Dear Haaretz

Do you think you might be able to find a native English speaker somewhere in your establishment? If so, I suggest you go and get them right now and ask them to sort out this rubbish (taken from your landing page).

Analyses? Really?

After all, there is a school of thought which says if you cannot be bothered about accuracy in general, why should anyone trust your news reporting? And there’s another school of thought which says your subscribers, and yes that includes me, deserve better.

Haaretz and Rodes

This is interesting:

An Israeli Echo Chamber? Haaretz and the Iran Deal

Haaretz’s cheerleading for the Iran Deal raises the question: Were they a willing part of Ben Rhodes’ “echo chamber”?

“Echo chamber” — two words that Ben Rhodes uttered to the New York Times Magazine were enough to expose the media’s failure. The issue has been raging in the US for over a week now, since David Samuels’s piece first appeared, but aside from some minimal coverage, it has received almost no attention in Israel. And that’s very strange, because what Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications said about the gaggle of “freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal” is very serious: “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say,” Rhodes bragged.

This was primarily aimed at the American media, but it has an Israeli aspect: Haaretz newspaper.

Those who have followed the Israeli media certainly remember how coverage of the Iran Deal looked from Schocken Street’s perspective: Haaretz did not even bother hiding that it had taken a side, and its reporters constantly echoed White House talking points in Israel. Now, in light of Rhodes’s confession and the storm he caused, very serious questions have arisen regarding Haaretz’s conduct in the affair, its journalistic prestige, and its professional reliability.

So, was Haaretz part of the press echo chamber that did exactly what the White House wanted, and ditched all objectivity and independent thought? It sure looks that way. Read it all, here. (The original David Samuels piece is here.)

Haaretz and its conference

I’m talking about the HaaretzQ Conference, complete with Rivlin, New Israel Fund, the Israeli flag, and Saeb (I see no lies) Erekat.

The following is from today’s print edition of Haaretz*:


Shame about the second “it’s,”** but Mr Bowman does not miss the target with his closing sentence.

“…delusional, arrogant and extreme views…”

And it is good to know there are people like him.

(*No. I did not buy it. Honest, guv.)

(**This post is partially sponsored by the Apostrophe Protection Society.)

Haaretz’s Twitter ballsup

This is bizarre:

Haaretz tweets (and promptly deletes) ‘Gay Jewish U.S. Senator Al Franken’

At 5:01 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, Haaretz tweeted that “Gay Jewish U.S. Senator Al Franken endorses #IranDeal, says ‘it isn’t a perfect agreement, but it is a strong one.’”

Eh? Franken is not gay, but even if he were, what has that to do with anything, far less the Iran deal?

See the details, here.

BDS’ useful idiots at Haaretz

It’s not my headline, but it looks right to me. It’s from Ynet, and it headlines a piece that begins like this:

Op-ed: Omar Barghouti, one of the leaders of the BDS movement, said in an interview recently that he wants Jews to live in peace under Arab democracy. He ignores a long and bloody history of persecution of Jews in Arab countries – and, surprisingly, there are some Israelis who buy that nonsense.

This week Le Monde published an interview with Omar Barghouti, one of the leaders of BDS. His argument, in essence, was that there is no problem with the Jews living as a minority under Arab rule in the exemplary state he aims to create.

After all, the Jews, he explained, “did not suffer in Arab countries. There were no pogroms. There was no persecution. And in general, the Jews thrive as minorities in Europe and the United States.” So what’s the problem? Please live as a minority under Arab democracy, which is known for its protection of minorities, especially if they are Jews.

Mr Barghhouti is lying. The writer of the piece was more restrained:

The man suffers from double blindness – both to the past and to the present. It’s doubtful whether there is a Jewish community under Muslim rule that did not suffer from persecution, with or without any relation to Zionism. The list is long. And the leader of the British Mandate-era Arab Higher Committee, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, was actually a well-known fan of Jews. That’s why he apparently led the pogrom against the Jews of Baghdad in 1941, the “Farhud”, and from there traveled to Berlin in order to turn more Muslims into Nazis. He also wrote about his plans to destroy all of the Arab countries’ Jews.

Read it all, especially if you want to see how endemic the problem is at Haaretz. They are, indeed, the enemy.

Honest Avi

“I have a feeling (I did not count, I admit, but every Israeli journalist is quite familiar with this gloomy state of affairs) that the large majority of the journalists is of Ashkenazi background, resides in Tel Aviv and lives in a left-wing bubble. We like to listen to the same radio programs that nobody in the periphery listens to, watch cool current events programs that have next to no viewers, and read the so-called “thinking people’s” newspaper (Haaretz) even though all relationship between it and the State of Israel is purely coincidental. We will sit in a cafe in downtown Tel Aviv and go on and on about Bibi and his wife without realizing that most of the country admires them.

Maybe that is because we are cut off from the State of Israel and tuned in to the State of Tel Aviv. We have no clue what is happening in Bat Yam, Holon or Ashdod, not to mention Netivot, Sderot or Kiryat Shmona.

To Likud’s joy, Labor and Meretz also have barely a clue what is happening there.”

All credit to Avi Issacharoff for his honesty, for it is his post at the Times of Israel (here) from which the above quote is taken. It’s a piece offering another explanation about why Bibi won. I think it’s a highly important piece of information that helps understand, not only why Bibi won, but the dynamic within Israeli society – or at least one of them.

We have, in the main, a media that is disconnected from the population. Sound familiar?

