FREE WORLD OF CENSORSHIP ~~ PURGE AT HaARETZ NEWS

Many of my readers may have noticed that I have not been posting many articles by Amira Hass lately. I have also not been cross posting a regular column by Gideon Levy called ‘The Twighlight Zone’. To be honest with you, I have combed the pages of HaAretz looking for these tidbits but to no avail.

This morning I found out why… there has been a purge at HaAretz. New owners of the newspaper are slowly but surely ‘weeding out’ the only voices of truth and reason in the Israeli press…. so typical of what has been going on generally in the ‘free world of censorship’.

I received the following via email today… it tells it all.. it was written by Edward C. Corrigan, a lawyer (Immigration and Refugee Law) living in London, Ontario, Canada. It’s a MUST read….


Putsch being carried out among reporting staff at Haaretz
by Ed Corrigan
A new German owner has purchased Haaretz and a “Putsch is being carried out among reporting staff,” in the most important and liberal Zionist paper in Israel. According to inside sources, the new owner has carried out a rough, sittingroom survey that revealed that “the occupation doesn’t sell newspapers” and they are therefore concentrating on the business world (ie. The Marker). Twilight Zone, Gideon Levy’s regular Friday column, has been scrapped, Amira Hass has been degraded to freelance on half salary, Meron Rapaport has been fired and Akiva Eldar has lost at least one half page a week.

The paper frequently allowed journalists critical of the Israeli occupation to publish articles that exposed the reality of the occupation to be exposed to the Israeli population and was circulated around the world. The new editorial direction is disturbing news. Haaretz was one of the few decent Israeli media outlets and showed that in Israel there was some respect for freedom of the press and critical discussion. This is a repeat of the situation when Conrad Black bought the Jerusalem Post and hired an Israeli censor to be publisher. The decent journalists all quit in protest, including Benny Morris back when he still had a moral conscience.

It reflects a more disturbing trend. Norman Finkelstein was recently denied entry into Israel and the West Bank. Bishop Desmond Tutu was denied entry into Israel too. Prominent Palestinian journalists are routinely denied exit visas by the Israelis to leave the Occupied Territories to go on speaking tours and a group of Palestinians students from Gaza were also recently denied exit visas to attend American universities after being granted Fulbright Scholarships from the American Government.

It appears that the Israelis are closing down many if not all of the sources of critical information coming out of Israel. The hypocrisy of it all is that Israel complains that when the British Academic Union proposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions as a way to pressure Israel and to protest Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians the Israelis start to scream that the proposed boycott is a violation of freedom of speech and a violation of academic freedom. Israeli authorities have been crushing academic freedom and free speech for Palestinians, and even Israeli critics, for decades. Israel does not want its own population and the rest of the world to know what it is doing to the Palestinians.

20 Comments

  1. lara said,

    May 31, 2008 at 16:10

    Remenber Ezra Pound. Take care of yourself.

  2. May 31, 2008 at 17:42

    What more should you expect from such people? Are these not the same people who have mastered the art of “reclaiming” the desert lands, albeit lands that have been inhabited by others for over two thousand years … but that’s a minor consideration (unless you are one of the many who has been cast out of your generational residence).

    Israel has, time and again, demonstrated that “self defense” is far beyond the actions that they undertake with their actions and that their agenda as always been the restoration of the territorial boundaries described in the Old Testament, something that excludes any possibilities for a peaceful resolution.

    Their war against the intellectual acts of others should not come as any surprise to anyone who has observed the actions of this nation over the past thirty-plus years. The fact that HaAretz should prefer to cater to the Zionist appetites of its readers is only surprising in that it took as long as it has; the commercial considerations of business shall always trump the issues of the truth and its dissemination, just as the world saw when a rogue news network in the United States triggered a near constitutional crises and one of the most blatant cases of electoral fraud in history when they called the state of Florida for Governor Bush even though the AP and other news agencies had declared that the race was still too close to call.

