religion. When a nationalistic allegiance towards one group of people is used to legitimise oppressing another group, there is invariably something very wrong, though.

        • No.
          You can sow unrest, hostility and worse…
          by forcing foreign cultures into a region.

          Your assertion that everything nationalistic is bad, …
          is just an assumption and a rather stupid one at that.

          You see, there’s a difference between supposed oppression (but that is actually resentment and a direct a-posteriori result of bad legislation), and not letting them in in the first place.

          (Oh and Dr. Pace: Never forget whose tool you are. There’s a good boy.)

  • It is a given that no matter where in the world, there
    is always a group of people hating another group , be they Christians.
    Jews , Muslims etc.If Mr. Cohen is uncomfortable being a Jew(one can insert any religion here) in the UK
    he should tell us why this discomfort .
    What is being done to him that makes
    him uncomfortable in his own land ?
    His religious orthodoxy should be of no interest
    to anyone but himself .Does he present himself as an Englishman who
    by chance subscribes to Judaism ?
    I hope he is not by making these statements of being an uncomfortable “Jew”( Englishman ) trying to curry favour while in Jerusalem, which would
    be despicable to say the least .
    There is the possibility that he is an
    unpleasant person and is disliked for
    that…so he carefully misconstrues
    his uncomfortableness to suit his
    purpose .Perhaps Mr. Lebrecht may
    invite Mr. Cohen to enlighten us as
    to his uncomfortableness as an
    Englishman in England.

    • Who threatens him? Not the British establishment who visibly has had no problem recognizing his qualities and promoting him to the top… so who? Needs to be more explicit or this feels like a self serving “race card” blanket statement. I suppose any Wiltshire country man probably feels the same too…

  • Is there statistical evidence for this trend? Are more Jews being attacked in the UK than the general population or than prior to this year?

  • He sounds like that joke about the stutterer Jew who wanted to become a radio announcer:

    “I w-w-went t-t-to the B-B-B-B-B-C to apply f-f-f-f-f-or that a-a-a-n-n-ouncer- p-p-position in the r-r-r-adio. And I d-d-d-idn’t g-g-get it. These d-d-d-amn a-a-a-nti-semites.”

    Seriously. Where its he antisemitism in our western societies. Where? I do not experience any. In all my life I have heard a lot of hate speech against a lot of people and groups, but never against Jews. I experience a lot of hatred and resentments by a lot of disgruntled groups against almost anyone else, but where is the real antisemitism?

    Is a cigar maybe sometimes just a cigar? Is someone criticizing a person – who happens to identify himself as a Jew – perceived as anti-semitism by that person, because that person does do away with the maybe justified criticism as simple antisemitism too conveniently?

    I feel the issue of anti-semitism is way blown out of proportion these days, compared to many other anti-whatever.

    And surely there is anti-semitism in this world. But is it really as strong as we are made to believe it is?

    Look at this website. Judging with the same sensitivity, this website is full of anti-russian, anti-austrian and anti-german resentments. Or is it not?

    Sometimes it almost seems like some Jews need anti-semitism desperately for fortifying their fortress-mentality.

    they have surely lots of real anti-semitism of the past to base this on. But today in our western societies I feel the issue is not as prevalent.


    • Mr Henrik Marstal of the Danish newspaper Politiken, who makes this comment, is guilty of plain old racism. When he goes on to assert that this site is full of ‘anti’ comments against other nations and races, he seems strangely unable to distinguish between legitimate political criticism of the Putin regime and irrational prejudice against Russians. Any further such comments from this source will be copied to the Editor of Politiken.

      • I err in the direction of wanting more information as It’s a little bit vague on its own.
        However…If true, it’s a disturbing trend as I tend to think the BBC has a history of being welcoming towards minority groups eg. the important positions held by Kenny Everett and John Drummond who were both openly gay long before it was acceptable in the rest of the UK.

  • While I think the blithe assertion that there is no anti-semitism around is not just naive but deliberately blind (or deaf), I think there is a legitimacy to your point about criticism of Putin’s government not equating with being anti-Russian. Similarly, I believe that criticism of some of the actions of the state of Israel does not mean being anti-semitic.I have been assured by well-meaning Jewish friends that any criticism of Israel is of necessity anti-semitic. As much of that criticism originates with Israelis, I find that attitude ludicrous. ANY government is capable of actions that are open to criticism and/or opposition without any critic being tarred with a racist brush. Israel is no more beyond criticism than any other state, and its actions are not automatically perfect.

  • Funny how it works. You say “antisemitism”, and the echo answers : “Palestinians” and “islamophobia”. You say “islamic terrorism”, and the echo answers “Palestinians” and “islamophobia”. But when you say “Christianism”, the same echo answers “Inquisition”.

  • Ah, but the agony and wonder of being Jewish, white, a British subject, highly educated,
    highly successful, good looking, etc. How unfair life can be. Puh-lease, Mr Cohen, puh-lease!

    • To make this interesting analogy complete, please, give us the latest news of the Jewish ISIS and Boko Haram. Gory details welcome.

        • You mean – the IDF kidnaps young Palestinian girls by the dozen, forces them to convert to Judaism and to “marry”, and then picks up a journalist or a humanitarian to cut his head in the name of Jehovah, while filming the whole thing for the world to see ? Wow, “they” really hide everything from us.

    • These “PEGIDA” people are against the Islamization of Western Europe, which they call the “Abendland,” an old term. Their rallies are growing by the week.

      The Semperoper in Dresden turned off its lights, so as not to be associated with the latest and largest demonstration right in front of it.

      Meanwhile the Staatsoper in Munich set up a pro-humanity demo in front of its own building.

  • It seems as though anytime people begin to ponder upon the atrocities being committed upon the Palestinians by their neighbours the Israelis, the old Anti-Semitism card surfaces. Is it not getting old this. Also have statistics here that confirm after Cohen had taken his current role, more BBC reports are of Anti-Islamic (for lack of better term) nature. Check how many stories on BBC news worldwide focus on the negatives of Muslims, globally.
    I believe ill get lynched for this but the Jews seem to be diverting attention from their own ill doings.
    So the question arises why would a Jew who is impartial and clearly anti islamic be made the director of BBC? Were there no other candidates. How far deep does the Jewish influence extend in British media, politics and banking are the questions that need to be asked? Also are all the Jewish people in these posts working together to achieve a common goal. Demonising of Islam?

  • Trying to answer adam’s “questions” (sentences that end with question marks).
    1. Being impartial is a decidedly positive trait that, taken into consideration world events of the last few decades, may lead informed people toward being “anti-islamic”.
    2. Apparently not far enough, except perhaps for antisemites who have always been the only ones interested in asking such questions.
    3. Absolutely, definitely, categorically – NO. For better or for worse, no other “group” is more divided on important issues than are the Jews.

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