THUMBS DOWN to Rosie Magazine, for refusing to investigate questionable claims in the Feb. 2002 article about Palestinian-American Samira Hussein entitled “Lessons From a Muslim Mom” by James Oseland. Despite the fact that few if any Palestinians were expelled from the West Bank in 1967, Oseland writes that: “one night when Samira was 12, at the dawn of the brutal 1967 war between Israel and Jordan, Egypt and Syria, life abruptly soured. Samira remembers the events as though they were today’s headlines: A group of Israeli soldiers came knocking at her family’s front door and demanded that they leave–immediately. ‘We weren’t allowed to carry anything with us,’ she says. ‘Everything we owned was left behind.'”
While it is true that some West Bank residents fled to Jordan during the 1967 war, Hussein’s recounting of events seems highly questionable. Therefore, CAMERA requested that Rosie provide additional details–the name of the town where Hussein lived and where she says her father was mayor, her father’s full name, and the date that they left for Jordan.
In response, Features Editor Kristin McGinn Mahoney stated, without providing any specifics: “All of our stories are thoroughly fact-checked, and Ms. Hussein’s account of her story was substantiated by several experts on the Middle East, including sources at the United Nations.” Rosie declined to reveal the names of the alleged experts, U.N. sources, and any specifics about information supposedly provided.
If the story can be readily substantiated by so many experts, why is Rosie unwilling to make public even the name of the town from which the Palestinian family was allegedly driven? The outgoing phone message for the magazine’s editorial office instructs callers to press five to get “more information about something that appeared in an article.” Apparently, this does not apply to “information” on issues other than fashion, cooking, or antiques.