Medical teams remove the body of one the casualties of a terror attack on a bus in Armon Hanetziv. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Armon Hanatziv

Only public shaming brought TIME to correct an offensive article it refused to change for five months. However, it did not apologize for publishing a piece that humanized a brutal terrorist and ignored his Israeli victims. 

After five months of running an erroneous article, TIME Magazine has finally corrected an offensive piece it published on a Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem in October in which three Israeli were murdered, following heavy pressure by the Israeli government which publicly protested its biased reporting.

Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) issued a statement last week criticizing TIME for its refusal to change its story “ignoring the victims and humanizing the attacker, “despite repeated requests” to do so.

The controversial article, authored by TIME correspondent Rebecca Collard, was published on October 15th, 2015, two days after the terrorist attacks.

Tilted “The Desperation Driving Young Palestinians to Violence,” the article recounts how terrorist Bahaa Allyan “a graphic designer from the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood Jabel Mukaber, was killed by Israeli security forces after allegedly trying to carry out an attack in Jerusalem.”

The article says nothing further on the attack.

“In this attack, TIME Magazine’s “graphic designer” opened fire on the passengers, killing three Israelis – Alon Gobeberg, Haim Haviv and Richard Lakin – before being shot by police. TIME fails to mention the three deaths, much less the names of the victims. TIME also uses the word “allegedly” and describes the attack as “trying to carry out,” the GPO said in the statement, issued on Thursday.

Another 17 Israelis were wounded in the attack. TIME failed to mention them as well.

“To our sorrow, repeated requests to TIME Magazine, initially by an Israeli NGO and subsequently by the GPO, have all failed to induce TIME to correct the serious factual error,” the GPO pointed out.

An Israeli NGO first approached Collard on October 18th and received no response from her.

The Government Press Office contacted Collard on February 25th, presented the facts and demanded a correction, with no result. When contacted again, TIME Magazine correspondent Collard wrote to the GPO on March 4th: “I’ve forwarded your concerns to my editors.”

“Another reminder and a letter to the TIME International editor did not help and the article – five months after the attack – still presents the murderer of three civilians as a seemingly innocent Palestinian graphic designer who was inexplicably killed by Israel,” the GPO stated.

“Israel has been criticized recently for confronting some of the foreign media with accusations of bias. Let the reader be the judge,” the GPO concluded.

Maya Rachimi, who was injured in the attack, told Israel’s Ynet of Aylan’s depiction as a graphic designer: “I had no idea that leaving me with two scars on my body and a punctured lung — after stabbing me with a 20-centimeter-long knife — was professional artwork, not terrorism.”

The GPO’s statement, also posted on Facebook, apparently generated enough public pressure to cause TIME to correct parts of the article and add the line on the bottom, stating: “This story has been updated to give a fuller account of the attack.”

TIME failed to issue an apology.

“When the headlines are lies, journalistic reports are completely biased, and journalistic ethics cry out to the heavens – we decided we will no longer let it pass, and use all of the tools at our disposal in such extreme cases,” GPO director Nitzan Chen said. “I expect the respectable magazine to take responsibility and issue an apology for the sake of human integrity. This is the least that can be demanded for the families who lost their loved ones in this murderous attack.”

Israel has been battling viciously biased reporting by the international media, and especially during the past six months of almost daily Palestinian terrorist attacks. The press has attempted to refute these accusations. However, numerous documented incidents of media bias and unprofessional journalism demonstrate that there is indeed a systemic bias on the part of the foreign press in Israel.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel