Deception scandal at USA Today, involving foreign correspondent and Pulitzer Prize finalist Jack Kelley. Howard Kurtz reports in the Washington Post; here’s the USA Today story about this; and The Zionist Conspiracy argues that a Kelley story that painted a highly unflattering picture of Israeli settlers was fabricated (USA Today says that “confirming the Jewish settlers story appears to be impossible”). I’m not up on all the details, but it seems like quite a problem. Thanks to Carolyn Stern for the pointer.

UPDATE: Reader Andrew Lazarus writes:

The Hebron settlers are absolutely awful (even in times of quiet they go on rampages against Arabs that are prosecuted in the most leisurely manner), but the Kelley story looks FAKE to me.

For security reasons (I assume), taxis in Israel are color coded. Israeli taxis are WHITE. Palestinian (West Bank) taxis are YELLOW. Settlers would never fire on a white taxi without at least investigating the occupants. I’m amazed even a confabulating journalist missed the color codes; I noticed it literally on the taxi ride from the airport on my first arrival.

Israel also used to color-code license plates even within the country, with Jews and Israeli-citizen Arabs getting different colors. This was dropped in the mid-1960s for a system where Arabs got plates with distinctive numbers. I believe this, too, was abolished, in the 1990s, but can still be seen on legacy plates.

Note that I have no independent knowledge on this subject (either on whether Hebron settlers are absolutely awful, or on the taxi color-coding item), but I thought it was passing along as one data point.

FURTHER UPDATE: Joe Schick, who posted the Zionist Conspiracy post cited above, also writes:

Further to the point made by Andrew Lazarus about the color of taxis, Kelley’s reference to Highway 60 as the place where the shootings occurred is very suspect. That’s the main road in the West Bank, going from the Ramallah area in the north to the Hebron area in the south. There are a number of IDF checkpoints on the highway and many Palestinians drive through, but USA Today could not find a single Israeli soldier or Arab civilian who witnessed anything resembling Kelley’s report.

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