Ha’aretz’s ‘Tailor-Made’ English Content Wrong Again

Earlier this month, Ha’aretz revamped and shortened its English print edition, implementing “several changes that will feature in tomorrow’s redesigned paper,” editor Charlotte Hallé informed subscribers on Jan. 3. She promised “the best English-language journalism in Israel,” “an unsurpassed news experience,” with “even more new enhanced content that is tailor-made for our English-language readers.”

Alas, Ha’aretz‘s content is indeed “tailor-made” for English readers, but not in the way that most people would think. In 2013, despite a new design,  Ha’aretz‘s “tailor-made” English content continues to mean the same thing it meant in 2012 and earlier years. Ha’aretz English editors and translators continue to distort and mistranslate the original Hebrew content. Especially for the benefit of foreign readers, who are less informed than Israeli news consumers about Israel-related events, Ha’aretz inserts false information that did not appear in the Hebrew edition.  

Just over a week after Hallé boasted of “the best English-language journalism in Israel,” this page 3 headline article appeared yesterday (Jan. 14):

The plain meaning of the headline, “Troops evacuate Palestinians from E-1 tent protest despite court injunction,” is that Israeli troops violated the court injunction which ostensibly forbade the evacuation of the Palestinian protesters. The online edition carried a similar headline, with the subheadline noting that “Heavy security forces remove protesters despite High Court temporary injunction.” A screen capture of the online headline as it now appears follows:

That Israel allegedly violated a court injunction is reiterated in the second paragraph of the story, both in print and online:

The evacuation — which involved about 500 police and Israel Defense Forces soldiers — was carried out despite a temporary injunction issued by the High Court of Justice preventing the state from evacuating the encampment for six days, pending deliberations.

But, contrary to the headline and the second paragraph, the evacuation was not in violation of any court injunction. The court injunction, issued Friday (Jan. 11) by Justice Neal Hendel, and available in Hebrew on the High Court’s Web site, merely forbade the removal of the tents that the Palestinian activists had set up. Furthermore, it noted that the state could in fact remove the tents in the event of an urgent security need, so long as the state replied to the court within six days that there was a security need. It reads:

After studying the petition I hereby impose a temporary injunction according to clause 1 — preventing the removal or destruction of tents that were erected by the petitioners on a-Tur lands, east of Kfar al-Azeem, unless an urgent security need arises.

The respondents [the state] will respond to this temporary injunction within six days.

The injunction did not forbid the removal of the activists, and thus the removal of protesters was not in violation of a High Court injunction. Contrary to Ha’aretz, it was not carried out “despite [a] High Court injunction.” As reported in Ma’ariv (CAMERA’s translation from the Hebrew):

The outpost in E-1 was evacuated last night in light of the attorney general’s response to the High Court that the evacuation was due to security needs, it was not necessary for the High Court to issue additional permission. The court’s original injuction against the evacuation of the outpost established that in the event of security needs, the evacuation could take place, and this is what happened. The evacuation took place immediately after the attorney general’s response was given to the High Court . . .

Likewise, an earlier report in Ma’ariv explained:

The attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, responded to the High Court, calling for the removal of the High Court’s injuction against the evacuation of the outpost unless there were security reasons. In light of Justice Neal Hendel’s earlier decision that the outpost could not be evacuated unless there was a security need, the army and the police are on principle able to evacuate the outpost without any additional High Court decision on the matter.

Thus, the paper which bills itself as “the best English-language journalism in Israel” got it wrong. Meanwhile, another English-language media outlet in Israel, the Jerusalem Post, got it right. It quoted the Palestinian activists’ own attorney, who correctly explained the injunction:

Attorney Tawfiq Jabareen who represented the Palestinians explain this to the High Court of Justice when he secured a temporary injunction against the outpost’s removal on Friday.

But the court’s language spoke of the tents, not the people, and added that security factors could shift the decision, Jabareen said.

For the Hebrew version of this article, visit Presspectiva.

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