Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Following UN Report, Major Jewish Groups Call for Media Outlets to be Held Accountable

March 11, 2013 7:08 pm 2 comments

Jihad Masharawi tragically lost his infant child during the Hamas-Israel conflict, the circumstances of the child's death remain unclear.

Several Jewish organizations have responded to a UN report that contradicts claims made by several news outlets and human rights groups following the death of an 11-month-old Palestinian baby killed during Israel’s conflict with Gaza terror group Hamas last fall.

Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner he wasn’t surprised that the media got the story wrong, but felt that this incident in particular was especially egregious. “We have all become inured to the serial bashing of Israel, but this incident borders on blood libel,” he said.

At the time of the incident, the news organizations and human rights groups attributed the boy’s death to an errant Israeli airstrike.  An iconic photo of the boy’s father, who was employed by the BBC, holding his deceased child made the front page of the Washington Post and was published with an accompanying article by, among others, the BBC and the Huffington Post, the latter of which attributed the boy’s death to Israel in the headline of its story which is still posted online.

However, the report issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council cast doubt on Israel’s culpability, stating: “On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.”

The ADL released this statement to The Algemeiner criticizing the knee-jerk journalism practiced by the media covering the story:

“Israel has been a convenient target for certain international human rights groups who reflexively cast blame on Israel whenever there is military action involving the Palestinians.  We have seen it over and over again in the so-called Jenin ‘massacre’ in 2002, the Second Lebanon war in 2006, Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.  These groups rely primarily on reports from the Palestinians and they are unwilling to withhold judgment until all of the facts are known.  Unfortunately, even some mainstream media outlets publish stories based on these biased reports.”

Calling for editors to be held accountable for inaccuracies, the ADL added, “When the facts become fully known at a considerably later time and the story is no longer ‘news’, editors still have a responsibility to acknowledge the inaccuracies in the initial reports and they should be called on to do so.”

“This image was not only picked up in real time by the international media but has been used online as well,” the Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Cooper also said. “That the media and pictorial editors of major media would not run the photo with the true facts degrades whatever credibility the BBC lays claim to when it comes to Middle East and serves to instigate more hatred of Israel and Jews in the UK and beyond.”

B’nai B’rith International echoed the sentiments of the ADL and Rabbi Cooper, telling The Algemeiner: “This is, yet again, more evidence that too much media reporting is inherently biased against Israel. There is a pre-disposition to believe the worst about Israel  which colors reports and results in the spreading of false information.”

The statement continued: “It’s especially unfortunate since most people will never read a correction, even in the limited cases where news outlets actually admit to errors and bother to correct their inaccurate reporting. Falsehoods are carried on page 1. Corrections are buried inside the paper.”

For his part, the BBC’s Jon Donnison, who covers the West Bank and Gaza and attributed blame to Israel at the time of the incident,  offered his version of a mea culpa, writing in an article on the BBC’s website that “‘The son of a BBC journalist and two relatives killed in last November’s war in Gaza may have been hit by a misfired Palestinian rocket,’ a UN agency says.'”

Donnison attempted to defend himself, writing that at the time “The family, and human rights groups, said that the house was hit in an Israeli attack” and that “The Israeli military made no comment at the time of the incident but never denied carrying out the strike.”

Donnison also reported that the boy’s father dismissed the UN report as “rubbish,” saying that Palestinian Arab terror groups would have apologized if they were responsible.

At the time of publication the BBC and the Huffington Post had not responded to The Algemeiner’s request for comment on this story.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →