Jewish Chronicle Apologizes over Israel Slur

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You may well, like me, have been furious and disgusted by the Tweet of the Jewish Chronicle editor, Stephen Pollard and the views of reporter,  Daniel Sugarman on the Israeli action on the Gaza border last week.

Not only was what they wrote and the views expressed factually inaccurate and misleading, but for me, as someone who works in social media, what was even more damaging was the fact that the non-Jewish and anti-Israel press and media and press picked up and used what they wrote. For instance, apparently the Times re-Tweeted Pollard’s Tweet. Serious damage was caused by their irresponsible and ‘jump on the bandwagon’ style coverage.

Pollard’s Tweet and my response on IsraelB:

Just to remind you, this was the Tweet of Stephen Pollard:

I wrote this blog on IsraelB which explained why Pollard’s Tweet was so wrong. Click on here to read it.

Sugarman’s initial blog: 

Click on here to read the initial blog of Daniel Sugarman, featured in the JC, where clearly he is writing from emotion and fails to do his research properly.’ But every bullet Israel fires, every life Israel takes, makes this situation worse. There are ways to disperse crowds which do not include live fire. But the IDF has made an active choice to fire live rounds and kill scores of people. You cannot tell me that Israel, a land of technological miracles which have to be seen to be truly believed, is incapable of coming up with a way of incapacitating protesters that does not include gunning dozens of them down. But no. In front of the entire world, Israel keeps shooting, and protesters, including very young protesters, keep dying..’

Apology by Pollard and Sugarman:

Well, you will be relieved to hear that both Pollard and Sugarman publicly apologized for their misinformed comments and views.

Pollard’s apology Tweet:

This was the Tweet that Pollard wrote:

Sugarman’s apology:

Sugarman wrote this article acknowledging his errors:

..’But the criticism I paid more attention to was from people who pointed out that it was absurd to deal in hypotheticals. I’d said that surely there must be a way the protesters could be stopped without shooting live ammunition at them – that Israel, with its incredible technological capabilities, must be capable of developing a way. That was a cry of anguish, but it was not an argument. If no such technology currently exists, then it was absurd of me to blame the IDF for not magically willing it into existence. The traditional crowd stopping technology would not have worked effectively. Rubber bullets are only short range. The same with water cannons. And with tens of thousands of people rushing the border, this would have been extremely unlikely to work effectively. The border would have been broken through. And then, without much of a doubt, a lot of people in Israel would have died.  That was, after all, Hamas’s stated aim.

But what really affected me the most was yesterday, when a Hamas operative went on television and claimed that, of the 62 people killed in the last two days, fifty were Hamas operatives. Islamic Jihad claimed three more, meaning that over 80 percent of the people who were killed while trying to breach the border were members of terrorist organisations whose direct aim is to bring death and suffering into Israel.’

Click on here to read the rest of it.

Lessons learnt: 

So there you go. At least they apologized and admitted they were wrong.

I hope they learn from this episode and in future check and understand the facts before writing – That’s common sense, no?

I do question though whether there is any point in Jewish journalists in the Diaspora who don’t understand Ivrit and the Israeli news to be reporting on what’s happening in Israel.

May be they should keep out of trouble and stick to reporting on local news in their communities – Would be better for all of us!

About the Author
Benjy Singer works in social media, content writing and editing. He runs a popular online community, IsraelB.org, which is a very useful resource, especially for Olim. A graduate of the LSE, UCL and Yeshivat Har Etzion, Benjy enjoys writing, teaching and connecting people.
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