Sex, Lies and Chinese Workers

On Dec. 23, the Associated Press filed an anonymous story entitled “Israeli company asks Chinese workers not to have sex with Israelis.”  The piece claimed:

An Israeli company has required thousands of Chinese workers to sign a contract promising not to have sex with Israelis or try to convert them, a police spokesman said Tuesday.

The article does not name the Israeli company, but cites “spokesperson Rafi Yaffe” as the source, claiming that Yaffe said “there was nothing illegal about the requirement.” The clear implication is that Israel is sanctioning Nuremburg-type sexual segregation laws reminiscent of those imposed on Jews in Nazi Germany.

The implication, however, is wrong. In fact, Yaffe is a spokesman for the Israeli Emigration Authority, and the alleged contract was, according to him,  not a requirement imposed by an Israeli company, but apparently an agreement made in China.

When CAMERA checked with Mr. Yaffe about the AP assertions, he recounted quite a different story about the mysterious contract. According to Yaffe:

1) About a year and a half ago, the Emigration Authority heard of a contract like this that originated abroad, in China. The “contract” may have been more like a series of guidelines Chinese workers were made to sign before embarking for Israel.

2) This contractual agreement took place in China, not in Israel, and thus did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Israeli police.

While the AP report paraphrased Yaffe as saying: “there was nothing illegal about the requirement and no investigation had been opened against the company,” the reason was that Israel had no role or jurisdiction in the matter.

In journalism, as in any line of endeavor, mistakes can occur. The question is how fully and promptly the error is corrected. Although AP’s story was distributed on Dec. 23 and picked up by media outlets around the globe, and although CAMERA was in contact with the wire service on Dec. 30 to alert editors to the problem and provide detailed rebuttal information, no correction has yet been forthcoming.