An anchor for the network accused an Israeli lawmaker of advocating “ethnic cleansing” for Palestinians in Gaza
Sky News has issued an apology after a presenter compared an Israeli politician’s proposal for Palestinian refugees to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, deeming her words “offensive” and inappropriate.
During a live interview on Friday with Israeli lawmaker and former United Nations envoy Danny Danon, Sky News anchor Belle Donati pressed the Knesset minister on his November 13 opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, which urged Western nations to take in Gazan families “who have expressed a desire to leave” the war-torn enclave.
While Donati described Danon’s proposal as a form of “ethnic cleansing,” the politician soon interrupted to insist that he had never used those words, stressing that his op-ed spoke only of “voluntary immigration” for willing refugees.
The host then shot back: “Yes, the sort of ‘voluntary relocation’ of many Jewish people during the Holocaust, I imagine, was not voluntary,” prompting an outraged reaction from Danon, who slammed the comment as a “shameful, anti-Semitic equation.”
— Danny Danon 🇮🇱 דני דנון (@dannydanon) January 26, 2024
Just hours after the interview – which devolved into chaos as Donati and Danon attempted to speak over one another – Sky News issued a live statement apologizing for the anchor’s remarks.
”In an interview earlier today with Israeli politician Danny Danon, a Sky News presenter made a comparison between Mr. Danon’s comments on Israel’s war with Hamas and the treatment of Jewish people in the Holocaust,” said presenter Jonathan Samuels. “Sky News recognizes the complete inappropriateness of this comparison and the offensive nature of those comments.”
The outlet went on to “apologize unreservedly” to its audience, and to Danon personally, for the Holocaust comparison.
A statement from Sky News pic.twitter.com/XTQZnTcp31
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 26, 2024
The exchange on Friday was not Sky News’ first contentious interview with an Israeli official since the country began its months-long military campaign in Gaza, which it launched in response to a deadly Hamas terrorist attack late last year. During a sit-down with Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy in November, presenter Kay Burley asked whether Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians were “racist.”
Levy rejected the idea as “outrageous” and a “disgusting accusation,” though the incident did not prompt a similar on-air apology from Sky News. Burley later addressed the interview in a social media post, explaining that the outlet often presents “controversial” views and asks its guests to respond.
To date, more than 26,000 Palestinians have been killed under Israeli bombardment and ground operations, according to local health officials. Hamas’ October 7 attack reportedly left some 1,200 dead in Israel, and saw more than 200 people taken hostage by Palestinian militants.