Blood Libel Strikes BackAugust 12, 2002 12:00 by ManagingTeam
We thought that the modern revival of the blood libel was only finding expression in the Arab world. But HonestReporting cites three recent examples of irresponsible (or maliciously) false reports citing “Jewish attacks on Arab civilians.”
BBC recently reported that the editor of Egypt’s leading daily, Al-Ahram, is being sued in a French court for alleged incitement to racial hatred. The investigation relates to an Al-Ahram article headlined “Jewish Pie From Arab Blood.” On August 1, 2002, BBC wrote (emphasis ours):
“[The] article cited an incident which OCCURRED in 1840 and was first reported by the French orientalist Charles Laurand in his book ‘The Murder of Father Toma and His Servant Ibrahim Amara’… He cites two Greek WITNESSES who said the French priest was kidnapped by Jews, killed and had his bones ground and his blood brewed to be used in cooking a matzo, the Jewish unleavened bread traditionally eaten during Passover.”
BBC reported the blood libel as if it were factual! HonestReporting member Adam S. and others complained, and BBC updated the article to read as follows (emphasis ours):
“[The] article cited an ALLEGATION by a 19th century French author, Charles Laurand, that a French priest and his servant had been killed by Jews in Damascus. He CLAIMED that their bones and blood had been used to cook a matzo, the Jewish unleavened bread traditionally eaten during Passover.”
Good work, Adam. Awful bias, BBC.
===== CHICAGO READER =====
Meanwhile, the Chicago Reader (http://www.chireader.com), with a distribution of over 250,000, accuses Israel of using nerve gas on Palestinian children. Chicago Reader movie critic Ted Shen writes (emphasis ours):
“American filmmaker James Longley traveled to Gaza in January… In the press package Longley is careful not to take sides, but the constant barrage of artillery shells, the civilians’ complaints, and the IMAGES OF CHILDREN CONVULSING FROM EXPOSURE TO NERVE GAS offer a ringing indictment of the Sharon government. The film focuses on Mohammed, an Arab boy who curses Jews for what they’ve done to his friends and family; near the end of the film he smiles at the camera and declares that he wants to martyr himself and attain paradise, a testament to the region’s bleak future.”
Despite great efforts by HonestReporting member Ora H. and others, the Chicago Reader has never retracted or apologized for this “blood libel.”
===== eTurboNews =====
eTurboNews is travel industry magazine which reports on news affecting tourism, as well as features on interesting places to travel. A recent eTurboNews feature is a plea for help by a Palestinian who writes a monstrous lie about a group of Israeli soldiers who entered his Nablus home, raped his pregnant sister, and killed her husband. See a screen capture of the original page at:
In response to reader complaints, eTurboNews writes:
“When eTurboNews receives stories of this magnitude, we oftentimes have to dwell on the credibility of the source and its timeliness. It is our duty to disseminate news and other relevant information to the travel trade while steering away from political parameters. We are featuring this story to fulfill our obligation to provide a venue for readers who have limited opportunities to let their voices be heard. As balanced reporting is a key objective, we stand by our presentation of this story.”
eTurboNews has published an outright fabricated lie, and then tries to couch this blatant violation of journalistic standards by claiming instead that giving a forum to such trash actually fulfills some high moral standard.
It seems that eTurboNews is not the only website that published the outrageous rape story. Lynne Jones, a member of British Parliament, also posted the story on her website (http://www.lynnejones.org.uk/).
Jones, who bemoans the fact that many people “accused me of being anti-Semitic,” later removed the article after receiving the following report from the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem:
“We conducted a thorough investigation into the incident described. Our investigation revealed that the story is a fabrication. There is no Razook family in Bethlehem, but there are four Zarouk families. B’Tselem has contacted all four of them — none of which have ever heard of such an incident. We have also contacted the head of the Church mentioned in the e-mail, as well as the Mayor of Bethlehem — they too have not heard about such a case…”
Write to MP Lynne Jones at:
AUGUST 19 UPDATE:
In response to the wave of complaints about the Bethlehem rape story, eTurboNews writes that: “eTurboNews has removed this page. The letter published turned out to be a fraud and the source was not reliable. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Sounds great, except that the damage has already been done. A serious, well-publicized retraction still awaits HonestReporting readers.
Write to publisher Thomas J. Steinmetz at: