During the recent May battle between Hamas and Israel, The Independent‘s Joe Sommerlad published an article titled “A brief history of the Israel-Palestinian conflict” (May 13 and May 20, 2021). This article, which included plagiarism and misinformation, was quickly picked up by MSN.

I’m pleased to report that, as a result of my writing—including in JewishBostonThe Independent‘s editors have made significant changes to Sommerlad’s article.

Among these changes, the article was modified to acknowledge Rawan Damen’s documentary Al Nakba (a propaganda film produced by Al Jazeera) as a source for its content. It also now states that the authenticity of a story about two rabbis being sent by Zionist leader Max Nordau to Palestine to investigate the feasibility of a Jewish state is contested.

In addition to those changes, the following editorial note has been appended to The Independent article:

“This article was amended on 18 June 2021 to include a reference to Al Nakba as a source, and also to say that the authenticity of the quote ‘The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man’ is contested. We added a reference to extermination camps in relation to The Holocaust, changed an incorrect reference to Irgun ‘rising up’ in 1942 as it had already been active for some years by then, and also changed a reference to Resolution 338 to say it followed the Yom Kippur War, and not Black September, as had previously been incorrectly stated.”

For more about stories featuring the phrase “The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man,” see here.

The unamended and amended versions of Sommerlad’s article are both viewable at MSN.

I wish I could report that The Times of Israel, where I have a blog and which frequently makes use of my photography to accompany its articles, had a role in ensuring that Sommerlad and The Independent were held accountable for publishing misinformation about Jewish and Israeli history, and for failing to uphold journalistic standards.

Unfortunately, The Times of Israel‘s editors lacked the courage to publish my critique—even as a blog post, even after my critique had been published at other sites (including JewThink and Israel National News/Arutz Sheva), and even after The Independent had amended Sommerlad’s article as a result of my writing and had appended a corrective editorial note.

For more articles by Shai Afsai related to Israeli history, see here.

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