    Today it is more about manufacturing the news into the image of what best suits those framing the message rather than properly reflecting the truth. The idea of “news” has become something that is now “open to interpretation” rather than something from which we gather information. By virtue of that alone we should seriously question any information coming from this new version of HaAretz and their reformed policies; they are obviously not very concerned about serving the truth, or, for that matter, pursuing it.

    CrazyComposer out.

  3. Matt Giwer said,

    May 31, 2008 at 19:59

    This is a good thing. In the US, the entire political spectrum from left to right would translate into far right to radical right. As the left/far right voice it gave the appearance of moderation in Israeli political thought where there is no moderation of interest. How many times does one need to read of suffering under the occupation ending with only a call to end the suffering not the occupation but instead make it more equitable?

    Over on libertyforum.com I would post articles from Haaretz because they sought out this kind of story. But when it came to “did they really publish this!?!” astonishment it was the Jerusalem Post that was most fruitful in showing what Israel is really like. The radical right has no sugar-coating. The solutions to the problems with the occupation range from force to more force to expulsion to extermination.

    These are actually better sources where I need only provide background and context to expose the depravity of mainstream Jews in Israel.

  4. James B. said,

    May 31, 2008 at 20:00

    “A new German owner has purchased Haaretz and a “Putsch is being carried out among reporting staff,” in the most important and liberal Zionist paper in Israel.”

    I think this statement is clearly the most profound. How bitterly ironic that ‘Germany’ would be ‘allowed’ to purchase one of the greatest historic zionist media icons. If its first move is the purge of critically sensitive stories about the zionist agenda then it should come as no surprise concerning what the future holds for the Palestinian people.

  5. buffy said,

    May 31, 2008 at 21:09

    Thank you DesertPeace, I was wondering myself why I hadn’t seen much from either Levy or Hass lately. This does explain alot.

    Terrible news, Haaretz was really quite a beacon of freedom of expression – not only just for Israel, but for all of us living outside of her.

    I hope they will come to their senses.

    Do you think that writing the paper or starting an action alert might help restore Haaretz to her former glory?

    (Note: similar has been happening in Canadian newspapers now for a couple of years – leaning more and more to the authoritarian right than ever before)

    Thanks for your tireless efforts – I always come away from your blog better informed.

    Buffy

  6. desertpeace said,

    May 31, 2008 at 21:54

    Letter writing can’t hurt. Action alerts are always better…
    Spread the word far and wide… anytime a country loses its civil liberties another country is at risk.

  7. June 1, 2008 at 01:00

    Can you write to Ed Corrigan & ask him where he obtained this information. Before I write on the subject I’d like to know whether Corrigan’s source & info is authoritative or speculative.

  8. Empath said,

    June 1, 2008 at 04:29

    This is actually part and parcel of the death of the dead tree media. The same is happening in the US. To call it politics is short sighted, the entire print media is in its deathth rows and going for what sells papers is about the only thing they can do.

  9. Sol Salbe said,

    June 1, 2008 at 05:53

    Before posting this wouldn’t it been a good idea to check some of Corrigan’s assertions to check if they are indeed true? For example would it hurt to check if Gideon Levy’s column was there or not, in last Fridays paper? Check it for yourself or just click on http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/988412.html.

    Some other items readers may find relevant in judging the value of Corrigan’s fact checking and analysis:

    • The new German investors viz DuMont Schauberg only own 25 per cent proportion of the paper which they bought in 2006. Their major influence is in forcing general cutbacks (something common to newspapers around the world); they don’t care too much about the politics.

    • Amira Hass is on sabbatical leave at her own request. She told that to Dorothy Naor of the Israeli organisation New Profile. Check their website http://www.newprofile.org/default.asp?language=en to assess Dr Naor’s credibility for yourself.

