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