Following CiF Watch post, Guardian amends false Jewish demography claim

corrections to storiesWe posted yesterday about a March 19 Guardian report by Chris McGreal, Obama urged: act tough on Israel or risk collapse of a two-state solution‘, which contained an egregious error regarding the Jewish population in Israel.

In the context of warning about the ‘urgent need’ to quickly create a Palestinian state, McGreal grossly mischaracterized a recent study on Jewish demography.

Here’s the passage:

Others have pointed up a recent Hebrew University demographic study, which showed that Jews are now in a minority in the occupied territories – suggesting that Israel’s democratic and Jewish character are threatened by its reluctance to give up territory to an independent Palestine.

We noted that even causal Israel observers would surely know that Jews are of course a minority in “occupied territories” and have been so since Israel’s founding. Further, in locating the Hebrew University professor who he was citing, we demonstrated that the demographic study in question was in fact only claiming that Jews are a minority (relative to non-Jews) in the historic land of Israel – from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, including Gaza, the West Bank and Israel proper.  (As we noted, the political significance of citing the Jewish population within these territorial parameters, which includes Gaza, is uncertain.)

McGreal either conflated the data, or, at least by inference, was characterizing all of Israel (including the state within pre-67 boundaries) as ‘occupied’ Palestinian territory.

Roughly eight hours after our post, which we Tweeted directly to McGreal, the Guardian revised their erroneous claim (which was also originally included in the caption of the accompanying photo) and noted the error.

Here’s the editor’s note:

correctionWhilst in unclear how an “editing error” could explain the original misleading claim, we’re pleased of course whenever the Guardian is prodded into recognizing a factual error and acts promptly to correct it. 

Harriet Sherwood falsely claims Israeli construction will cut E. Jerusalem off from West Bank

H/T Tamar

Harriet Sherwood’s Dec. 3 report, ‘UK summons Israeli ambassador over settlement plan’, repeats a disproven allegation concerning the alleged injurious impact to Palestinians of proposed Israeli construction near Jerusalem.

Sherwood writes the following:

“Britain is furious at Israel’s decision to take punitive measures, including the authorisation of the new homes and the development of land east of Jerusalem known as E1 for settlement construction.

The development of E1 has been frozen for years under pressure from the US and EU. Western diplomats regard it as a “game-changer” as its development would close off East Jerusalem – the future capital of Palestine – from the West Bank.” [emphasis added]

However, as CAMERA has demonstrated, the allegation that E-1 development would “close of East Jerusalem…from the West Bank” (also recently advanced by Ha’aretz and the NYT) is simply not true.

Here’s a map CAMERA used in their post highlighting the area in question.

e1 continguity

CAMERA explained, thus:

“The black X marks the approximate location of the new neighborhood near Ma’aleh Adumim. To the west of the X is Jerusalem. The red line surrounding the X is the planned route of the security barrier, which will encircle Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.

Those who charge that Israeli building in Ma’aleh Adumim severs north-south contiguity disregard the fact that Palestinian-controlled areas would be connected by land east of Ma’aleh Adumim (marked on the map) that is at its narrowest point ~15 km wide.

Moreover, Israel proposes to build tunnels or overpasses to obviate the need for Palestinians to detour to the east through the corridor.

Ironically, many of those who argue for greater contiguity between Palestinian areas, at the same time promote Israeli withdrawal to its pre-1967 boundaries, which (even with minor modifications) would confine Israel to a far less contiguous territory than that of the West Bank. As shown on the map above, there is a roughly 15 km wide strip of land separating the Green Line (and the Security Fence) from the Mediterranean Sea (near Herzliya). Also shown is the circuitous route necessary to travel via this corridor between northern and southern Israel. (e.g. from Arad to Beit Shean.)”

Finally, CAMERA added the following:

“Nor is it true that the construction would cut off Palestinian areas from Jerusalem. Access to Jerusalem through Abu Dis, Eizariya, Hizma and Anata is not prevented by the proposed neighborhood, nor would it be precluded by a string of neighborhoods connecting Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem.” [emphasis added]

Please consider contacting the Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, to seek a correction to Sherwood’s false allegation.

reader@guardian.co.uk