Top members of Britain’s Conservative Friends of Israel caucus demand BBC stop interviewing Prof. John Ashton, who has a long anti-Israel history that includes comparing Zionists to Nazis.
Members of the Conservative Friends of Israel sent a strongly worded letter to the BBC demanding that Britain’s public broadcaster stop interviewing a professor known for his long history of anti-Israel rhetoric.
The letter to BBC Director General Lord Hall of Birkenhead expressed “grave concerns” over the BBC’s continued use of public health expert Professor John Ashton, who in the past compared Zionists to Nazis.
Member of Parliament Stephen Crabb and two members of the House of Lords, Lord Eric Pickles and Lord Polak, wrote that Professor Ashton has “repeatedly compared Zionists to Nazis, and attacked former Jewish Labour MPs online for their views on Israel.”
“One of his most troubling comments exposed by the Jewish Chronicle this week stated that it is ‘surely time for Jews to reflect’ on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” the three veteran politicians wrote, adding that the “poisonous rhetoric on Israel, including views espoused by Professor Ashton, has given rise to a new form of anti-Semitism”, with a “record” number of antisemitic incidents in the UK last year.”
They called on the BBC to take a zero-tolerance on racism of any kind and find some other epidemic experts, noting that Ashton’s past comments “should not be excused by any expertise he may possess on public health issues.”
The Community Security Trust (CST), an organization that protects British Jews from terrorism and anti-Semitism, recorded 1,805 anti-Semitic incidents in the UK in 2019, the highest ever annual total. It was the fourth consecutive year in which anti-Semitic acts had increased in Britain.
CST attributed the high anti-Semitic incident levels to fundamentally British causes and politics including the controversy over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and an increase in overall hate crime.