UKMW prompts correction to SKY News claim on US view of settlements

Yesterday, we watched a Sky News segment titled ‘Two-state solution under Trump’, focusing on concerns that Israeli settlement construction and the president-elect’s pledge to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could “spell the end of the two-state solution”.

At roughly the two-minute mark of the roughly five-minute segment, the presenter, Sky News Middle East correspondent Alex Rossi, asserts – in an effort to contextualise construction across the green line – that the US views the settlements as “illegal”.  

This claim is not accurate.

As corrections to major media outlets – prompted by CAMERA and UKMW – to this same claim have demonstrated, the US position since the early 80s has been that settlements are “illegitimate”, not “illegal”.   Most notably, in September, Associated Press issued a correction (following communication with CAMERA’s Jerusalem office) which included the following language:

The Associated Press reported erroneously that the United States considers Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank to be illegal. While the United States opposes settlement construction, it does not take a position on its legality. Instead, it says that settlements are “illegitimate,” ”corrosive to the cause of peace” and “raise serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.” 

We alerted Sky to the error in the following tweets – which we followed up with an email to the network.

Earlier today, we heard back from Sky producers, informing us that they upheld our complaint and thanked us for bringing the information to their attention – particularly the AP correction.  Sky deleted the video in question, and re-published it without the false information on the US view of settlements. Sky also revised the accompanying online article, and deleted the Tweets and Facebook posts linking to the original video.

Though we would have preferred an on-air correction or some other public admission of error, we’re nonetheless glad that the record regarding the US position on settlements has been set straight.

10 replies »

  1. Perhaps I am stupid, but could somebody explain exactly what the difference is between “illegal” and “illegitimate”. I have always understood “illegitimate” to refer to somebody whose parents weren’t joined in holy matrimony at the time of conception, whereas “illegal” refers to an act that is against some law. Now in some countries being an illegitimate child, or having an illegitimate child, is not illegal, although the neighbours might not talk to you anymore. In other countries having, or being, an illegitimate child is against the law, and means somebody is liable to be killed (especially the woman if there has been any naughty business).

    So how can a settlement be illegitimate but not illegal, eh? Not being sarcastic, I really would like to know.

    • “illegitimate” means that someone doesn’t like it.
      “illegal”, in this context, means that someone doesn’t like it and invents an antisemitic canard with zero basis in law.

        • External are you seriously suggesting that because something is described as “illegitimate” it cannot be positive?
          Because if you are perhaps you could explain the logic behind your claim.

    • jan to be honest I believe it is a case of the U.S. State Dept. wanting to please both sides.

      The difference between “illegitimate” and “illegal” is a matter of nuance.
      Illegitimate means “Not authorized by the law, not in accordance with accepted standards or rules.”

      Illegal means “Contrary to or forbidden by law, especially criminal law.”

      Personally I would not use either term.