The BBC has apologized to Britain’s Chief Rabbi after he suggested Israel’s “Operation Pillar of Defense” had “to do with Iran” in an off-guarded moment on air.
“Let us never be deaf to the cry of a child,” Lord Sacks said at the end of 2-minute monologue.
Radio host Evan Davis, whose unscripted, informal style has won plaudits for BBC radio’s flagship news program, then asked Lord Sacks if he had “any thoughts” on the current clashes between Israel and Gaza.
The Orthodox Jewish leader paused and took a deep, audible breath before saying, “I think it has got to do with Iran, actually.”
Co-host Sarah Montague was clearly concerned that Lord Sacks did not seem to know his remarks were still being broadcast and was heard whispering, “We, we’re live.”
Lord Sacks quickly broke in more formal approach, calling for “a continued prayer for peace, not only in Gaza but for the whole region.”
“No-one gains from violence. Not the Palestinians, not the Israelis,” he said. “This is an issue here where we must all pray for peace and work for it.”
Social media exploded after Lord Sack’s comments, reports the UK Daily Mail, most from people wanting a further explanation on what he meant. Others accused Davis of “ambushing” the rabbi, according to the London Evening Standard.
Just yesterday, Lord Sacks issued official support for Israel’s right to defend itself, reports the UK Telegraph.
“In the past week alone over 275 rockets have been fired into southern Israel from Gaza,” he said. “No nation on earth can be expected to live under this constant threat to innocent life.
“The people of Israel are entitled, as is any other nation, to live in peace and safety. We mourn with all the bereaved families, and pray for an end to the hostilities from which both sides suffer.”
The BBC later issued a formal apology to Lord Sacks for apparently catching him off guard.
“The Chief Rabbi hadn’t realised he was still on-air and as soon as this became apparent, we interjected,” the network said. “Evan likes to be spontaneous with guests but he accepts that in this case it was inappropriate and he has apologised to Lord Sacks. The BBC would reiterate that apology.”