On today’s Daily Politics programme, the BBC’s Jo Coburn interviewed Jewish Voice for Labour‘s co-chair Jenny Mason about the ‘Mear One’ mural and Corbyn’s Facebook comment about defaced art:
The interjection by the host was problematic:
If you look at that picture even for a split-second it is a picture of six men with hook-noses, stereotypical Jewish men playing a board of bankers’ monopoly on the broken backs…of workers. Which bit of that is not antisemitic?
The US artist who painted the mural, Kalen Ockerman, has identified the men it depicts as, from left to right, “Rothschild, Rockefeller, Morgan, Aleister Crowley, Carnegie & Warburg“.
Of the six men, only the first and last in the list were Jewish. One, Aleister Crowley, was noted for his antisemitic views.
But the programme assumed the six men were Jewish – because it said they have ‘hook-noses’ and were bankers – and seemingly did not bother to check.
The idea that Jewish people look alike and that therefore you can identify a Jewish person by his or her appearance is a well-known antisemitic trope – as is the stereotype of ‘Jewish financiers’.
We asked the BBC about its assumption. The ‘response’ – though substantively non-responsive (emphases added by the SKWAWKBOX):
Jo Coburn was offering the interviewee, Jenny Mason, the chance to comment on a mural which has been widely condemned as anti-semitic. Her reference to the appearance of the men in the picture was based on its crude use of anti-semitic stereotypes.
We challenged the BBC’s failure provide a substantive answer about its assumptions, but the Corporation’s only further answer was:
That’s our final response.
Ms Coburn told Jenny Mason that a ‘split second’ would be enough to identify the themes and problems of the mural.
But the BBC made a lazy, casually antisemitic and fundamentally incorrect assumption about the content of the mural – after having days to examine it.
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