    • Several reporters left/were sacked at the time the new editor, Dov Alfon, took over. This is again fairly normal. According to Ice News, a professional Hebrew media industry newsletter, http://www.ice.co.il/article.asp?catId=2&pgId=120831, the reporters were associated with the outgoing editor David Landau. Only one of these, Meron Rapoport would be familiar to readers who follow the conflict.

    • As media monitor who has been reading every single item of Eldar’s work in both English and Hebrew I have not noticed any change in his output..

    Sol Salbe
    Middle East News Service
    Melbourne Australia

  10. desertpeace said,

    June 1, 2008 at 06:08

    The Levy column you refer to is not ‘The Twilight Zone’ series that is mentioned.
    As for Hass, what you say is not verified.

  11. Sol Salbe said,

    June 1, 2008 at 06:25

    Dear Desert Peace,

    You are welcome to contact Dr Naor yourself. Her contact details are in the public domain. Alternatively contact Amira Hass. Her contact details should not be difficult to get. Perhaps Dr Naor will assist you in getting to hear it, from the horse’s mouth, as they say.

    Why do you say the Levy column is not part of the Twilight Zone? Isn’t it the same subject matter as the rest of the series? The same article in Hebrew http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArtPE.jhtml?itemNo=988432&contrassID=2&subContrassID=4&sbSubContrassID=0
    carries that subhead. Again please don’t take nmy word for it. Either find a Hebrew reader whom you trust, or call Haaretz on 972 3 5121212 and ask them if the Hebrew version of the article on the cherry Picker carries the Twiligh Zone heading.

  12. desertpeace said,

    June 1, 2008 at 06:40

    I will check it out…. thank you.

  13. desertpeace said,

    June 1, 2008 at 16:06

    I just received confirmation from Gideon Levy that the Twilight Zone is in effect still being published.

    I am waiting on word about Amira Hass.

    Perhaps I ‘jumped the gun’ on this one…. if so, I apologize to my readers fror publishing wrong information.

    Thank you to Sol Salbe for bringing this to my attention.

  14. Mark Elf said,

    June 1, 2008 at 20:35

    The Just Peace UK e-list is having a discussion on this. Here’s a precis: First someone posted a link to URUKNET carrying your post, then someone said that they had issues with the email’s logic, ie German company, Israeli censorship. Then someone else said that the German company has only bought ten per cent, not the whole company and that the company tends not to get into editorial/opinion issues, just financial. Amira Hass has been on sabbatical and is expected back and Levy was published two days ago in Ha’aretz. Here’s the link:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/988817.html
    The date at the top of the article is today’s but that might not be when it first appeared in print or on line.

    Let’s not get fatalistic the power of zionism in the media.

  15. desertpeace said,

    June 1, 2008 at 20:52

    Thanks Mark… If you look at the comment above yours (mine) you will see that I may have ‘jumped the gun’ on this. Gideon Levy did confirm to me that his Twilight Zone has not been trashed.

  16. Sol Salbe said,

    June 2, 2008 at 22:57

    Dear Desert Peace,
    There further items of interest to help complete the picture. Being ussure as to your word limit I have split them into two postings.

    1)Merron Rapoport had an article in Yesterday’s (Monday) Haaretz in both Hebrew and English A common friend has verified that he is working out the notice period, In other wrods he HAS been sacked.

    2) A Letter from Amira Hass to Ed Corrigan: (as I received it from him)
    Here is an email that I received from Amira Hass on the current situation and changes at Haaretz.

    Ed Corrigan

    Dear Ed Corrigan,

    I forward you a letter i have already sent to two people who asked me directly about the rumors.

    i should add that as far as i know Gideon Levy’s column is under no
    threat. It was published last Friday as usual, and so are his
    weekly op-eds.

