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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012's Dishonest Reporter of the Year is an Israeli

In an unusual move, HonestReporting.com has given its 2012 Dishonest Reporter of the Year award to an Israeli.

And the winner is....

Haaretz's Gideon Levy.
It’s no secret that some of the most critical stories concerning Israel in the international press are lifted straight from the pages of Israel’s very own Haaretz newspaper, and all the more so thanks to its English language website.
While Haaretz is entitled to fulfill its role as a critical domestic judge of Israel and its government’s policies, what happened when it published a story that was — quite simply — dishonest?
Gideon Levy’s front page article ”Most Israelis support an apartheid regime in Israel,” backed by a survey, made headlines around the world:
Israeli back discrimination against Arabs: poll (Sydney Morning Herald)
Israeli poll finds majority would be in favour of ‘apartheid’ policies (The Guardian)
Israelis approve discrimination if West Bank annexed: poll (AFP)
Levy regularly demonizes the Jewish state to foreign audiences and in his own newspaper columns. He regularly goes beyond legitimate criticism of Israel, crossing red lines and allying himself with those who refer to Israel as a racist “apartheid state”, promote boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and wish to see the very destruction of Israel.
On the basis that Levy promotes the canard of Israeli “apartheid”, he is the last journalist who could give an objective analysis of this polls results.
His article opened with the following premise:
Most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formally annexes the West Bank.
Levy’s entire premise was based, however, on a hypothetical situation where Israel annexes the West Bank – a policy that the majority of Israelis are opposed to according to the very same poll.
Other statistics were casually tossed into the mix by Levy in an attempt to fit the figures to his framing of Israel as an apartheid state. Minority opinions were highlighted and illustrative graphs that appeared in the Haaretz Hebrew edition were noticeably absent from the English article.
Levy stated that the survey was commissioned by the New Israel Fund’s Yisraela Goldblum Fund. It was perhaps an indicator of just how politicized and toxic this poll was that the New Israel Fund publicly disassociated itself (Hebrew) from it.
After an outcry over the article, Haaretz was forced to issue a clarification stating that the original headline did not accurately reflect the findings of the poll and amended the headline.
While it did not represent a correction or apology, Haaretz did publish an opinion piece by Dr. Yehuda Ben Meir, who shredded Levy, concluding:
There’s a lot of room for improvement in Israeli society, but this article does an injustice to the State of Israel, the Jewish people and the truth. an injustice to the State of Israel, the Jewish people and the truth.
Toronto’s Globe & Mail (to its credit) was the only non-Israeli paper to report the clarification – an indication of just how much damage the original story had caused to Israel internationally.
Read the whole thing

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