Campaign Against Antisemitism has accused the BBC of “gratuitous” antisemitism in series aired over the Christmas and New Year holiday season.
Citing two examples, Campaign Against Antisemitism admonished the BBC for trying to exchange artistic licence for “antisemitic licence”, saying: “Artistic licence allows distortion for artistic purposes, but there is no such thing as antisemitic licence. If antisemitism is gratuitous and irrelevant to the story or art, cut it out. This is supposed to be elementary.”
The first cited example was a serialisation of Agatha Christie’s mystery thriller, And then there were none, episode two of which was aired on 27th December 2015 at 21:00. In one scene, the characters discuss the identity of the mysterious “Isaac morris”. During the discussion, one character says: “Jews. Whenever there’s a problem, there’s Jews at the bottom of it.” Campaign Against Antisemitism questioned the “totally gratuitous conservation of Agatha Christie’s antisemitism in the BBC’s adaptation of the book”. Whilst some have responded that the antisemitism is true to the text, the title of the adaptation was changed to remove a racist term for black people, and since the antisemitism is irrelevant to the plot and characters, it is totally unclear why the BBC included it in the adaptation.
The second example involved popular soap opera Eastenders. In the episode that aired on 6th January 2016 at 18:00, one character tells another that Herod was “King of the Jews” before reciting his villainous attributes. While there is nothing new about nativity stories in which the villains are all Jews and the fact that Jesus was Jewish is forgotten, Campaign Against Antisemitism raised concern that the tradition alive and well at the BBC.
Source: Campaign Against Antisemitism