Sky News’s Sophy Ridge scolds Owen Jones in heated on-air Israel row

Sky News’s Sophy Ridge loses it with Owen Jones in heated on-air Israel row

A Sky News presenter had to repeatedly slap down left-wing campaigner Owen Jones during a heated debate on the Hamas attack on Israel.

Mr Jones appeared on the programme alongside Dame Margaret Hodge to discuss the heart-breaking murders of innocent civilians, including babies, in atrocities launched on Saturday by the terror group.

Hostages were also seized by Hamas, including women and children, and horrifying videos were posted online showing militants butchering civilians and setting fire to kibbutz settlements and farms.

Israel, which has reported a death toll of more than 1,200, has since defended its borders by carrying out multiple airstrikes and artillery raids on the Gaza Strip, home to around two million people.

The Israeli military has vowed to send in ground troops to the area to “make sure that Hamas at the end of this war won’t have any military capabilities”.

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Author and Guardian columnist Mr Jones said he had a friend whose family had been directly affected by the attack on Israel over the weekend.

He said: “There’s no cause on earth that justifies the slaughter of innocent civilians.”

But Mr Jones added what he called the “far-right” Israeli government was using the “language of war crimes” when it came to its response which he said was “imposing collective punishment” on Gaza for the actions of Hamas.

Dame Hodge, who is Jewish born to refugee parents fleeing World War 2, at this point, tried to speak, but Mr Jones said: “I’ve let you speak.”

The commentator continued his monologue calling Gaza an “open-air prison”.

Dame Hodge said: “But you’re not acknowledging Owen, I tell you what I can’t stand is that you’re using the horrors that we’ve experienced in the last three days to bang the drum about an issue that you’ve been banging the drum about forever.”

Dame Hodge said Mr Jones should “really think about” the people of Israel “who have nowhere else to go”.

Both panellists locked eyes, at this point, with Mr Owen, 39, addressing 79-year-old Dame Hodge saying “Palestinian children, whose lives are as sacred as a child in Israel, are being slaughtered, they are dying”.

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He continued his speech saying there needed to a policy of ending the “occupation” and the policy of “apartheid” on Palestinian civilians.

Managing to keep her cool, Dame Hodge reminded the studio that she did not know if people she had visited recently in Israel were still alive.

She said: “All I would say is that Owen is completely and utterly ignoring what has happened over the last few days

“All you’ve talked about Owen is your obsession, the obsession with so many people, around the issue around Palestine, it’s been an obsession forever and you should just think at the moment if you were an Israeli sitting there, if you had family, I mean here I am sitting here, and people I visited, I don’t know how may of them are still alive.

“Are you saying they have no right to defend themselves?”

Dame Hodge added that she had never supported Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, but she asked Mr Owen if he even condemned the attacks by Hamas, “do you even condemn it?” she said.

Mr Owen said he had said in the “strongest possible terms” that he condemned the actions of Hamas.

The temperature of the debate quickly heated up with Dame Hodge saying: “You don’t think they have the right to defend the State of Israel?” as Mr Owen repeatedly mentioned the military attacks on Gaza.”

As things threatened to descend into an argument, Sky’s Sophy Ridge was forced to interject.

Raising her voice Ms Ridge said: “I’m going to come in, thank you both of you for speaking.”

An animated Mr Jones moved an arm up and down blurting out: “We have to talk about the Palestinians being killed now.”

Maintaining her composure Ms Ridge continued undaunted saying “No, no, Owen, Owen.

“Excuse me, it’s my programme, Owen.”

Still trying to carry on, Mr Jones conceded “I get that” but despite being asked to relent he continued saying “to say it’s an obsession with Palestine when we are talking about Palestinian civilians who are being killed right now”.

Both Ms Ridge and Margaret Hodge turned away rolling their eyes as it became clear Mr Jones could not seem to stop himself.

Holding up her hand Ms Ridge said: “Thank you for coming on the programme and having a debate. Look, it is, I utterly accept that with babies, children, dying…”

Mr Owen again interrupts, barracking the female journalist saying “both, they both matter the same” before his comments trail off out of shot of the camera which focuses on Ms Ridge.

The presenter ended the heated segment by addressing the camera directly, saying: “I think it’s pretty clear that with babies and children dying emotions are running extremely high and I actually think that this just demonstrates, the emotion that people are feeling, the anger that people are feeling now.”

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