Australian-born Zionist spokesman, Isi Leibler, now living in Israel, wrote recently in The Jerusalem Post about the revelations of IDF abuse during the Gaza war. He knew who to blame:
Few would deny that over the past years Haaretz, notably its English Internet edition – has more effectively damaged Israel’s image in the West than all the Arab anti-Israeli propaganda combined. Depicting our soldiers as religious fanatics brainwashed by rabbis has chilling parallels to the anti-Semitic incitement of the Middle Ages promoted by converts who turned on their own people. Such libels emanating from Israel during the anti-Semitic tsunami now enveloping the world fall on receptive ears. The entire global media – including even those who occasionally try to be more evenhanded – carried blazing front page headlines highlighting these unsubstantiated accusations as evidence of war crimes committed during the Gaza conflict.
In Leibler’s worldview, the role of media in a democratic state is simply to support all military actions. Crimes should be hidden. The occupation not mentioned. Yet again, a Jewish authoritarianism is clearly visible.
In fact, writes Anshel Pfeffer in Haaretz, the paper’s goals are clear:
For the last 40 years, Haaretz has seen the promotion of this debate as its central role. This paper has never made a secret of its opposition to the occupation and the subjugation of another people – not just because of the injustices inflicted upon the Palestinians, but even more because of the deep moral and material damage it has caused Israel. In doing so, we have incurred the wrath of those who believe we are serving Israel’s enemies. For that reason, despite the fact that the Oranim soldiers’ story also appeared in Maariv and on Channel 10 television, it was Haaretz that took all the blame.
Having represented this paper abroad for much of the last year, I naturally enjoyed basking in the glory of the high regard in which it is held around the world. But there were also uncomfortable moments, when I heard praise from those who could barely conceal their hatred for my country. None of us work for Haaretz so we can be regarded as “the good Israelis” by those who instinctively put Israel in the dock. After the paper published the report on the soldiers’ stories, Amos Harel turned down dozens of requests for interviews in the international media. No one had any illusions that the story would not be picked up by newspapers and television channels, but we were not doing it for them. It was for us, Israelis.