Israel’s Government Press Office publicly attacked TIME magazine on Thursday for depicting a Palestinian terrorist who killed three people in October as a victim of Israeli security forces, and failing to issue any correction or clarification on the matter despite repeated requests by Israeli officials in the months since.
In a post on its website which it also shared on Facebook, the GPO blasted TIME editors who have refused to amend the October 15 story for “ignoring the victims and humanizing the attacker.”
The story reported on the October 13 terror attack in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, when two armed Palestinian gunmen boarded an Egged bus and began shooting and stabbing passengers.
The terrorists killed three people: Haviv Haim, 78, Alon Govberg, 51, and American-Israeli Richard Lakin, 76, who was critically wounded and died some two weeks later.
Both terrorists were shot by police. Bilal Abu Ghanem was captured while Bahaa Allyan was killed.
The October 15 TIME story, titled “The Desperation Driving Young Palestinians to Violence,” simply referred to Allyan as “a graphic designer” who “was killed by Israeli security forces after allegedly trying to carry out an attack in Jerusalem.” It gave no further details about Alyan’s actions and made no mention of his victims.
“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.
Five months after a Jerusalem bus attack in which three civilians were murdered, TIME Magazine still won't change its story ignoring the victims and humanizing the attacker. Repeated requests have been ignored.
An Israeli NGO first approached TIME Magazine 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. Neither recognition nor correction of the erroneous article resulted. When contacted again, TIME Magazine correspondent 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 Government Press Office said. “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 shooting expressed their anger over the misleading text to the Ynet news website.
Maya Rachimi, who was injured in the attack, said of Aylan’s depiction as a graphic designer: “I had no idea that leaving me with two scars on my body and a punctured lung — after stabbing me with a 20cm-long knife — was professional artwork, not terrorism.”
The deceased Lakin’s son Micha Avni said he was not surprised by the magazine’s conduct and accused it of 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 resorted to publicly shaming TIME as it had lost patience for “completely distorted media reports… We decided we would not longer be silent.”
He 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,” he said.