Thursday, August 27, 2009

"We believe our post is accurate"

That was the definitively equivocal reply of Reuters' AxisMundi Jerusalem editor and Bureau Chief for Israel and the Palestinian territories, Alastair Macdonald, to a reader who had pointed out that Reuters' correspondent Erika Solomon did not have her facts straight when she claimed that Uri Davis was Jewish:

"The elections for Fatah’s sixth conference, which just ended in Bethlehem, had an unusual first: their first Jewish Israeli member elected to the 120-member Revolutionary Council."

Davis may have been born Jewish but as many sources have documented, he converted to Islam shortly before he married a Palestinian woman in 2008.

Rather than do the simple fact-checking one would expect from a Reuters' editor and Bureau Chief (which should have occurred prior to original publication) or correct Solomon's erroneous assertion after being rightly challenged, Macdonald responds equivocally:

"We believe our post is accurate. But for more detail on Davis’s complicated biography, we would direct readers to his Web site at"

We would prefer to characterize Davis' website autobiography as obscurantist but nowhere does he claim to be currently Jewish.

Beyond underscoring the editorial sloppiness at Reuters, Solomon's original mis-identification of Davis as Jewish and Macdonald's subsequent refusal to correct the error reflects an obvious attempt to enhance the propaganda value of the story. Clearly, it is more damaging to Israel and more flattering to the Palestinians if Fatah (which is committed to Israel's destruction) has elected an Israeli Jew to represent them rather than a Muslim who -- as Davis himself states -- was Jewish solely by the "accident of his birth".

It is also supremely ironic that while Davis refers to himself as a Palestinian, Fatah considers him a "non-Palestinian" because he is not Arab and was born Jewish. This tells us much about the Palestinian ethos on race and religion.

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