CAMERA Media Analyses.
08 December '14..
In 2012, the publishers of the cash-strapped Newsweek calculated that in order to survive it had to shut down its print edition. It's hard to understand what calculation editors had in mind when days ago they decided to print Sarah Helm's Dec. 4 totally tendentious and error-ridden article, "The Young Woman at the Forefront of Jerusalem's Holy War."
Helm's article depicts a brigade of defiant young Muslim women, led by the dynamic Latifa, who confront "Israeli police in bulletproof vests, with truncheons and guns" in order "to protest about the Jewish 'incursions' on to the [Temple Mount] mount." As Latifa puts it: "We are women. It is they who are scared. Look their weapons. We only have our voices."
"Latifa was a mathematics teacher in a Jerusalem school before she lost her job for 'inciting' pupils by telling them not to sing the Israeli national anthem, she says. Now she studies the mathematical complexities of the status quo, telling people when they can come and go, when the Jews might try to get in and pray, and when the women can cry 'Allahu Akbar' in an attempt to frighten them away," Helm intones.
Of the "mosque's protectors," Helm avers: "They come here because they feel safe, they say." The Newsweek writer goes on to quote the "tall, elegant" Latifa: "It is the only place we have left. It is ours." The intrepid journalist ignores the fact that Latifa has likely found another source of income since leaving her teaching career and that she and her cohorts have an additional, less spiritual motivation for harassing Jews and Christians who come to the holy site: The Muslim guards, or "Mourabitoun" in Arabic, are "funded by various Islamist parties, including some extremist groups in Israel," Haaretz recently reported. Haaretz's Amos Harel detailed:
A senior security official told Haaretz that the defense establishment has learned that the Mourabitoun guards receive a monthly salary of between 3,000 and 4,000 shekels ($776 - $1036). Some of the funds come from the Gulf States, through the occupied territories by way of couriers, and from there the money makes its way into East Jerusalem. Recently, the Shin Bet and Israel Police apprehended a courier at the Jordanian border in possession of 1 million shekels, meant for the Mourabitoun guards.
Of their activities, Harel writes: "In many cases, the guards, particularly the females, have been involved in clashes with the Israel Police or Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. Five female members of the guard have been issued orders prohibiting them from being on or near the Temple Mount, due to their involvement in previous incidents."
But in Helm's account, the only "radical" to appear is the "radical Jewish rabbi Yehuda Glick, who had come to the Haram to pray." The radical Muslim groups that pay agitators like Latifa to intimidate Jewish and Christian visitors have no place in Helm's account. Thus she misrepresents the women's actions as nothing more than personal initiatives of women who have "only [their] voices," as opposed to provocations and clashes organized by radical Muslim groups.
But Helm's misrepresentation of the women's actions is just one example in a long list of outright errors and gross distortions. "Mathematical complexities" are not necessary to demonstrate that Newsweek's publication of Helm's piece was a major failure. A simple list will do.