J Post apologizes for editorial following Norway attack

Posted: August 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: media, The Right | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

It took them almost two weeks, but the Jerusalem Post finally apologized for the crazy editorial in which the paper called upon its readers to use the opportunity created by Anders Brievik’s terror attack to discuss Europe’s immigration policies.

Perhaps Brievik’s inexcusable act of vicious terror should serve not only as a warning that there may be more elements on the extreme Right willing to use violence to further their goals, but also as an opportunity to seriously reevaluate policies for immigrant integration in Norway and elsewhere.

Better late than never, I guess. Still, even in this apology there is an interesting passage in which the Post struggle to deal with Brievik’s passionate endorsement of Zionism, and of some of the radical rightwing positions expressed by the Post’s own writers (He even cited deputy-editor Caroline Glick):

As Senior Contributing Editor Caroline B. Glick suggested in her column last Friday, the fact that Breivik’s warped mind cited a group of conservative thinkers including herself as having influenced his thinking in no way reflects on them.

“As a rule, liberal democracies reject the resort to violence as a means of winning an argument. This is why, for liberal democracies, terrorism in all forms is absolutely unacceptable,” she wrote. “Whether or not one agrees with the ideological self-justifications of a terrorist, as a member of a liberal democratic society, one is expected to abhor his act of terrorism. Because by resorting to violence to achieve his aims, the terrorist is acting in a manner that fundamentally undermines the liberal democratic order.”

It later emerged that Breivik, a Christian radical, had posted on the Internet an extremely anti-Muslim manifesto that supported far-right nationalism and Zionism.

He apparently feared that a “Muslim colonization” of Europe would destroy Norway.

As Always, wise words from Glick. I am sure she applies the same standards when it’s necessary to separate Islam, for example, from the positions endorsed by certain terrorists. Or to tell the difference between support for the people of Gaza from endorsement of military actions taken by Hamas.   I am positive that in such cases Glick shows the same restraint she now preaches for.


The Persecution of Haaretz

Posted: April 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: media, The Left, The Right | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Haaretz, Israel’s oldest daily paper, has a status that exceeds its limited circulation. Israel’s supporters who whishes to portray it as a thriving democracy give Haaretz as an example; Critics of Israel use Haaretz when claiming that the US media is too easy on Israel (“The NYT would have never printed Gidon Levy’s op-ed“). Even after suffering loses during the financial crisis and going through major cuts the paper remains the best source for information on human right issues and on Israeli politics. It is also the only Israeli newspaper to have an internet site and printed editions in both Hebrew and English.

These days, Haaretz is under attack. Rightwing groups, pundits, politicians and competing media organizations go after the paper. They accuse it of being “too liberal”, “too lefty”, even “anti-Israeli”. The attack was triggered because of the Kamm-Blau affair, but the case against Haaretz is far wider and deeper, and has a lot to do with the dangerous nationalistic mood in Israel right now.

Two articles on the front page of Maariv’s weekend edition took shots at Haaretz: Ben Dror Yemini accused the paper of aiding “the industry which demonizes and delegitimizes the State of Israel,” and Columnist Menahem Ben simply called for the paper to be shut down and its editor and publisher arrested for treason.

After the exposure of the Kamm affair, MK Michael Ben-Ari, a former student of Rabbi Kahana, cancelled his Knesset subscription for Haaretz and called interior Minister Eli Yishay to use his authority and immediately forbid the printing of Haaretz. Surprisingly enough, Ben-Ari was joined by two MK’s from Kadima: MK Israel Hason, a former Shin Beit man, called for readers to boycott Haaretz, while MK Yulia Shmuelov wrote her own letter to minister Yishay demanding Haaretz to be shut down.

Radio Host Avri Gilad said last Sunday on the IDF station that “I mourn what happened to the Left and to the Left’s journal [Haaretz]… it is making the left irrelevant in Israel… every sensible person today understand that the Left has made the state of Israel its enemy.” There wasn’t even a slight protest heard.

And this is what rightwing columnist and editor for Jerusalem Post (who is rapidly becoming the Israeli Pravda), Caroline Glick, had to say:

By collaborating with Kamm first by publishing her stolen documents and hiring her as a reporter, and finally by covering up her crimes while suborning Blau’s perjury, Haaretz has demonstrated that leftist traitors have a powerful sponsor capable of exacting painful revenge on the State of Israel for daring to prosecute them.

In facilitating and supporting treason, Haaretz itself can depend on a massive network of supporters in Israel and internationally. Reporters, self-proclaimed human rights groups, and the leftist blogosphere in Israel and throughout the world as well as foreign governments happily swallow whole Haaretz’s manufactured stories about Israel’s purported venality.

