Media Blog

Reuters mistake triggers Israel “Holocaust” libel

A Reuters mistranslation of remarks by Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai this morning has triggered an international news libel against Israel.
Among the news outlets jumping on the bandwagon are those that have previously been accused of deliberately attempting to stir up anti-Semitism through false and inflammatory coverage of Israel.
They include several British-owned or British-based media. For example, at the present time the following headlines can be found on these websites:
Reuters: Israel minister warns Palestinians of “shoah”

The BBC: Israel warns of Gaza ‘holocaust’

The Guardian: Israeli minister warns of Palestinian ‘holocaust’

The Times (of London): Israel threatens to unleash ‘holocaust’ in Gaza
In fact Vilnai said this morning in off-the-cuff remarks made on Israel Radio that: “The more the Qassam rocket fire [on Israeli civilians] intensifies and increases its range, the Palestinians are bringing upon themselves a bigger disaster because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.”
Vilnai used the word “shoah” (meaning disaster), which Reuters mistranslated as “Holocaust,” which is “HaShoah” in Hebrew. It is like confusing a “white house” with “The White House.”
Given the virulently anti-Israel (and many would say anti-Semitic) track record of some of the news organizations who have jumped to prominently headline these mistranslated comments on their home pages, one wonders if they are making this mistake in innocence?

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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