Times of London corrects, Guardian still misleads on EL AL sex discrimination story

A Jerusalem Court ruled last week that the Israeli airline El Al may no longer ask women to change seats due to the requests of ultra-orthodox men who don’t want to sit next to women.  Renee Rabinowitz, an 81-year-old Holocaust survivor, was asked by a flight attendant, after she had boarded an El Al flight in 2015, to move to another seat at the request of a haredi man sitting next to her. She agreed, but subsequently sued the airline over the incident.  The court ruled that asking a women to move seats due to her gender amounts to illegal sex discrimination.

We highlighted the word “ask” for a reason.  

As multiple reports made clear, Ms. Rabinowitz was not forced to move seats. She was asked.  The court still ruled that it’s illegal for a flight attendant to just ask a woman to move – solely because of her gender – at a man’s request, but the plaintiff wasn’t claiming that the Israeli airline forced her to move seats at the behest of the ultra-Orthodox passenger.

Nonetheless, Times of London’s report on the court’s ruling botched this crucial detail. Here’s the original headline of a story written by Gregg Carlstrom:

The opening sentence reinforces the misleading headline in claiming that the women was “forced” to move seats. 

An 83-year old woman has won a case against Israel’s national airline after it forced her to move at the start of a flight because an ultra-Orthodox man did not want to sit next to a woman.

We tweeted Carlstrom and lodged an official complaint with editors, arguing that the words “make” and “forced” (in the headline and article respectively) were inaccurate, and thus in violation of the Editors’ Code. The following day, we received word that the headline had been changed.  Here’s the new (rather cheeky) headline.

The opening sentence also removed the word “forced”.  However, the new word “pressured” is only a small improvement, and still is inconsistent with the facts.

The Guardian also reported on the case, and, like Times of London, erroneously claimed in their headline that the airline “made” women change their seat. We complained to Guardian editors on Thursday, but haven’t yet received a reply.

Related Article:


29 replies »

  1. Oh no, you don’t get out of this so simply. The woman had BOOKED A SPECIFIC SEAT on an ElAl flight and was sitting in it minding her own busines when she wad ACCOSTED by a flght attendant at the behest of a misogenous religious zealot. This is more than gender discrimination; it is SEXUAL ABUSE and you regious apoligists will not get away with it.

    • It seems to me that you are using rather strong language, i.e., ACCOSTED (love the way you write the word all in upper case for emphasis, like a child), which is not necessarily born out by the facts. Likewise for the assertion of “SEXUAL ABUSE” (upper case again). Who are these regious [sic] apologists you refer to, and what are they getting away with? Then there is your, again, upper case SEXUAL ABUSE instead of simply referring to the matter as simply “sexual discrimination.” I think most reasonable people would agree that “sexual abuse,” even without caps, is overdoing it a little. The court said the airline may not ask a woman to change seats to suit someone’s religious beliefs.
      Faced with the situation at hand the flight attendant did what is normal, i.e., make a request of the person you deem to be the more reasonable to ease a situation.

      Do you get this exercised about the routine, daily misogyny that runs rampant throughout so-called “Palestinian” society, i.e., Arab/Muslim, and the wider Arab and Muslim regions of the world? I’ll bet you don’t.

  2. Excuse me asking, but why was the woman asked to move? Wouldn’t it be more politic to offer the man another seat elsewhere to suit his preconceptions, and so avoid an “incident”? The woman didn’t object sitting next to the man, it was the man who objected sitting next to the woman. If he really believes all that stuff, shouldn’t he have the courage of his convictions and ask to be seated elsewhere?

  3. Having been on a number of flights to and from Israel, on various different carriers, and seen this outrageous behaviour from the black suited fundamentalist, I think all the airlines should have rows of seats at the back of the plane (or even better, if possible, in the hold) where these idiots can book a seat without having to inflict them on the women on the flight. If there are male cabin crew, they can get cabin service, otherwise, the female staff can avoid them as well. Booked in Business or First, but find you are sat next to a woman – tough – head to the back.

