TEL AVIV – The New York Times published a 315-word correction apologizing for a host of errors and omissions in a recent article that claimed Jews are evicting Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem.
The NYT admitted that the article, which posited that several Jewish organizations are rendering Palestinian families homeless, was incomplete and relied only on testimonies and facts presented by Palestinians.
According to the NYT’s editor’s note, the Palestinian families failed to tell the whole truth, and the reporter Diaa Hadid was castigated for not speaking with the Jewish individuals against whom the accusations were made.
The original article began with a stirring account of an Arab woman whose landlord is trying to kick her out by claiming that her estranged husband and original tenant, Tawfiq, is dead.
“He’s not dead,” the woman insisted. “He has 10 children with me. If he died, they would have to bury him.”
However, the editor’s note explained that court documents showed the woman was threatened with eviction after failing to pay rent.
This was only one of multiple errors that the NYT later corrected.
“The Times should also have tried to reach the landlords involved in the other cases and their lawyers,” the correction stated.
This is not the first time Hadid left out important material that did not fit the message she was trying to convey. Media watchdog HonestReporting pointed out that four of the subjects presented in a previous article complained that their words were taken out of context, with one accusing the reporter — who used to write for the rabidly anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada — of leaving out 90% of her interview with him.
The Times’ full correction reads:
Editors’ Note: January 26, 2016
The Jerusalem Journal article on Jan. 15 about Palestinian residents of Jerusalem’s Old City who face eviction by Israeli organizations gave an incomplete description of the legal disputes in several cases. The descriptions were based on the tenants’ accounts; the article should have included additional information from court documents or from the landlords. (The landlords are organizations that have reclaimed properties owned by Jews before Israel was established in 1948.)
In the case of Nazira Maswadi, the article said her new landlord was trying to evict her based on a claim that her estranged husband was dead (he is still alive). In fact, the landlord claims in court filings that the Maswadi family has not proved that it has paid rent.
In another case, the article quoted Nawal Hashimeh as saying she was being evicted for replacing a door to her apartment. But according to court documents, her rent payments had also been rejected because they were submitted by her son, whom the landlord said it had no contractual relationship with. (The landlord also claimed that three rent checks fell short of the amount owed.)
In a separate case, the article said Nora Sub Laban faced accusations that she had not continuously lived in her apartment, though she claimed that she had never left it. While the article said that Ms. Sub Laban had been battling eviction efforts for four decades and that the Israeli Supreme Court must now decide whether to consider her appeal, it should have noted that an Israeli court in 2014 upheld a lower-court finding that she had not returned to live at the property after renovations were completed in 2000 or 2001.
While the reporter tried to reach representatives of the landlord in the Sub Laban case, The Times should also have tried to reach the landlords involved in the other cases and their lawyers.