I am watching with some interest the unfolding battle between Ben Dror Yemini - opinion-editor of the daily newspaper Maariv and the self-appointed "conscience of Israel" - Gideon Levy, the editor of Haaretz.
The fight started with Mr Levy giving a rather long and boring interview to his partner in journalistic sloppiness: Johann Hari of Independent. In this interview, among other "facts", Gideon Levy has presented the following example of Israeli bloodthirstiness and lack of proper feelings:
During Operation Cast Lead, the Israel bombing of blockaded Gaza in 2008-9, “a dog – an Israeli dog – was killed by a Qassam rocket and it on the front page of the most popular newspaper in Israel. On the very same day, there were tens of Palestinians killed, they were on page 16, in two lines.”Ben Dror Yemini, being more of a professional journalist than Levy will ever be, was incensed by this spoof and the whole travesty of the interview and has done something that Levy never bothers with: basic investigation. The result was an article in NRG: Baron of deceit industry (in Hebrew). Before we plunge into the article, here goes its lede:
If you wish to know how demonization of Israel is concocted, you should read Gideon Levy in an interview with a British newspaper. The body of lies by the Israeli journalist makes Pravda, in its bad days, into a reliable and serious newspaper.Keep it in mind. Keep in mind also the following opinion by Ben Dror:
...earlier this week I was asked by a young Israeli I do not know personally, how can I sit in a television studio with Gideon Levy, and not boil from indignation. I assured him I was proud to live in a country where there is a Gideon Levy, who writes and kicks freely. Any other option will be worse.So Ben Dror Yemini went to the archives "of the most popular newspaper in Israel" - Yediot Achronot and checked what appeared to be all the daily issues for the three weeks of the war. To be on the safe side, he also checked the same days' issues of the second most popular newspaper - Maariv. Result - zero. No dog.
But the dead dog is only one of the points raised by Yemini. There are many more in that article, so the best I can offer is that Google translation, unfortunately not nearly good enough.
To get this post into a reasonable frame size-wise, I shall skip the other items, focusing on the unfortunate dead dog for a while. Anyhow, unlike in many other cases of his frequent journalistic snafus, Levy decided to go to war and published a rebuttal of Yemini's article. In Haaretz the rebuttal doesn't include the newspapers' front pages, but there is a copy on a site called Israeli Occupation Archive, and you can see there the front pages of both Yediot and Maariv. Only... but I shall let Levy explain this:
The dog: Oops. I misstated the date of publication of the page-one pictures.Check this out: both pictures belong to these two newspapers indeed. The only small (for Levy) problem is that they are dated three years before the times Levy so poignantly described to his bosom buddy Johann. But this "Oops" is a very rare phenomenon for Levy: usually he doesn't bother even with his oopses. Indeed, issuing oopses will interfere with his stream of propaganda articles...
And I use the word "propaganda" advisedly, since this oops and, especially, the lack of many other oopses make Gideon Levy into what he really is: a propagandist who is rarely bothered with facts, making do with using anything and ignoring anything that helps/stands in his way to another small victory of anti-Israeli propaganda.
Levy's rebuttal should be read in its entirety for two reasons: first of all, for lack of the English translation of Yemini's article: Levy attempts to rebut other points Yemini made, so it will save you reading Yemini's stuff in its bad Google translation. Second reason is to see how clumsy is Levy's footwork when arguing with something he is not able to disprove.
Again: I was surprised by Levy's gall in going head-to-head with Yemini. Usually he tends to avoid any reference to his past snafus. To remind you of his latest and most glaring:
The day after the shooting of two Israeli officers (one dead, one severely wounded) by Lebanese sniper, in spite of IDF following all the small letters of established procedure on the border, which fact was confirmed by all levels of UNIFIL, Levy righteously (and falsely) thunders:
We'll continue to ignore UNIFIL, ignore the Lebanese Army and its new brigade commander, who has the nerve to think that his job is to protect his country's sovereignty.It took a few days for all the facts absolving IDF from any responsibility for what has occurred on the border to come in. Has Levy mentioned that he was on the wrong side of the argument in this piece? Nah...
The story of Sabbar Kashur, an Arab Israeli convicted for rape on "false pretenses". Judging by the conviction only, without showing a smidgen of interest in the details of the case itself, Gideon Levy rained brimstone and (why not call it frankly?) shit on the cruel racist Israel in a notoriously titled piece He impersonated a human. Read it yourself, if you wish. And then, the real story of the rapist and chronic liar Sabbar Kashur is published. Instead of a man who was unjustly accused, convicted and imprisoned - all this for being an Arab, we get something entirely different, don't we? And what does Gideon Levy do? Apologize, retract, what? You have guessed by now, haven't you...
Benjamin Kerstein, a Senior Writer for The New Ledger, exploits the options that Gideon Levy faces in regards to this case:
If Levy has any professional honor left, and if Haaretz wants to salvage some measure of its integrity, then both should do the right thing, at long last. Levy should resign immediately. He should issue a written apology to the victim of this assault and allow it to be published publicly. If he does not do so, Haaretz should fire him. If he does resign, Haaretz should also issue its own apology for its coverage of the issue.Yeah... Gideon Levy and professional honor... The former wouldn't recognize the latter if it bit him on the arse, that's for sure. Sorry for being cynical, Benjamin.
Now back to the dead dog. First, actually to Johann Hari of Independent. The headline of his article asks: Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic? Neither, Johann. Not enough people read Haaretz to make Levy anything "most" in Israel, and hate is too strong an emotion to be leveled at a lying hack. Heroic? You make my dog laugh, and I don't even have a dog...
But since we have mentioned dogs so frequently: that IDF dog is dead and buried for five years. I bet that if exhumed, his remains wouldn't even stink. Unlike Gideon Levy, who is alive and kicking, and may he continue so until (at least) 120. You see, Johann, your friend Gideon stinks to high heaven.
Cross-posted on Yourish.com