    Dear friends,

    The rumors and and some inaccuracies concerning my work at Haaretz, and the general interest and manifested alarm –
    indeed require my comments. You two have asked me directly about
    those rumors. So here is my answer:

    1. I am on an upaid sabbatical (since March 2008). It was my
    request to have this leave of absence. I needed it badly, after almost 15 years of covering the Israeli occupation from within (and for a great part of this time – working up to 15 – 18 hours per
    day). For long periods the work was done in the stressful
    circumstances of military invasions, bombings and shellings, standing in front of tanks or edgy armed soldiers, curfews, strict closures, PA mainfested malcontent with any critical reporting etc.
    No less stressful has been life in the orwelian theater of a
    “peace process” – trying – usually in vain – to make the
    readers and my compatriots aware of the deception and the explosiveness of the situation.

    2. In November 2007 i was told by Haaretz that my contract and terms of employment should be changed as i had been writing too little over the past year.

    3. In November i was too tired and dispirited to be able to explain all that was obviously needed to be explained, and to negotiate the terms of a new contract, and therefore we agreed to postpone everything. . According to my agreement with Haaretz, i may write free lance during my year leave of absence. As i have been away most of the time, it hasn’t happened yet (except for two op-eds). Also, according to the agreement, by the end of the sabbatical i’ll return to work for a half year – within the same terms. It is then that it will be decided how to proceed.

    4. Alll this took place BEFORE haaretz nominated a new editor in chief.

    5. As for the dismissal of other colleagues (several editors, not
    only reporters): It is of course sad to know that people
    who have worked for years, and dedicated time, thoughts, energy
    and professionalism – have to start looking for a new place.
    I do find it extremely deplorable that Miron Rapoport will not be
    writing for Haaretz. He is a very prolific reporter, who excells
    at investigations, who writes well and for whom journalism is clearly about “monitoring power” and challenging authorities.

    Since i placed myself in Gaza, at the beginning of the 90’s, i have learned that in our society (where there is democracy for Jews) – the right for freedom of thought, expression and information is fairly guaranteed. But there is no OBLIGATION to excercise these liberties.

    This year i intend to complete the writing of a book on Israel’s policy of closure (“the robbery of time and space” – as i term it).

    thank you for your concern –

    amira

  17. Sol Salbe said,

    June 2, 2008 at 23:03

    3) Message from Dorothy Naor of New Profile forwarding a letter from Haaretz editor Dov Alfon. (Please note that I excised the Hebrew expecting it to come as gibberish on thos website. It is avaialbe from me at ssalbe@westnet.com.au

    Start forwarded message:
    Thanks to Hanna for forwarding the Hebrew, and much gratitude to Sol Salbe for translating- and in a wink!

    Below is the response of the editor of Ha’aretz to a letter regarding the issue that has been bandied back and forth in emails the past several days, namely, the changes taking place in the newspaper and the reasons for them.

    One correction to the letter. The editor states that 4 years ago Gideon Levy’s Twilight Zone was shunted from the Magazine to where it now is . This is definitely an error. I doubt that it has been a year, though I don’t remember the exact date. But that, in any event, is not the main issue.

    I think that Dov Alfon’s statement “Obviously, cancellation of subscriptions will have the opposite affect and force us into further cutbacks” should be taken seriously. My sources likewise felt that canceling subscriptions would not achieve the results that we hope for.

    The original Hebrew follows the English.

    Dorothy

    =====================================================

    From: Haaretz Daily Newspaper

    Dear Dr Raymond Leicht and Ronit Beck,

    Thank you for your letter. I’ve received five similar letters today. Some of the writers noted with concern that an aggressive campaign is being conducted against the paper based on false information. It may be the case that the disinformation is being spread out by extreme right-wing circles or perhaps it is based on a simple misunderstanding.

    The substantive point is that, as part of the printed media crisis, five reporters and editors are leaving the paper in consequence of the elimination of the ‘B’ section of the paper. For the record, at least two of these hold opposite views to Meron Rapoport who is mentioned in your letter. He is indeed a talented writer, but he has been working for us for only three years, since he was sacked by Yediot Acharonot. Newspapers are trying to survive and they have two choices – increase their circulation or cut down on editorial costs. The New York Times has recently sacked 7 per cent of its reporting staff (presumably some of these would have been identified as being on the Left). Closer to home, Ma’ariv has announced that it would be cutting down its stuff by 10 per cent in the course of this year. I hope that our path will take the opposite direction, that we will succeed in convincing more people to join our readers circle. Obviously, cancellation of subscriptions will have the opposite affect and force us into further cutbacks.

