Crossing the Line? Promoting Petitions Against Israel

Only in the last week, the Irish Times crossed the line from reporting to outright activism when the paper published what amounted to a guide on how to boycott Israeli goods in Ireland.

Has The Times of London (subscription only) crossed the same line in this news brief (emphasis added)?

Israel is planning to build a military academy at the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. At its base is the Garden of Gethsemane where the Bible says Jesus prayed the night before his Passion. Israel’s Interior Ministry says the building will cover 42,000 square metres, be eight storeys high and contain colleges for training Israeli soldiers. Hagit Ofran from the Israeli group Peace Now says: “The location, at one of the most sensitive and disputed areas in Jerusalem, is a little more than provocative. One can’t think of the Mount of Olives as real estate. It is important for the three monotheistic religions.” A petition against the plans is at

Irrespective of whether or not one agrees with Israeli policy on this issue, is it The Times’s business to promote a petition on the issue?


The Times evidently does not see a problem with this judging from this response from Times Feedback Editor, Rose Wild, to an HonestReporting subscriber who registered a complaint:

I can’t think of a more appropriate place than the Faith page to report this story, and to tell our readers, many of whom will have strong personal feelings about it, how they can register them. If a comparable site anywhere in the world were similarly likely to be affected by plans for building, development or militarisation, then I don’t doubt for a moment that we would do the same.