The People vs. Haaretz - The New York Times
Un violent article contre Haaretz, qui s’inscrit dans la campagne du gouvernement israélien de museler les médias, comme il le fait avec la première chaîne de télévision
TEL AVIV — Haaretz is an Israeli newspaper. Admired by many foreigners and few Israelis, loathed by many, mostly Israelis. Read by few, denounced by many, it is a highly ideological, high-quality paper. It has a history of excellence. It has a history of independence. It has a history of counting Israel’s mistakes and misbehavior. It has a history of getting on Israel’s nerves.
Still, it is just a newspaper. The story of the people vs. Haaretz — that is, of a great number of Israelis’ growing dislike for the paper — is worth telling only because it tells us something about Israel itself: that the country’s far left is evolving from a political position into a mental state and that the right-wing majority has not yet evolved into being a mature, self-confident public.
Consider an incident from mid-April. Haaretz published an op-ed by one of its columnists. It made a less-than-convincing argument that religious Zionist Israelis are more dangerous to Israel than Hezbollah terrorists. And yet, the response was overwhelming. The prime minister, defense minister, education minister and justice minister all denounced the article and the newspaper. The president condemned the article, too. The leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid called the op-ed “anti-Semitic.” Leaders of the left-of-center Labor Party called it hateful. The country was almost unified in condemnation.
Of course, not completely unified. On the far left, a few voices supported the article and the newspaper. Some argued that the article was substantively valid. Others argued that whether the article was substantive or not, the onslaught on Haaretz is a cynical ploy to shake another pillar of the left — maybe its most visible remaining pillar.
If there is such ploy, it doesn’t seem to be working. Last week, on the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day, a day of somber reflection, Haaretz was at it again. One article by a leading columnist explained that he could no longer fly the Israeli flag. Another seemed to be calling for a civil war. These are not exceptions; they are the rule for a newspaper that in recent years has come to rely on provocation.