You can’t blame British Jews for being “incensed” by Hamas violence, says Jon Sopel

The Jewish journalist shared his horror at the attacks in Israel


Former BBC journalist, Jon Sopel has said you can’t blame British Jews “for being incensed, and unsettled, and destabilised, by the loss of so many Jews."

Speaking on the Global Media Newsagents podcast, he expressed his horror at the “appalling scenes in the [Nir Oz] kibbutz”. 

“I was in Gaza for the first intifada 35 years ago,” he said. It was “nothing compared to what Hamas has unleashed over the weekend”. More than 120 residents of the kibbutz were murdered by Hamas last weekend.

Sopel, who is Jewish, and grew up in North London, worked on a kibbutz when he was 18.

He has always called himself “Jew-ish,” and said he “would not describe [himself] as a zionist,” but violence in Israel has changed things. Now, he said his Jewish identity “lurks in the background”.

Sopel spoke on the podcast with his co-host, Emily Maitlis. Maitlis, who is also Jewish, said she and other British Jews were “struggling a lot” with the violence in Israel.

Maitlis shared that she has relatives and friends in Israel. “There’s something about hearing mourning in Hebrew,” she said, “which does take me back to my childhood. The former Newsnight presenter was raised in Sheffield to a Jewish family, and is descended from Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. 

Maitlis also praised President Biden for his response to the terror attacks in Israel. People “needed to hear the force of his words,” she said.

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