Following CiF Watch post, Guardian amends false Jewish demography claim

corrections to storiesWe posted yesterday about a March 19 Guardian report by Chris McGreal, Obama urged: act tough on Israel or risk collapse of a two-state solution‘, which contained an egregious error regarding the Jewish population in Israel.

In the context of warning about the ‘urgent need’ to quickly create a Palestinian state, McGreal grossly mischaracterized a recent study on Jewish demography.

Here’s the passage:

Others have pointed up a recent Hebrew University demographic study, which showed that Jews are now in a minority in the occupied territories – suggesting that Israel’s democratic and Jewish character are threatened by its reluctance to give up territory to an independent Palestine.

We noted that even causal Israel observers would surely know that Jews are of course a minority in “occupied territories” and have been so since Israel’s founding. Further, in locating the Hebrew University professor who he was citing, we demonstrated that the demographic study in question was in fact only claiming that Jews are a minority (relative to non-Jews) in the historic land of Israel – from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, including Gaza, the West Bank and Israel proper.  (As we noted, the political significance of citing the Jewish population within these territorial parameters, which includes Gaza, is uncertain.)

McGreal either conflated the data, or, at least by inference, was characterizing all of Israel (including the state within pre-67 boundaries) as ‘occupied’ Palestinian territory.

Roughly eight hours after our post, which we Tweeted directly to McGreal, the Guardian revised their erroneous claim (which was also originally included in the caption of the accompanying photo) and noted the error.

Here’s the editor’s note:

correctionWhilst in unclear how an “editing error” could explain the original misleading claim, we’re pleased of course whenever the Guardian is prodded into recognizing a factual error and acts promptly to correct it. 

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