NY Times Publishes Damning Story on Jewish Groups in Jerusalem. Nearly Two Weeks Later, They Issue This 315-Word Correction

The New York Times issued an editor’s note Tuesday to correct multiple errors and omissions that were strewn throughout an article published almost two weeks ago that concerned the politically charged issue of Jewish and Palestinian relations in Jerusalem.

Image source: Shutterstock
Image source: Shutterstock

The original article, which many critics said offered a definitive Palestinian slant, stated that Jewish people living in Jerusalem were evicting Palestinians from their homes for purely political reasons.

Author Diaa Hadid wrote:

The Palestinian families and their supporters claim the evictions, often based on seemingly arcane violations of their rental agreements, are part of a broader agenda to create Jewish enclaves inside the historic Muslim Quarter. … The idea, Palestinian advocacy groups say, is to make it more difficult to ever divide the holy city along the lines of a longstanding United States proposal that would make East Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Although Hadid included multiple examples and claims from the Palenstinians’ points of view, the author never included any comments or information from the Jewish people involved.

The lengthy 315-word correction to the article noted that the original piece “gave an incomplete description of the legal disputes in several cases.”

“The descriptions were based on the tenants’ accounts; the article should have included additional information from court documents or from the landlords. (The landlords are organizations that have reclaimed properties owned by Jews before Israel was established in 1948),” the correction noted.

After citing three examples published in Hadid’s original story, the correction proceeded to offer information since provided to the paper from the Jewish point of view, as well as several key facts that Hadid omitted from the article, which significantly affected the story’s angle.

“While the reporter tried to reach representatives of the landlord in the Sub Laban case, the Times should also have tried to reach the landlords involved in the other cases and their lawyers,” the editorial note concluded.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America claims that its investigative research and legal work prompted the New York Times to issue the public correction by holding the paper accountable.

Read the entire correction below:

The Jerusalem Journal article on Jan. 15 about Palestinian residents of Jerusalem’s Old City who face eviction by Israeli organizations gave an incomplete description of the legal disputes in several cases. The descriptions were based on the tenants’ accounts; the article should have included additional information from court documents or from the landlords. (The landlords are organizations that have reclaimed properties owned by Jews before Israel was established in 1948.)

In the case of Nazira Maswadi, the article said her new landlord was trying to evict her based on a claim that her estranged husband was dead (he is still alive). In fact, the landlord claims in court filings that the Maswadi family has not proved that it has paid rent.

In another case, the article quoted Nawal Hashimeh as saying she was being evicted for replacing a door to her apartment. But according to court documents, her rent payments had also been rejected because they were submitted by her son, whom the landlord said it had no contractual relationship with. (The landlord also claimed that three rent checks fell short of the amount owed.)

In a separate case, the article said Nora Sub Laban faced accusations that she had not continuously lived in her apartment, though she claimed that she had never left it. While the article said that Ms. Sub Laban had been battling eviction efforts for four decades and that the Israeli Supreme Court must now decide whether to consider her appeal, it should have noted that an Israeli court in 2014 upheld a lower-court finding that she had not returned to live at the property after renovations were completed in 2000 or 2001.

While the reporter tried to reach representatives of the landlord in the Sub Laban case, The Times should also have tried to reach the landlords involved in the other cases and their lawyers.

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

32 Comments