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Media Analyses





Under Fire for Bias, Haaretz Editor Aluf Benn Lashes Out, Errs on Facts


As reported last month, CAMERA's work exposing the distorted translations in Haaretz's English edition has become a topic of public concern in Israel. Haaretz editor Aluf Benn addressed the issue again in yet another media interview today, this time on Army Radio. CAMERA's translation of the relevant section of the broadcast (approximately 18 minutes into the show) follows:

Roey Idan: Haaretz has two entities. The paper here and the English version.

Benn: What is the difference?

Idan: The differences in the headlines are significant.

Benn: Really. Wait, wait. Did you check this? Or are you only quoting CAMERA's research which selectively cites headlines. It's not that they checked all the headlines.

-- Eral Segal interrupts: I enjoy --

Benn: When was the last time you read Haaretz in English to compare the headlines?

Idan: I always compare the headlines.

Benn: Ok, there is an organization which was established in order to find errors in Haaretz, which tries to persuade that Haaretz in English is a paper of extremist leftists who work against the state. They found, according to them, five errors in headlines in the course of a year. Part of them were factual and in many cases we are not ashamed to correct. When they claim that to write occupation is a mistake because there is no such thing, that is not correct.

Idan: Here, I am with you. I am not talking about that. . . .

. . . [Aluf signed off] . . . Segal: Too bad I didn't speak with him earlier. Hanan Amiur of Presspectiva writes to me that regarding Aluf Benn's statement that they found only five changes, Haaretz corrected 12 times because of our work in the last year alone. We found scores more disparities between the Hebrew and English. You are invited to follow on Twitter.

Idan: It's important to note we're not only talking about factual errors. We are talking also about tendentious headlines in English. In short, Haaretz in English is the fuel of BDS and anti-Semitism.

Presspectiva, CAMERA's Hebrew website, has successfully made the Israeli public aware of the Haaretz translation problems. Editor-in-chief Hanan Amur's recent article in Mida, available in both Hebrew and in English, sparked the flurry of media interviews with Haaretz representatives.

Is it true, as Haaretz editor Aluf Benn claims, that CAMERA has criticized Haaretz's English edition for using the term occupation because "there is no such thing"? Hardly. The record speaks for itself.

A search of CAMERA's collection of Haaretz skewed translations, many of them subsequently corrected thanks to CAMERA's intervention, reveals that the word occupation appears just one time. CAMERA's criticism of the word occupation, in that single instance, is that the English article in question falsely reported that a Knesset subcommittee "called in members of the Foreign Press Association yesterday to discuss their reporting of terrorism and the occupation in Israel." But as CAMERA noted at the time:

This CAMERA researcher, who testifiedat the session in question, informed Haaretz editors that, in fact, international media coverage of "occupation" was not discussed at the session, which focused on coverage of Palestinian attacks against Israelis (and, even more specifically, on misleading headlines which falsely depicted Palestinian attackers as victims).

Haaretz reporter Jonathan Lis got it right in his original Hebrew article, in which he accurately wrote (CAMERA's translation):

A subcommittee of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee called in representatives of the foreign press today (Tuesday) in order to explain how they cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The English edition's insertion of misinformation — in this case turning a Knesset session on international media coverage of Palestinian terrorism into a session on international media coverage of terrorism and occupation — which had not appeared in the original Hebrew Haaretz article is a hallmark of what we call "Haaretz, Lost in Translation."

Following CAMERA's communication with editors, Haaretz did commendably remove the unfounded reference to "occupation," given that the Knesset session did not touch on the topic. Thus, Benn's efforts to depict CAMERA's complaints as frivolous and insubstantive do not hold up to even five seconds of scrutiny.
 
See here for Haaretz corrections prompted by CAMERA and Presspectiva.

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