The BBC has edited the blurb for a French period drama on iplayer that described the wrongly-convicted French military officer Alfred Dreyfus as a “notorious Jewish spy”.
In its description of the new BBC4 series, Paris Police 1900, the BBC wrote: “French period crime drama. The French Republic is in turmoil as rumours spread about the release from Devil’s Island of Dreyfus, the notorious Jewish spy.”
Alfred Dreyfus was a French army captain wrongfully charged with espionage in the 1890s because he was Jewish. He was tried and convicted, leading to an outcry and his eventual release. The real spy was caught and Dreyfus was reinstated into the army and served honourably in WWI. The Dreyfus affair is considered one of the most momentous incidents in the history of European Jewry and antisemitism.
The BBC must apologise for this incredible oversight, and we shall be writing to the Corporation.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Somehow, the most basic facts about the antisemitic Dreyfus affair eluded BBC producers in their description of a programme about this very period in French history. One wonders how authentic the period drama could hope to be if it fails to grasp such elementary background. The BBC must apologise, and we shall be writing to the Corporation.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism monitors traditional media and regularly holds outlets to account. If members of the public are concerned about reportage in the media, they should contact us at [email protected].