Jul. 17, 2007
By JONNY PAUL - Jerusalem Post
The BBC is refusing to remove a provocative and anti-Semitic message posted on one of its message boards despite a barrage of complaints.
The message was posted on the BBC Radio Web site message board following a discussion about a television program on anti-Semitism that screened on the UK's Channel Four network last week.
The offensive message, left by someone using the alias "Iron Naz," reads: "Zionism is a racist ideology where jews [sic] are given supremacy over all other races and faiths. This is found in the Talmud. There is a law called Baba Mezia which allows jews to lie as long as its to non-jews. Many pro jewish supporters will cringe at this being exposed because they know it exists, yet they keep quiet about it, hey frip, jla and co [the aliases of other people taking part in the discussion]. The Law of Baba Mezia!! Tsk tsk tsk! It's in the Talmud."
A number of Jewish community members, including a community organization, appealed to the BBC to remove the posting. They all received a standard response: "We have decided that it does not contravene the House Rules and are going to leave it on the site..."
A BBC Radio spokesman told The Jerusalem Post: "The Radio Five Live message board is a forum of debate and people can express their views, some of which others will strongly disagree with. The complaint was brought to the attention of our moderators who looked into the issue and concluded that the post was not one that merited removal from the site as it was not felt to have breached the message board house rules. A guide to the house rules is found on the Five Live message board. Posts that are removed include ones that are considered likely to disrupt, provoke attack or offend others or are considered racist, homophobic, sexually explicit or otherwise objectionable."
"The BBC obviously no longer recognizes anti-Semitism even when it slaps it in the face," said Mark Gardiner, head of communications at the Community Security Trust (CST), an organization that ensures the safety and security of the Jewish community and monitors anti-Semitic incidents in the UK. "The BBC is a public body, funded by the British tax payer. It has legal obligations and we will pursue them."
Gardiner added: "It is bad enough that it is up to readers to police what the BBC publish on their own Web sites, but it is far sadder that this public body should actively refuse to remove the filth, and give no explanation for their actions - or perhaps the BBC agree with the essential element of the posting, that Zionism is a racist ideology where Jews are given supremacy over all other races and faiths."
Anti-Semitic attacks using the Talmud were the basis of the classic anti-Semitic publication entitled The Talmud Unmasked, written at the end of the 19th century by Father Justin Praniatis. The anti-Semitic Russian Catholic priest gave evidence at the infamous Menahem Mendel Beilis blood libel trial in Kiev in 1913.
Praniatis argued that the Talmud advocated ritual murder, but he was shown by Jewish and Christian scholars to be a charlatan with no knowledge of the Talmud. While Beilis was found innocent, the influence of Praniatis's work has spread beyond Imperial Russia. Today, The Talmud Unmasked is distributed by neo-Nazi booksellers via the Internet. It gained a brief surge of publicity in the UK in the early 1990s as part of a series of anti-Semitic mass mailings led by the notorious dowager Lady Jane Birdwood. She was eventually convicted in 1994 of distributing "threatening, abusive and insulting material" on account of an anti-Semitic compendium, The Longest Hatred, the contents of which included the Talmud material.