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September 21, 2014

Ex-Haaretz Readers Walk Out of Publisher's Event

Gideon Levy press council.jpg
A column by Gideon Levy's during the war led to a mass cancellation

Last Friday (Sept. 12), Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken hosted an unusual meeting with more than 100 Israelis out of a reported total of 600 subscribers who recently cancelled their subscription to the daily paper. The mass cancellation was widely regarded by the Israeli media as a response to a July opinion piece by Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy attacking the morality of Israeli pilots participating in Operation Protective Edge:

I would like to meet the pilot or the operator of the drone who pushed the death button. How do you sleep at night, pilot? Did you see the pictures of the death and destruction you sowed – on television, and not just in the crosshairs? Did you see the crushed bodies, the bleeding wounded, the frightened children, the horrified women and the terrible destruction you sowed from your sophisticated plane? It’s all your doing, you excellent young man.

The Seventh Eye, an Israeli media watchdog, published a detailed account of the meeting, which ended in a mass walkout by the audience.

Things started smoothly enough, with the crowd granting a warm reception to both Schocken and Haaretz Editor Aluf Benn as the two described the paper's liberal policy. Benn reassured: "We are not the United Nations, we are Israelis, we live within Israeli society, and as such we covered the events that happened to the Israeli side."

Things quickly unraveled, however, once the floor was opened to questions from the audience. The Seventh Eye reported:

Zuzovsky says he was a Haaretz subscriber for a total of 60 years, and had canceled his subscription twice – both times because of Gideon Levy. His wife, Zuzovsky said, was the widow of an Air Force pilot, and he cannot bring home a newspaper comparing her grandchildren's grandfather to murderers.

The "Seventh Eye" describes how the atmosphere in the meeting slowly devolved from a high cultured social tête-à-tête to a no holds barred tit-for-tat:

The exchanges with the publisher shattered any sense of hierarchy in the room. “No one canceled his subscription because of Nehemia Strassler,? [a Haaretz economics writer] shouted someone in the hall. “Yes!? screamed other members of the audience [in agreement]. “There were those,? says Schocken. “There were not! None!? one shouted back.? “Let's try to keep the order," pleaded Schocken.

Another audience member announced he will not renew his subscription of 39 years until Levy apologizes. The next, who identified himself as a Haaretz reader for 35 years, announced theatrically that he will turn his back to the stage and only then speak. He is received with applause. He demanded Levy's apology as a condition to renew his subscription. Various other speakers, including ex-pilots, echoed similar sentiments to loud applause.

As members of the agitated audience left the room, those remaining heckled Schocken who admonished: "You were Haaretz subscribers, you can be ‘Haaretz unsubscribers’ but we can still talk like civilized people." The diminished crowd grew increasingly hostile as the publisher argued that Levy was had been proven right when he wrote a similar article in the past. Finally, Schocken gave up on the possibility of convincing many to renew their subscriptions, and the former Haaretz readers left the room.

-- Gidon Shaviv

Posted by TS at September 21, 2014 08:01 AM


The last thing Haaretz wants to do is talk about Hamas crimes.
Amos Schocken would probaby be a human shield for Hamas in a school.
Here is the best article describing the Hamas war criminals Schocken supports.
Gazans Speak Out: Hamas War Crimes
by Mudar Zahran
September 19, 2014

Posted by: Barry Meridian at September 21, 2014 09:52 AM

I know one reader who has been a subscriber since
1950, under no circumstances will consider canceling. Regardless of what information is presented, these are the die - hards, technologically, unaware of other sources!

Posted by: Al Sheeber at September 21, 2014 09:43 PM

Haaretz printed outright lies by amira hass demonising jews in hevron, she said they rioted and burned a palestinian olive grove when in fact it was a lag bomer bonfire in a jewish owned park. lies like this cannot be allowed, let alone by a supposed Israeli media source. How do I know it was a fictional account? BECAUSE i WAS THERE AND TOOK SEVERAL PICTURES.

Posted by: Ryan Bellerose at September 23, 2014 10:58 PM

this should be the type of response that the public should do to be able to protest what their paper is doing, cancellation of subscription. I will do this too if I see that the paper is publishing something that is so blatantly wrong and the paper is standing up to for that wrong... how I wish the people of the US do this too to the NYT,CNN and other media outlet who are just looking out to blame ISRAEL for about everything wrong in this world...

Posted by: ronnie gayaman at September 24, 2014 02:33 AM

This is a step in the right direction. But it's not enough. These subscribers, and all proud Jews should go after Haaretz's advertisers. That's where most of the money comes from. Let these advertisers know that we won't be purchasing their products/services if they continue to advertise in a newspaper that supports terrorists over innocent Jews.

Posted by: zelda at September 24, 2014 06:42 PM

Oh, please. Yes, I read that article about the pilots and you know what? IT WAS MILD compared to the other articles he wrote. Yes! As bad as it was, it was nothing in comparison!

Posted by: Hannah at September 26, 2014 07:31 AM

During war Ha aretz would be considered enemy of the state. In their lofty and superior anger they have forgotten that war is for survival. To attack your pilots while they risk their lives for you is treacherous and this journal is traitor to the people of Israel . It needs to apologise and retract. This journalist needs to go and live in Gaza and see if he survives it as an Israeli but no hostage exchange for him please.

Posted by: Jeanette jonas at September 27, 2014 07:52 AM

Ha'aretz is the Israeli newspaper of choice of those who wish to demonise Israel. Check out any Facebook group to which media source is overwhelmingly mined for material apparently proving Israel's evil.

One would think Ha'aretz management would be aware of this and insist on absolute confirmation on any story that could be used by Israel's enemies but they do not. Add to that the newspaper's reputation as the least likely Israeli publication to correct an error and it is no surprise that subscribers are leaving in droves.

Posted by: David Guy at September 28, 2014 11:14 AM

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