In the short time we’ve been monitoring the work of Times Middle East correspondent Catherine Philp, we’ve already noted a few significant errors. (Note: All Times stories referenced below are behind pay walls.)
- In July we fisked a story by Philp (‘Fizzy drinks SodaStream giant caught in EU rules on Israeli settlements‘, July 25) which casually suggested unequal pay between Jews and Palestinians at the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim, and later prompted the paper to acknowledge that Philps also failed to reveal that “Faiz Abedy” (the Palestinian allegedly interviewed for the report) was actually a pseudonym.
- In September we fisked a story by Philps (Israel slams door on Ethiopian Jews after final airlift, Aug. 31) which claimed that the unemployment rate for Israelis of Ethiopian descent was 60% – a figure, we demonstrated, that was wildly inaccurate.
- And, in late December we fisked an ugly smear (Settlements choke peace in little town of Bethlehem, Dec. 24) suggesting that Israel was ruining Christmas in Bethlehem, and which contained the false claim – later corrected by Times editors – that the Christian holy city had become more densely populated than Gaza.
The latest report by Philp which caught our eye was a curiously titled piece (Israel starts new propaganda war to beat boycott, Feb. 11) about efforts by Israeli government officials to combat boycott efforts, and included this passage:
Oxfam was accused of promoting an anti-Israeli boycott last month when it parted company with Scarlett Johansson, the Hollywood star, over her promotional work for SodaStream. The Israeli company manufactures products in a West Bank settlement.
Of course, the claim that Oxfam “parted company with Scarlett Johansson” is not true.
As statements by both Oxfam and Johansson – and every other media outlet and blog we are aware of – made clear, it was Johansson who ‘parted company’ with Oxfam after the highly politicized NGO criticized her decision to become the global brand ambassador for SodaStream.
We contacted editors at The Times concerning this false claim and are awaiting a reply.