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June 25, 2017 12:48 pm

Top French News Agency Apologizes to Jewish Human Rights Group Over Map Excluding Israel

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An AFP map of the Middle East published earlier this month that excluded Israel. Photo: Screenshot.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) has apologized to a leading Jewish human rights organization for publishing a map on its Twitter feed earlier this month that excluded Israel.

“A regrettable fault was committed which was corrected as soon as it was noted,” AFP’s director of information, Michele Leridon, wrote to Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Paris-based director of international relations, according to a translation provided to The Algemeiner by Samuels.

“This error was due to the reuse of a map background used for a different subject (the division between Shiites and Sunnis in the Muslim world),” the letter continued. “Only the names of the countries directly concerned with this matter were inscribed (in the same way as if we produced a map of the Eurozone, with the name of Switzerland not appearing on the map of Europe). When we learned of our error, it was immediately corrected. A map mentioning Israel was sent to all our outlets. We sincerely deplore this incident and pray that you will excuse us.”

In a June 7 letter he sent to AFP Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Hoog, Samuels said that “inaction on this issue will be construed as an AFP endorsement of Iranian-declared policy to exterminate the Jewish state.”

“When Iran first wiped the State of Israel off the map, this was defined by many as genocidal intent,” Samuels wrote, before accusing AFP of committing “the same outrage.”

In her response to Samuels, Leridon said, “As regrettable as it may be, this error did not justify the suspicions you bear towards our editors nor the extreme terms of your letter. Errors and disagreements may happen, but insult is not the best way to overcome them.”

Commenting on Sunday on Leridon’s letter, Samuels said, “Hardly an amicable apology, but an apology nevertheless. They could have simply thanked the Wiesenthal Center for its letter. Bottom line: Israel is back on the AFP map, until the next time. We shall be monitoring.”

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  • tiki

    Oeps…..we made ‘another mistake. Sorry!!!!!!!!

    How stupid do these liars think we are?

  • Pebbleson

    AFP has a long record of extremely hostile reporting on Israel. This is therefore not really anything new, but merely yet another “administrative oversight” that was intentional, I think, even if caught promptly by critics and therefore shamefacedly corrected by AFP this time. Almost all its articles on Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians take the straight Palestinian propaganda line, reporting at length and entirely uncritically on Palestinian demonizing complaints and accusations, and seldom including much on or anything at all about Israeli responses or refutations. Such responses from Israel if given are generally very brief and generalizing, stuck at the end of the article where fewer readers get to see it, and are belied by the atrocity or demonizing content and even headline (though these while accurately reporting the drift of the AFP article are usually worded by the specific newspaper or website so AFP is not always responsible for them), so the Israeli responses seem feeble and unpersuasive, as if Israel has hardly any ability to deny the claims and must issue short formulaic lies about them.

    On the other hand, human rights abuses and criminal corruption in the Palestinian Authority and even in Gaza are not reported on, nor statements by their Fatah and Hamas leaders that are racist, hate-inciting, terrorist-endorsing and even genocidal, so the Palestinians are merely portrayed as impotent victims and never as authors of their own suffering.

    The pervasiveness of AFP reporting on the Middle East in France and the EU generally is a powerful contribution to, and even a significant cause of, the widespread delusional view in France and the EU that Israel is the biggest threat to world peace as such (as reported in frequent opinion polls there) and that Israel’s alleged crimes against humanity and oppression of the poor dear Palestinians the chief cause of Middle East turmoil and violence generally. The French voting record in the UN of course reflects such views on the official level. Not by coincidence, the government of France has been for years run by the Socialist Party, to which the new president Macron belongs or belonged until the last few months. AFP is very strongly leftist itself. Another indicator of this is the treatment of Donald Trump and American affairs generally: grotesquely defamatory.

  • E Feldman

    Not to worry AFP… Jews can be their own worst enemy too.. And as long at the world news media continues to call Judah-Samaria, recently renamed “west Bank” by Jordan in the 1950’s. And use any other name but “Terrorist”. Like: “insurgent”, “combatant”, “soldier” “militant”, etc. While Always calling the IDF the “Killers”. And omit mentioning Jewish history in places like Hebron and Safat. And that Jews were and are the majority of Jerusalem’s population since the 18th century. Demean Jews by naming them “Settlers”, while they call Palestinian-arabs “Villagers”. That, and much more…
    Not to worry AFP.

  • Ethan P

    I do not, we should not, accept more of these phony apologies. Israel is constantly victim of these ‘omissions’. It’s not an “accident”!