UK Media Watch prompts Times of London improvement to wild Lebanon War claim

Cross posted from UK Media Watch

A Sept. 5th obituary at The Times for Princess Dina bint Abdel Hamid, the first wife of Jordan’s King Hussein, included the following sentence, in the context of noting Princess Dina’s role in prisoner-exchange negotiations between Lebanon and Israel:

It had all started in June 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon and rounded up all males aged between 9 and 75

This staggering claim, that, upon invading Lebanon in 1982 to stop PLO rocket attacks on northern Israel, the IDF rounded up “all males” as young as 9 years old, was not supported with a source, and we hadn’t previously come across this allegation, even from anti-Israel activists. The closest thing we could find online or in books we reviewed on the war was a claim by radical academic Noam Chomsky in his book ‘The Fateful Triangle’ that Israel had rounded up males as young as 16.

So, we contacted editors at The Times to ask for a source. However, instead of providing one, they instead slightly toned down the sentence to claim that the IDF had rounded up not “all”, but onlythousands of males aged between 9 and 75“.

Again, we asked editors for the source of this revised, but still wild and unsubstantiated accusation.

The following day, they changed it again to the following:

It had all started in June 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon and rounded up thousands of males, from children to old men.

Since a “child” can technically be a teen as old as 17, and they are no longer claiming that preteen Lebanese and Palestinian boys were rounded up and imprisoned by the IDF, the claim is at least more plausible. However, we’re continuing to press The Times to provide a source, and will update this post when we receive a response.

Related Articles

BBC’s Mishal Husain promotes dubious peace plan framing – part one

The June 26th edition of the BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme included a fairly long item relating to the Bahrain economic workshop which was in its second day. Before that, however, during a review of the day’s newspapers (from 09:53 here) listeners were told by presenter Mishal Husain that:

Husain [09:53]: “And the Times reports from the US sponsored…eh…conference aimed at Middle East peace that’s taking place in Bahrain, saying ‘the US has killed hopes of a Palestinian state as that conference opened’. This is because Jared Kushner has used an interview to mark the start of the conference by saying that…ehm…that ‘we all have to recognise that if there ever is a deal’ – he means a peace deal – ‘it’s not going to be along the lines of the Arab Peace Initiative’ and that was the initiative that envisaged an Israeli and a Palestinian state standing side by side.”

That Times article included more than just that bizarre claim presented in its opening paragraphs but that was what Husain chose to highlight. The interview to which she referred was with Al Jazeera and the relevant part is from 20:02 in the video here.

Husain’s presentation obviously suggests to listeners that the first time the idea of a two-state solution came up was in the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. That of course is not the case – the concept had been around since the Peel Commission report of 1937 and has since been part of numerous initiatives, including at the Madrid Conference in 1991. What Husain did not tell Radio 4 listeners is that the Palestinians have a long record of rejection of any solution involving two states for two peoples and that the Arab Peace Initiative is not accepted by Hamas or Hizballah.

Neither did Husain bother to clarify that that initiative includes more that just “an Israeli and a Palestinian state standing side by side”. It demands Israeli withdrawal from areas which are not included in any plan for a Palestinian state (including the Golan Heights) and it is, from the Israeli point of view, extremely problematic on the issue of Palestinian refugees due to its not only demanding ‘right of return’ to Israel but also rejecting the resettlement (“patriation“) of Palestinian refugees in Arab countries.

It is therefore plausible that when Mr Kushner told the Al Jazeera interviewer that any future agreement “will be somewhere between the Arab peace initiative and between the Israeli position” he had those points in mind. Mishal Husain however unquestioningly embraced the viewpoint of the Times reporter and promoted the notion to listeners that the United States had “killed hopes of a Palestinian state”.

That selective and politicised framing is important because, as we shall see in part two of this post, Husain continued to promote it throughout the later item concerning the Bahrain conference.

A Times columnist treads where the BBC has gone before

Our colleague Adam Levick at UK Media Watch has noted a recent claim from the ‘Times’ columnist Janice Turner.