Foreign media, in the main, connects with Haaretz. That’s the only media establishment in town. (I suppose the UK equivalent would be the Guardian.) No wonder Israel gets a crap deal at the hand of these people.

So far as our own media is concerned, maybe that’s why they are so hateful of Israel HaYom and its pro Bibi stance? It’s a mile away from the Tel Aviv perspective.

I’d like to pretend that I can work out what this will mean in the future, but I don’t know. I suspect that the so called Yedioth Achranot (Ynet) law – effectively banning free newspapers like Israel Hayom – is dead and buried. I happen to think that’s a good thing. But what else will be impacted? I wonder how these coalition negotiations are progressing…

I hear no silence

An op-ed in the New York Times (by Mairav Zonszein) claimed that the Left in Israel had been silenced by intimidation. It was a strike against one of the core values of democracy. Or, a form of delegitimization. Surprisingly, as Israel Matzav points out, an op-ed in Haaretz confirms the allegation is nonsense:

But we haven’t been silenced. We’ve just failed to make our case. For a dozen years, we have failed to win a majority in the Knesset. We have failed to convince other Israelis that the cost of holding onto the occupied territories is greater than the dangers of relinquishing them. In Zonszein’s analysis, this is because a right-wing cabal has shut us up, and there’s little we can do about it.

The truth is, we’ve failed because we’ve failed, and there is a lot we can do about it. Rather than whine in the New York Times about how we’ve been silenced, we need to figure out how to speak to other Israelis so that they will listen. The answer is not to convince readers of the New York Times that Israel is no longer a democracy. The answer is to accept that Israel is a democracy, and that democracy demands that we speak to our fellow citizens and listen to them, that we persuade them rather than dismiss them. Zonszein argues that democratic politics in Israel are hopeless. The fact is, it is in Israeli democracy that our greatest hope lies.

Read Israel Matzav’s analysis in full, here.

Where I might differ in that analysis is that I believe there are ideas that the Left in Israel could get backing for, but to do so they would need to jettison some articles of faith. And I think they know that, but are reluctant to do so. For example, blaming the ‘settlements’ and construction there for every so called setback in peace negotiations, just does not work. When you get down to the details, and the possibilities attainable through negotiation, you see it’s a handy excuse, but it doesn’t stand up to examination. It’s a complex situation, beyond the scope of this post, but for now it’s enough to note that I will be keeping my eye out for new developments from that sector. After all, they are free to speak up any time they want.

Ha’aretz owns up

From the Elder of Ziyon:

What is the mission of a newspaper?

One might think that it is to help people stay informed, or to report the day’s events objectively.

The New York Times describes its goal as “to cover the news as impartially as possible …and to treat readers, news sources, advertisers and others fairly and openly, and to be seen to be doing so.”

Various journalism outlets and professional societies describe their codes of ethics to include truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability.

How about Haaretz? What is its mission?

Here, in a remarkable article where Haaretz is begging for money, we find out:

Two years ago our website,, introduced its subscription-based readership and many thousands of subscribers signed up. They enjoy full access to all Haaretz content. I want to urge you today to join them and purchase a subscription to Haaretz, Israel’s leading source for news and opinion.

By doing so, you will become a partner in the ongoing effort to shape Israel as a liberal and constitutional democracy that cherishes the values of pluralism and civil and human rights. You will become a partner in actively supporting the two-state solution and the right to Palestinian self-determination, which will enable Israel to rid itself of the burdens of territorial occupation and the control of another people.

Haaretz, which as far as I can tell has no written code of ethics, has here provided a mission statement that has nothing to do with journalism and everything to do with advocacy.

Don’t underestimate how important this is. Haaretz is not about journalism. It is not about reporting. It is about advocacy – in this case, advocacy for a position that is gloriously understated as to its goals.

Whether one supports Haaretz’ editorial stance or not, this explicit description of Haaretz as being primarily a political actor should cause anyone to be against supporting it.

I disagree with the Elder on the last point. People should be free to support Haaretz. But Haaretz should not be free to pretend it is a proper news paper, a proper source of news. No wonder I kept thinking Haaretz was the opposition – it is!

Let Haaretz register as an NGO or an Israeli political party, and let it ask for money to support its views. But don’t call it a newspaper.


Judging from this article, Haaretz doesn’t even define itself that way. It is a newsletter for a political organization, one that is begging for more members.

Why is it begging for more members? It goes beyond the question of economics. I suspect it is begging for more members because its position, its reporting, and its message are directly opposed to those opinions of the majority of Israelis. If Haaretz stood for election, I doubt it would beat the threshold to get a single seat.

Trouble at Joseph’s Tomb

There was trouble at Joseph’s Tomb (Shechem) today.

Palestinians hurl stones as Jewish worshippers, escorted by security forces, enter Joseph’s Tomb; one fires at soldiers, who fire back, sustains moderate to serious injuries

You can get the rest of the report from Ynet here. To put this in context, this is Palestinian terrorism, pure and simple. Maybe the youth are bored, or maybe they are incited to attack. But it’s terrorism. Anybody who disagrees is welcome to come and stand in the line of fire against stone throwers and see how long they last before bolting for cover. It is terrifying. These are terror attacks. And that’s ignoring the small matter of a shooter.

So, in a continuing example of doing everything it can to not support Israel, enter Haaretz. My Right Word has this interesting comparison of the coverage:


Haaretz. If you are a supporter of Israel, only read it to know your enemy.