THE BBC have tonight been accused of anti-Semitism after it referred to a Jewish community as living in a “wealthy” pocket of an area.
The Beeb published the comments, blasted by a Labour candidate as “offensive”, on their General Election website.
They described the Blackley and Broughton constituency as a multi-cultural area containing a “Jewish community concentrated in a wealthy pocket of large detached houses”.
Labour candidate Graham Stringer, who is defending the seat, said the words have prompted a flood of complaints from Jewish people.
He said parts of the area’s Orthodox community suffer from some of the highest poverty levels in the country.
He compared the BBC description to the Victorian caricature of Fagin in Oliver Twist.
In a complaint to the broadcaster, Mr Stringer said the description was a “racist distortion”.
The wording on the BBC website, describing the Jewish community, has since been amended
It isn’t fair and it’s as offensive as Charles Dickens’ caricature of Jewish people in Oliver Twist in the character of Fagin
Labour candidate Graham Stringer
The Labour hopeful said: “It’s a view of the Jewish community as being rich, whereas in actual fact the Hasidic Jewish community has intense poverty. Jewish social services are regularly trying to help that community.
“I can’t think of another community in Manchester with as much deprivation and poverty.
“It isn’t fair and it’s as offensive as Charles Dickens’ caricature of Jewish people in Oliver Twist in the character of Fagin.”
Manchester and Salford’s orthodox Jewish community is around 100 years old, with one study carried out in 2009 numbering it at around 10,000 people in Salford alone.
That report found an average of nearly six people per household within the city’s Orthodox community, raising concerns about overcrowding.
The study, based on academic research and data from local services, added: “Among the population, there still remains substantial levels of deprivation particularly amongst families with young children.”
Since the accusations were made the wording on the BBC website has been changed.
A spokesperson for the broadcaster said: “These profiles aim to portray every constituency in a few sentences.
“We regret part of our description of Blackley and Broughton did not accurately reflect the area and we have now changed the wording accordingly.”