The New Statesman has deleted two articles about Palestine after complaints from pro-Israel groups. Both of the censored articles can be read in full below.
On Tuesday, UK Media Watch, a group that combs the press searching for content critical of Israel, claimed credit for having one of the articles censored by the London-based magazine.
The article had been sponsored by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and published on the New Statesman’s website on 18 November.
It had urged governments to pressure Israel “into meeting its obligations under international law.” It also advocated that the trade in goods from Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank should be halted.
A spokesperson for the New Statesman told The Electronic Intifada that they “removed the advertorial in question because it conflicts with the New Statesman’s editorial independence. As a publication we are committed to producing analytical and skeptical journalism.”
The magazine did not respond when asked if the article contained any factual inaccuracies.
No correction has been issued, and the article links now display blank pages with error messages.
A PSC spokesperson told The Electronic Intifada on Wednesday that neither they nor the articles’ authors had been contacted before deletion.
On Wednesday evening PSC called for its supporters to contact the magazine’s editors, demanding that the article be restored.
Two days earlier, UK Media Watch had published a blog post, alleging that the PSC was “compromised by links to extremism.”
The post tried to justify Israel’s frequent military raids on Aida – one of the topics addressed in Ajarma’s article – by describing them as “anti-terror operations.” Furthermore, it tried to provide excuses for the killing of a 13-year-old boy by Israel’s forces of occupation.
UK Media Watch is an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, which monitors the US media in a similar manner.
A number of tweets about Ajarma’s article had been issued by UK Media Watch. Some of these were directed at the New Statesman, including its deputy editor Helen Lewis.UK Media Watch is led by Adam Levick, an American with Israeli citizenship. Levick wrote the blog post complaining about Ajarma’s article.
He lives in Modiin, which abuts the occupied West Bank.
As second Palestine-related article was deleted by the New Statesman on Wednesday. Originally published on 15 September, it too was sponsored by the PSC.
Again, the PSC was given no warning before the deletion occurred, a spokesperson for the campaign group stated.
“Israel is building Palestine out of existence, using settlements as a weapon,” the article stated. It was written by Hugh Lanning, the PSC’s chair.
Lanning called for the UK government to “use the levers at its disposal to stop the building of any more illegal settlements.”