Times of London

Times Mid-East correspondent Catherine Philp responds to our criticism

In late February we commented on an apt illustration of the increasingly prevalent dynamic within the UK media of the blurring of news and opinion, in a story at Times of London by their Middle East correspondent Catherine Philp

Catherine Philp

Catherine Philp

The story, about debates in the Knesset over legislation aimed at ending an exemption that allows thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews to skip military service, originally included the following headline:


As we noted at the time, given that roughly 8 percent of Israeli Jews are ultra-Orthodox (Haredi), Philps was in effect using the pejorative “zealot” – a term with very specific Jewish historical connotations – to describe roughly 480,000 Israelis.  Though some ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel can of course fairly be described as extreme or zealous, to paint the entire community in such negative terms represents the kind of crude stereotype that progressive journalists would typically abhor.

Following our complaint to Times editors, the headline was revised, and the loaded word “zealots” was replaced with the more accurate term “ultra-orthodox”.

new header

On March 18 (three weeks after the original post), we received the following Tweets from the Times journalist.

However, the word “zealot” was also used in the body of the story, here:

Ultra-Orthodox Jews who refuse to serve in the Israeli army could face time in jail under a new law agreed by a parliamentary committee in a move likely to trigger fresh protests from zealots.

We asked her about this on Twitter, and she responded with the following:

We appreciate Ms. Philps’ clarification and have updated the original post accordingly.

UPDATE: Some time after this post was published, it appears as if Ms. Philps deleted the the two last Tweets we highlighted.  (We embedded the code from the original Tweets, but now that they are deleted from Twitter the html doesn’t work, and, as you see, merely the text appears.) However, we found copies. Here they are:

cache tweet


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11 replies »

  1. Well done for obtaining full clarification over the issue and the Times to be commended for making the correction.

  2. Well done Adam, great twittering.
    However (a) Philp is a multiple offender and (b) this reveals something very serious about The Times editors. It’s basically OK to be racist about Jews?

    • But Fritz, aren’t you paid by the International Jewish Organisation for Killing Every Gentile And Spreading Lies About Marvellous Palestinians (I JOKE GASLAMP for short) an unlimited sum to spread your hasbara lies? Surely you could devote your life full-time to exposing examples of so-called “anti-semitism” in Austrian media?

      • Well, I would, if I could make a living, but the IKG shies away from confrontations. Sometimes I write a personal email to the editors, if I get in rage, that`s all.
        There is a very polite, privately backed website , dealing with the coverage of Israel in Austrian media, that`s that.
        But no one covers the new antisemitism which is endemic. No wonder, `cause the new antisemitism is mainstream, shared by all political parties.
        Without at least a strong financial backing which ensures your living you are existentially dead in Austria, if you do it by yourself.
        Where are the Elders, when you need them?

  3. The latest piece from Catherine Philp in The Times: ‘peace process on the brink’ falsely states that Israeli settlements are on ‘occupied Arab land’. I can’t get any response from Ms Philp or The Times although I have commented several times now.