CAMERA Prompts LA Times Correction on Israeli Arabs

For the third time, CAMERA staff prompted a correction in the Los Angeles Times regarding the false claim that Israeli Arabs do not serve in the Israeli military. The most recent correction, which appeared yesterday, follows:

Error (Los Angeles Times, Richard Boudreaux, 10/31/07): Unlike Israeli Arabs, who number 1.4 million and make up one-fifth of the country’s population, Druze serve in the military.

Correction (11/3/07): Israeli army: An article in Wednesday’s Section A about a raid on a Druze village in Israel said that Arabs did not serve in the Israeli army. Military service is not compulsory for Arab citizens of Israel, but they can enlist voluntarily. A small number of them do so.

CAMERA first noted the Boudreaux error in Snapshots on Oct. 31. Corrections for earlier Los Angeles Times errors on the same topic, by Aaron David Miller and George Bisharat, are available here and here, respectively.

While CAMERA applauds this latest correction, we hope that it will mark a turning point for the paper and that this error will no longer recur. In addition, CAMERA still awaits corrections on Richard Boudreaux’s Oct. 26 erroneous statement that Israel “still controls Gaza’s borders,” as well as a blatantly false claim by letter-writer Mary Hughes-Thompson Sept. 25 that: ” . . . Palestinian children are killed every day by bombs and bullets from Israeli occupation forces.”

In fact, according to the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, between June 1 and Sept. 25, 18 Palestinians from Gaza under the age of 19 were killed by Israeli fire (New York Times, Sept. 26, 2007). Given that some days saw multiple deaths, there were at most 17 out of 117 days between June 1 and Sept. 25 in which minors were killed. In other words, Palestinian minors in Gaza, many of them engaged in hostilities at the time of their death, were killed in a maximum of 15 percent of the days in a close to three months — hardly “every day.”

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which issues weekly reports detailing Palestinian casualties, property damage, incursions, etc., also does not support Hughes-Thompson’s wildly exaggerated claim about the number of days in which Palestinian minors were killed.

On July 17, 2006, the LA Times ran a correction on a similar, albeit less drastic error, stating:

Th [June 18 Siegman Op-Ed] also said that Palestinian civilians have been killed ‘virtually every day’ since Israel’s disengagement from Gaza. Statistics from B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, show that Palestinian civilians have been killed on fewer than half the days since the disengagement last year.

If anything, the Hughes-Thompson letter warrants a correction even more than Siegman’s because she is referring only to Palestinian children, of which there are many fewer casualties than the broader category of “Palestinian civilians” to which Siegman referred.

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