Sunday, May 24, 2015

In 2002 the Israeli novelist Irit Linur wrote an open letter to the editor of Ha'aretz:

It is a person’s right to be a radical leftist, and publish a newspaper in accordance with their world view … However, Haaretz reached a level of radical leftism in which its anti-Zionism is often turned into malevolent and stupid journalism … When Gideon Levy [Haaretz columnist and correspondent for Arab affairs] accuses Israel of turning Marwan Barghouti from a peace seeker to an organiser of suicide bombings, his accusations are as rational as post-9/11 conspiracy-theories that the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York was the work of the Mossad. In a private conversation he once told me he wouldn’t drive 100 meters to save the life of a settler. It seems to me that his loves and hates have long been polluting the heart-wrenching reports he files from the occupied territories. His entire career is infected by hucksterism; He’s one of very few reporters in the world who reports on Arab matters without speaking a word of Arabic. He gets simultaneous translation and that’s enough. This is amateurish journalism. Gideon Levy and Amira Haas hold the Palestinian portfolio in Haaretz. Like them, I acknowledge the journalistic and human value of these reports but … as far as they are concerned; Israel will always carry the blame for Palestinian suffering as well as for Palestinian murderousness. This is a blinkered and shallow interpretation, ethically and professionally flawed. Both avoid reporting the atrocities that Palestinians commit against each other. And there are Palestinians they never get to encounter: anti-Semites, chauvinists, corrupt, cheering when terrorist attacks are perpetrated on Israel. When a pro-Palestinian bias is the most conspicuously consistent feature in their reports I find it hard to maintain my faith in their articles. And since I am, excuse me, a Zionist, I don’t feel like getting every morning a dose of news that is the equivalent of The Voice of Thunder from Cairo [an all-day radio broadcast in broken Hebrew whose propaganda during the days before the Six-day War was cranked up to crisis-hysteria levels seeking to terrify the Israeli populace]. […]  

I have come to the conclusion that you and I do not inhabit the same country. More and more of your articles smell like foreign journalism that treats Israel as if it were a remote and repugnant territory. I get the feeling that the state of Israel disgusts you in some elementary way. But the thing is, it doesn’t disgust me. I don’t wish to subscribe to a paper that tries in every conceivable way to make me feel ashamed of my Zionism, patriotism and intelligence, three qualities I deeply cherish.


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