The Other Side of the Looking Glass

An Israeli journalist who goes by the name Omerka (and who will be featured on this blog), wrote the following about the issue of roadblocks (and journalistic coverage thereof) and the recent events in the West Bank:

Since no army is as moral like the IDF, its officers, naturally, will never lie… except when they think they’ll get away with it. That’s nothing new, and the IDF getting caught lying is also not new. But for senior IDF officers to admit they’ve been lying, well that is a bit unusual.

“The Israel Defense Forces admitted yesterday that the 44 dirt obstacles it said had been removed from around West Bank villages did not actually exist… This statement confirms a claim made recently by United Nations organizations operating in the territories”.

-Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz, January 22nd

Maybe they remembered to grow a conscience, or more likely the lie was just to outrageous this time. BTW, omitted from the English edition text, you can find it at the Hebrew edition, was a reference to a story published a week earlier in Haaretz where it turned out that the reliefs promised at some roadblock was in fact non-existent, or already in place before the promise was made.

Who wants to be objective anyway?

The news media is not objective, not does it aspire to be. Each outlet, and sometimes each editor, can put his views forward by the way he handles a text. Haaretz from the 22nd provided an excellent example of that. Two editors, one in the English edition the other at the Hebrew one, were both given the exact same text yet went on to produce two totally different results, opposing even.

The story was about the preliminary results from the autopsy of Abir Aramin. While the English edition’s editor chose to emphasize that the autopsy ruled out rubber bullets, his colleague at the Hebrew edition (I wonder who that was…) chose to headline the possibility that Abir was killed by a stun grenade. Curiously enough, the grenade is not even mentioned in the English text.

Also note that while the Hebrew edition editor chose to use Abir’s name in the headline, in the English one she’s simply “10-year-old Anata girl”.

Political bias or just different approaches to editing? You can’t really tell for sure, but Its not unlikely.


4 responses to “The Other Side of the Looking Glass

  1. The Eng lang. Haaretz website is not meant as an exact replica of the Hebrew print or online version. Not every article published is available on the Eng lang. site. And many articles are truncated. I agree that the Eng. edition does sometimes soften matters in translating the original Hebrew. I don’t know if it’s bias or sloppiness driven by trying to shorten articles for the site & translate them into Eng.

    But all the info you mentioned as lacking was fully available on a variety of other sites which reported the same story including National Public Radio and the NY Times, which I’ve linked in my own blog post on this story.

    BTW, Bassam Aramin is a Combatants for Peace member (his daughter Abir was the one murdered). Here in the US, Brit Tzedek is hosting a national tour for Bassam’s organization with a visit scheduled for here in Seattle in Feb.

    Shalom Salaam Peace

  2. Hey Richard, yes, I am aware of the Combatants for Peace.

    Regarding Ha’aretz, I think there was an article/report on the discrepancies between the English and Hebrew version. Anyway, this is not my own perspective, it is the perspective of an Israeli. In fact, I do agree with him. I have noticed on a number of occasions initial reports that have included the sensitive/real information, and these have been later removed, and I don’t think one can argue that it was to shorten the article after it was actually translated/written and POSTED online.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents.

  3. And one more thing…

    This section of the website ( is, in fact, an exact replica of the print edition.

  4. I heard the report on National Public Radio about this tragedy. It was left ambiguous the cause of death. It even implied she might have been hit by a rock. No mention of a stun gun.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s