Monday, May 06, 2013

  • Monday, May 06, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Economist has a very slanted article that is headlined "Squeeze them out: As Jewish settlements expand, the Palestinians are being driven away."

One sentence has a major factual error. The only way that error could have gotten into the article is from the reporter assuming the worst from Israelis, and either grossly misinterpreting a document with his anti-Israel glasses on or, worse, purposefully misrepresenting that document.

Here's the sentence, which is meant to be the major factual evidence for the almost entirely subjective article:

So far this year, Israel’s army has evicted almost 400 Palestinians from the West Bank and dismantled over 200 homes, the fastest rate for two years, according to the UN.
The Economist even tweeted this, where it was retweeted 400 times:

I can believe 200 homes being demolished - there is illegal building all the time, and structures get knocked down - but is it possible that Israel "evicted 400 Palestinians from the West Bank" this year?

That would be a major story that everyone missed, if true.

Sure enough, I found the document that the Economist based this on. It is not a UN document, but rather written by an alphabet soup of anti-Israel NGOs, hosted on the UN website.

Here's what it says:
In 2013, 203 Palestinian structures have been demolished thus far, displacing 379 people, including 222 children, and otherwise affecting an additional 541 people’s ability to earn an the income or access water and other basic services.
Nobody was evicted from the West Bank.

The Economist replaced "displaced" with "evicted" and then added "from the West Bank."

I have no idea whether the document is accurate to begin with - clearly, the unnamed reporter didn't make even a weak attempt to verify the facts with Israeli officials, something any real journalist, no matter how biased, would at least pretend to do.

Even if the NGO document is correct, the Economist's misrepresenting of it is not a simple error, but evidence that the article was written with the initial goal of demonizing Israel. They might - and should - issue a correction, but the "mistake" is not the story. The story is how they could have made that mistake to begin with, and what it says about the objectivity of the story itself.

(h/t @pophoger, Ross)

(UPDATE: Added the tweet.)


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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