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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Amira Hass’

Israeli Journalist Amira Hass Bashes Israel at Government-Funded ‘Peace Forum’ in Finland [video]

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

At what was called a “peace forum” held at the Helsinki University in Finland, one of the furthest left journalists of the far left Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Amira Hass, was invited to share her hatred for the Jewish state, and to lionize by justifying those who attack Israel. There were two other speakers, one as anti-Israel as Hass, the other, slightly less so.

The event was sponsored by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, and put together by ICAHD, a virulently anti-Israel (Israeli) NGO that started as opposing the demolition of (any) Arab (but not any Jewish) homes in Israel, but now stands in opposition to the “Occupation,” which frequently is polite speak for the existence of Israel. It was held on Monday evening, Sept. 8.

Kenneth Sikorski, founder and editor of the pro-Israel blog Tundra Tabloids, was present at the event. He reported that Hass was in her usual form, excoriating Israel for existing, claiming – literally – that “every single Palestinian in the world has been victimized by Israel’s policies.” Every single one.

As Sikorski reported, Hass told the Finnish audience that Israel is “responsible for state terror, cruel policies of marginalization, departmentalization and apartheid policies that are far worse than was practices in South Africa.”

Fed up with listening to Hass – at a peace forum no less! – Sikorski stood during the Question and Answer session at the end of the forum and said for all to hear that the forum “is the anti-theses of what it supposedly  promotes,” that instead of promoting peace, “it includes promoters of violence, namely Amira Hass, who stated that throwing stones is the Palestinian’s ‘birthright.’”

Several pro-Israel members of the audience were tossed out of the event for refusing to sit quietly to the blatant hostility and falsehoods hurled by the speakers at the Jewish state.

Hass was not the only over-the-top spewer of venom towards Israel. Jamal Zahalka, an elected member of the Israeli Knesset of the Arab Balad party, also was present to explain to the Finns just how awful Israel is.

Zahalka said that “Apartheid under South Africa was preferable to what Arabs are suffering under Israeli hegemony.”

Got that? One wonders whether Zahalka can name any black South Africans who were members of the South African government during the Apartheid regime? It is astounding that Arabs in the Israeli government – as did Zahalka’s predecessor, Amir Bishara (who later had to flee Israel to evade charges that, while serving in the Israeli government, he had been spying for Hezbollah) – still claim, with a straight face, that Israel is an Apartheid state.

What’s worse, perhaps, is that audiences hear these charges of Apartheid against Israel by members of the Israeli government or leading journalists, and neither convulse with laughter or demand that the speakers understand the words they use, especially when the accusers’ own pictures could be used as icons to disprove their claims.

Hass not only justified stone-throwing by Arabs at Israelis, she transformed the act into a literary performance, saying: “Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule. Throwing stones is an action as well as a metaphor of resistance.”

Watch the video of the event. Try not to be distracted by the frightening hairdo of the student presenter.

 

 

Downfall of a Great Newspaper

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Editor’s Note: A version of this article appeared in Hebrew at Mida, a publication of El Haprat, a nonprofit organization. It was then published in English in a new online publication The Tower. It is being republished here by permission. Erez Tadmor is a political editor at Mida Magazine.

In early April of this year, the controversial Haaretz reporter Amira Hass, whose coverage of Palestinian violence over the last decade has often prompted accusations of bias, caused a major stir when she published a column called “The Internal Syntax of the Occupation.” Most provocative was her claim that “throwing stones is the hereditary right and duty of someone under a foreign power”—words that appeared only a few days after Adele Biton, a 3-year old Israeli girl, was critically injured when a Palestinian threw a rock at the car her mother was driving, causing it to slam into a commercial truck.

In a Sunday interview with journalist Kalman Libskind of the radio station Galei Yisrael, Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken set out to defend Hass’s article. Growing flustered, however, Schocken ended up saying that moving to a settlement was a form of deliberately endangering the welfare of one’s children, something that in another context would trigger the intervention of social services. As for Hass’s sympathy for rock-throwers, Schocken refused to distance himself. “Sometimes,” he concluded, “you have to fight violence with violence.”

