UK Media Watch Prompts Times of London Improvement to Wild Lebanon War Claim

A Sept. 5th obituary at The Times for Princess Dina bint Abdel Hamid, the first wife of Jordan’s King Hussein, included the following sentence, in the context of noting Princess Dina’s role in prisoner-exchange negotiations between Lebanon and Israel:

It had all started in June 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon and rounded up all males aged between 9 and 75

This staggering claim, that, upon invading Lebanon in 1982 to stop PLO rocket attacks on northern Israel, the IDF rounded up “all males” as young as 9 years old, was not supported with a source, and we hadn’t previously come across this allegation, even from anti-Israel activists.  The closest thing we could find online or in books we reviewed on the war was a claim by radical academic Noam Chomsky in his book ‘The Fateful Triangle’ that Israel had rounded up males as young as 16.

So, we contacted editors at The Times to ask for a source. However, instead of providing one, they instead slightly toned down the sentence to claim that the IDF had rounded up not “all”, but only “thousands of males aged between 9 and 75“.

Again, we asked editors for the source of this revised, but still wild and unsubstantiated accusation.

The following day, they changed it again to the following:

It had all started in June 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon and rounded up thousands of males, from children to old men.

Since a “child” can technically be a teen as old as 17, and they are no longer claiming that preteen Lebanese and Palestinian boys were rounded up and imprisoned by the IDF, the claim is at least more plausible. However, we’re continuing to press The Times to provide a source, and will update this post when we receive a response.

This post originally appeared at CAMERA’s UK Media Watch.