After Five Months, TIME Magazine Corrects Depiction of Palestinian Terrorist

AP Photo/Oren Ziv
AP Photo/Oren Ziv

TEL AVIV – TIME magazine on Sunday corrected an article depicting a Palestinian terrorist who murdered three Israelis as a victim of Israeli security forces, the Times of Israel reported.

The article, titled “The Desperation Driving Young Palestinians to Violence,” included a report on an October 13 terror attack in Jerusalem in which two Palestinian terrorists boarded an Egged bus and began shooting and stabbing passengers.

The article initially made no mention of the terrorists’ victims.

Following criticism from Israel’s Government Press Office, TIME finally updated the article five months later with the clarification that the story’s subject, 22-year-old “graphic designer” Baha Allyan, had been shot after carrying out the deadly attack. The amended story also added that three people had been killed as a result of Allyan’s actions.

TIME’s editors added a statement at the end of the story, explaining that it had been updated “to give a fuller account of the attack,” but did not apologize.

On Thursday, the GPO slammed TIME’s editors for refusing to heed repeated requests by Israeli officials to amend the October 15 story and “ignoring the victims and humanizing the attacker.”

Allyan and another terrorist killed three people: Haviv Haim, 78, Alon Govberg, 51, and American-Israeli Richard Lakin, 76, who was critically wounded and died two weeks later. Over a dozen people were injured in the attack.

Both terrorists were shot by police and Allyan was killed on site while the other, Bilal Abu Ghanem, was taken into custody.

“To our sorrow, repeated requests to TIME magazine, initially by an Israeli NGO and subsequently by the GPO, have all failed to induce TIME to correct the serious factual error in the 15 October article,” the GPO said.

An Israeli group contacted TIME correspondent Rebecca Collard, who wrote the story, on October 18 and received no response. The Government Press Office contacted Collard on February 25, presented the facts, and demanded a correction, but none was forthcoming. After being nagged for a third time, Collard wrote to the GPO on March 4: “I’ve forwarded your concerns to my editors.”

“Another reminder and a letter to the TIME International editor did not help and the article still — five months after the attack — presents the murderer of three civilians as a seemingly innocent Palestinian graphic designer who was inexplicably killed by Israel,” the GPO said in its post on Thursday. “Israel has been criticized recently for confronting some of the foreign media with accusations of bias. Let the reader be the judge.”

Victims of the attack expressed anger over Allyan’s depiction as an innocent graphic designer.

“I had no idea that leaving me with two scars on my body and a punctured lung — after stabbing me with a 20-centimeter-long knife — was professional artwork, not terrorism,” Maya Rachimi, who was injured in the attack, told Ynet news.

Micah Avni, son of the murdered U.S.-Israeli citizen, said he was not surprised by the magazine’s anti-Israeli bias. “Those who cannot call terrorism terrorism and condemn the murder of Israelis as well as American citizens are part of the problem, and are inciting to terrorism by staying silent,” he said.

GPO director Nitzan Chen said the office had only resorted to publicly shaming TIME because it no longer wished to tolerate “completely distorted media reports. … We decided we would no longer be silent.”

Chen said he expected an apology from the magazine. “That is the minimum that can be asked for the families who lost their loved ones in this murderous attack.”


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