Tom Gross

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Tom Gross (right) interviews Egyptian dissident and former political prisoner Maikel Nabil at the 2012 Geneva Summit for Human Rights

Tom Gross is a British-born journalist, international affairs commentator,[1] and human rights campaigner specializing in the Middle East. In 2014, former Pentagon official Michael Rubin wrote that “Tom Gross is probably Europe’s leading observer of the Middle East.” [2] He has advocated for the rights of the Roma, Domari, Kurdish and Yazidi[3] minorities, among others.

He has written extensively about human rights worldwide from North Korea to Mauritania and criticized the UN for not doing more to promote freedom.[4][5]

He has also conducted various on stage interviews, including with a French hostage kidnapped by Islamic State[6] in Syria, a Nigerian schoolgirl kidnapped by Boko Haram[7] in Nigeria, and with the wife of the imprisoned Saudi liberal blogger and political prisoner Raif Badawi.[8]

Gross was formerly the Jerusalem correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and for the New York Daily News. He is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal,[9] Weekly Standard,[10] National Review[11] and Huffington Post in the United States, to The National Post[12] in Canada, to The Australian[13] in Australia, and to The Times of India.

In Britain, he has written for The Guardian,[14] Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail,[15] Spectator, Standpoint and Evening Standard, among other publications; in Israel, for Ha’aretz, Ma’ariv and The Jerusalem Post; and in Iran, for a number of opposition websites.[16]

Much of his work has concerned the way the international media covers the Middle East. He has been cited on the subject in papers such as The New York Times[17] and interviewed in Haaretz[18] and on television[19] about this. His article “The Forgotten Rachels” criticizing the “cult of Rachel Corrie[20] caused a stir. He has been sharply critical of the BBC, arguing that their Middle East coverage is slanted against Israel,[21][22] and has subjected the coverage of Reuters,[23] The Guardian[24] and CNN[25] to scrutiny.

He has also been critical of The New York Times, both for their general foreign coverage,[26] and historically for what he terms their “lamentable record of not covering the Holocaust.”[27]The New York Times,” wrote Gross, “possibly because they feared people might -- wrongly -- think of it as a ‘Jewish’ paper, made sure reports were brief and buried inside the paper. During World War II, no article about the Jews’ plight under the Nazis ever qualified as the Times’ leading story of the day.”

Gross has consistently supported the creation of an independent Palestinian Arab state alongside Israel and praised the reforms of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. But he has said that “to be viable and successful it is not only a question of what Israel will give the Palestinians, but of the Palestinians themselves engaging in good governance” and warned that “there is no point in creating a new Palestinian state if it will primarily be used as a launching ground for armed attacks on Israel, which would be likely to in turn only lead to a much bloodier war between Israelis and Palestinians than anything we have witnessed in the past.”[28]

Education and family[edit]

Gross was educated at Oxford University, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). He was born into a literary family in London. His father, John Gross, was a distinguished author and critic,[29][30] and his mother, Miriam Gross, and sister, Susanna Gross, are prominent literary editors. His step-father Sir Geoffrey Owen was editor of the Financial Times.

Gross’ maternal grandfather, Kurt May, was a German-Jewish lawyer who fled Nazi persecution to Jerusalem, where Gross’s mother was born.[31] May, who was disbarred in Nazi Germany after defending a leading Social Democrat politician whom the Nazis wrongly accused of being a communist, later led the legal battle of The United Restitution Organization, which fought to attain restitution from German companies for persecuted Jews, Roma and others, after World War II. May was also a senior advisor to the U.S. chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crime trials.[32]

Gross has also cited the strong influence during his childhood of his godmother, Sonia Orwell, widow of the writer George Orwell and the model[33] for Orwell’s heroine Julia in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Gross wrote in The Spectator magazine that Sonia had no children of her own, and “she became almost like a second mother to me”.


