BBC Broadcaster Rabbi YY Rubinstein Resigns After 30 Years Over 'Inexcusable' Antisemitism

BBC Broadcaster Rabbi YY Rubinstein announced he would resign from the broadcasting corporation due to "inexcusable" antisemitism on Monday.

Rubinstein posted his resignation letter on Facebook, writing it is "a very sad moment" for him. He wrote that his resignation was sparked by the broadcaster's coverage of a group of Jewish teenagers being attacked on a bus in London.

Many have accused the BBC of falsely reporting the group of teenagers used anti-Muslim slurs during the attack.

"The current crisis over anti-Semitism at the Corporation and its attempts to turn the victims of the recent anti-Semitic attack on Jewish children in London and claim that the victims were actually the perpetrators, was and is inexcusable," he wrote. "The obfuscation, denial that followed, was and is utterly damning."

Rubinstein worked with BBC for decades, working on the broadcaster's shows including Thought for the Day and Wake up to Wogan.

"I simply don't see how I or in fact any Jew who has any pride in that name can be associated with the Corporation anymore," he wrote.

He added: "This does not in any way reflect on your own production company whose own record in this regard is exemplary. It also does not apply to many of the individuals I have worked with at the BBC over three decades."

In a statement to Newsweek on Tuesday, a BBC spokesperson wrote, "We are sorry to hear of Rabbi YY Rubinstein's decision as he has always provided thoughtful and compassionate contributions to our programmes, which have been deeply appreciated by our listeners. Anti-Semitism is abhorrent and we strive to serve the Jewish community, and all communities across the U.K., fairly."

"As we have stated previously, our story was a factual report that overwhelmingly focused on the individuals the police want to identify; those who directed abuse at the bus. There was a brief reference to a slur, captured in a video recording, that appeared to come from the bus. We consulted a number of Hebrew speakers in determining that the slur was spoken in English. The brief reference to this was included so the fullest account of the incident was reported," the statement said.

Rubinstein's resignation follows the BBC being named on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's "global anti-semitism 2021 top ten list" in December. The report criticized the BBC for both their reporting of the bus incident, as well as statements from BBC reporters considered antisemitic.

"BBC falsely reported that anti-Muslim slurs could be heard from within the bus, deftly turning the victim into the victimizer. Subsequently, BBC has been accused of breaking the law in its reporting of the incident and is being sued, the claimants stating that the passengers on the bus are being discriminated against in the BBC's reporting of the incident," the report read.

Rabbi YY Rubinstein Resigns BBC
A 30-year BBC broadcaster resigned due to “inexcusable” antisemitism. Above, the BBC Broadcasting House is seen in London in January 2020. Peter Summers/Getty Images

His resignation comes as the United Kingdom dealt with a shocking rise in antisemitic incidents in 2021.

From January to June, there were at least 1,308 antisemitic incidents across the United Kingdom, according to a report by Britain's Jewish Community Trust. This marks the highest number in any year, and an increase of 49 percent since 2020.

In May alone, there were 639 antisemitic incidents reported to the organization.

"This record figure is due to the spike in anti-Jewish hate reported during and in the aftermath of the escalation in violence in Israel and Palestine," the organization's report read.

Updated 01/04/2021,1:14 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with a statement from the BBC.