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January 07, 2016

Washington Post Claims Staged Photo is News


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas congratulates Ahed (also spelled A'hd) Tamimi (right) and her cousin Marah for their "bravery" (from the Nabi Sabeh Solidarity blog, first posted by CAMERA on Sept. 11, 2012)

The email below was sent on Dec. 29, 2015 to Washington Post foreign editor Doug Jehl, deputy foreign editor Mary Beth Sheridan and others at the paper’s foreign desk. A follow-up email was sent by CAMERA on Jan. 6, 2016 and received a response from Post assistant foreign editor Sylvester Monroe who stated “we stand by the post as published and do not believe that a correction is required.?

Here is the text of the email:

The Post’s photo gallery, ‘75 of the year’s most story-telling images’ (December 26) features an image and accompanying caption that may mislead readers by omitting the full story.

Image 46, taken by Mohamad Torokman for Reuters, appears to show an Israeli soldier being besieged by four individuals, including at least one woman and two children. Behind them can be seen four persons, including one holding a camera, with his face covered by a keffiyeh. The caption reads ‘Palestinians try to prevent an Israeli soldier from detaining a boy during a protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah.’

The caption does not inform readers that the Israeli soldier was attempting to detain the boy for the potentially lethal act of rock throwing and that the event as photographed and featured in The Post’s gallery has been exposed as a staged production complete with ‘actors’ who frequently appear in anti-Israel agitprop.

CAMERA’s Israel Director, Tamar Sternthal has noted that the town of Nabi Saleh, near the Jewish community of Neveh Tzuf, is ‘where photographers gather every Friday to document repetitious scenes of Palestinian residents and international activists clashing with Israeli soldiers’ and where activists often place their children in danger to score propaganda points.

So it is the case with the children seen in image 46 as displayed in your photo gallery. The girl seen in the picture biting the Israeli soldier is Ahed Tamimi, also known as ‘Shirley Temper,’ a recurring ‘Pallywood’ child actress, who has appeared in numerous staged pictures and videos (see here for examples including YouTube videos). The term ‘Pallywood’ refers to the staging of scenes by Palestinian journalists and/or activists in order to present the Palestinian Arabs as hapless victims of Israeli aggression.

Ahed is the daughter of Narimen and Bassem Tamimi, prominent activists in the 'Popular Resistance' who encourage their children to endanger themselves for propaganda purposes. The boy who threw the rock was her brother Muhammad Tamimi.

CAMERA has previously documented how Ahed Tamimi has appeared in confrontations staged for the cameras, dating at least back to 2012 (“Telegraph and Daily Mail Retreat From Tamimis’ Latest ‘Pallywood,’? Aug. 30, 2015).

In an act condemned by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Bassem Tamimi, reviving the ancient antisemitic blood-libel, has accused Israel of harvesting children’s organs. ADL has noted that Tamimi was on an anti-Israel speaking tour and was known for engaging in ‘weekly demonstrations’ at Nabi Saleh. The league added that ‘Tamimi has occasionally been arrested for leading children to throw stones at Israeli soldiers.’

The Daily Mail, a U.K. newspaper, which originally reported the image without the above mentioned context, later changed its headline and article to reflect that the biting attacker was ‘revealed as prolific ‘Pallywood star.’ The Telegraph originally ran a story on the altercation with the headline ‘Palestinian women wrestle Israeli soldier off injured small boy’—but later pulled the account from its Web site, presumably after the Tamimi ‘actors’ backgrounds were revealed.

The image and caption featured in The Post’s gallery does not amount to journalistic ‘story-telling.’ Rather, it is propaganda in category of ‘fauxtography,’ as disseminated previously by Hezbollah and Hamas, and of which Post media reporter Paul Farhi has taken note (for example, ‘Story behind image of dead Palestinian baby highlights photographer challenges,’ Post, March 12, 2013 online, March 13 print). Accordingly, CAMERA requests its removal, preferably with a note explaining why.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

Sean Durns
Media Assistant
CAMERA-Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America?

More images of Ahed Tamimi's acting and receiving awards can be found here.

Posted by SD at January 7, 2016 11:36 AM


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