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June 18, 2018

Newsweek Headline Fail on Israeli Attacks in Syria

A grossly misleading Newsweek headline ("Israel Bombs Syria to Stop Refugees Fleeing to Europe, Netanyahu Says," June 14) falsely suggests that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is bombing Syria in order to stop refugees from fleeing to Europe.

newsweek Netanyahurefugees.jpg

He did not. According to Haaretz, he did cast Israeli attacks on Syria -- meant to prevent the flow of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah and to curb Iranian entrenchment in Syria -- "as potentially helping to stem a Syrian Sunni Muslim refugee exodus to Europe." In other words, Israel's attacks, meant to curb Iran in Syria, also may have the by-product of slowing the tide of refugees, he reportedly stated.

Haaretz elaborated:

Netanyahu accused Iran, which has been helping Damascus beat back a seven-year-old rebellion, of bringing in 80,000 Shi'ite fighters from countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan to mount attacks against Israel and "convert" Syria's Sunni majority.

"That is a recipe for a re-inflammation of another civil war - I should say a theological war, a religious war - and the sparks of that could be millions more that go into Europe and so on ... And that would cause endless upheaval and terrorism in many, many countries," Netanyahu told an international security forum.

"Obviously we are not going to let them do it. We'll fight them. By preventing that - and we have bombed the bases of this, these Shi'ite militias - by preventing that, we are also offering, helping the security of your countries, the security of the world."

CAMERA has contacted Newsweek to request clarification of the headline. Stay tuned for an update.

June 19 Update: Amended Headline is No Improvement

Newsweek yesterday amended the flawed headline, but unfortunately the newer version is neither more clear nor more accurate. It states: "Israel Bombs Syria, Stopping Refugees Fleeing to Europe, Netanyahu Says."

Newsweek netanyahu refugees2.jpg

CAMERA notes Haaretz's straight-forward and accurate headline on the very same subject: "Israeli Strikes on Iranian Targets in Syria Slowed Refugee Flow to Europe, Claims Netanyahu." Haaretz's reference to "strikes on Iranian targets" makes clear that Iran was the target of the Israeli strikes. In contrast, both the original and the amended Newsweek headlines mislead, falsely suggesting that Israeli bombings of Syria were directed at refugees, or at stopping them from fleeing to Europe.

CAMERA continues to call on Newsweek to clarify its headline.

Posted by TS at June 18, 2018 02:36 AM


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