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Jewish Chronicle forced to correct report on Gaza protest 'antisemitism'

October 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm

The Jewish Chronicle has been forced to issue a correction for a report published during Israel’s bombardment of Gaza on alleged ‘antisemitism’ amongst Palestine solidarity activists.

The original article, ‘Pro-Palestinian group says its supporters made antisemitic comments’, claimed that Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) director Sarah Colborne had “acknowledged” that the organisation’s supporters had “made anti-Semitic comments”, and that demonstrations had been used to “peddle hatred.”

Though now removed, tweets to the article remain, from the Jewish Chronicle account, the paper’s reporters Marcus Dysch and Rosa Doherty, and the Community Security Trust (CST). The latter was itself the focus of criticism over the summer for “abusing its mandate” of monitoring and combating antisemitism “by providing political support for Israel.”

The correction published today by the paper is as follows:

In an article published on July 17 headlined ‘Pro-Palestinian group says its supporters made antisemitic comments’, we stated that the Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Sarah Colborne, had said that demonstrations against the Gaza conflict “had been used by people to ‘peddle hatred and intolerance’ towards Jews”. Ms Colborne had not said that. In fact, what she had said was: “The Palestine Solidarity Campaign opposes all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and racism directed against Palestinians whether living in the West Bank and Jerusalem, or as citizens of Israel.” We are happy to set the record straight.

Speaking to me today, Colborne noted that when the Jewish Chronicle published its story, “Israel was at the height of its massacre in Gaza”. With public opinion in Britain “one of absolute horror and outrage”, PSC was “at the forefront” of the “mobilisation” of thousands across the country.

Responding to the publication of the correction, the PSC director said that they had been “quick to challenge this irresponsible piece of journalism through the Press Complaints Commission” and are “happy with the result.” Colborne affirmed: “PSC and other organisations supporting the cause of justice and freedom for Palestinians must be able to do so without fear of smear and slander.”

During the bombardment of Gaza, the Jewish Chronicleapologised to readers for publishing a humanitarian appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee. Explaining his position, Editor Stephen Pollard wrote he was sure that “many” of the reported “civilian casualties” were in fact “terrorists.”

This is not the first time that the Jewish Chronicle has been forced to issue corrections or apologies under the editorship of Pollard. In 2011, the paper also attracted controversy for publishing a piece expressing “pleasure” at the killing of Italian human rights activist Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.