Offensive anti-semitic film taken off Barnet council website
PUBLISHED: 15:28 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 07 September 2010
BARNET Council has been forced to remove a website promotional video which has been slammed as anti-semitic by Jewish councillors. The council has been filming interviews with local residents talking about the borough for their new community website www.
BARNET Council has been forced to remove a website promotional video which has been slammed as anti-semitic by Jewish councillors.
The council has been filming interviews with local residents talking about the borough for their new community website www.whereilive.org
One piece featured a female resident complaining that "Jewish people have got things" but "normal British people" had nothing in her area.
Residents and Lib Dem councillors in Child's Hill immediately complained to the Tory-run council, which subsequently removed it from the site. Jewish councillor Jack Cohen said it was something more likely to come from the BNP than from a council with responsibility for the largest Jewish population in the UK.
He said: "I don't know what the council thinks it was doing. This is the sort of subliminal latent BNP racism where a normal resident is talking and just drops in that Jewish people get things and us "normal" Brits don't get anything.
"This should have never gone out and someone should apologise. I am disappointed that [ruling] councillors are running away from it and not saying anything.
"The lack of control which allows this needs to be looked at and I think staff need to go on a course which would make them more aware of the resident population they serve. I am absolutely appalled."
The interviews appeared on the Barnet Council site and also the popular site youtube from Sunday September 28. It then took five days for the offending video to be removed.
The council sent out a statement after the row, saying it would review uploading procedures but it failed to apologise for any offence caused. A spokesman said: "The council is providing a platform for people to share their views and come together to shape and steer future council services.
"The council has an exemplary record in fighting anti-Semitism and the views posted by residents are their own.
"They do not represent the views of the council. Steps were in place to ensure that material that may be deemed offensive or sensitive to any community or religious group was not uploaded but in this instance a video was uploaded that caused offence. These procedures will be urgently reviewed before any further videos are posted.
"While the council considers that the resident interviewed did not intend to make any remarks that could be construed as offensive, some residents could have considered the remarks inflammatory and as such the council removed the video.