Germany's DW corrects error that 600,000 settlers live in Gaza

CAMERA: ‘Contrary to common journalistic practice, editors did not append a note alerting readers to the change’

Marchers at an SJP-organized march in support of Gaza in Wellington, New Zealand (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Marchers at an SJP-organized march in support of Gaza in Wellington, New Zealand
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The media watchdog organization CAMERA successfully convinced the giant German public news organization Deutsche Welle to correct an error in a report that falsely stated that 600,000 Jewish settlers reside in Gaza.
Writing an opinion article on November 16 for the Deutsche Welle, Rainer Hermann of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper said, “The first is the situation in Gaza – an area where more than 600,000 Jewish settlers have built residences in what is internationally recognized as territory belonging to the Palestinian National Authority.”
CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) wrote that “There is not a single Israeli settler in the Gaza Strip. Israel withdrew all of its civilians and soldiers from that territory in 2005.”
CAMERA’s Israel office noted that it ”prompted a correction at Deutsche Welle after an op-ed incorrectly reported that 600,000 Jewish settlers reside in the Gaza Strip. Remarking on both the European Court of Justice decision last week regarding the labeling of Israeli products produced across the 1949 armistice line, along with the Islamic Jihad rocket barrage on Israel.”
The media watchdog organization added that “Moreover, there were approximately 8,500 settlers prior to the evacuation; not 600,000. The only Israelis currently known to be in the Gaza Strip are two mentally challenged civilians held hostage by Hamas which denies them Red Cross [visitation] in violation of international law.”
According to CAMERA, “In response to communication from CAMERA, DW editors quickly amended the article, commendably removing the false assertion that 600,000 settlers reside in the Gaza Strip. The corrected text now only states: Both events shine a light on reasons the conflict remains unresolved, including the situation in Gaza.”
The lack of journalistic correction standards at Deutsche Welle prompted CAMERA to comment that “contrary to common journalistic practice, editors did not append a note alerting readers to the change.”
Deutsche Welle also faced criticism in early November from US ambassador Richard Grenell who compared Deutsche Welle to the Russian state-controlled Sputnik news outlet.
Grenell wrote, “Germany state owned Deutsche Welle or Russia state owned Sputnik? You decide.”
He included the Twitter handle of Ines Pohl, the editor-in-chief of Deutsche Welle, who was previously the editor-in-chief of the largely anti-Israel left-wing taz. Grenell’s criticism of Deutsche Welle appeared to be targeted at DW’s mirroring of Russian propaganda that trashed the Ronald Reagan statue in the US Embassy. Berlin authorities rejected the placement of the statue of Reagan, who played a critical role in the demise of the Berlin Wall and communism.
Pohl responded to Grenell: “Dear @RichardGrenell. Our reporting is based on freedom of speech, not government orders. And our obligations include reporting objectively on discussions taking place in Germany.”
Grenell, who is known for his sharp wit and biting commentary, fired back, “You obviously need to be talking to more non-Russians or get out of the newsroom more.”
In 2018, the German Jewish organization Values Initiative accused Deutsche Welle of publishing an antisemitic article by Bettina Marx, the head of the Ramallah office of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation. Marx blamed only Israel for a collapse in peace talks with the Palestinians. Values Initiative listed a series of alleged factual errors in Marx’s text. Marx claimed Israel “annexed” West Jordan and the Gaza Strip in 1967, while Adler and Sandra Kreisler from Values Initiative wrote that Israel’s seizure of West Jordan and the Gaza Strip took place in the context of a war launched by Jordan and Egypt.
The Jerusalem Post learned that when Pohl was editor-in-chief of taz, she faced criticism from Berlin’s Jewish community for publishing an antisemitic commentary.
In June, the Deutsche Welle blocked a prominent Indian journalist on Twitter because he criticized a DW article that quoted an antisemitic Muslim politician in India without citing the politician's crude anti-Jewish hatred.
Vijeta Uniyal, who is widely considered one of the leading experts on Israeli-India relations, told the Post at the time: “As an Indian journalist living in Germany, I regularly analyze German media coverage. I have repeatedly tweeted about the anti-Israel bias in Deutsche Welle’s coverage… I was appalled to see an Indian politician with a track record of making antisemitic remarks being quoted by the broadcaster as a representative of the Indian Muslims.”
After a Post media query, Deutsche Welle unblocked Uniyal on Twitter.