I remain befuddled by the continuing international brouhaha triggered by Ha’aretz’s (self-titled) “exposé” of IDF abuses during Operation Cast Lead.
Amos Harel’s article, Yorim ve’bochim (Shooting and crying) – referring to the tradition of Israeli soldiers meeting to discuss their experiences of combat – should rather have been titled Shotfim ve’mekaplim (Washing and folding), as a significant part of the particular discussion featured in the article centred on whether or not soldiers had a duty to sweep and wash the floor, and fold away blankets, in a house commandeered from Hamasniks.
In an almost Pythonesque rebuke, Danny Zamir, the academy founder at the heart of the current debate, told participants “If you’ve spent a week in a home, clean up your filth.”
But, as one of the soldiers pertinently observed, “I don’t think that any army, the Syrian army, the Afghani army, would wash the floor of its enemy’s houses, and it certainly wouldn’t fold blankets and put them back in the closets.”
That immoral IDF!
In fact, this non-story – published in last weekend’s newspaper, following a PR build-up of which Max Clifford would have been proud – has left Ha’aretz with seriously runny egg on its face. As demonstrated by the ever admirable Melanie Phillips, in her article in The Spectator, The Ha’aretz Blood Libel, it was one of the sloppiest pieces of ‘journalism’ that one can ever have had the misfortune of wasting one’s Shabbos afternoon on.
I have Ha’aretz delivered daily – it is a far better read than the English-language alternative, The Jerusalem Post – but I just don’t know how much longer my blood pressure can withstand its hateful analysis. I have started to feel that I might as well subscribe to Der Stürmer (or even The Guardian).
Anshel Pfeffer wrote an intelligent ‘reply’ to Ms. Phillips, in this weekend’s Ha’aretz. Whilst I share what he identifies as the newspaper’s main concern – “the deep moral and material damage [the Occupation] has caused Israel” – and his celebration of the healthy democracy which its existence represents, he misses what is so disturbing about Ha’aretz . . .
Whenever you see, under a title, the name Gideon Levy or Amira Hass – primus inter pares (there are several others at Ha’aretz) – unlike Forrest Gump’s “box of chocolates”, you always know exactly what “you are gonna get” . . . never an objective view of the facts, but always a twisted, poisonous, perversion of them: propaganda which portrays Israel as bully, and the poor, defenceless Palestinians – however armed to the teeth by their Islamofascist sponsors – as victims.
And so committed are Levy, Hass et al to their pernicious agenda that they never, ever surprise.
If this is what Israel’s “quality” newspaper has to offer, it is no surprise that Ha’aretz’s daily circulation – around 70,000 copies – is so low (considering that it has no real competition). And I, too, am now questioning whether I can justifiably continue to fund it, and its unholy team of ‘journalists’.