Anti-Israel rally in London (file)
Anti-Israel rally in London (file) Reuters

Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of television, said this week that he was deeply troubled by the anti-Semitism in Europe in general, and in Britain in particular.

Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem, where he was interviewed by Channel 2 News anchor Yonit Levi, Cohen said, “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually.”

"You’ve seen the number of attacks rise. You’ve seen murders in France. You’ve seen murders in Belgium. It’s been pretty grim actually. And having lived all my life in the UK, I’ve never felt as I do now about anti-Semitism in Europe,” he continued.

Cohen said that anti-Semitism was at its worst during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, and added that it has calmed down recently but said, “I do think there have been times where being a Jew in the UK in the last year has been an uncomfortable thing.”

Indeed, anti-Semitism has been on a steep rise in the UK, with thousands taking part in anti-Israel protests during Operation Protective Edge. Those demonstrations have included pro-Palestinian Arab rioters vandalizing a Birmingham Tesco store out of rage over a refusal to boycott Israeli products.

In a similar incident, hundreds of demonstrators rioted outside the Kedem store in Manchester, in a series of clashes which culminated in dozens of death threats being hurled at the store's owners.

Recent statistics show that hate crimes against Jews have risen 383% worldwide since 2013, including a 436% hate crime hike in Europe.

Responding to Cohen’s remarks, Jonathan Sacerdoti, spokesman for the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, told Arutz Sheva that Cohen “is echoing the views of many Jews, who have felt increasingly uncomfortable in the UK over recent months.”

“Of course, many suggest that the BBC has contributed to the rise in anti-Semitism in the UK and beyond, through its slanted news coverage. We will have to see if Mr. Cohen is able to contribute towards turning that tide, despite his putative separation from BBC News,” he added.

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