German media group DuMont Schauberg wants to sell its 20% holdings in Haaretz, the Israeli print and online publishing group which is synonymous with leftwing politics and anti-Netanyahu campaigns, its publisher Amos Schocken told the Financial Times. The Schocken family is the majority stock owner of Haaretz, which was founded in 1918 by the British military government in Palestine and established in 1919 as a Zionist paper by a group of businessmen including prominent philanthropist Isaac Leib Goldberg. In 1937, the paper was purchased by Jewish German department store owner Salman Schocken, who made his son, Gershom Schocken, chief editor in 1939, a position he held until his death in 1990.
The Schocken family owned 100% of the Haaretz Group until August 2006, when M. DuMont Schauberg acquired 25% of the shares for about $28 million. At the time, many in Israel pointed out the fact that DuMont Schauberg’s father, Kurt Neven DuMont, had been a member of the German Nazi party, and used his publishing house to promote Nazi propaganda.
In June 2011, Israeli-Russian businessman Leonid Nevzlin purchased a 20% stake in the Haaretz Group, 15% coming from Schocken and 5% from M. DuMont Schauberg. At this point, Schocken owns only 60% of the company.
Amos Schocken told FT he was helping DuMont Schauberg search for “an investor who will essentially replace them.”
According to Schocken, DuMont Schauberg’s new management, appointed last year, prefers to focus on “their core publishing assets in Germany,” which leaves out Haaretz, their only foreign asset.
Two tidbits about Haaretz we dug up in Wikipedia: Andrea Levin, executive director of the American pro-Israel Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA) said Haaretz was doing “damage to the truth” and sometimes making serious factual errors but not often correcting them; and former Haaretz editor-in-chief David Landau said at the 2007 Limmud conference in Moscow that he had told his staff not to report about criminal investigations against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in order to promote Sharon’s plan to expel thousands of Jews from their homes in the Gaza Strip.
Haaretz keeps a stable of pundits who daily attack Jewish communities in the liberated territories, Jewish institutions, and traditional Zionist endeavors. It is also a dedicated enemy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara. Despite its low circulation in Israel, compared with giant dailies like Yediot and Israel Hayom, Haaretz has for many years been considered Israel’s most influential newspaper. Go figure.David Israel