The method Amos Schocken chose to defend Hass’s article, and his defense of editor-in-chief Aluf Benn’s decision to publish the piece in full, sheds some light on the recent changes at the once-venerable Israeli daily. In a series of interviews conducted with current and former Haaretz employees, some of whom held high-level positions at the paper and most of whom still hold it close to their hearts, a consensus emerged to the effect that the paper is undergoing a process of major change that has led to a dramatic reduction in staff, a precipitous decline in journalistic standards, and a willful radicalization of its politics in pursuit of Internet traffic.

As Israel’s longstanding newspaper of record, these developments have raised important questions about the future of print journalism, especially in a country where a free and dynamic press has always been at the center of Israel’s democratic discourse.

For decades, Israelis have associated Haaretz with journalistic quality—or, rather, they’ve associated journalistic quality with Haaretz. The paper was known for its scrupulous editorship and for articles, reviews and columns issued in a Hebrew so highly styled and written in such a lofty register that it bordered on the literary—something that comes as no surprise considering the paper’s pedigree. Salman Schocken, grandfather of Amos and patriarch of the family that controlled the paper for decades, transforming it from an official administrative paper of the British colonial authority into a cultural institution, was also the founder of one of the world’s most distinguished publishing houses—Schocken Books, which published Kafka, Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin and other literary luminaries of pre-war Germany.

Though it literally means “the land,” the Hebrew word haaretz is understood to refer to the nation, the country, and the State of Israel all wrapped up into one. And for three-quarters of a century, Haaretz in many ways was all that. It was Israel’s unrivaled national stage, and what played out in its news articles and opinion pages was Israeli public life itself. In this sense, it could be thought of as Israel’s New York Times—the difference being that the centrality of Haaretz to Israeli life was far greater than that of the Gray Lady in America, where a number of other stalwart dailies were able to successfully vie for readership and influence over the years. But although its circulation never approached that of the popular dailies Maariv and Yediot Aharonot, Haaretz had nothing that could be seriously spoken of as competition.

However, Haaretz has gone through excruciating times of late, much like the rest of Israel’s print-media industry. Recent months have seen major staff cuts, reports of a crisis between management and employees, the closure or downsizing of major supplements, and an oftentimes-inelegant shift in emphasis from print to digital.

But according to the employees interviewed for this article, all of whom refused to be identified out of fear of the impact on their careers in Israel’s small and insular media environment, the Amira Hass affair was a red flag not only for the Israeli public, but also for many on the Haaretz staff. As one former editor at the news desk put it:

Amira Hass’s article must be seen as the result of a conscious decision to radicalize the paper, to make it something shallow, sensationalist, and shocking, and to give it the image of a paper—really, a website—that is courageous and groundbreaking. At the end of the day, there is only one goal: To generate traffic. It doesn’t matter if the piece is good or bad, what matters is that it leads to website traffic.

The Jewish Press cartoonist Asher Scwartz's take on the Amira Hass controversy.

The Jewish Press cartoonist Asher Scwartz’s take on the Amira Hass controversy.

Hamas Condemning Western Espionage and UN Agency

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Hamas is accusing Western as well as Arab spy agencies of running clandestine operations in the Gaza Strip, and even announced it had a list of collaborators, AFP reported.

“The Gaza Strip is swarming with Western intelligence agencies, such as the American, British, French and German services,” Mohammed Lafi, the Hamas internal security chief, stated on the interior ministry website.

“They all target Gaza and Hamas,” he said, including unspecified Arab intelligence services.

But Hamas is clashing with the UN as well. On Thursday, dozens of Gazans broke into the offices of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), because they were angry at it for stopping a monthly cash stipend for poor families. Israel Radio reported the stipends were suspended because of budget cuts.

The agency staff decided to react to the attack by going on strike, and UNRWA announced the suspension of food distribution.

