The following CAMERA letter to the editor was published in the St. Petersburg Times on July 1, 2001:
Re: Israeli settlements: outposts of national lunacy, June 24
Bill Maxwell’s column opens with a description of Nazareth as “a northern city in the West Bank.” In fact, since the very first day of Israel’s establishment, Nazareth has been internationally recognized as part of Israel. Nazareth is within Israel’s 1948 borders and can in no way be considered under “occupation” or part of the West Bank.
Maxwell’s error is particularly ironic, given his declared insider knowledge: “I came to understand the real meaning of the terms ‘occupation’ and ‘settlers’ in the Israeli and Palestinian conflict two years ago as I looked out the window of my room at the Marriott Hotel in Nazareth, a northern city in the West Bank.”
Such a basic error raises serious questions about Maxwell’s qualifications to write about the region, considering that he evidently does not even know the difference between a West Bank settlement and an Israeli city. Moreover, the fact that his fundamental factual premise is false – that Nazareth is a settlement – undermines the validity of his entire column.
Senior Research Analyst
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
Boston , Mass.
See the error (June 24, 2001) and correction (July 2, 2001) in the St. Petersburg Times and Patriot Ledger.