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November 15, 2009

AP's Caption Challenged Photographer

Remember Bernat Armangue, the AP photographer whose erroneous photo caption wrongly stated that a Palestinian protestor passed out, even though he was holding his hand up in the air? (CAMERA staff prompted a correction.)

Once again, Bernat Armangue is caption challenged. Consider the following photo and caption:

haredi al aqsa sm.jpg
An ultra Orthodox Jewish man pauses in front [sic] the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third-holiest site and known by Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

Here are the problems with this caption, starting with the fundamental falsehood followed by two secondary points:

1) This caption gives the misimpression that the man is actually standing in front of the mosque, on the Temple Mount. Given the tensions surrounding the Temple Mount in recent weeks, the presence of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man standing in front of the mosque could be enough to set off additional Arab rioting, both on the mount and in nearby eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods.

In reality, he is apparently standing at the top of the steps that lead down to the Western Wall. He is resting his left arm on something, most likely the wall at the overlook at the top of those steps. From where he stands, he is separated from the Temple Mount by the Western Wall plaza. Especially in light of the sensitivity of the site, there is a huge difference between an ultra-Orthodox man standing on the entrance steps to the Western Wall, an area next to the Temple Mount and completely under Israeli control, versus an ultra-Orthodox man standing in front of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the Temple Mount itself, which is under the day-to-day control of the Islamic Waqf.

This would not be the first time that an AP photo caption has incorrectly placed a scene on the Temple Mount.

2) Why refer to the Temple Mount as the third holiest site in Islam and not point out that it is the holiest in Judaism?

3) The Al-Aqsa Mosque is not known by Jews to be the Temple Mount, it is known to Jews to be on the Temple Mount.

AP corrected photo captions in September 2000 and May 2009. We await a November 2009 correction as well.

(Hat tip to Yisrael Medad, who noticed this photo on BBC's Web site).

Posted by TS at November 15, 2009 02:07 PM


Another mistake: This is not the Al-Aqsa, it's the Dome of the Rock!

Posted by: Herbert Eiteneier at November 15, 2009 03:07 PM

thats also not hte al-aqsa mosque. its the Dome of the Rock. the Al-Aqsa mosque has a black dome.

Posted by: alex Schindler at November 15, 2009 03:36 PM

This is probably the Al Aqsa Mosque. At night, lights shine on it making it look gold.

Posted by: TS at November 16, 2009 02:17 AM

It's definitely NOT Al-Aqsa - the shape is wrong.
From where the man stands you would see the dome as the end of the building to the right and a long stretch to the left.
The man would have to stand south of the mosque - there's no place you could take this kind of picture.

Posted by: Herbert Eiteneier at November 17, 2009 07:19 AM

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