“What happened today was completely unacceptable,” Robert Turner, the head of the agency’s Gaza operations, said on Thursday. “The situation could very easily have resulted in serious injuries to UNRWA staff and to the demonstrators. This escalation, apparently pre-planned, was unwarranted and unprecedented.”

Hams’s response was to condemn UNRWA for stopping food distribution, ignoring the fact that rioters had stormed the organization’s offices and the fact that the staff received no protection from the authorities.

Hamas spokesperson Sammi abu-Zuhari said UNRWA’s decision to suspend food distribution was “overblown and unjust,” and that “Palestinian refugees have a right to stage non-violent protests.”

Naturally, if, according to Haaretz’s Amira Hass, throwing Molotov cocktails at motorists is a form of national resistance, breaking and entering can be filed under non-violent protest.

As to the spies that seem to be converging on Gaza from all over the planet, security chief Lafi said his agency had “a list of collaborators who will be arrested once the time for them to repent has run out.”

A notably spiritual approach to espionage.

Lafi said some spies have already been arrested and “half of them have confessed to being collaborators.” He also warned Palestinian journalists not to feed information to foreign correspondents and institutions.

Jews Call Police on Ha’aretz Writer for Endorsing Stone Attacks

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

The leader of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) filed a complaint with police, charging Haaretz journalist Amira Hass with incitement by writing that Palestinian Authority Arabs have a “duty” to throw rocks at Jews.

She wrote her article after an Israeli court found a Hevron cab driver guilty of murder for throwing rocks and causing the fatal cash of a car driven by American-Israeli citizen Asher Palmer 18 months ago. Palmer and his two-year-old son were killed when he lost control of his vehicle and smashed into a guard rail near Kiryat Arba.

The rock-throwing terrorist, Wael Salaman Mohammed el-Arjeh, confessed to throwing rocks but denied he intended to murder anyone.

Hass, a Jewish journalist who has lived in Gaza and Ramallah and fully supports the Palestinian Authority, wrote, “Throwing stones is the birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule. Throwing stones is an action as well as a metaphor of resistance.”

Ron Shechner, a former assistant to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz in the Sharon government and now director of Yesha, told the Jewish Press he filed the complaint with police because Hass’ article directly incites violence against Jews.

Hours after the complaint was filed with Jerusalem police, rioting Palestinian Authority Arabs stoned dozens of cars on the highway from Jerusalem to Kiryat Arab-Hevron.

Hass sees no problem with rock-throwing, which usually is aimed at causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles and crash, as happened to Palmer.

If Hass’s car were stoned by Arab attackers, she no doubt would blame Israel, which she said is a reality of violence and whose soldiers, “bureaucrats, jurists and lawyers…protect the fruits of violence instilled in foreign occupation − resources, profits, power and privileges.”

She justified stone-throwers by stating it often “is borne of boredom, excessive hormones, mimicry, boastfulness and competition” and is a message that, “We’ve had enough of you, occupiers.”

Hass advised Palestinian Authority schools to introduce basic classes in resistance: how to build multiple “tower and stockade” villages in Area C; how to behave when army troops enter your homes; comparing different struggles against colonialism in different countries; how to use a video camera to document the violence of the regime’s representatives; methods to exhaust the military system and its representatives; a weekly day of work in the lands beyond the separation barrier;

“How to remember identifying details of soldiers who flung you handcuffed to the floor of the jeep, in order to submit a complaint; the rights of detainees and how to insist on them in real time; how to overcome fear of interrogators; and mass efforts to realize the right of movement.”

Ironically, the same advice could be written for Jewish right-wing activists.

Back in July of 2001, the Hebron Jewish community sued Ha’aretz, after Amira Hass had written that the residents of Beit Hadassah in Hevron abused the corpse of a terrorist. She wrote that the residents kicked, spat on, and danced atop the body of a dead Arab terrorist, who had just been shot and killed by soldiers shortly after he threw a grenade at them.

