The Times retracts claim Palestinians fled in ’48 due to Israeli “rape and torture”

Following an exchange of emails between CAMERA UK and The Times, editors finally agreed to remove the ahistorical claim that the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the 1948-49 War was due to Israeli aggression, “rape and torture”.

As we posted about at the time, a May 26th article at The Times, by Scottish political editor Kieran Andrews, was based on recent comments by Richard Lyle (member of the Scottish Parliament) referring to the ‘Nakba’ as a “self-inflicted tragedy”. The Times editor, in his own voice, provided this background on the cause of the flight of Palestinians during the war – to help put Lyle’s comments in context:

Historians argue that it was largely driven by Israeli aggression, including rape and torture, and to a much lesser degree by local Palestinian authorities urging people to flee.

As we noted in our post, there are no serious, non-propagandistic historians who’ve made such a claim – and in fact, when pressed, editors couldn’t provide the name of even one historian who holds this view.  After promising to do so, we just confirmed that the sentence in question has in fact been deleted, though, unfortunately, there’s no editor’s note explaining the revision.

Nonetheless, we commend The Times – which is normally one of the fairest UK media outlets on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – on ultimately upholding our complaint and removing the sentence.

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