I agree with Hanoch Maramri, Haaretz’s former editor, who wrote in The 7th Eye that Haaretz will survive this attack. The paper suffered boycott attempts during the first and second Intifada, when its editors insisted on reporting cases of abuse and illegal actions by IDF soldiers. But these were different times for journalism, and the real danger is that the delicate financial situation affecting all newspapers will make Haaretz change its line a bit so it wouldn’t bleed too many readers.

Even more important is what these events teach on the current moment in Israel. Most people outside this country fail to notice it, but we are at the dangerous turning point in which words and ideas, and not just acts, are becoming illegitimate in this country, even criminal. Haaretz won’t be the last victim.


Delegitimization and censorship continue: Jpost stop publishing Naomi Chazan’s articles

Posted: February 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, media, The Right | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Haaretz reveals today that following the rightwing campaign against the New Israel Fund, Jerusalem Post’s editor-in-chief David Horovitz informed president of the NIF Naomi Chazan that the paper will stop publishing her op-eds. The story, by Jonathan Lis and Dimi Reider, appears in the front page of today’s English Edition.

Yesterday Chazan received an e-mail from Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief David Horovitz, informing her the newspaper would cease publishing her column.

Chazan had provided the daily with one of its few leftist voices in recent years. Horovitz declined to respond to questions from Haaretz last night.

This is just one of several recent cases of self-censorship in the Israeli media: Both Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth, two of the leading tabloids in Israel, have decided recently not to publish major articles which were critical of Israel and the IDF.

Meanwhile Chazan, who was the target of a Der-Strumer style ads in the Israeli media, commented on her personal feelings following the rightwing Im Tirzu movement’s campaign against her:

“I don’t know why they chose me – I can think of plenty of human rights supporters they could pick on. But I’m ever so proud to be a symbol of Israeli democracy. No doubt about it.”

Earlier this week it was published that the Jewish community in Melbourne canceled a scheduled event with Chazan.

This is just one of several recent cases of self-censorship in the Israeli media. As I wrote here before, Both Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth, two of the leading tabloids in Israel, have decided recently not to publish major articles which were critical of Israel and the IDF.

Chazan, who was the target of a Der-Strumer style ads in the Israeli media, commented for the first time on her personal feelings following the rightwing IM Tirzu movement’s campaign against her:


Israeli media goes after New Israel Fund: “responsible for Goldstone Report”

Posted: January 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News, media, Polls, The Right, the US and us | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »
the anti NIF add from Sunday's Jpost

the anti NIF add from Sunday's Jpost

The New Israel Fund (NIF), the American based progressive organization that sponsors social justice projects in Israel, is the victim of a new smear campaign launched by the right-wing movement “Im Tirzu” (אם תרצו) and picked up by Israeli media. Im Tirzu, together with right-wing MK’s and even IDF and Shin Beit seniors, are demanding Knesset and government actions that will prevent the NIF from transferring funds to Israeli human rights and peace organizations – and possibly even ban the organization altogether.

Im Tirzu’s campaign against NIF started in the cover story of Maariv’s political section this weekend. An article by Maariv’s senior political correspondent, Ben Caspit, quoted a claim put forward by Im Tirzu, according to which human rights and peace groups are responsible to more than 90 percent of the evidence against Israel in the Goldstone report. This was a gross misrepresentation of the facts to begin with, because as even Im Tirzu’s representatives admit, the Goldstone report was based mainly on evidence collected form Palestinians and international sources. From the data provided by Israeli sources, 42 percent came form human rights groups.  It didn’t bother Mr. Caspit to make it sound like it was Israeli NGO’s who were behind the entire report.

Israel’s image is at an all-times low. International pressure is mounting, and with it the calls for boycott. All this was fueled by the Goldstone report, which was in itself fueled by Israeli sources. The funding for these sources is provided by, amongst others, the NIF. The question is whether the New Israeli Fund is indeed for Israel.

Caspit mentions 300 grassroots and social organizations receiving funds through the NIF, and asks: “is all this activity just intended to serve as a front for radical subversive activity, acting against the very foundations of the state?”

Caspit never bothered to call anyone in the INF or other NGO’s to discuss this story. The fund was only given a few words of official comment at the bottom of the article, and the notion that “more than 90 percent of the Goldstone report is based on Israeli sources” has become a “fact” used by the mainstream media.