The plaintiffs cited an announcement by the IDF spokesman at the time asserting that the Jewish residents did not abuse the body in any manner. The Hebron residents demanded an apology, which Ha’aretz did not provide. They then sued the paper for 250 thousand shekels (about $70 thousand), and Ha’aretz did not even submit a defense. So Judge Shalev Gertel awarded the full sum to the Hebron community, plus 20 thousand shekels (about $5,500) for legal expenses.

Yori Yanover contributed to this report.

Israel’s Pathological Newspaper

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

It takes a time like this for the full fury of Israel’s leftists to erupt in the face of their own country and government. While it’s true that, at least for now, Israel’s anti-Hamas offensive has garnered widespread domestic support, that’s hardly been the case among the country’s left-wing elite.

Many of the Monitor’s readers may have read some of the op-ed pieces that have appeared in Haaretz since the Gaza operation began, and it’s not exactly news that the Israeli daily is a hothouse of far-left sensibilities (hence its popularity among foreign journalists and pro-Palestinian bloggers).

But to truly get an appreciation for the depths of pathology routinely exhibited by Haaretz’s opinion columnists, one needs to look at several days’ worth of their work product. Drowning out the occasional token centrist or rightist perspective are waves of anti-Israel invective of which the following is just a representative sampling. Read it and weep.

Akiva Eldar: “The question that must be asked … is how many Palestinians and Israelis must die before the Israeli public wakes up from its new-old illusion that tanks and planes can perpetuate the occupation. The answer: As long as Israelis expect Palestinians to raise white flags, a black flag will fly over their own head.”

Gideon Levy: “Israel embarked yesterday on yet another unnecessary, ill-fated war. On July 16, 2006, four days after the start of the Second Lebanon War, I wrote: ‘Every neighborhood has one, a loud-mouthed bully who shouldn’t be provoked into anger… Not that the bully’s not right – someone did harm him. But the reaction, what a reaction!’

“Two and a half years later, these words repeat themselves, to our horror, with chilling precision. Within the span of a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, the IDF sowed death and destruction on a scale that the Qassam rockets never approached in all their years, and Operation ‘Cast Lead’ is only in its infancy.

“Once again, Israel’s violent responses, even if there is justification for them, exceed all proportion and cross every red line of humaneness, morality, international law and wisdom. What began yesterday in Gaza is a war crime and the foolishness of a country….

“A hero against the weak, [the IDF] bombed dozens of targets from the air yesterday, and the pictures of blood and fire are designed to show Israelis, Arabs and the entire world that the neighborhood bully’s strength has yet to wane. When the bully is on a rampage, nobody can stop him.”

David Grossman: “We should in no way strike [Gaza] so violently, even if Hamas, for years, has made life intolerably miserable for the people of southern Israel, and even if their leaders have refused every Israeli and Egyptian attempt to reach a compromise….”

Amira Hass: “This is the time to speak of our own satisfaction and enjoyment. Satisfaction from tanks once again raising and lowering their barrels in preparation for a ground attack, satisfaction from our leaders’ threatening finger-waving at the enemy. That’s how we like our leaders – calling up reservists, sending pilots to bomb our enemies….”

Tom Segev: “All of Israel’s wars have been based on yet another assumption that has been with us from the start: that we are only defending ourselves…. It is admittedly impossible to live with daily missile fire, even if virtually no place in the world today enjoys a situation of zero terror. But Hamas is not a terrorist organization holding Gaza residents hostage: It is a religious nationalist movement, and a majority of Gaza residents believe in its path. One can certainly attack it, and with Knesset elections in the offing, this attack might even produce some kind of cease-fire.

“But there is another historical truth worth recalling in this context: Since the dawn of the Zionist presence in the Land of Israel, no military operation has ever advanced dialogue with the Palestinians.

