Monday, March 16, 2009

What's the BBC Policy?

A while ago I mentioned the clearly antisemitic short play penned by a British woman, Caryl Churchill, titled Seven Jewish Children, though there are no recognizable Jews in it at all. The play doesn't seem to be achieving earth shattering success, but perhaps it doesn't need to. The danger of antisemitism is that it permeates the Zeitgeist, not that one particular event or statement convinces lots of people - and I don't think there's any way to argue that isn't happening, since it clearly is.

The BBC has just decided not to air a radio version of the play. Not because its decision makers disagree with it - they actually think it's a brilliant piece - but because they recognize it's too one-sided for them to be able to balance with a second piece. After all, there's no one out there writing imaginary plays about celebratory tents set up for public commemoration of suicide murderers, say, or skits about women who bless their sons as they go off to die with Jewish teenagers or fathers who announce in the presence of their surviving sons that they hope they, too, will follow the example of their murderous brother. As the BBC chaps recognize, no Jew would write such a play.

I admit, not for the first time, that the BBC puzzles me. They have no compunctions in presenting the Israeli-Arab conflict in deeply slanted ways, but every now and then they balk at doing precisely that. What's their method?

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