Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

One Small Step for Media Accuracy on Israel

March 15, 2013 2:06 am 6 comments

The Israeli Haaretz newspaper.

This week, two vicious, accusatory and vastly damaging media reports about Israel were publicly exposed to be false. As is often the case, one correction drew little attention. The other however made international headlines which I believe should be cause for measured optimism.

The first story was published by Israel’s Haaretz, a newspaper that has distinguished itself in its eagerness to paint the government of the Jewish state as practitioners of racism and apartheid. Haaretz has displayed blatant disregard for accuracy in its frenzied pursuit of this agenda as evidenced in this particular case.

“A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera,” opens the Haaretz report, which first appeared in the paper’s English edition on January 28th.

Citing a letter which was sent from Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu to four health maintenance organizations, Haaretz claims that he asked them “not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.”

In actuality the letter stated that he asked them “not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian – or any other – origin.” In Haaretz’s fabricated version, Israel is implementing racist policies. In the accurate version it is not.

Haaretz’s libelous and damaging report was carried by many international publications including Forbes, The Guardian, The Independent, TIME, AP, Russia Today, Salon, Los Angeles Times, Yahoo and many others.

Following diligent and persistent objections to the Haaretz version of the story from the ever vigilant media watchdog group CAMERA, The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, a correction which was published by the paper five weeks later said, “The original version failed to state that this instruction […] referred to all women and not just women of Ethiopian origin.” To my knowledge only The Algemeiner and Tablet Magazine reported on the correction. The damage, which surely was deliberate and calculated, was done. The correction was relatively irrelevant.

The second major story charted quite a different path.

During Israel’s recent operation Pillar of Defense the death of the 11 month old son of BBC stringer Jihad Masharawi made front page news. To the extent perhaps that the heart-wrenching image of Jihad grasping the body of his son became one of the most iconic images of Israel’s war with Hamas.

The world’s most read publications carried bold captions and headlines blaming the death on Israel. Among the many were the BBC, The Huffington Post and the Washington Post. The latter prominently presented the picture on its front page, above the fold.

This week the UN issued a report on the conflict which squarely laid the blame for the tragic death with Hamas, the terrorist government of Gaza. “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,” wrote the report.

It was the eagle eyed anonymous super-blogger Elder of Ziyon that first picked up on the report. The Algemeiner ran the story hours later. Two days following, The Times of Israel and Israel National News joined them. When the Associated Press then jumped on the bandwagon, the story made international headlines, forcing the BBC and the Washington Post to publish desperate pretzelesque defenses and prompting the Huffington Post to add the following update to its earlier story: “A UN report said that Misharawi’s son was likely killed by Hamas rocket fire, not Israeli shells.”

Sadly an instance where the correction garners national attention is rare, but it wasn’t so long ago that it would have been virtually impossible.

The democratization of information has reduced the exclusivity of the power that lies in the hands of dictatorial editors and handed it in part to a collective cacophony of smaller specialist publications, bloggers, social media activists and yes, you. Today every person can contribute to the effort to circulate accurate and honest information about the matters that are most important to them.

For Israel’s media voice, this week was one of hope. A glimpse of what technological advances can bring if those committed to truth and justice, have the courage and dedication to harness them.

The author is the editor of The Algemeiner and director of the GJCF and can be e-mailed at defune@gjcf.com.

6 Comments

  • Lawrence Kulak

    I want to return to yesterdays story about the little baby girl who had to have operations on her head when Arab me threw stones at her parents’ car as they drove to the West Bank. Why doesn’t this make for a UN investigation. I say that until the UN cares about incidents like this, Israel should not bother trifiling itself with who killed any future terrorist. In fact, by creating the controversy in the first place, it is highly possible that Hadodesh Baruch Hu is giving us the chance to claim credit and hence reap schar.

  • Would you please remove my full name and merely write “Roz”?

    Many thanks for your work.

  • Thanks to CAMERA and to other reports, I wrote to the British Medical Journal last week in order to address the inaccurate reporting of the story.

    To the BMJ’s credit, the person responsible contacted me asking for a reference to Ha’aretz partial retraction which I gave, plus the link for CAMERA’s assessment.

    Both the British Medical Journal and The Lancet publish negative, hostile and distorted reports regarding Israel. For example, the BMJ published three times an article, written by a Palesrinian, claiming that Israel had shelled a school in the UN compound killing 40 and injuring many more during Operation Cast Lead in January 2009. Despite the report by Patrick Martin (Toronto Globe & Mail) that no only was this untrue, the two UNRWA officials, Chris Gunness and John Ging, knew this was untrue. However, this did not stop Gunness from appearing on the BBC and other English TV interviews, in which he excoriated Israel. Similarly, a British doctor regularly writes letters to attack Israel and Israeli doctors, accusing them of being complicit in torture or other shocking allegations. These are blood libels which will be believed because they appear in academic journals.

    There is a malicious aspect to what gets published in the UK. Professions such as teaching, medicine and psychotherapy publish anti-Israel or anti-Zionist articles which are frequently ahistorical, set within a pseudo-moralistic framework and lack any nuance.

    This is therefore a plea to respectfully complain whenever there is an anti-Israel story.

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    Unless there are sanctions against the press for this it won’t matter. It never matters. Sorry but unless and until the press is made to be responsible, legally, materially, any other way, they are just laughing at us.

  • The second story was always suspected. Just too convenient journalese fronting what is media-wise an Israeli Goliath stomping a Palestinian David. Simple, iconic and repeated ad infinitum until the perspective is the reality.

    The first example, published by Haaretz, is more difficult to understand from a non-Jewish, non-Israeli , geographicly distant point of view. I understand the phenom of “Jew hating Jews”, or more commonly anti-Zionist Jews. This gets attention from TV, academics, mainstream media but from quality international press being being judged on the credibility of their arguments, . Usually falling short of believe able or convincing in my eyes.

    The basic incompetence of not checking facts, before publishing especially contentious material, from an Israeli newspaper, I don’t understand. Not mensch stuff, mushugana tabloid stuff but with a bitter twist because it is Israeli!

    • Israel should STOP WHINING.
      Instead, those papers who publish the slanders should have their asses sued by the Israeli government. Each time, Israel should ask for large sums of money for compensation, for having its image tarnished.
      Should do this now.!!!!
      There are enough Jewish lawyers to take to the task.

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 →