—————-

During the weekend, Im Tirzu activists demonstrated in front of the house of former MK and the chairman of the NIF, Naomi Hazan. They were dressed with Kafia’s and carried signs saying “I hate the IDF, and I support Naomi Hazan.”

Today (Sunday), the popular host of channel 2 news, Avri Gilad, interviewed on his morning show one of the heads of Im Tirzu, and while doing so, referred to this demonstration as a left wing one against the IDF. “The signs say it all,” Gilad said. “They hate the IDF.” Had channel 2 bothered to check the clip before airing it, or to host in their studio someone from the NIF, they would have found out immediately that this is a right wing hoax. But Gilad was in such a rush to denounce the left, such details never bothered him, and he even repeated his mistake on his radio show on the IDF station.

You can watch the interview here. The protest comes after 4:40 min.

——————–

Today, Im Tirzu wrapped things up in a Der Strumer-style add at the Jerusalem post aimed against Naomi Hazan and the NIF (shown above). Meanwhile, in Maariv, Ben Caspit reported that the Knesset will discuss “the involvement of the NIF in the Goldstone report”. MK Yisrael Hasson  (from opposition party Kadima!) called to investigate all NGO’s “which aid Hamas with their activities.”

As Didi Remez pointed on Coteret blog, Maariv’s story this morning reveals that even IDF and Shin Beit officials are involved for sometime in efforts to introduce measures against Israeli human rights organizations:

Now it turns out that the materials exposed on the weekend are familiar to the IDF authorities and the legal authorities in Israel. Some of them were given half a year ago to the Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit.

He checked the material and gave it to the Atty. Gen., with a recommendation to open an official investigation. No such investigation has been made so far. The Israel Security Agency [Shin Bet; GSS] is also familiar with the material and the sensitive issue. Taking action against this is not simple because NIF is a registered association in the US. Also, it is noteworthy that a large part of the fund’s activities in Israel are devoted to social and public issues of the first order.

At the time of writing, following Maariv, other right wing media organizations in Israel are joining the campaign, and even the Examiner is now claiming NIF and Naomi Hazan (“former Member of Knesset for the semi-Marxist Meretz Party”, as they refer to her) are in fact front men for Hamas.

I will report more on this issue in the next few days.


The perfect gift

Posted: December 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: culture, media | Tags: , | 4 Comments »

dove22

Israel can be a very strange place. I just saw this add on the Jpost site, inviting people to purchase “a piece of history”: the Sderot Dove – “a dove sculpted from actual pieces of Qassam rockets that landed in Sderot”.

The price: 1,000$ (plus 40$ for shipping).

And so the add goes:

Each sculpture is sent in a gift box and is mounted on a display base with a medallion quoting the verse form Isaiah 2:4 ” They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not take up weapons against other nations and never again will they know war”.

Each hand sculpted dove portrays the inexhaustible strength of the Jewish people and its never ending desire for peace.

(Jerusalem Post co-sponsors of the project.)

Personally, I think the dove is slightly overpriced.

Slightly


“Coteret”: selected articles from the Hebrew media

Posted: November 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: media | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

One of the reasons I write this blog in English is the shortage in first hand information on the Israeli society for those who don’t speak Hebrew. The two main publications in English, Haaretz and Jerusalem Post, represent only a fraction of what’s going on (they have a combined market share of less than 10 percent); Ynet.co.il has a site in English, but most of their articles aren’t posted there.

Now there is an important new addition: “Coteret”, a blog by Didi Remez, who translates selected stories and article from the Hebrew media, and most notably, from the tabloids Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv. Usually, Didi posts a short introduction on the writer and the context of the story, followed by the full article.

If you want to know better what Israelis are thinking or saying, be sure to add his blog to your bookmarks.


There will be no peace. Rejoice!

Posted: September 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, media, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A vague promise for the renewal of negotiations in the near future, that’s what came out of the Obama-Abu Mazen-Netanyahu summit in New York, and it seems that Israelis are overwhelmed with joy. Pundits and commentators are actually celebrating what seems like a failure of the new US administration in his effort to reignite the peace process.

Maariv’s diplomatic correspondent, Ben Caspit, calls the summit “a corridor to nowhere”. In his page 1 article Caspit writes that “the peace process’ corps will be washed to the beach by next summer”. Ynet’s correspondent in Washington, Yitzhak Ben Horin, quotes the Washington Post in declaring that the summit was a failure, and “little more than a photo-op”. On Arutz 7, Zalman Shoval, former Israeli ambassador to Washington, praises the event “a considerable political achievement for Netanyahu and Israel”. Read the rest of this entry »