    This course of action is indeed painful, but it is rather limited compared to developments in similar newspapers around the globe. But, there is no connection between the cutbacks and Amira Hass’s sabbatical leave. That leave was agreed upon well before I took over as Editor, and she is expected to return to the paper, if that is her wish. This is not her first leave of absence nor is it a new practice; Tom Segev had returned from an even longer break less than a year ago,

    In fact, if a change had taken place in the past month – since I took over the role – it has been in precisely the opposite direction to what you describe in your letter. Purely by chance, it was in this period that Haaretz received exclusive information upon which we were able to base some stories that were prominently published. These included the exclusion of Norman Finkelstein (Yossi Melman), the new attempts by the Justice Minister to influence the High Court (Shahar Ilan, Jonathan Lis), the Elad NGO takeover operations in East Jerusalem (Akiva Eldar) and of course the Talansky-Messer affair (Gidi Weitz).

    As for the move of Gideon Levy’s column from the “Week End” to the magazine section, this had happened four years ago, as result of lack of chemistry between Gideon and the then Musaf editor, Rogel Alpher. It was me who initiated the column during my stint as Musaf editor in 1994. I was also the one who came with its name, the “Twilight Zone”. I see it as a vital part of the paper.

    It is saddening to note that such an aggressive disinformation campaign is being conducted against Haaretz. But as a fighting newspaper we are used to encounter organised mudslinging campaigns. We hope to survive this current campaign as well.

    I thank you for your interest in Haaretz and hope this letter has allayed your fears.

    Yours Sincerely

    Dov Alfon

    Editor Haaretz

  18. C said,

    June 3, 2008 at 06:49

    I JUST WANTED TO SAY THAT I FEEL ISREAL AND THE ZIONISTS SHOULD PRACTICE THE POLICIES THAT THE WORLD IS PRACTICING AND THAT THEY ALL SHOULD LOVE ON ANOTHER AS WE HAVE BEEN MADE TO DO HERE IN THE USA AND THAT WILL STOP THE FIGHTING AND KILLING AND ALL SHALL LIVE INTERTWINED NOT SEPARATE,,, “NEXT TO EACH OTHER” AND THERE WILL BE REAL PEACE ON EARTH AT LEAST FOR THE PEOPLE IN PALESTINE….WHY ARE THEY DIFFERENT THAN THE REST OF THE WORLD???ALSO COMBINE THE CONTROL OF GOVERNMENT WITH MANY DIFFERENT SECTS OF PEOPLE IN ONE UNIFORM GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE AND ISREAL SHALL SURVIVE THIS TORTURE OF ITS PEOPLE…ALL PEOPLE ARE ONE NOT SEPARATE……..

  19. Ellen Cantarow said,

    July 8, 2008 at 20:49

    I, too, was wondering about not seeing Hass and Levy reports. Well, I think this was bound to come. Not that we shouldn’t write letters screaming protest to Ha Aretz; I think we should. But the fascization of the media is real, and Israel having gone well down the fascist road in regard to the suppression of free speech for Palestinians, it was only a matter of time. I suppose this censorship coms from the sense that “the world” is hostile to Israel and is hence an expression of weakness. But that doesn’t compensate for the regular appearance of Israel’s foremost dissenters.

  20. Ellen Cantarow said,

    July 8, 2008 at 20:50

    A postscript: on the issue of fascization I of course should have added the daily crimes against humanity perpetrated by settlers against W Bank Palestinians, the siege against Gaza which recalls the Warsaw Ghetto, and what writers on this blog already know.


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