Guardian prompted to correct Yitzchak Navon obit’s references to Sabra & Shatila Massacre

On Nov. 8th, the Guardian published an obituary for former Israeli President Yitzchak Navon, who died three days earlier at the age of 94.

The obituary, written by Lawrence Jaffe, included three misleading passages or omissions, all pertaining to context and background on Navon’s role in Israel’s decision to create the Kahan commission in response to the massacre of 700-800 Palestinians in Lebanon in 1982.

  • In referencing the attack on Palestinian civilians in Lebanon, it failed to note that the massacre was actually committed by Christian Phalangists.
  • It falsely claimed that a “UN Commission” found that Israel was responsible for the massacres. In fact, the commission was not formed under the auspices of the United Nations. Rather, it was a relatively obscure (non-UN affiliated) “international commission“, but one so biased that their report actually accused Israel of committing “genocide” in Lebanon.
  • It failed to even mention the Israeli inquiry into the massacre, the Kahan Commission.

The following day – in part due to a Twitter conversation we had with the journalist – the Guardian issued the following correction:

corex at g

We commend Mr. Jaffe for his prompt and courteous reply to our concerns about an element of the obituary.

16 replies »

  1. All part of the Orientalism and racism of “lower expectations”. The group that did the actual killing doesn’t get mentioned often in discussions about Sabra and Shatila, but Israel’s indirect (and arguable) responsibility always does.

    Similarly to the current knife terror wave. The talk is all Israel as if the Palestinian authority and people are a non-factor. The obsession with Israel and Jews of course has a lot to do with it too.

  2. Celebrate this victory, but maybe Lawrence Jaffe will find himself less popular amongst Guardian journos for breaking ranks and telling a balanced story.

  3. It’s true that the actual massacre was carried out by the Phalangists, it was Sharon’s troops that surrounded the camps and his flares that lit the Phalangists’ way within the camps. Think the term is ‘collective responsibility’.

    Collective responsibility : also known as collective guilt is a concept in which individuals are responsible for other people’s actions by TOLERATING, IGNORING, or harboring them, without actively collaborating in these actions.