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May 12, 2013

Ynet Runs, Pulls Iconic Image of Omar Masharawi

It's been two months since multiple Western media outlets, including the AP, New York Times and Washington Post corrected earlier coverage which wrongly blamed the November 2012 death of 11-month-old Gazan Omar Masharawi on an Israeli strike, when in fact he was most likely by an errant Palestinian rocket. Yet, just last week, Ynet perpetuates the lie.

On Thursday (May 9), the English-language Israeli news site reported on a B'Tselem report regarding civilian casualties in last November's "Pillar of Defense" operation. (For a moment, we will set aside B'Tselem's reported findings that most killed were civilians. B'Tselem has a troubled record regarding civilian casualties, and others have already raised questions about the organization's report.)

To illustrate the report about Gaza civilian casualties inflicted by Israel, Ynet chose to post a screen shot from the Washington Post featuring the infamous image of Jihad Masharawi cradling his son's corpse. Ynet labeled the image "Washington Post reports on year-old Gaza casualty during operation Pillar of Defense," and provided no indication that the baby, Omar Masharawi, was killed by a Hamas rocket, and NOT an Israeli air strike. Here is a screen shot of the page as it appeared for some time last week:


And here's an enlarged image:


Ynet editors could not have picked a worse photograph to illustrate this article. Not only did they pick a photograph that actually is not related to a story about Israeli responsibility for civilian deaths, but they chose a photo which has served as an iconic image symbolizing Israeli brutality in anti-Israel circles.

True, a different photograph would not change the substance of the article. Nor would it change the fact that Israeli forces did in fact inflict civilian casualties during Pillar of Defense. Rather, our message to Ynet is the following:

1) First of all, be professionals. Understand what it is you choose to publish, and familiarize yourselves with the facts. You published an image from the Washington Post, after the Post had already corrected the misinformation, apologized and clarified that the baby was not killed by Israel. Most readers were probably completely unaware of those developments, and you therefore promoted a completely false story.

2) You defamed Israel, blaming it for something it did not do. Most readers look only at the headlines and images. You chose a powerful, emotive image. The picture, together with the headline, are a gift to anti-Israel propagandists.

But perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on Ynet's English site. After all, as of press time, the Hebrew site, unlike Western media outlets which have long since corrected, still carries a story falsely claiming that Israeli fire killed Omar Masharawi.

CAMERA's Israel office contacted Ynet editors on Thursday. Editors removed the Washington Post image some eight hours after the article first appeared.

-- Post by Yishai Goldflam. To see the Hebrew version of this post, visit Presspectiva.

Posted by TS at May 12, 2013 03:50 AM


This is why Camera is so important.
If it wasn't for Camera, that Pallywood picture would still be on Ynetnets article.

Posted by: Ken Kelso at May 12, 2013 09:06 AM

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