  4. And there are still those, with a straight face, deny that Israel is a basket case.

    • “Israel is a basket case.”
      Really Stephen, when you refer to Israel do you mean the portion of the earth’s surface or the population, as defined below?

      “The portion of the earth’s surface occupied by an independent nation or people; or the inhabitants of such territory. In its primary meaning “country” signifies “place;” and. in a larger sense, the territory or dominions occupied by a community ; or even waste and unpeopled sections or regions of the earth. But its metaphorical meaning is no less definite and well understood; and in common parlance, in historical and geographical writings, in diplomacy, legislation, treaties, and international codes, the word is employed to denote the population, the nation, the state, or the government, having possession and dominion over a territory.”

      Normally I would regard the former as the ravings of an idiot, and the latter as the ravings of an anti-Semitic ‘looney tune’.
      In your case Stephen it is more than probable that they are the ravings of an idiotic, anti-Semitic ‘looney tune’.

        • “Tell me Gerald have you ever had a thought all of your own ?”


          Now Stephen,the answer to the question I put to you above is?

              • Sorry Gerald the ” as defined below ” makes that impossible. I don’t understand a freaking word of that bit.

                • Stephen I cannot and will not be responsible for your ignorance and stupidity.
                  Do not apologise, but, come back when you have an elementary understanding of the English language. I will not hold my breath waiting because from the evidence of your posts and your inability to answer simple questions you are borderline retarded.

                    • Stephen your ignorance and stupidity have absolutely nothing to do with you being an Irishman.
                      As for being ‘humble’, self evidently not. A narcissistic individual such as yourself cannot even spell humble, never mind be it.

                    • Gerald I can spell humble when I wish to umble is my way of expressing my umility. Jezuz Gerald it is just as well you are not a fish. You bite on every hook.

                    • Stephen your ‘reply’ and puerile attempt at justification by claiming to being humorous just confirms your deep and ingrained narcissism.
                      Get well soon Stephen, although I fear your mental health issues are beyond help.

                    • Stephen you are going in circles like a headless chicken, and making as much sense.
                      Come back when you have something cogent and worthwhile to post, IF you ever can.
                      In the meantime defeating you Stephen is too easy, much the same as shooting fish in a barrel.

  5. And today we learn that 85% of Israelis have a more favourable view of Trump than Obama.

    #basket case

    • And today we learn, if we didn’t know already, that 100% of Stephen Bellamy wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him on the arse as he walked by.

      Even someone semi-literate like yourself Stephen should be able to read that it is 81% of Israelis have a favourable rating/positive view of the US. A figure that has been reasonably stable over the last few Presidencies.
      When it comes to favourable views of a particular President of the US, in Israel Trump stands on 56%, Obama’s figure varied from 71% to 49%. So to save you trying to use your inadequate brain the difference between Trump and the lowest figure for Obama is 7% not the mythical 85% figure you manufactured.

      #lying ignoramus Stephen

  6. The woman was asked and she could have said no and complained later that she should not have been asked. I figure she heard it as a request for cooperation. She must have felt pressured and intimidated by the airlines not by the man. In the US recently, a few people have complained about being physically removed from seats they have paid for after being asked to leave because of “over-booking.” Obviously the man should have been asked to walk over to a man or a woman who was sitting next to a man, and ask if that passenger would be willing to sit beside the first woman– in other words, switch seats. Or much better still, the flight attendants should have done that kind of accommodation for the man. A request can be made in advance, as is done for meals. And they can say it is impossible on that flight or that the man must sit wherever because he did not book a seat in advance. It should never have been requested by anyone of the woman. I love Israel and think they are quite advanced in many ways, including humanitarian. I do not get why things like this would occur. Women are part of the army as are gays. But in such cases, they are not worse than the US; just slightly different.