Out of Context: The Times’s Image of the Day

Each day, The Times of London’s T2 supplement publishes an Image of the Day. Some recent examples include:

March 25: A Thailand-bred Khao Manee (white jewel) cat; March 26: A milkman feeds a parking meter as he leaves his float on a busy road in Mayfair, London, in 1958; and March 27: Elephants in Rajasthan are decorated with bright colours for the Hindu spring festival of Holi.

The March 31 Image of the Day, however, is this photo with the accompanying caption:

“A young Palestinian boy defends the rubble of his home in the Jenin refugee camp on the West Bank, razed by the Israeli Army during its assault on the town” as well as “Jenin camp area: one square kilometre. Registered refugee population: 15,496. United Nations, 2005.”

Putting aside whether such a politicized image belongs in the company of cats, elephants and milkmen, the caption contains no context whatsoever. The reader may assume, in the absence of a given date, and that this is the Image of the Day, that Israel has recently launched a major operation against Jenin. This is not the case.

So the most logical reference would be to Israel’s 2002 Operation Defensive Shield. But you wouldn’t know from the caption. Not only is Israel not attacking Jenin, it is actually allowing the deployment of several hundred Palestinian Authority soldiers in Jenin.

Please write to The Times – letters@thetimes.co.uk – asking why this photo warranted being Image of the Day.


In one of his final dispatches written before leaving the NY Times’s Jerusalem bureau, Steven Erlanger publishes a detailed article on Hamas’s anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement:

In the Katib Wilayat mosque one recent Friday, the imam was discussing the wiliness of the Jew.

“Jews are a people who cannot be trusted,” Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas told the faithful. “They have been traitors to all agreements – go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing. Look what they are doing to us.”

At Al Omari mosque, the imam cursed the Jews and the “Crusaders,” or Christians, and the Danes, for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. He referred to Jews as “the brothers of apes and pigs,” while the Hamas television station, Al Aksa, praises suicide bombing and holy war until Palestine is free of Jewish control.

Its videos praise fighters and rocket-launching teams; its broadcasts insult the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, for talking to Israel and the United States; its children’s programs praise “martyrdom,” teach what it calls the perfidy of the Jews and the need to end Israeli occupation over Palestinian land, meaning any part of the state of Israel.

Read the full article here.

We wish Erlanger well in his new posting in Paris and good luck to his replacement as Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Ethan Bronner.

The latest example of Hamas incitement can be seen courtesy of MEMRI, as a Palestinian child stabs President Bush to death and turns the White House into a mosque in a Hamas TV puppet show. Click on the image below to view.