UK Media Watch prompts correction to false claim on Israeli “gay conversions”

As we reported recently, a Feb. 4th Associated Press (AP) story by Daniel Estrin reported that an American Jewish group promoting the discredited practice of “gay conversion therapy” was recently ordered to close by a US court.

The article focused on the fact that, in Israel, the Health Ministry strongly advises against so-called “gay conversion” therapy, but that some Israelis who use the “therapy” have professional ties to the recently banned US-based group.

However, some news outlets twisted the story to suggest that, after being ordered shut, the group (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing – JONAH) physically relocated to Israel.

Remarkably, the journalist himself (Mr. Estrin) posted a message on his Facebook account explaining how news outlets got the story wrong, noting that nothing in the article suggested that JONAH actually relocated to Israel.

One example of a UK news outlet getting it wrong was The Scotsman.  Here’s how they framed the article in a headline accompanying their version of the same AP story.

The opening passage of the article repeated the false claim made in the headline.

AN American Jewish group promoting therapy it claims could turn gays into heterosexuals has found a new base for its work in Israel after a US court ordered it to close

We emailed and tweeted The Scotsman alerting them to the error, and a few days later they corrected the headline.

new headline

The opening passage was also changed, and now reads:

JEWISH therapists claiming they can turn gays into heterosexuals are continuing to practice in Israel despite a US court ordering the closure of a American based group promoting the practice.

Additionally, they added the following addendum.

addendum

We thank editors at The Scotsman for the substantive correction.

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