Tel Aviv University graduate student Daniel Frank writes about The damage of a Haaretz libel:
Within Israel, Haaretz is a considered a small and minor newspaper that has a readership of less than 6% of the public. Internationally, Haaretz’s readership is still not at the level of publications such as the Jerusalem Post and Ynet, but it fares much better than it does domestically. However, Haaretz (English edition) manages to be one of the most influential voices of Israel.
Haaretz’s audience includes many journalists and opinion makers from different parts of the world. As a result of this, when Haaretz reports a controversial story, the tone/message/thesis of the original article (by Haaretz) has a huge influence on the type of opinion journalists from abroad will take on that issue. Unfortunately, many stories on Haaretz are over-sensationalized and highly misleading. When these types of articles are displayed, journalists from all over the world are quick to spread the “controversial news” to their local region.
Three recent cases of Haaretz jumping the gun to publich negative — and incorrect — stories about Israel:
- Haaretz blindly reported that Israel was forcing contraception on Ethiopian Jews. The article was proved to be completely incorrect and Haaretz issued a partial retraction.
- Gideon Levy erroneously reported that Israelis overwhelmingly supported an apartheid style state, a story that was then reprinted in prominent newspapers such as Canada’s The Globe and Mail, Britain’s The Guardian and The Independent and Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald — before being proven to be incorrect.
- Akiva Eldar reported that according to the Israeli Ministry of Finance, Israel is a self-declared apartheid state — again proven to be incorrect.
As Frank notes:
Haaretz has published a number of articles that were incorrect, highly misleading, inciting and in simple terms, should not have been approved by the editors.
For further examples of Haaretz bias, you can check out CAMERA, which has a special page dedicated to the errors and bias of Haaretz. During 2013 alone, CAMERA has 14 posts:
- MARCH 10, 2013 Ha’aretz Headline Errs on Australian Report About Zygier
- MARCH 7, 2013 CAMERA Prompts Ha’aretz Correction on Ethiopian Birth Control Story
- MARCH 3, 2013 Weekend Roundup of Ha’aretz, Lost in Translation
- FEBRUARY 27, 2013 Updated: CAMERA Prompts Ha’aretz Correction on Palestinian Prisoners
- FEBRUARY 21, 2013 Collective Punishment of Ha’aretz Readers
- FEBRUARY 19, 2013 Updated: Neglected Facts About Hunger-Striking Samer Issawi
- FEBRUARY 7, 2013 Ha’aretz Corrects E-1, Gaza Errors
- FEBRUARY 3, 2013 Israeli Outlets Foment Demonization With Sloppy Journalism
- FEBRUARY 3, 2013 Whose Land? Ha’aretz Distorts Eli Land’s Status
- JANUARY 27, 2013 Ha’aretz Corrects: Gazan’s Death Was Disputed
- JANUARY 20, 2013 Guardian Corrects: Israel Didn’t Violate Injunction. Why won’t Ha’aretz?
- JANUARY 16, 2013 Updated: Killed (by Israel) in Translation: Ha’aretz’s ‘Tailor-Made’ English Content
- JANUARY 15, 2013 Ha’aretz’s ‘Tailor-Made’ English Content Wrong Again
- JANUARY 9, 2013 In Exclusive Interview, Former Ha’aretz Editor Traces Paper’s Decline
The harm of Haaretz mis-reporting is not ameliorated by its belated corrections and admissions of error.
By jumping to present the most controversial and anti-Israel stories, the harm Haaretz does to Israel is immeasurable.
October 23, 2012 17:02 by Simon Plosker
Ha’aretz is a major source of critical and anti-Israel stories for the international media. In the latest example, Ha’aretz’s radical left-wing commentator Gideon Levy has deliberately fed the international media a skewed and biased reading of a poll that claims “Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel“.
Gideon Levy regularly demonizes the Jewish state to foreign audiences and in his own newspaper columns. He regularly goes beyond legitimate criticism of Israel, crossing red lines and allying himself with those who refer to Israel as a racist “apartheid state”, promote boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and wish to see the very destruction of Israel.
On the basis that Levy promotes the canard of Israeli “apartheid”, he is the last journalist who could give an objective analysis of this polls results.
His article opens with the following premise:Most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formally annexes the West Bank.
