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Israel’s Paper of Record

Remnick, of The New Yorker, on Haaretz

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Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken.(Michal Chelbin/The New Yorker)

The name of the Israeli daily Haaretz will be familiar to Scroll readers, its content familiar to Scroll readers who click on the links. For you, then, New Yorker editor David Remnick’s profile is essential reading. He is poignant on the tribulations faced by “easily the most liberal newspaper in Israel,” and paints a particularly convincing portrait of Amos Schoken, the daily’s embattled, left-wing, “aristocratic in a German-Jewish way” publisher.

One thing that threatens Haaretz is one thing that threatens Israel: The nation’s increased tribalism. “The secular, liberal readers who are willing to pay more than eight hundred dollars a year for a subscription live mainly in the greater Tel Aviv area and have a modest birth rate,” Remnick reports. “The settlers read Makor Rison, and the ultra-Orthodox read Hamodiya. ‘Middle Israel’ reads Maariv, which is declining; Israel Hayom, a free tablod that is owned by the right-wing casino magnate Sheldon Adelson; and Yedioth Ahronoth.” Two Jews, three newspapers. The other problem, of course, is that the paper’s center-left outlook, so in-tune during the heady optimism of the early ‘90s, seems out-of-touch after the Second Intifada.

The article is subscription-only. Buy the print magazine (in a piece of demographically savvy placement, there is in its midst an original poem by Paul Simon), or, if you’re a subscriber, read it online. In the meantime, below the jump are five great quotations. And if you want a feel for the paper, columnist Gideon Levy—who, Remnick notes in his sketch, has called the settlements a “criminal enterprise” and accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza—had a column last week comparing the prospect of Israeli schoolchildren visiting the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron to the regular visits they make to Auschwitz. Curse it if you want, but recognize that it is indispensable: Yediot Ahronoth columnist Nahum Barnea, Remnick says, “spent a long time describing to me how ‘out of touch’ Haaretz was with public opinion, but then admitted that he begins his morning with it, not with his own paper.”

Remnick: “At their most recent meeting, [Schocken] brought Adelson a gift: A copy of Walid Khalidi’s All That Remains, a history of the hundreds of Palestinian villages that were destroyed or absorbed into Israel after 1948.”

Amira Hass, the only Jewish Israeli who reports from the territories as a lifestyle: “My tribe is leftists, not liberal Zionists. David Grossman and the rest are always waking up too late. That is their hallmark—understanding too late.”

Hannah Arendt, on Haaretz founder Salman Schocken: “Bismarck personified.”

David Makovsky, former U.S. diplomat: “When I go to the Arab world, the first thing an Arab foreign minister will say is ‘Did you read Haaretz this morning?’ They know everything about Israel from Haaretz.”

Remnick: “Sooner or later, nearly everyone on Haaretz gets called a Nazi.”

The Dissenters [The New Yorker]
How School Trips to Hebron Resemble Visits to Auschwitz [Haaretz]

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I read Haaretz online every day, too, and it is indeed indispensable. But it is about as “center-left” as Noam Chomsky.

Haaretz is by far the best written of all the Israeli papers but it’s views are stuck somewhere right after the Oslo accords were signed and the intifada, Lebanon war and Gaza wars never occured. It is read by less and less people, because many of its editorials are frankly absurd.

Shalom Freedman says:

‘Haaretz’ is not a liberal Left newspaper. Politically it is a radical left newspaper which is often anti- Israel. Among its writers are people who not simply criticize Israel but absolutely hate and despite it and its people. It has provided more vicious anti- Israel propaganda , and done more in forwarding the delegitimization campaign against Israel than any other media source.

A.L. Bell says:

First, I think the existence of Haaretz is extremely pro-Israel. Whether it’s right or wrong, the fact that Israel can still tolerate some dissent is a relief.

Second, does Israel have a true legal paper of record, where say, probate notices and that sort of thing run? If so, it might be kind of interesting to go look at how that’s evolved over the years, and to go see whether there any old legal papers lying around from the dies of the Ottoman Empire and the days when the British were there.

T/Ramat-Gan/Israel says:

Haaretz is “Center of the Left” if Fatah is the center and Hamas is the Left

haaretz is losing its appeal because it lacks a clear alternative to the situation. Gideon Levy and Amira Hass are so far “left” that they belong to an insignificant fringe. It is one thing to scream and it is another to actually offer a viable alternative. Opinions are like anus’s, everybody has got one.

I’ve said that least 4751023 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

Thank you for your thoughtful post!

Good – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your web site.


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Israel’s Paper of Record

Remnick, of The New Yorker, on Haaretz

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