Channel 1’s Cathy Bekerman was asked to resign after refusing the order by Yamid Amat, newscast director of the CM& broadcast network, the Agencia Judia de Noticias website reported on Wednesday.
“He told me to cross myself, I did not do it and he asked me to resign at that moment, to which I did not agree,” Bekerman told Colombian media.
The case came to light after radio journalist Azury Chamah, who is Jewish, tweeted about it. According to Graciela Torres, another well-known Colombian journalist, Bekerman showed up in the newsroom two days after the March 14 incident escorted by her father and a lawyer.
“It’s a dark situation for Yamid Amat and his newscast because they could be sued for religious intolerance in a country where there is freedom of worship,” Torres said.
“It is not enough that Cathy’s work situation is ‘solved.’ We expect a public apology from Mr. Amat in light of his discriminatory and violative behavior of freedom of religion guaranteed in the Colombian Constitution,” read a statement released by the Confederation of Jewish Communities of Colombia, the country’s Jewish umbrella organization.
Israel’s ambassador to Colombia also weighed in.
“A journalist with such a broad audience had the chance to use his position to raise awareness about anti-Semitism. Instead, he chose to level scorn on a serious anti-Semitic incident. This is not the way to fight against this scourge: Anti-Semitism is everybody’s problem,” Marco Sermoneta tweeted.
Amat eventually published an apology on Channel 1’s website, reported Publimetro.
“One of my instructions, to accentuate a piece of news that was not about religious beliefs, provoked a rejection from my colleague Cathy Bekerman. Because I feel that I affected her religious convictions without that being my purpose, I offer her a public apology,” he wrote. “May the Jewish community and other religious organizations always receive a respectful treatment from me.”
Chamah tweeted Wednesday that Baccepted the apology from and “is ready to talk again about her return to TV.”