But let’s take a look at the findings:
Gideon Levy’s entire premise is based on a hypothetical situation where Israel annexes the West Bank. However, perhaps the real story here is that a plurality of the Israeli public does not favor annexing West Bank settlements let alone the West Bank in its entirety.
This makes the question of voting rights for Palestinians in an annexed West Bank entirely moot. That such a large majority of the Israeli public would deny such a right to Palestinians is unsurprising given that this would effectively lead to the end of Israel as a Jewish state if it allowed Palestinians to vote as equal citizens or the end of Israel as a democratic state if it denied Palestinians those rights.
Which is exactly why the Israeli public does not support such a policy, precisely because the majority of Israelis do not want to be associated with apartheid.
Other statistics are casually tossed in by Levy to support his view of Israel as an apartheid state:A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. A quarter – 24 percent – believe separate roads are “a good situation” and 50 percent believe they are “a necessary situation.”
What Levy fails to clarify is that this form of separation is not done on a racial basis but solely on citizenship. Israeli Arabs have as much right as Israeli Jews to travel on any roads they so wish. Any separation on the West Bank road system (and there are plenty of shared roads) is solely due to security and has nothing whatsoever to do with claims of apartheid.
Levy chooses to highlight significant minority opinions where it suits him. For example:
This article is continued on Page 2
Leftist Gideon Levy argues that the Carmel forest fire shows why Israel has no military option against Iran.
Every cloud has a silver lining: Maybe lessons will be learned from the fire. Not only fire extinguishers, fire trucks and new planes, but also new thinking, and fire retardants that douse the really big fire.
The home front’s weakness should teach us that Israel apparently has no military option. This is a much more fateful lesson than all the fire’s other lessons, and it should be dealt with. The apocalyptic descriptions of a missile attack on the home front if Israel attacks Iran or Lebanon appear even more apocalyptic in light of Israel’s conduct when handling a medium-sized forest fire. Discussions on our future, therefore, should move to the arena that Israelis favor: the security arena.
Leave aside human rights and the occupation, don’t worry about morality and justice, forget about peace as a leftist delusion and ignore the Palestinian problem. The issue is Israel’s security interests, perhaps even existential interests.
The next wars will be home-front wars. This time the Israeli home front will be hit in a way we have never experienced. The first Gulf war and the Second Lebanon War were only the movie trailer for what could happen. An attack of thousands of missiles, as predicted by experts, will create a reality Israel will find hard to withstand. It isn’t equipped for it, as we saw on the Carmel, and it isn’t prepared for it, as we saw in the Lebanon war.
Any Israeli leader, even an adventurist and a former commando, should understand that the attack option is not really an option. It’s true that we succeeded in a few bombings in the past, but nothing lasts forever and the Scuds against us won’t always be hollow. A thousand new fire trucks and even the Iron Dome missile defense system will not provide protection. You can’t build a fortress for every citizen. This leads to the second, unavoidable conclusion, which should penetrate very deeply, not only among diplomats and commanders, but also among the many warmongers among us: the only existential option is integrating into the region (a term coined decades ago by Uri Avnery ).
Levy is one of Israel’s most extreme Leftist writers, and his article is obviously written with a note of glee. But he raises points that do need to be answered. First, the IDF has changed drastically since the debacle of the Second Lebanon War. It is no longer run by pacifists like Dan Halutz (who was the chief of staff) and Amir “Comrade” Peretz (who was Defense Minister). Even under the Olmert government, the IDF had changed, as was shown by the alleged destruction of the al-Kibar reactor in Syria, and more explicitly by Operation Cast Lead.
Second, there is no option of ‘integrating into the region.’ Levy and Uri Avnery and Israel’s other flaming Leftists willfully ignore the fact that Israel does not have and has never had an option of ‘integrating into the region.’ The Arab states – and particularly the ‘Palestinians’ – wish to extirpate our existence. No more and no less.
Third, yes the fire ought to raise fears in all Israelis that we are not equipped to cope with the fallout from Hezbullah and Hamas missiles. Hopefully, the Home Front will now deal with that situation. And given the havoc apparently wreaked by Stuxnet, we will apparently have more time than we expected to try to improve on that situation.
I saw many forums on facebook talking about the fires. I stayed out of them for the most part. I was thinking to myself… what could I say? “I’m sorry”? I hope Carl is right about Stuxnet’s effectiveness. Moving to Israel really is a leap of faith.