“The first sentence in the paragraph we highlighted, where she claims to have watched “ultra-orthodox settlers enter the Al-Aqsa mosque” to “pray”, would strike anyone familiar with regulations at the holy site as (at the very least) extraordinarily unlikely.  Jews are not allowed in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and are not allowed to pray anywhere on the Temple Mount.  In fact, Jews even suspected of silently praying on the Temple Mount are often arrested.  Further, we confirmed with Israeli Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld in a phone call this morning that – as we suspected – no Jews have entered the mosque and there have been no ‘incidents’ of illegal Jewish prayer.”

Turner later clarified on Twitter that she was in fact referring to the Temple Mount compound rather than the mosque itself.

But where would a British journalist have got the idea that Temple Mount – known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif – is called “the Al-Aqsa mosque”? Could it be from the self-declared “provider of news that you can trust”?

Back in 2016 we documented changes in the terminology used by the BBC to describe Temple Mount which coincided with the publication of a ‘media advisory document’ for foreign journalists by the PLO.

After a brief return to the use of the location’s titles as specified in the BBC’s style guide, the employment of PLO approved terminology resurfaced again in BBC coverage in the summer of 2017.

BBC’s ME correspondents revert to partisan terminology for Temple Mount – part one

BBC’s ME correspondents revert to partisan terminology for Temple Mount – part two

While we of course do not know where Turner picked up her erroneous terminology, it is obvious that the leading UK broadcaster’s repeated use of PLO approved nomenclature does not help members of the British public to be aware of the political motivations that lie behind its promotion. 

Related Articles:

Times of London columnist claims to have watched Jews pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque  UK Media Watch

For 2nd time in 3 weeks, major UK media outlets ignore deadly Palestinian terror attack

Cross posted from UK Media Watch

Times of London

Since the Palestinian terror attack at the Barkan Industrial Park on Sunday that killed two Israelis, Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, the mother of an infant, and Ziv Hajbi, a father of three, Times of London’s Jerusalem correspondent Anshel Pfeffer published two articles: both concerning fraud charges against Sara Netanyahu. 

Times of London articles by Anshel Pfeffer, Oct. 7th and Oct. 8th.

But, neither Pfeffer nor any of the paper’s other regional correspondents published anything on the deadly West Bank terror attack.

Barkan terror attack victims: Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hagbi

The Telegraph

The Telegraph’s Jerusalem correspondent, Raf Sanchez, published an article this morning on the row between Turkey and Saudi Arabia over the missing Saudi journalist, and another regional correspondent published an Israel related story – regarding Netanyahu’s scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin.  

However, as with Times of London, nothing has been published by any of the Telegraph’s reporters about the Barkan terror attack.

The Independent

The Independent published an article on the day of the attack about new Israeli restrictions on Gaza’s fishing zone, but nothing on the Palestinian terror attack, despite the fact that the Indy has a Middle East correspondent, Bel Trew, who covers Israel and the Palestinian territories quite extensively.

Independent, Oct. 9

In addition to ignoring Sunday’s deadly attack, by 23-year-old Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, a colleague of the victims at the Barkan plant, Times of London, The Telegraph and Independent have something else in common: they all similarly ignored the Palestinian terror attack on Sept. 16th at Gush Etzion Junction that killed Ari Fuld, a father of four from Efrat.

Other major outlets:

The Guardian published an AFP article on Sunday about the Barkan Industrial Park attack – though nothing on the murder of Ari Fuld.  In contrast, the Daily Mail – as with the BBC – eventually covered both terror attacks.

Beyond the question of journalistic priorities on the day of, and first few days following, the attack, it’s telling that all of the media outlets cited have, over the course of the past six months, more often than not, devoted coverage to Palestinian injuries and deaths related to the weekly violent border riots – many which included highly evocative photos from the scene.

Times of London

Independent

The Telegraph

The journalistic axiom ‘if it bleeds it leads’ isn’t entirely true when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where selective concern for the suffering of one side is the norm – indicative of a broader pattern of double standards which continues to compromise British media coverage of the region.

Related Articles