A Small Episode That Gets at a Larger Middle East Problem

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What we hear in English is not always what it is said in Arabic:

Yesterday Palestinian Media Watch exposed that the Palestinian news agency Ma'an misled its English-language readers by changing a statement of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. The actual statement promoted violence by Islamic forces in order to achieve Islamic dominance:

The Islamic nation "is capable of supplying an abundance of new blood... [for] restoring the glory of Islam and the flag of Allah's oneness."
[Ma'an Arabic, May 3, 2011]

Ma'an's English version deleted the call for Islamic domination and replaced it with a call for "peace" that did not exist in the original:

"We tell the Israeli and the American occupiers that we have leaders who have changed history with their Jihad and their steadfastness. We are ready to sacrifice our lives to bring back peace."
[Ma'an English, May 3, 2011]

The Jerusalem Post reported today that after PMW exposed the deceptive text, Ma'an removed it from its website. Ma'an then corrected the translation, put the statement back on the website, and informed the readers of the "translation error" as follows:

"This version CORRECTS a translation error in paragraph seven and adds new information."
 
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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