CAMERA’s Israel office yesterday prompted improved Associated Press coverage of the Temple Mount. The original version of Daniel Estrin’s informative and interesting article about what the influential wire service called “the most contested piece of real estate in Jerusalem,” had three shortcomings, among them the failure to identify the holy site’s status in Judaism and Islam respectively (“Replacing carpet at Jerusalem shrine reveals religious shrift,” April 21).
The article, which noted that “the presence of mere screwdriver [at the sensitive site] can threaten to ignite religious tension,” initially omitted mention of the fact that the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site and the third holiest site in Islam. The article was less precise and informative in stating only that the site “is revered by Jews and Muslims whose competing claims often spill over into violence,” as if it is equally sacred in both religions.
In response to communication from CAMERA staff, editors commendably republished the article the very same day, adding the text which appears below in bold:
While Jerusalem may be the most excavated city in the world, the Dome of the Rock and its hilltop plaza are an archaeological gold mine that has never been properly dug because of the political sensitivities surrounding the site, which is considered Judaism’s holiest spot and Islam’s third holiest. (Emphasis added.)
(CAMERA prompted the same addition last week in a New York Times article.)
Separately, AP editors favorably responded to CAMERA’s point that the article erroneously characterized the Western Wall as “believe to be the last remnant of the Temple complex.” In fact, there are many extant remains of the Temple complex. The southern, eastern and northern retaining walls are also still extant. Surviving features abutting the southern walls include a broad stairway leading up to the Temple Mount’s entrance and two gates, known as the Huldah Gates, which provided access to the Temple Mount (Hershel Shanks, Jerusalem: An Archaeological Biography, p. 143). Some of the interior part of the Herodian Double Gate (which is one of the Huldah Gates) is also still intact. There are also surviving underground remnants of the Temple complex, including the area known as Solomon’s Stables. In addition, an area called “Robinson’s Arch,” in the south-western corner of the Temple complex, still remains. In his book, Shanks provides details concerning numerous other remnants.
In the updated article, this passage is corrected, and now refers to the “Western Wall, believed to be one of the last remnants of the Temple complex” (Emphasis added.)
A final shortcoming which AP declined to amend in the later version is the vague, imprecise reference to “competing claims [which] often spill over into violence,” when the reality is one of Palestinian attacks against Jews. As CAMERA’s Gilead Ini recently noted:
What happened last fall, shortly after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called on his people to prevent “by any means” Jewish entry and “desecration” of the Temple Mount, was a brutal wave of terror targeting Jews: Palestinians massacred worshipers at a Jerusalem synagogue; an infant was killed when a driver intentionally rammed his car into a crowded train stop; Yehuda Glick was shot; and more vehicular attacks, and more stabbing attacks, and more killings. It was not that violence “burst” in all directions. It was that Jews were under attack.
By getting two out of three points amended during the very same news cycle that the article initially appeared, CAMERA succeeded in helping to supply newspapers and news sites around the world with improved, more accurate information. With real time tracking of wire service articles as they are sent out, CAMERA’s Jerusalem office works to prevent the agencies’ errors from appearing in newspapers worldwide.
For additional AP corrections prompted by CAMERA, please see here.