An Israeli maternity ward. (Abir Sultan/Flash90) (Abir Sultan/Flash90)
Israeli maternity ward

Pro-Israel media watchdog Honest Reporting blasted Newsweek for accusing Israel of practicing “apartheid” in a headline for a story about maternity wards.

The Israel-based group, Honest Reporting, said the use of the term for sensationalist purposes was “unethical and unprofessional” and said it “believes that Newsweek’s headline should be changed.” The group added that it considers the use of the word “apartheid” to be “inflammatory and a blatant attempt…to attract web traffic at the expense of accuracy.”

The controversial headline was assigned to a Newsweek piece written by columnist Marc Schulman, who writes a regular bulletin called “Tel Aviv Diary,” in which he gives his personal take on living in Israel. In his latest post, published on Thursday, he highlights the current controversy caused by an Israeli investigative report claiming that Israeli hospitals cater to Jewish women who ask to be separated from Arab counterparts in maternity wards.

The headline —  “Tel Aviv Diary: Apartheid in the Maternity Room” — generated criticism from a number of readers who called Schulman a “self -hating Jew,” “hater of Israel” and, paradoxically, a “Zionist Pig” among other things.  In his personal blog, Schulman wrote that while he “disagreed” with the choice of headline for his article, he believes it is “an effective headline” that “at least reflected aspects of the story.”

“Is it a fully accurate headline? No, it’s not,” he said. “Israel within the 1967 borders is not an apartheid state — Arabs are free to take any jobs, go anywhere, live anywhere they desire. What is true, however, is that in our state of perpetual war, it is too easy to fall into the trap of becoming an apartheid state.”

Schulman said the article received so much attention from readers that Newsweek’s editor-in-chief wrote him an email thanking him for the piece. He further explained that he has “no control” over the titles of his columns.

“[Writers] write a story and our editors or the headline writers choose the headlines,” he said. “Their choice is based on some connection to the story and a headline that they feel will get readers to click on the article and read it.”

By: The Algemeiner