UK Media Watch prompts revision to Financial Times claim regarding Veolia and BDS

Themenbild Newspaper

Our post about an article in the Financial Times by their Jerusalem correspondent John Reed (Israel, a new kind of war, June 12) took issue with their implicit claim of a BDS victory in the following passage:

Veolia Environment, the French infrastructure group, in April sold most of its Israeli holdings to a private equity group after campaigners criticised it for involvement in projects such as the Jerusalem tram line, which links the city’s Jewish west to a settlement.

However, a report in the Israeli business magazine Globes reported (Oaktree acquires Veolia’s Israel activities, April 1) that what transpired was a business transaction, one which appears to have had nothing to do with BDS.  

Additionally, we contacted Yoni Itzhak, spokesman for Veolia Israel, and asked him to comment on the Financial Times suggestion that the transaction in question was due to pressure from anti-Israel boycott activists.  Itzhak emphatically denied, in an email to UK Media Watch, that BDS was a factor in the business decision.

Following the post, we contacted Financial Times editors and presented the evidence which we believed contradicted their narrative on the Veolia deal. Though editors initially defended the passage in question, upon appealing to more senior editors they agreed, due to the presence of at least some ambiguity, to add a passage to the original story to reflect the company’s stated reason for the transaction.

Here’s the new sentence (which we’ve underlined in red) that editors added to the original.

ft new

The revision was noted at the bottom of the article. 

Though the revision was not what we had hoped for, we nonetheless commend Financial Times editors for thoroughly considering our complaint and agreeing to add the additional text. 

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