Incomplete AP Captions on Israel Mislead

Last week, as part of its response to 180 rocket and mortar attacks, including rocket fire on Beersheva, deep into the Jewish state, Israel bombed a building in the heart of Gaza City. According to Palestinian sources, the five-story Said al-Mis’hal building served as a cultural center. According to the Israeli military, it was used by Hamas’ interior security forces for military purposes. Associated Press photo captions of the bombed building included information only from the Palestinian side, and ignored the Israeli information that the site served as a Hamas facility.  The Israeli military bombed the site because of its reported use as a Hamas facility, and not because its reported use as a cultural center. Therefore, the Israeli information was critical to captions about the building’s destruction and should have been included. A selection of the incomplete, and therefore misleading, captions follows:

Palestinians inspect the damaged building of Said al-Mis’hal cultural center after it was hit bombed [sic] by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. The Palestinian Health Ministry says seven bystanders were wounded in Thursday evening’s airstrike in the Shati refugee camp. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

 

Palestinians inspect the damaged building of Said al-Mis’hal cultural center after it was hit bombed [sic] by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. The Palestinian Health Ministry says seven bystanders were wounded in Thursday evening’s airstrike in the Shati refugee camp. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

 

Palestinians inspect the damaged building of Said al-Mis’hal cultural center after it was hit bombed [sic] by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. The Palestinian Health Ministry says seven bystanders were wounded in Thursday evening’s airstrike in the Shati refugee camp. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

Separately, other incomplete Associated Press photo captions yesterday about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction to Saturday night’s Tel Aviv demonstration opposing the nation state law. The captions selectively quote from Netanyahu’s statement at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, stating: “Netanyahu said that Palestinian flags ‘flying in the heart of Tel Aviv’ was conclusive [sic] evidence’ that many protesters oppose Israel’s existence.” The captions omit that Netanyahu also pointed to the chants (“With blood and fire we will redeem Palestine”) as part of what he called “cogent testimony of the opposition to the existence of the State of Israel.”

Netanyhu’s statement concerning the demonstration (released yesterday) states:

Last night we received cogent testimony of the opposition to the existence of the State of Israel and the urgency of the Nation-State Law. Yesterday we saw PLO flags in the heart of Tel Aviv. We heard the calls: ‘With blood and fire we will redeem Palestine.’ Many of the demonstrators want to abrogate the Law of Return, cancel the national anthem, fold up our flag and cancel Israel as the national state of the Jewish people and turn it – as their spokespersons said – into an Israeli-Palestinian state, and others say: A state of all its citizens.

It is for precisely this that we passed the Nation-State Law. We are proud of our state, our flag and our national anthem. Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. The individual rights of its citizens are anchored very well in the basic laws and other laws. Now it is clearer than ever that the Nation-State Law is also necessary.

Many understand that chant (“with blood and fire we will redeem Palestine”) as a call for the violent elimination of the Jewish state. This chant clearly was part of the “cogent testimony” to which Netanyahu referred. (Also, given that the Prime Minister’s Office provided the press with an English translation of his statement, why does AP go with different wording – “conclusive evidence”?) A selection of the incomplete captions about Netanyahu’s reaction to the demonstration opposing the nation-state law follows:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, Sunday, August 12, 2018. Netanyahu defended his government’s decision to pass a contentious law defining Israel as a Jewish state in the face of protests by the country’s Arab minority. Netanyahu said that Palestinian flags “flying in the heart of Tel Aviv” was “conclusive evidence” that many protesters oppose Israel’s existence, and proves the law’s necessity. (Jim Hollander/Pool via AP)

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, Sunday, August 12, 2018. Netanyahu defended his government’s decision to pass a contentious law defining Israel as a Jewish state in the face of protests by the country’s Arab minority. Netanyahu said that Palestinian flags “flying in the heart of Tel Aviv” was “conclusive evidence” that many protesters oppose Israel’s existence, and proves the law’s necessity. (Jim Hollander/Pool via AP)

 

The Associated Press was not the only media outlet to publish content flawed by the omission of the “blood and fire” chants at Saturday night’s demonstration. In an Aug. 11 article (“Arab Israelis rally against nation-state law“), the Agence France Presse opened with a paragraph which described demonstrators’ chants “against ‘apartheid’ and ‘for equality,'” while the article did not at all mention the chants proclaiming: “With blood and fire, we will redeem Palestine.” The article began:

Tens of thousands of Arab Israelis and their supporters chanted against ‘apartheid’ and for ‘equality’ on Saturday in central Tel Aviv at a rally protesting a law that declares Israel the nation state of the Jewish people.