France 24 Arabic Corrects: Panama Didn’t Move Embassy

CAMERA Arabic this week prompted correction of a report on France 24 Arabic which erroneously reported that Panama, along with Paraguay, had moved its embassy to Jerusalem only to return it back to Tel Aviv. The Nov. 2 article (“The Brazilian president-elect declares he’ll move his country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem”) erred:

Should Bolsonaro execute his decision, Brazil will become the third country to have moved its embassy to Jerusalem after the United States and Guatemala, while Panama and Paraguay retreated from the move and returned their embassies to Tel Aviv. (Emphasis added, translation by CAMERA Arabic.)

This erroneous claim appeared again later in the report:

The American embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14th, prior to Guatemala, Panama and Paraguay announcing that they’d follow suit. However Panama and Paraguay have retreated and returned their embassies to Tel Aviv. (Emphasis added.)

In fact, despite early speculation, Panama did not move its embassy to Jerusalem in the last year, although the nation’s mission to Israel was previously located in Israel’s capital city in the 1950s. Moreover, France 24’s English coverage of Brazil’s planned move did not contain the error about Panama, and accurately noted only Paraguay’s move back to Tel Aviv after a short-term Jerusalem relocation.

Following communication from CAMERA Arabic, the France24 Arabic editors have corrected the article on Nov. 12. The amended text states that “Panama and Paraguay retreated from their idea to move,” and later says the countries “retreated from the move.” The improved language nevertheless fails to make clear that while Panama did not move its embassy, Paraguay actually did locate its embassy in Jerusalem for several months before moving back to Tel Aviv.