Thursday, February 03, 2005

Amiragate: Israel's Rathergate

We are all familiar with "Rathergate", the tragic saga of how two veteran journalists (Dan Rather and Mary Mapes)relied on obviously forged memos in their CBS broadcast that cast President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard in a bad light. When questions about the authenticity of the memos arose, a period of stonewalling commenced. Only after continuous public pressure (especially from the bloggers) CBS admitted that the memos were "probably" not authentic. Mapes got fired, and Rather's reputation suffered greatly.

A few years ago a similar incident occured in Israel. Amira Hass, a journalist for Israel's left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, published a story that smeared Hebron's Jewish community. According to CAMERA's Andrea Levin, Hass wrote that the Jewish residents there had abused the corpse of a dead Arab shot by Israeli Border police in a violent incident. Arutz 7 was more explicit:
"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 source of Hass' story is unclear. Was it her own imagination or the imagination of local Islamofascists? What is absolutely clear is her source was about as reliable as CBS's Killian memos. Arutz 7 reported that "the IDF spokesman at the time asserting that the Jewish residents did not abuse the body in any manner." Andrea Levin added that the "allegations were disproved by multiple televised accounts of the event."

Hevron's Jewish residents demanded a retraction or an apology, which Haaretz did not provide. They sued the paper for 250,000 shekels, and Haaretz did not even submit a defense. In June 2001 the judge Shalev Gertel awarded the full sum to the Hevron community, in addition to 20,000 shekels for legal expenses.

Cosmic X contacted the spokesman of Hevron's Jewish community, David Wilder, to find out if Haaretz every payed or apologized. His answer (from Feb. 2, 2005) was shocking but not surprising:

"Concerning the suit against Haaretz - the original decision was based upon the fact that the newspaper didn't send anyone to court to answer the charges - so the judge awarded us the decision. Haaretz appealed, saying they didn't know about the case ... and their appeal was accepted and the original verdict was voided. Since then, nothing has happened - the judge still has not heard the case - I'm not clear as to exactly why - however, it is still in the courts."

The wheels of Israeli justice move slow, very slow. Almost four years have passed. But the Jewish community has not forgotten, and neither have I. If what Andrea Levin wrote, that the "allegations were disproved by multiple televised accounts of the event," is true, it is just a matter of time before Haaretz is going to have to pay up or apologize. What are they gaining by stonewalling? CBS's crediblity certainly suffered from using this tactic. Haaretz should learn from Rathergate, and end Amiragate as soon as possible.

An ending note: A Google search on "Amira Hass" reveals that she is the darling of Eurodhimmi and Islamofascist web sites. I'm so surprised!


Batya said...

There's a problem that the Israeli Judicial system is almost as leftist as the media. If the Hebron community can prove that the judge has been neglegent in doing his job, then there's a chance.
Maybe they should contact The Movement for Quality in Government.

Also we should be boycotting the paper. I avoid it when my husband brings the English one home, and I don't read the Hebrew one either.

So what can we English language bloggers do?

Cosmic X said...


Israeli bloggers should be doing what the American bloggers did with Rathergate. We should be the watchdogs of the Israeli media.

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