CiF Watch prompts correction to false claim that Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site

An Oct. 23, 2013 story in The Telegraph by Dina Rickman titled ‘Meet the Women of the Wall: Israel’s answer to Pussy Riot included the claim that the Western Wall in Jerusalem is the holiest site in Judaism. 

Later that day, we contacted Telegraph editors and alerted them to the mistake.

We demonstrated that the Temple Mount (where the First and Second Temples stood) is in fact the holiest site in Judaism, while the Western Wall (The Kotel) is merely the holiest site where Jews are currently permitted to pray.  We forwarded them information relating to other news sites which corrected their original false claims about the Western Wall (many of which were prompted by communications with CAMERA), as well as a 2008 BBC correction to their false claim.

Telegraph editors responded positively to our complaint, informing us that they had corrected the piece accordingly, noting that the Western Wall is merely “the holiest site in the Jewish world where Jews are permitted to pray”.

Unfortunately, The Telegraph published an article just yesterday with another false claim about the the Western Wall.

A Nov. 18th article by Rob Pinfold (titled “Synagogue axe attack: why has violence surged in Jerusalem?) included the following sentence:


Original passage in The Telegraph article, via a snapshot from Google


We contacted Telegraph editors today to alert them to the error, and they quite admirably revised the passage to again more accurately reflect the status of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. 

Here’s the revised passage:


It’s important to stress that the religious significance of the Temple Mount represents more than a mere detail in the context of UK media reporting on the current Palestinian violence.  

As we’ve noted previously, not only have some foreign journalists covering the situation in Jerusalem been imputing extremism to Jews who peacefully campaign for the right to pray at the Temple Mount, but there is occasionally even the suggestion that such religious Jews are ‘provocatively’ encroaching on a purely Muslim holy site.  Thus, some readers may be left with the impression that recent Palestinian violence can at least partly be explained as an (understandable) reaction to this encroachment on ‘their’ sacred site. 

Exposing and combating such falsehoods about ‘root causes’ of violence in the region represents one of the primary objectives of this blog. 

21 replies »

  1. “Jews are ‘provocatively’ encroaching on a purely Muslim holy site”-

    The problem is the world is used to and accepts Muslims being violently intolerant to other faiths, religious freedom, and freedom of speech.

    If Christians, Jews or members of any other faith would react in the same manner, all the criticism would rightfully be directed at them, and not at the so-called “provocateurs” of intolerance. But when Palestinians and other Arabs do it, somehow it’s again the Jews’ fault.

    Just another example of what some have referred to here as “Racism of lower expectations”.

  2. This correction is more relevant than the petty nit-picking of the 14th November, and I think your justification for this correction is laudable. Morally Jews have a right to pray at Temple Mount. It is their holiest site. They are also forbidden from doing so by the Israeli government for good reason.

    I hope you are not really suggesting that Jews who start praying there against the rules of the government and in the knowledge of what this means to Muslins are engaging in a ‘peaceful’ campaign. They know full well what the reaction will be and they are deliberately trying to provoke it.

    I wish for the day when all faiths who want to pray there can do so, but agreement must be reached first. It is one of the rewards of reaching a peaceful settlement in the middle east.

    • Yeah, Dinkleberry, kind of like that Martin Luther King and SCLC marching through the South. Some people thought it was peaceful, but you know how violent he was because of the reaction by all those peace loving KKK members. Hey, you’re some kind of genius, huh?
      P.S. Don’t forget about violent militant Rosa Parks.

      • Conveniently forgetting that praying in Temple Mount is forbidden? – unlike MLK’s legally approved demonstrations. You guys don’t seem to be able to grasp that one.

          • How dare you say I’m an antisemite. I most certainly am not. But I get exasperated at the failure by most in here to see any merit whatsoever in the position/case of the Palestinians and the intense determination to see an anti-Jewish agenda everywhere.

            • “any merit whatsoever in the position/case of the Palestinians ”
              That’s because there is no merit in the idea of forbidding people to pray in their holiest site. It doesn’t get any more clear-cut than that. Killing people because someone prayed someplace has no MERIT.

            • How dare ..
              Very simple for simpletons, `cause you hold on to your lies although your allegations were refuted.

              • No, it is forbidden by the Islamic institutions and organisations who usurped the Temple Mount. Just keep on lying. So much for the tolerance of Muslims.

            • Seems to me that unless you agree with everything these muppets suggest (from genocide to gerbil feltching) that you’re basically a Nazi.

              As has been pointed about this site and it’s commenters struggle with the distinction between ‘advocacy and accuracy’.

              NGO, lol