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The Star dishes up three-year-old story as news

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ELIANA CLINE

The story claimed that the current Israeli air and ground offensive had killed at least 700 Palestinians and injured over 4 200.

It might have been an interesting story, had it not been written three years ago and set during the battle over Gaza. Despite there being no offensive between Israel and Gaza at the moment and no deaths reported, this article made it into the newspapers without question.

This infuriated the South African Zionist Federation and others in the community.

Ben Swartz, SAZF national chairperson, says this article is a perpetuation of biased anti-Israel media reporting by the IMG.

“This is an ongoing problem, where the Group continues to publish blatant misinformation against Israel – old news’ deliberately printed in an attempt to discredit Israel once again in order to whip up popular rhetoric against the country.

“After years of monitoring Israel-related media in South Africa, we are appalled at the latest ploy they have adopted. It’s no secret that they have continuously shown their deliberate intent, by printing highly prejudicial and damaging stories.

“Their consistent half-truths and misleading journalism, is a deliberate tactic to sway their audience to suit their anti-Israel agenda. This is certainly not the first time, and it won’t be the last time in which they knowingly misrepresent the facts.”

When their attention was drawn to the story, IMG apologised for the error that they say was “an honest mistake” based on an inaccurate media source with no intention to mislead or misinform on their part.

Shannon Ebrahim, foreign editor of the IMG, says that she “deeply regrets” the unfortunate occurrence that was the result of a genuine mistake. “I would like to profoundly apologise to you and our readers about the fact that the article regarding the astronaut Gerst appears on the world page today.”

She explained: “The person who put the world page together yesterday, pulled the story from the front page of Telesur, as supposedly “breaking news”. This was a story that came out on July 23, 2014 and should never have been used.”

She gave her assurance that there would be a retraction the following day on the same World News page. There was, but it was a tiny innocuous “for the record” statement in the corner that did not vaguely appease the SAZF.

Says Ebrahim: “We usually only use Telesur as a Latin American news site, and I have instructed that from now on it should never be used for stories on the Middle East, and we will also have to look at the veracity of their stories in general from now on. I have also asked for an explanation from Telesur’s management for how they could position such an article as current news.

“We do strive to maintain balance on the world page in terms of Israeli-Palestinian issues, and as foreign editor I welcome further engagement with you on this matter. Please accept our humble apology, and we will strive to ensure that such a mistake never happens again.”

Ebrahim maintains she wants open communication to exist between her and the Jewish community.

“I feel truly sad about the article because I really wanted to build bridges with the Zionist community. I wish it hadn’t happened. It is truly a regrettable mistake. I want there to be an open dialogue between us, and if there is an article that we run which there are objections to, I wish those involved would communicate with me directly with suggestions and constructive criticism.”

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. nat cheiman

    Nov 23, 2017 at 10:09 am

    ‘Shannon Ebrahim is one of the poorest quality journalists with independent newspapers. Her dad is Ebrahim Ebrahim (to infinety) , an Israel and Jew hater.

  2. Marc

    Nov 23, 2017 at 10:49 am

    ‘Does anyone believe the attempt by IMG to claim it was just an honest mistake?  Their reporting is so blatantly biased against Israel as to make it clear the only thing they regret here is that they were caught and had to apologise.  Cosidering the vast array of news sources available today, there really is no need for anyone from the SA Jewish community to continue giving money to any element of the IMG group and help fund their blatant anti-Israel rhetoric and bias!’

  3. montlasky

    Nov 23, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    ‘The Star is owned by Arabs. The Star is owned by Arabs so what can you expect?

    ……and i subscribe to it!  Must be nuts!’

  4. Irving Freeman

    Nov 24, 2017 at 9:03 am

    ‘Perhaps spin-doctor Ebrahim would like to explain why INL uses Xinhua as a news provider fr items outside the Far East ,as we "colonials" would see it. ‘

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