A Biased BBC reader has brought this remarkable story to my attention. The bias may be ancient history but it is still shocking..

“I have just read some astounding information contained in a book review by Frank Keating in the latest issue of the “Oldie” magazine. I was going to post it on the next open thread but I’m wondering if it is deserving of greater prominence. Here is the relevant part of the review: 

“Ryan’s fine piece of work is quite mind-bogglingly revealing of place, time, Britain and the BBC – just take for starters this baldly frank opening memo, written seven months before the Games, which had BBC Programme Controller Cecil Graves warning the Head of Sport, ‘Lobby’ Lotbiniere: 

“The point about this, of course, is that Abrahams is a Jew. He is our best commentator on athletics. But the question arises as to whether we should do this. We all regard the German action against Jews as quite irrational and intolerable and on the score we ought not to hesitate, but should we, as between one broadcaster and another, put aside all views of this kind and take the line that however we regard another country’s attitude to be, it would be discourteous to send over a Jewish commentator to a country where Jews are taboo?” 

It gets much worse. Abrahams did go to the Games – and daily commentated on most of the events. Except, of course, those in which Owens took part. Incredible. [end of review]

Those pesky Jews, right?

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  1. Grant says:

    Only the BBC. Unbelievable !


  2. john says:

    I don’t see what the problem is.
    Simply ban Israel and any other country that the BBC doesn’t like.
    Mind you it might mean all you have left are games between Pakistan, Palestine and Venezuela.
    Now how could that not possibly be a ratings success ?
    We really need to get on message on this site and pull ourselves together.


  3. pounce_uk says:

    It appears that the watchwords of the era:
    “Peace for our time”
    Still runs true at the bBC.


  4. RGH says:

    In the 1930’s a snooty anti-semitism was rife around the cocktail party set of the West End.

    In fact, it was almost ‘fashionable’.

    The word today is ‘cool’.


  5. TooTrue says:

    Fascinating. Be good to see the whole review. Can’t find it anywhere in the Oldie magazine online or anywhere else on the web – probably copyright issues.

    Knowing the title of the book and the full name of the author might help. David?!

    Very different era back in 1935/6 and the brutal violence against the Jews had not yet begun on a large scale in Germany – though they had already been reduced to a status lower than blacks in the worst days of Apartheid South Africa.

    And, of course, Britain itself was oppressing, or trying to oppress the Jews of Palestine and deny them a state.

    Still, no excuses for the BBC. To consider collaborating in that fashion against a Jewish journalist out of concern for the scum ruling Germany was disgusting in the extreme.

    And yes, those attitudes still prevail in today’s BBC. They were most noticeable during the Second Lebanon War of 2006 when the anti-Semites among the BBC’s Middle East staff threw caution to the winds and made their backing for Hezbollah terrorists abundantly clear.


    • Henry Wood says:

      Hi TooTrue,

      The book is “Running With Fire” by Mark Ryan, JR Books, £20.

      The review by Frank Keating is in the Sport section of the August 2011 edition of The Oldie, page 72.



      • sue says:

        It’s surprising that ‘The Oldie’ allowed that review to appear on its pages when there are other reviews of the book which give a less sympathetic prtrayal of Abrahams. For example this one in the Indie would have suited renowned antisemite Richard Ingrams better.


        • TooTrue says:

          Sue, Yes that’s a really snooty, dismissive review.


          • David Preiser (USA) says:

            Seems like more of a review of the man than the book. It was the reviewer’s personal opinion that Abrahams was a hypocrite, and that the biographer was wrong for not making a big deal out of the fact.


        • Henry Wood says:

          It’s even more surprising that I managed to get the review. As you say, Ingrams reputation goes before him and though I had subscribed to the Oldie for a few years, lately I’ve been getting more and more fed up of totally biased articles and writing in about them has been a waste of time. (Just like another place.) Anyhow, the straw that broke this camel’s back was an article on Lebanon a few months ago by I now forget who, but it was full of the usual spurious falsehoods concerning Israel. That was it – renewal cancelled and the August issue is the last I shall receive.

          If only we were free to do that with another media source I have grown to dislike *and* distrust.


      • TooTrue says:

        Thanks for that, Henry Wood.