Observer refuses to amend incorrect headline saying Israel denies vaccines

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Observer refuses to amend incorrect headline saying Israel denies vaccines

Publication changes image on article because it 'may have given the impression' an Israeli from Ashdod was a Jewish settler

Observer piece about Israel reportedly not giving vaccines to Palestinians - with a new image.
Observer piece about Israel reportedly not giving vaccines to Palestinians - with a new image.

The Observer has refused to change the headline of an article alleging Israel was denying Covid-19 vaccine to Palestinians.

This comes after Board of Deputies’ senior vice president Sheila Gewolb said she was “extremely troubled” by the headline and photo used in the piece, saying it gave ammunition to antisemites despite being “blatantly false”.

The article, which appeared on Sunday morning, is titled: “Palestinians excluded from Israeli Covid vaccine rollout as jabs go to settlers.”

The sub-heading says human rights groups have accused Israel of “dodging obligations to millions in occupied territories” who may have to wait months.

An Observer spokesperson told Jewish News: ‘The Guardian’s independent readers’ editor* investigated the issue and concluded that the headline and photograph were not in breach of the Guardian’s editorial code of conduct.

“Regarding the image, the readers’ editor has added the following footnote to the article: The photo accompanying this article was changed on 8 January 2021. A previous image showed a man in the Israeli city of Ashdod receiving a vaccination; in versions where caption information was not displayed, this may have given the impression that he was among Jewish settlers in the West Bank being inoculated.”

The publication initially told  Jewish News it had “not received a direct complaint from the Board of Deputies”.

Initial headline and picture used by the Observer

Media agencies around the world have reported on how Israel has now vaccinated a million citizens with the Pfizer vaccine since the middle of December, but the Observer said Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza “can only watch and wait”.

Earlier this week, Amnesty International accused Israel of “institutional discrimination”, saying it was “excluding” Palestinians.

The the Israeli embassy in London sad “it is unfortunate to see that even on a topic such as the phenomenal success of the vaccination roll out in Israel which has saved human lives, there are still those who seek to paint the State of Israel in a negative light.”


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