I am pretty sure I have heard this sentence before. A lot.
The Board of Deputies and Muslim anti-racism charity Tell MAMA UK criticised the broadcaster for the “gratuitous line – offensive to both Muslims and Jews”, which has now been removed, from an article posted on Wednesday.
The remark appeared in an article about islamaphobic abuse being directed at girls during a Holocaust education trip in Poland. It read: “The Holocaust is a sensitive topic for many Muslims because Jewish survivors settled in British-mandate Palestine, on land which later became the State of Israel”.
Responding to the article, Marie van der Zyl, Vice-President of the Board and Tell MAMA founder Fiyaz Mughal, said: “In a story about Muslim schoolgirls suffering racism as they learn about the Holocaust, why have the BBC included the gratuitous line – offensive to both Muslims and Jews – that ‘the Holocaust is a sensitive topic for many Muslims’? Together, we call on the BBC to delete the offending passage and apologise.”
I think the offense it causes Jews is clear; a gratuitous line that blames Holocaust survivors for daring to settle in “Palestine”, causing problems for the palestinian Arabs ever since. TellMAMA explains why it is offensive to Muslims:
The relevance of linking the state of Israel to the Holocaust and how it is perceived within Muslim communities was perverse to say the least. Holocaust education and awareness is not linked to developments in the Middle East and the assumption completely disregards the diversity of Muslim communities and the large numbers of Muslims who want to know more about the Holocaust. Indeed, the article cites German Muslim girls travelling to Poland to find out more about the Holocaust.
Furthermore, the assumption that all Muslims cannot somehow empathise and feel the pain of the Holocaust in whatever form that takes, suggests that the writer thinks that all Muslims think the same. Additionally, many Muslims can distinguish between the practices of the Government of Israel and the implementation of policies regarding the Occupied Territories and Jewish communities globally. Linking political decisions made in Israel and Palestine to the genocide of Jews in Europe is frankly, sickening. Wherever such blatant linkages are made, they must be challenged and we therefore welcome the quick action of Muslim and Jewish groups and in particular that of the Board of Deputies, which we fully supported.
In all honesty, I understand the first point but their second point seems overstated since the BBC does not state “all Muslims” but rather “many Muslims.”
Be that as it may, the BBC did remove the offensive line but did not issue an apology nor a retraction in the article itself.
Incidentally, if you Google “BBC apologizes” you get 526,000 results. Which goes to show you 1) just how often they do things like this and 2) how these instances are not trivial, since so many others find cause to write their own articles about them.