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‘Breaking Travel News’ loses its way in anti-Israel World Cup coverage

The fact that Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, is Israel’s capital is the type of information a travel publication should know offhand.

The Doha skyline. Credit: Pixabay.
The Doha skyline. Credit: Pixabay.
Tamar Sternthal
Tamar Sternthal
Tamar Sternthal is director of the Israel office of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

With the FIFA World Cup about to kick off in Qatar, ready yourselves for a slew of sports, lifestyle and travel publications veering out of bounds with misinformed coverage touching on international affairs, a topic well outside these media outlets’ normal beat and area of expertise.

Breaking Travel News, which bills itself as “the leading online resource for travel industry executives from around the world,” got an early start on the pre-games act with a Sept. 9 article on the World Cup that was rife with factual errors and tendentious language demonizing Israel.

But the travel publication’s first error did not entail any kind of specialized knowledge. Indeed, the capital of a country is exactly the type of information one would expect a travel publication to know offhand. And, in fact, a June 2020 Breaking Travel News article did correctly refer to Israel’s capital as the “capital Jerusalem.”

Despite the fact that Israel’s capital has not relocated within the last two-and-a-half years, Breaking Travel News’ September article cited a new location for the Jewish state’s seat of government.

The article twice employed the journalistic shorthand of referring to a nation by its capital, and wrongly referred to Israel’s capital as Tel Aviv.

The article stated, “Although Qatar does not have any formal ties with Israel, it is in talks with Tel Aviv to allow the occupation state to open a temporary consular office to support an estimated 10,000 Israeli football fans who are expected to make the trip to attend the football tournament” (emphases added).

A second erroneous reference followed: “However, there is no indication that Doha will upgrade its ties with Tel Aviv until there is significant progress in ending the illegal occupation of Palestine” (emphases added).

Numerous media outlets, including The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, Reuters, Newsweek and the The Guardian, among many others, have corrected this identical error, including in Arabic (see Al Hurra and CNN, BBC Arabic and Deutsche Welle Arabic).

In another factual error, the Breaking Travel News article wrongly referred to the “illegal occupation of Palestine.” While Israel occupies parts of Judea and Samaria, commenly referred to as the “West Bank,” the occupation is not illegal, a point acknowledged in corrections by The New York Times (three times), NBC, The Independent, Bloomberg and AFP.

Nor is it correct to refer to Judea and Samaria as “Palestine,” a point corrected by the Associated Press, Voice of America, The Los Angeles Times and Reuters (including in Arabic).

In addition, the article used clearly partisan language to refer to Israel, demonizing it as an “occupation state” and an “apartheid state.”

Breaking Travel News, which promises “all the information insiders need to keep their fingers on the travel pulse,” has lost its compass, with seething anti-Israel hostility completely overriding the professional standards and ethics designed to guide journalists towards impartial, accurate coverage.

Tamar Sternthal is director of CAMERA’s Israel Office.

This article was originally published by CAMERA.

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