Wednesday, May 14, 2008

  • Wednesday, May 14, 2008
  • Elder of Ziyon
From The Nation, by Ha'aretz Arab apologist Akiva Eldar, preaching to the choir:
There are journalists, including some prominent and well-known ones, who learn about distant lands and foreign peoples from casual conversations with taxi drivers. A chance exchange with a Manhattan cabby last fall taught me a few things I did not know about my newspaper and myself. The Alexandria-born driver, a veteran of the Egyptian navy, revealed that my colleagues and I at Ha'aretz were not speaking into a void. After he discovered my identity, he adamantly refused to take any money from me. Abe said that he had been a loyal reader of mine for years, and this was his modest way of expressing his esteem for a journalist who charges him up on a weekly basis with some hope for peace in the region where he was born.

Among the thousands of hate-mail messages I receive from people on the Israeli right wing, and the venomous talkbacks that Jewish Americans submit through the Ha'aretz website, the occasional word of encouragement slips through from Arab readers, both from neighboring countries and from the West. At international conferences I get pats on the back from pragmatic Muslim intellectuals as well as from left-liberal Jews and non-Jews. But the Egyptian cabby's warm words were the most precious gift I have received over the three decades--half of Israel's age--during which I have written more than 2,000 articles.

The Israeli ambassador to a major European capital once told me that David Grossman, whose articles appear frequently in the local press, and myself were "ruining his job." He complained that every time he attacked Israel's critics for their "anti-Israeli" stances, as he put it, they would argue that our own articles were far more critical. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt cite me in their controversial book, The Israel Lobby, as one of the Israeli journalists whose criticism of the occupation is even sharper than their own.

The prominent Israeli columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in November 2000 (in a publication of the Israel Democracy Institute) that "there are Israeli reporters who do not pass the 'lynch test.'" These, he wrote, are journalists who could not bring themselves to criticize the Arabs even when two Israelis were savagely murdered by a mob in Ramallah. Barnea, who last year was awarded the Israel Prize for journalism, went on to argue that our support for the Palestinian position is absolute. He concluded, "They have a mission." I was honored to be mentioned as one of those journalists, alongside my fine colleagues Gideon Levy and Amira Hass.

I admit to being guilty as charged. I am a journalist with a mission, and also no small amount of passion.
Even though we already knew that Ha'aretz purposefully reports only the news that conform to its ideological objectives and downplays the news that does not, this is still an astonishing admission from a news reporter.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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