Gross has also lived and worked in Prague, where he served as correspondent (covering the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Albania) for the (London) Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph. In addition, he wrote a regular op-ed column for The Prague Post and op-eds for the leading Czech daily Lidové Noviny. He has acted as a consultant to the Prague Jewish museum,[34] and among things, wrote the museum’s guide for visitors. In The Guardian Gross has been critical of the fact that Prague still has no central state-funded Holocaust memorial, unlike most other European capital cities from which Jews were deported.[35]

Elle and MTV[edit]

Before turning to political journalism and commentary, Gross worked in cultural, music and fashion media. He helped launch the Czech edition of Elle magazine, the first international glossy magazine in post-communist central and eastern Europe. He served as Prague Events Coordinator for MTV Europe, and has written for other fashion magazines, including Harper’s, the Italian edition of Elle and the British edition of Cosmopolitan.

Work on Roma[edit]

Tom Gross has also worked and written extensively on the political and social situation of the Roma (Gypsies). “This is one of the most painful and disturbing problems in Europe today, though it is often neglected or misreported by the mainstream media,” he wrote.

For two years, based in Prague, he served as a special advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the plight of Czech Roma, mainly relating to citizenship issues arising as a result of the breakup of Czechoslovakia. He has even gone so far as to criticize the internationally renowned liberal icon and playwright Václav Havel, in a column in The Spectator magazine, for not doing enough to help Roma while he served as Czech president.

He has acted as a consultant on Roma to the OSCE and for several non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International, Helsinki Watch, the Danish Refugee Council and the Dutch Asylum Seekers Center.

His views on Roma have been cited in a number of print publications, including The New York Times. He has written about Roma in publications including The Wall Street Journal,[36] Financial Times, Ha’aretz, and The Prague Post. Gross also wrote the obituary in Britain’s Guardian newspaper of Milena Hübschmannová,[37] the founding professor of Roma studies at Prague’s Charles University, and one of the leading Roma experts of all time.

Television and radio[edit]

Tom Gross has worked on a number of television programs and documentary films, including BBC TV specials on Czech Roma, the “BBC Rough Guide to Prague and Bratislava,” and a BBC documentary on Sudeten Germans. On the Middle East, he has appeared as a guest commentator on CNN, Fox News, NPR and been interviewed about European, British and American politics on networks such as Sky News Arabia,[38] i24 Israeli News[39] and Russia Today.[40]


Tom Gross is co-author (with Margaret Helfgott) of Out of Tune: David Helfgott and the Myth of Shine (Warner Books, New York, 1998) and of The Time Out Guide to Prague (Penguin Books, London, 1995). Out of Tune received enthusiastic reviews in leading newspapers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Britain, China and South America. It was acclaimed as “a significant and courageous work on both music and the movies.” Out of Tune was named the most important biography of a troubled genius by The Huffington Post in April 2011.[41]

Gross has also contributed essays to a number of books, including Those Who Forget The Past (edited by Ron Rosenbaum, Random House, New York, 2004).

He has worked as a consultant on several books, including Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and their Journey (by Isabel Fonseca), and as an editor on others, including Germany and its Gypsies: A post-Auschwitz ordeal (by Gilad Margalit).

Public Service[edit]

Gross is a voluntary director of the Raif Badawi Foundation[42] and a member of the International Advisory Board of NGO Monitor,[43] of Mideast Dig[44] and of Keren Malki, a charity helping special needs children in Israel.[45] He is a founding signatory to The Henry Jackson Society’s Statement of Principles in London.[46] He served as Chairman of The International Advisory Board of the Netanya Kibbutz Orchestra.


