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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Music US & Canada Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people. “Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    JNS.org – Eighty years young, Leonard Cohen fits many descriptions—singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, monk. From his Jewish upbringing in Canada to the present day, Cohen has always explored his spiritual side. This month, the singer-songwriter released the CD (May 12) and iTunes (on May 8 of this year) formats of his latest album, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which features live recordings from his world tours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Cohen’s Popular Problems was voted by Rolling Stone [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    JNS.org – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that contrary to Palestinian complaints, Israel has not violated any FIFA statutes and should not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body. “We should not come to one federation saying we will exclude them,” said Blatter, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If the national association is fulfilling its obligations then there is no need to intervene,” he said. “I’m on a [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Middle East Sports Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” “We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    The lead actor in Son of Saul, an Auschwitz thriller featured at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, told the UK’s The Guardian that he believes God was “holding the hand” of each Jew who died in the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust. “I do not for one nanosecond like to pretend that God is off the hook. He could and should have stopped it at a much earlier stage,” Géza Röhrig, 48, said. ”But I would not be able to get [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys singer Howie Dorough took to Instagram on Tuesday to marvel about climbing the famed Masada fortress with his band during their visit to Israel, where they will perform this week for the first time. The group’s second day of sightseeing in the Jewish state included the Masada hike, and taking a mud bath at the Dead Sea. A picture from the band’s official Twitter page shows the five singers covered in mud. While relaxing in the Dead Sea, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews US & Canada ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    A new book and its upcoming film adaptation tell the true story of how three former yeshiva students who habitually smoked marijuana scored a $300 million contract from the U.S. government to supply weapons for the Afghan Army, the New York Daily News reported on Sunday. Arms and the Dudes details how the Miami Beach potheads became “the most unlikely gunrunners in history,” according to the book’s author, investigative reporter Guy Lawson. The tale begins with Efraim Diveroli, nephew of [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    JNS.org – Natalie Portman, who directs and stars in the new Hebrew-language film adaptation of author Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness, says that despite Oz’s record as a vocal left-wing critic of Israel, her film is not political. Like the book on which it is based, Portman’s film is about a young boy at the time of the founding of the state of Israel. “I think the movie is very much about this very particular, specific family story. Of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.