An article by Harriet Agerholm in The Independent (“Israel approves $56m project to increase accessibility to Jerusalem holy sites including Western Wall”, June 8th) included a passage about Jerusalem’s holy sites which completely erased Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.
Sadly, this omission is part of a wider trend within UK media outlets – and, of course, at UN agencies – of emphasizing the Muslim connection to the Temple Mount (increasingly referred to as Al-Aqsa Compound) whilst downplaying or ignoring the Jewish connection. to the site.
In addition to our tweet, we contacted Indy editors over the omission, who upheld part of our complaint and revised the text to at least acknowledge the Temple Mount:
Whilst we’re pleased that editors revised the text in this particular passage, they failed to correct another passage in the article compromised by an equally misleading characterization.
A £11m lift and underground passageway to the Western wall is also planned. The decision was made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet at a meeting in tunnels near the compound containing Al-Aqsa.
Of course, the location where the Israeli government met is typically referred to as the Western Wall Tunnels. Tellingly, the language used by the Indy concerning the location of the government meeting is similar to the language used by top Palestinian official Saeb Erekat. Here’s a quote of Ereket’s criticism of the meeting’s location, as reported by Times of Israel:
“We condemn in the strongest terms the latest provocation by the Israeli government, holding its weekly [cabinet meeting] in the tunnels beneath Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Occupied East Jerusalem,”
The Indy journalist not only effectively ignored Judaism’s holiest site, but also managed to parrot Palestinian talking points, thus leading many readers to falsely believe that the location of the Israeli government meeting represented some sort of provocation against Palestinian Muslims.