The cartoon that sparked the death threats (captions in Hebrew read: 10 journalists killed in attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris (top), about 13 journalists killed last summer in attack on Gaza (bottom)
Death threats to Haaretz journalists appear on right-winger’s Facebook page
Following wave of comments, including – ‘With God’s help, the journalists at Haaretz will be murdered just like in France’ – Ronen Shoval promises to remove offending remarks.
Facebook users have called for the murder of Haaretz journalists, responding to a call by a right-leaning politician who wants an investigation into Haaretz’s editors on suspicion of “defeatist propaganda” under Statute 103 of Israel’s penal code.
Ronen Shoval, who is running in right-wing party Habayit Hayehudi’s primary, called for the investigation on Facebook over the weekend. This came after Haaretz had run a cartoon in which its graphic designers paid tribute to the cartoonists killed in the terror attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in France.
Shoval, a founder of the Im Tirtzu movement that an Israeli court has described as having fascist “similarities,” wrote: “If we have learned anything, it is that terror attacks are the result of an atmosphere of incitement.”
According to Shoval, “Unfortunately, the attorney general will not do a thing, as usual. But determined lawmakers can change this situation.”
A raft of death threats came in. “We must do what the terrorists did to them in France, but at Haaretz,” wrote Facebook user Chai Aloni. “Why is there no terror attack at Haaretz?” wrote Moni Ponte.
“Let the terrorists eliminate them,” wrote Daniella Peretz. “With God’s help, the journalists at Haaretz will be murdered just like in France,” wrote Miki Dahan. As Danit Hajaj put it, “They should die.”
“Haaretz is where the terrorists should have gone,” wrote Riki Michael. “Death to traitors,” added Moshe Mehager. “I hope that terrorism reaches Haaretz as well,” wrote Tuval Shalom. “With God’s help, [there will be] a Hamas operation that kills all of you, like the journalists in France,” wrote Ruti Hevroni.
Haaretz’s editorial staff said the cartoons published in the project were a personal gesture by the newspaper’s designers, not the editorial board, and this is how they were presented.
“It is astonishing that in the framework of the global debate over freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and at a time when journalists have been killed over the existence of this right, Internet users are demanding that Haaretz completely censor a cartoon whose content they do not like,” a spokesman for Haaretz’s editorial staff said.
“[The cartoon represents] the personal view of the cartoonist, just as the cartoons in Charlie Hebdo expressed the opinions of the cartoonists who worked there and were published in the name of freedom of expression, even though they were provocative and angered many people. The role of caricature, or of any other visual message, is to arouse thought and debate.”
Shoval responded to the wave of Facebook comments on Sunday afternoon, promising to remove the offending remarks. “Thank you for drawing my attention to the severe comments posted on my page,” Shoval said. “I will make sure to erase them quickly; as you said, I understand that incitement leads to murder. In the same breath, I ask you to remove the caricature immediately.”
Meanwhile, Gideon Levy receives a death threat
A menacing letter mailed to Haaretz shows that it’s not only Islamic extremists who seek to blunt press freedom with violence.
“The European Court for Anti-Semitic Crimes. Court Execution squad.
“Re: Proceedings against participants in anti-Israeli activities.
“The Court has been asked to look at the activities against Israel by Gideon Levy, journalist.
“Witness Number 1 showed the article ‘Lowest deeds from loftiest heights’ (Haaretz, July 15, 2014) … Chairman of the court: The court has been convinced that pro-Nazi propaganda has taken place. Once this has been proved, the court has no discretion whatsoever as to the verdict, therefore the above culprit is convicted to death. Given the amount of damage he created, his elimination should take place shortly. Death by ‘accident’: poison, wasps, snakes, viruses, etc.
“P.S: The Pulsa Denura court has no connection with the Israeli security systems … This court is chasing the enemies of Israel wherever they are and verdicts are carried out by the court’s execution squads … Please place this letter in several places in your offices.”
This letter, written in English, arrived last week at Haaretz, in an envelope mailed in Tel Aviv. This letter was not written by a Muslim. At the bottom was written: “Orange pips mean death.” Pips had been stuck to the other side of the letter.
A Sherlock Holmes story is called “The Five Orange Pips,” and revolves around a death-threat letter. This is not the first threat against an Israeli journalist, and not the last.
The attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine last week was preceded by death threats. The massacre came in its wake. It could happen here, too. Anyone who was shocked by the attack on the freedom of the press in France needs to examine what is happening in Israel.
The Israeli media in general does not need threats. It enlisted a long time ago, of its own freewill, to serve the narrative and kingdom; to serve the consensus, the ratings, entertainment, and make the time pleasant for its consumers. Nothing has been forced upon it from above, not by the censor and not from coercion. Just plain commercial considerations, obedience, cowardice, and a basic lack of understanding of what its job is.
Only those who dare step out of line know how great and imminent the danger is, and how much it has increased recently.
The wave of terror in France against journalists and Jews, Israel promoted in a number of ways. The usual security speculators sat in the studios and pontificated their advice to the amateurs of France. A few of them made fun of French law, which does not allow there what is done here. Others spoke about inexperience.
It is clear that these are experts who knew how to exterminate the terror in their own land, once and for all. Of course, they recommended all sorts of aggressive solutions to the French that are employed here – more forces, intelligence and assassinations.
And all of it was covered – how could it not be? – by a manifest feeling of joy that “now they will understand who we have to deal with,” and also Israel’s most popular current mantra: “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”
All terrorists are Muslims? Hmm. A few of the most horrifying acts of slaughter of recent years seem to have been forgotten. They were committed by white, Christian men, but who’s counting? In that case they are always “individuals” who acted alone, mentally ill and disturbed. Anders Breivik, who killed 75 people in Oslo and Utoya Island – is he a Muslim? And the series of massacres in the United States – at Columbine High School, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and at Virginia Tech. Were all these perpetrated by Muslims?
No one attributed these acts to all white men, American or Norwegian. No one thought about Christian terror. And we did not say a word about the biggest spilling of blood in history, which happened not long ago, all of it purely on the enlightened continent, which then had almost no Muslims.
And the killing of journalists? It is also possible to remember that during Operation Protective Edge last summer, 13 were killed in Gaza.
The criminal terror committed by Islamic movements and individuals around the world is very worrying. It is necessary to fight it. But we also need to try to understand its intent and motives.
The attack on the press in France should also cause us to lose sleep, but we must remember what is happening in the meantime in Israel.
Here is another piece of mail I received last week, and this is not from a Muslim, either. “You spat on the People of Israel and God answered you. No child.” And nothing more needs to be said.