  1. ^ "Palestine's Missing Critics". The Wall Street Journal. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "Why Is the State Department Supporting a Jewish Conspiracy Book Fair?". Commentary. 5 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Threats against Yazidis were predictable and predicted". Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  4. ^ “The true face of human rights at the UN,” March 16, 2012, The National Post
  5. ^ “The UN Promotes a Slave-Owning Nation,” Feb. 25, 2013, The Huffington Post
  6. ^ "I was held captive by ISIS" - Pierre Torres interviewed by Tom Gross". 25 February 2015. 
  7. ^ ""I escaped Boko Haram" – A Nigerian girl who was kidnapped with 270 others ("Bring Back Our Girls")". 25 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi’s wife speaks out (interviewed by Tom Gross)". 2016 Geneva Summit for human rights. 26 February 2016. 
  9. ^ Gross, Tom (2 December 2008). "If this Isn't Terrorism, What Is?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Tom Gross Archive". Weekly Standard. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Tom Gross Archive". National Review Online. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Tom Gross". National Post. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  13. ^ Gross, Tom (8 April 2011). "West needs reality check on Syria". The Australian. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  14. ^ Gross, Tom (7 December 2009). "Building peace without Obama's interference". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  15. ^ Gross, Tom (27 February 2015). "Exclusive: Hostage held by Jihadi John's brutal terror gang reveals how they made secret chess set from milk cartons – and says UK and US should have done more to save their citizens". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  16. ^ “Interview with Radio Farda, December 9, 2009
  17. ^ Flanigan, Jake (22 July 2014). "War and Media in the Gaza Strip". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  18. ^ Maor, Dafna (14 September 2014). "Why journalists say Israeli-Arab reporting is ‘rigged’". The Marker. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "The Breakfast Show". 28 July 2014. 
  20. ^ Gross, Tom (22 October 2005). "The Forgotten Rachels". The Spectator. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  21. ^ “Living in a Bubble: The BBC’s very own Mideast foreign policy”
  22. ^ “The BBC discovers ‘terrorism,’ briefly: Suicide bombing seems different when closer to home,” The Jerusalem Post, 12 July 2005 [1]
  23. ^ “The Case of Reuters,” The National Review
  24. ^ “The Guardian acknowledges a degree of anti-Semitism,” Nov. 10, 2011, The Commentator
  25. ^ “This is CNN,” March 20, 2009, The National Review
  26. ^ “All The News That’s Fit To Print?” The National Review, 14 March 2003 [2]
  27. ^ “Reporting Auschwitz, Then & Now: The lamentable record of The New York Times,” The Jerusalem Post, 2 Feb 2005 [3]
  28. ^ “A nice new shopping mall opened today in Gaza: Will the media report on it?” [4]
  29. ^ "Obituary of John Gross". The Economist. 27 January 2011. 
  30. ^ "My Hero: John Gross". The Guardian. 15 January 2011. 
  31. ^ “A Jerusalem Childhood” (Standpoint magazine, Sept. 2010)
  32. ^ Ferencz, Benjamin B. Less than Slaves. 2002, page 40-1
  33. ^ "Dedicated follower of passions". The Guardian. 19 May 2002. 
  34. ^ Levy, Gideon (20 April 2014). "Echoes from a lost world". Haaretz. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  35. ^ Tait, Robert (11 October 2016). "Fate of former Schindler's list factory is met with Czech ambivalence". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2016. 
  36. ^ “A Forgotten People, a Terrible Ordeal, ” The Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2000 [5]
  37. ^ “Obituary of Milena Hubschmannova, Czech champion of the Roma,” The Guardian, 19 Sep 2005 [6]
  38. ^ "Tom Gross on Sky News Arabia on Britain’s Brexit vote, London, 23.6.16". 23 June 2016. 
  39. ^ "The UK votes in its closest election in decades 07/05/2015". 5 May 2015. 
  40. ^ "Tom Gross interview with RT International, 8 May 2015". 8 May 2015. 
  41. ^, April 11, 2011, The Huffington Post
  42. ^ International Board of Raif Badawi Foundation
  43. ^ International Advisory Board of NGO Monitor
  44. ^ Advisory Board of MidEast Dig
  45. ^ International Advisory Board of Keren Malki
  46. ^ Henry Jackson Society signatories

External links[edit]