A March 1st article by Robert Fisk in the Independent about the recent Indian attack on a training camp of the Islamist terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan included the following headline:
The headline caught our eye because “Israeli fingerprints” is a term often used by extremists to suggest some sort of false flag operation, in which it is alleged that Israel is secretly behind attacks or crimes launched or committed in other countries. If you Google the term “Israeli fingerprints”, anti-Israel conspiracy theories like these come up:
Journalist Yair Rosenberg aptly noted that the headline also evokes the bigotry which sees a Jewish hidden hand behind all the world’s woes.
Tellingly, the Indy article was picked up by Iranian’s PressTV:
Moreover, upon reading the article, it’s clear that Fisk – whilst engaging in his usual Israel bashing – doesn’t actually allege “Israeli fingerprints” on India’s anti-terror operation in Pakistan, insofar as the term in this context implies Israeli culpability for the conflict. Rather, his primary focus is the fact that Israel is a big arms supplier to New Delhi.
We complained to Indy editors about the headline on two grounds: first, that it was inflammatory and feeds conspiracy theories. Second, that it isn’t supported by the article. In response, they changed the headline to this:
Though the new headline is still very misleading, it is, we feel, a slight improvement as the new words at least avoid conveying an overtly conspiratorial narrative.
- AFP corrects: Jerusalem’s holy status in Jerusalem long predates Muslim conquest (CAMERA)
- Summary of BBC News portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – Feb. 2019 (BBC Watch)
- Guardian prompts Indy to correct article on Ilhan Omar tweet (UK Media Watch)