BBC journalist equates France anti-Semitism with Palestinian suffering at ‘Jewish hands’

Many Jews are experiencing frustration overload over the latest incident in which a journalist has dragged Israel into a debate about anti-Semitism in Europe.

BBC journalist Tim Willcox, during an interview on Sunday with the daughter of a Holocaust survivor in the wake of last week's Islamist terror attacks in Paris, compared historical Jewish suffering at the hands of anti-Semitism with the suffering of Palestinians at "Jewish hands."

BBC journalist Tim Willcox. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Seventeen people were killed in last week's terror attacks in Paris—including 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine, four shoppers at a kosher supermarket, and a French police officer.

Willcox interviewed a woman identified as Chava, an Israeli national and the daughter of Holocaust survivors from Poland. After Chava said that the current persecution of Jews dates “back to the days of the 1930s in Europe," Willcox replied that “many critics though of Israel's policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well," the Daily Mail reported.

When Chava objected to the comparison, Willcox replied that “everything is seen from different perspectives.” Willcox later tweeted that he is "really sorry for any offense caused by a poorly phrased question in a live interview in Paris yesterday—it was entirely unintentional."

Despite the apology, calls are now circulating on social media for Willcox's resignation. Historian and BBC presenter Simon Schama tweeted that it's "appalling of @BBCTimWillcox to imply any and all JEWS (not Israelis) responsible for treatment of Palestinians by hectoring lady in Paris."

The incident was hardly the first case of anti-Israel sentiment permeating the media's discussion of the Paris attacks, as detailed in a recent story on the subject.

Last week, CNN journalist Jim Clancey tweeted in reference to the Charlie Hebdo shooting that two Twitter accounts—@elderofziyon (for the popular Jewish-themed blog) and the anti-Semitic handle @JewsMakingNews—are colluding to promote an anti-Muslim and pro-Israel agenda. He later deleted some of the controversial tweets.

According to the media watchdog Honest Reporting, when confronted about his claims, Clancey tweeted, “@HumanRights2K Get a grip, junior. It’s my Friday night. You and the Hasbara (Hebrew from public diplomacy) team need to pick on some cripple on the edge of the herd.”

The International Business Times also published a story that asked, “[Is] Israel Venting Its Fury for France’s Recognition of a Palestinian State?”—picking up on a conspiracy theory by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement activists blaming Israel for the Paris attacks. The story was then quickly removed and replaced with an apology stating that the piece “should never have been published and we have therefore removed it from our site.”

Posted on January 12, 2015 .