Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No, actually he was referring to Judea and Samaria

Reuters "Bible" for its correspondents is the Handbook of Journalism.  Prescribing and proscribing on a wide range of content, style, and ethical concerns, here's what the Handbook has to say about articles where disputed territory is discussed:
We must be on alert for language that could imply support for one side of a conflict, sympathy for a point of view, or an ethnocentric vantage point. We should, for example, provide the dual names of disputed territories. We must not parrot any loaded expressions used by our sources, except in quotes and official titles. Generic references to a specific country as “the homeland” for example, are unwelcome.
Ah, if only Reuters journalists adhered to this sensible policy.

In a story on comments by one of Israeli PM Netanyahu's advisors that surrendering land won in the 1967 war to the Arabs will never sate Islamists or those on the far-left of the political spectrum, Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan quotes the advisor:
"There are still people who say, 'look, if Israel gets up and leaves Judea and Samaria, returns to the 1967 lines, that the world will be on our side'"...
Followed by this "clarification":
... Dermer said, referring to the West Bank, territory captured in a 1967 war.
So Fisher-Ilan is quite scrupulous in providing the Jordanian alias for the territory as a counterweight to Israel's reference to the land, "Judea and Samaria".  But are she and other Reuters journalists as punctilious about including a reference to Judea and Samaria when the term "West Bank" otherwise appears in a story?

Well, here's one rough indicator: a search of the term "West Bank" on the Reuters website produces 12,600 results while the phrase "Judea and Samaria" yields 73.  Not exactly an even-handed treatment consistent with the Reuters Handbook guidelines.

And for those who would argue that the term "West Bank" is seen more frequently in the media because it is more popular around the world, we would suggest that they have reversed cause and effect.


  1. If you think that Israel can defy world opinion forever in the matter of the creation of a Palestinian state, than you are suffering from a delusional disorder. Israel is a military powerhouse but at the same time a political minnow. The military is used as an instrument of creating political facts, which might apply against the Arabs. However, America, EU and the Oil interests in aggragate tower over tiny Israel

  2. Anon, did you want to address our post or simply pontificate?