All Israel

Al Jazeera retracts 'fake news' story related to Israel - but damage was already done

Workers at the Al Jazeera offices in Jerusalem on June 13, 2017. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A story which appeared on the website of Al Jazeera's English channel's website about a United Arab Emirates pilot who resigned in protest against being suspended by the airline for refusing to fly to Tel Aviv was false.

Al Jazeera retracted the story on Wednesday, but the damage has already been done. The retraction was highlighted by Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone Global Associates and chairman of the Muslims Against Antisemitism (MAAS) organization, who tweeted that he had also been targeted by misinformation campaigns by Al Jazeera. He added in his statement that he sees it as "unsettling that the channel continues to peddle anti-Semitic stories, like BDS" and lamented that despite the retraction, “the anti-Semitic story is spreading widely in Arabic speaking circles."

He also called on Al Jazeera to apologize for the original posting of the story.

An “Editor’s Note” on the Al Jazeera English website admitted that the story was based on a Facebook post by a person who had, on further investigation, proved to be nonexistent, and therefore “all reports circulating on social media around this are false."

The incident comes amid a general warming of relations between Israel and several of its neighboring Arab countries, including an agreement between Israel and the UAE which would allow citizens of each country to visit the other country without a visa. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said “the ratification of the agreement is a central element of the full and quick implementation of the many agreements being worked on these days with the Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.”

Palestinian factions, as well as the governments of Iran and Turkey, have deeply criticized the normalization agreements as amounting to a “betrayal” of the Palestinians and of Islam.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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