Haaretz’s publisher Amos Schocken recently made clear in an open call for subscribers that he sees his newspaper as a tool to advance a particular politicized agenda. But just how far is Haaretz willing to go? Judging by an opinion piece, Haaretz has crossed the line from legitimate criticism into outright hatred towards the state of Israel.
In his piece, “Israeli apartheid exposed at the airport,” (behind a pay-wall) Salman Masalha, an Israeli Arab, writes:
Many would agree with the principle that a state, whatever its name is, that practices racial segregation has no right to exist in the world with pretenses of being moral.
Israel is this kind of state.
He goes on to document his treatment at Ben-Gurion Airport by security officials. Granted, being singled out for a security check cannot be a pleasant experience but it can at least be understood within the context of the particular threats to Israeli aircraft and passengers.
Accusing Israel of “racial segregation,” and referring to “the school of Zionism’s racists,” Masalha makes it clear that his issue with Israel goes way beyond any airport security check. Instead it is Israel’s very existence that is illegitimate:
Things must be said clearly: A state that sees any citizen as a permanent suspect due to his very existence in it and his ethnic affiliation has no right to exist. A state that tries to hide its apartheid regime behind technological devices has no right to exist. Technology cannot conceal the Zionist evil forever. Because evil based on ideology will ultimately overflow, burst out and smash the mask covering the racists’ faces.
Masalha continues by making an inappropriate analogy to the treatment of Jews by the Nazis:
To make this clear, the next time I go to Ben-Gurion Airport, I’ll have a yellow patch with me, to show the truth about the Jewish-democratic glitch to all the citizens of the world passing through its gates.
While Masalha accuses Israel of being a racist state, he may wish to reflect on his own choice of words when describing the senior Israeli security officer whom is the object of his rage:
Ophir was a young, darkish security man, perhaps a descendant of converts from the Arabian Peninsula, perhaps from the Atlas Mountains. But one thing was clear, his black color looked very shabby, tattered and stained with evil.
It is astonishing that a newspaper that promotes its “liberal” sensitivities could allow a sentence such as this to get past the editorial process. It does however, reveal that Masalha is driven by the same racism he claims to be a victim of.
Ultimately, were the language of hate in this Haaretz opinion piece to appear in a foreign media outlet, it would provoke outrage. That it appears in an Israeli news source considered by foreign journalists to be the Israeli paper of record gives legitimacy to the language of delegitimization.
Haaretz has a right to criticize Israel but it also has a responsibility not to publish hate speech and the open questioning of Israel’s very right to exist. Is it any surprise that some foreign media outlets have few qualms about publishing similar screeds if they can find them in Haaretz?
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