"This is extraordinarily dangerous. When covering a situation in which six times more Palestinians than Israelis have been killed, a photograph reflecting this reality is in order. We insist that a photograph credibly suited to the coverage replace this one."
August 22, 2023
Isabel Debre, Reporter, Associated Press
Josef Federman, News Director, Associated Press
Donovan Vincent, Public Editor, Toronto Star
Dear Isabel Debre, Josef Federman, and Donovan Vincent,
I am writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, cjpme.org) to insist on a change to the photograph accompanying your August 22 article, “A 17-year-old Palestinian is killed during an Israeli military raid in northern West Bank,” as published in the Toronto Star.
The image is totally unsuited to the story. The result is confusing: the headline refers to a Palestinian killed, while the photograph features a scene from an illegal Israeli settlement.
The result also compounds the problem I communicated to you yesterday about the relative weight of Israeli versus Palestinian life conveyed by your reporting.
The photograph contradicts the accompanying piece. You write: “Nearly 180 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank since the start of this year, according to a tally by The Associated Press. . . . Some 30 people have been killed by Palestinian attacks against Israelis during the same time.” So six times more Palestinian fatalities than Israeli fatalities, even setting aside the international legal violation of the occupation itself.
You also note that settler-power elements of Israel’s governing coalition are openly calling for the killing of more Palestinians. The phrase you quote from Amos Harel – “Revenge attacks by Jewish terrorists” – is imperfect. It both (1) supposes that Israel is responding to Palestinian provocations, rather than the reverse, and (2) does not mention the open role that “revenge” politics play in government discussions of official Israeli military action.
Just the same, by your account, Israeli assaults on Palestinians are now escalating on the pretext of “defending” or “avenging” settlements that have been imposed on the West Bank in flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Your photograph – with its caption about the pain that Palestinian culprits have inflicted on “the West Bank Jewish settlement of Kfar Etzion” – aligns your coverage with the narrative of the Israeli attackers.
This is extraordinarily dangerous. When covering a situation in which six times more Palestinians than Israelis have been killed, a photograph reflecting this reality is in order. We insist that a photograph credibly suited to the coverage replace this one.
While wider problems are in play, this is a clear and obvious photographic mismatch.
Feel free to reach me at 438-380-5410 should you wish to follow up with me.