Gideon Levy admits having no source for his incendiary claim on Sky News

Earlier in the week, we posted about a Dec. 30 Sky News interview in which presenter Samantha Washington failed to challenge Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy’s incendiary charge (3:20 into this clip) that, one day last week, the IDF killed 162 infants in Gaza.  This accusation, we noted, appears to be based on Levy’s own column published two days earlier, which included this:

The horrifying October 7 events have not been forgotten by anyone, but they cannot justify the spectacles in Gaza. The propagandist who could explain killing 162 infants in one day – a figure reported by social media this week – is yet to be born, not to mention killing some 10,000 children in two months.

The Sky presenter not only was credulous in face of Levy’s extraordinary claim, but, later in the interview, she praised him for the rare ‘nuance’ he provided about the war.

We scoured social media, as well as pro-Palestinian sites, and couldn’t find anyone else who leveled this accusation. So, it seemed that he had no source for this claim.

However, to be thorough, our office reached out to Levy to ask if he had a source that he didn’t mention in his column.  The exchange (in Hebrew) between our colleague from CAMERA’s Hebrew department, Shlomi Ben Meir, and Levy (along with our English translation) makes it clear that he indeed had no source.  We also asked him to back up another claim he made during the interview that Israelis can be jailed for merely expressing support for Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Here’s the English translation:

CAMERA:

Good evening to Gideon Levy,

This is Shlomi Ben Meir from the media watchdog website ‘Presspectiva’. I’m currently writing a critique of things you said and wrote recently, and would like to allow you to respond. Two questions:
1. In an interview to Sky News, you recently claimed that Israel killed 162 babies in one day. You also wrote that in one of your recent columns. However, as much as we searched, we were unable to find a real or fabricated source for the claim. Could you share the source with us?
2. In the same interview you claimed that in Israel, a person might get arrested and tried for expressing empathy with the Palestinian suffering. Do you have an example of such a case? And how would you explain that you, one of the most prominent voices that express empathy toward Palestinians, weren’t arrested/investigated/tried?
I’d be happy to receive a response from you. Meanwhile, have a good evening and a happy new year.

Levy:

1. As I wrote in the article, this number appeared on social media and it’s very reasonable in days during which hundreds of Palestinians were killed in one day. I don’t have the exact source already.
2. There are countless cases of Israeli Arabs and also Jews, including a school teacher, who were arrested for expressing empathy with the suffering in Gaza.

So, he literally had no source when he leveled his charge on Sky News, an incendiary and fantastical accusation about the mass murder of Palestinian babies which went unchallenged by the Sky News presenter.

We’ve complained to Sky News asking for an on-air clarification about the baselessness of Levy’s charge.  Additionally, our colleague complained to Haaretz about the same charge he made in his column, requesting a correction.

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3 Comments

  1. says: Louis Garb

    Gideon Levi’s answer is patently false. Had he said “more than a hundred” or “nearly two hundred” this could square with his spurious excuse. However by quoting such an exact number he gives lie to his lie.
    Unfortunately Ha’aretz and b’tzelem are the two most popular sources for Hamas propagandists and are frequently quoted in debates /podcasts.

  2. says: philippe de conard

    Anyone spreading propaganda or using defeatist language were prosecuted severely by Britiain in World War Two. Certainly the Haaretz newpaper would have been banned and the likes of Gideon Levy detained for the duration.

  3. says: Geary

    With “friends” like these … it even crosses the line of disinformation into simply lying.

    What could motivate someone like this? Attention seeking, at others’ expense.

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