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Jewish Chronicle rapped over claim Iran vowed to ‘wipe Jews off face of Earth’

The regulator said Iranian political leaders had instead called for Israel's destruction.

By Bron Maher

IPSO has ordered the Jewish Chronicle to publish a correction over a claim that Iran “has repeatedly vowed to wipe… Jews off the face of the Earth”.

The claim appeared in a November 2022 opinion article titled “Why don’t footballers take the knee for Jews?”, written by academic Zoe Strimpel.

Strimpel wrote that she commended the Iranian football team for not singing along to their national anthem in solidarity with protestors against the death of Mahsa Amini. However, she found it “hard to ignore that no football commentator mentioned that the Islamic Republic has repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel and Jews off the face of the Earth” or that England players had not protested misogyny in Iran.

A complainant said that while it was true Iranian leaders had “repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel… off the face of the Earth”, it was not true they had repeatedly called for the eradication of Jewish people.

The Jewish Chronicle removed the relevant clause and added a footnote saying: “An earlier version of this article said that the Islamic Republic has repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel and Jews off the face of the Earth, this has been updated.”

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However, the paper defended its claim to IPSO, arguing that Iran‘s position on the matter was difficult to pin down and citing articles in which Iranian political and religious leaders called for the destruction of Israel.

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However, IPSO said the information provided “did not support the claim that Iran had repeatedly vowed to wipe all ‘Jews off the face of the Earth'”, a claim the regulator said was “significant… and should have been easily verified”. It also said that the earlier removal of the offending claim had been insufficient and ordered a full correction in both print and online.

Separately, on Wednesday IPSO published the results of an external review into its work, which discussed the regulator’s decision not to open a standards investigation into the Jewish Chronicle.

Review author Sir Bill Jeffrey wrote: “Although the case of the Jewish Chronicle can be argued either way, the fact that it did not lead to a standards investigation, and IPSO’s success, over a period, in improving the publication’s standards through guidance and training, suggests that the likelihood of such an investigation being mounted in future is remote.

“This is not to imply that IPSO should have mounted an investigation for the sake of having one. They should not.”

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