“Most dangerous of all is the cliche that there is no one to talk to. That has never been true. There are even ways to talk with Hamas, and Israel has something to offer the organization. Ending the siege of Gaza and allowing freedom of movement between Gaza and the West Bank could rehabilitate life in the Strip.”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Amira Hass, Palestinian Patriot

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2001

If you were to hook up Israel’s left-wing journalists to polygraph machines and inject them with rivers of truth serum, you would no doubt find that many are more than mere ideological poseurs blankly parroting the latest bit of “progressive” dogma. A substantial number really do believe the myth that Israel is a nation of racist imperialists who ruthlessly robbed the Palestinians of their ancient homeland.

The truest of the true believers is Amira Hass, who writes for Ha’aretz, the Israeli daily so intrinsically hostile to anything authentically Jewish that the essayist Boris Shusteff has labeled as “Ha’aretz Jews” those in Israel “who do not understand the Jewish religion, traditions, culture and history [and] are trying to reinvent the wheel by turning their backs on their own people.”

Unlike her fellow Israeli leftists who satisfy the dark places in their souls by vilifying their country and countrymen from deep inside the Green Line, less than a stone’s throw from the faux Eurotrash atmosphere of their favorite Tel Aviv nightspots, Hass chooses to live among Palestinians, the people whose cause she champions as her own.

For the past five years Hass, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, has made her home in the Palestinian town of Ramallah, a locale that any normal Jew would consider one of the most inhospitable on earth. Before moving to Ramallah she spent three years living in Gaza, an experience she recounted in loving detail in her memoir Drinking the Sea at Gaza.

Far from harboring the slightest worry for her safety, Hass basks in the warm welcome she says the Palestinians have extended her. “The longer I live [among the Palestinians], the more secure I feel,” she once told a reporter from Le Monde.

Why, even those seemingly fearsome fundamentalist types can be so gosh darn neighborly. Here is Hass’s fond memory of an encounter with a man who, without blinking, would countenance the killing of Jewish babies: “In 1994 I got my first interview with Islamic leader Hani Abed. We got in a taxi and he said, ‘Did you ever imagine you would sit next to a Hamas leader one day?’ And I told him: ‘And you, will you tell your wife that you sat next to another woman, an Israeli, and an atheist to boot?’ He laughed.”

And why shouldn’t he laugh? Palestinians like Abed are shrewd enough to recognize the value of having such a useful idiot in their midst, particularly one whose dispatches are so eagerly devoured by the Israeli artists and intellectuals who weep daily over the Palestinian tragedy (but who would never follow the logical course of their sympathies, which would necessitate turning over their villas and condos to Palestinian families and promptly leaving the country they believe their colonialist fathers stole from its rightful occupants).

When two Israeli reservists were brutally lynched by Palestinians in Ramallah last October, three weeks into the renewed intifada, a Palestinian Authority official suggested that Hass leave town until the situation cooled off. Hass said she preferred to stay in Ramallah, and proceeded to file a story that betrayed not a whit of sympathy for the murdered Israelis.

“The bloodbath that has been going on for three weeks is the natural outcome of seven years of [Israeli] lying and deception,” she wrote in Ha’aretz, in an article castigating Israeli leaders who, Hass complained, “are still unable to heed the voice of the Palestinian nation.”

Given Hass’s history, it came as no surprise when the Monitor visited the Times’s website last Sunday (why plunk down hard-earned cash for the print edition?) and spotted a typically strident Op-Ed piece, titled “Separate and Unequal on the West Bank,” carrying her byline.

Tendentious, one-sided and replete with historical inaccuracies – “Shouldn’t The New York Times have checked [her] basic facts before publishing anti-Israel slander?” asked the watchdog website HonestReporting.com – the article nevertheless elicited just the slightest bit of grudging admiration. This, it must be conceded, is a skilled, battle-honed propagandist at work.

How skilled a propagandist? You could say that Amira Hass is everything that former Times Jerusalem bureau chief Deborah Sontag wants to be when she grows up.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/media-monitor-132/2001/10/03/

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