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Archive for January 12th, 2015

Calls for BBC Reporter to Resign After He Told Daughter of Holocaust Survivors in Paris

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on January 12, 2015

  • Tim Willcox was covering yesterday’s Paris rally for the BBC News channel
  • He spoke to participants during a live broadcast from the streets of Paris
  • One woman he spoke to expressed fears Jews were being persecuted
  • She told him ‘the situation is going back to the days of the 1930s’
  • Willcox replied: ‘Many critics though of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well’
  • Comments sparked anger and calls for him to resign
  • Willcox has apologized for offense caused by poorly phrased question

Journalist Tim Willcox sparked anger during his coverage of yesterday’s rally in Paris, held in memory of the 17 victims of last week’s terror attacks, including four Jewish people in a siege at a Kosher supermarket.

During a live report from the streets of Paris, Willcox was speaking to a number of participants in the march, including one woman who expressed her fears that Jews were being persecuted, and ‘the situation is going back to the days of the 1930s in Europe.’

Many viewers also used the social network to express their anger and concerns over Willcox’s rally coverage, including historian and BBC presenter Simon Schama.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘Appalling of @BBCTimWillcox to imply any and all JEWS (not Israelis) responsible for treatment of Palestinians by hectoring lady in Paris.’

And added: ‘Then he had gall to patronise her at the end – “you see people see it from all sides” That Palestinian plight justifies anti-semitic murder?’

Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard also joined the debate, tweeting: ‘What is @BBCTimWillcox’s problem with Jews? Once is problematic. Twice is a pattern.’

The Campaign Against Antisemitism, which works to combat anti-Semitism in Britain, has circulated footage of the incident, and has called on those offended by it to formally complain to the BBC.

Director of communications, Jonathan Sacerdoti, told MailOnline Willcox’s Twitter apology was ‘not really good enough’.

It’s an admission he has done something wrong, but it’s incumbent on the BBC to make an on-air apology and to investigate his behaviour.’

The BBC’s Tim Wilcox projects the last two hundred years of European anti-Jewish ideology on an elderly French woman

Wilcox was interviewing a French Jewish woman with limited English skills at yesterday’s anti-terrorism rally. The rally, of course, came in the wake of the murder of four French Jews at a kosher supermarket, in the broader context of widespread violence against Jews in France by Islamists. When she noted that Jews are being targeted in France, Wilcox interjected that “many critics though of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well.” The woman tried to object, but Wilcox added that surely she understands that people see such things from different perspectives.

My friend Hill Wellford commented on Facebook with a brief but extremely insightful analysis, which aptly sums up how Wilcox’s interjection reflects a strain of European thought that helped lead to the Holocaust, and which the Holocaust obviously did not extinguish: “Interesting that there are two contradictory assumptions made at the same time. First, that Jews aren’t really Europeans even when they live in Europe; instead, they are Israelis or at least some form of collectively non-European other. Second, that Jews in Israel/Palestine are not really from there, either, but are some sort of colonizers that is oppressing the natives. The assumption seems to be that Jews are a stateless people, deserving to call nowhere home, but a coherent one that must answer for its collective guilt.” Yes, that about sums up modern European anti-Semitism, which undoubtedly infects the consciousness even of those who don’t consciously harbor ill-will toward Jews, and which we saw in the U.S. reflected recently in the remarks of (thankfully now former) Yale Episcopal chaplain Bruce Shipman.

You can watch the interview on Youtube here.


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