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May 11, 2016

At Haaretz, Is Style Guide Just a Suggestion?

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About the word "settlement," Haaretz's English style guide states:

In these parts, a word with political connotations. Use it only for a Jewish locale in the West Bank (or former/evacuated settlements in Gaza).

Indeed, in the Israeli-Palestinian context, the word "settlement" refers to an Israeli community over the Green Line and that is how it is most often understood.

Nevertheless, in his Haaretz Op-Ed earlier this week, Moshe Arens uses the term to mean something else. His Op-Ed begins:

In Israel's doorstep -- within mortar range of Israeli settlements and rocket range of Ben-Gurion Aiport -- live two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Arens isn't referring here to a Jewish locale in the West Bank or an evacuated settlement in Gaza. He is talking about Jewish communities in southern Israel, close to the Gaza Strip.

CAMERA yesterday informed Haaretz English edition editors of the inconsistency with Haaretz's style guide. As of this writing, they have declined to amend the misleading language.

In 2014, Haaretz corrected after misleadingly identifying a Jewish community near the Gaza Strip as a "settlement." It's unclear why, in this case, they have declined to correct. Is the Haaretz style guide merely a suggestion? Do style guidelines, which promote consistency, accuracy and clarity, not apply to Haaretz Op-Eds?

Posted by TS at May 11, 2016 03:49 AM

Comments

Seriously? You don't have enough to do? The article intellectually addresses the issue of harming Hamas and yet not harming and alienating the Gazan population. The word settlement is used according to its proper English meaning, without political context.

This is what people complain about re legitimate criticism of Israel not being allowed. If you are going to police every word, without context, you look like you are shutting down debate and people become fatigued of your complaints, therefore ignoring your legitimate complaints.

This critique does you, and the cause of Israel advocacy, no service.

Posted by: Judith Bell at May 12, 2016 12:09 PM

Thanks for the thoughts, Judith. However, I have to agree with Haaretz's style guide here.

"Settlements" means something completely different to English-speaking audiences than it means to Hebrew-speaking audiences. And Arens certainly didn't intend to say Jewish communities in the West Bank are the targets. ("Serves them right!," you can imagine anti-Israel Brits saying.) He meant towns and kibbutzim and moshavim in Israel proper.

No, it's certainly not the end of the world. But Haaretz still should do better — as even Haaretz's style guide admits.

Posted by: gi at May 13, 2016 12:38 PM

It is a waste of time to read Haaretz because it's far-left ideology makes its opinions irrelevant. Special mention goes to Gideon Levy for advocating positions which undermine Israel's right to exist.

Posted by: Steve Wenick at May 15, 2016 08:04 AM

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