Ha'aretz has now completely crossed the line from a newspaper to a propaganda mouthpiece.
Judith Butler, a Berkeley professor, and Rashid Khalidi, PLO spokesman-cum-Columbia professor, published an Internet petition in which they condemn what they call attempts to silence, intimidate and threaten critics of Israel. Israel's "critics," they emphasize, are those who support the anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divest, sanctions) campaign. BDS advocates, as have been previously demonstrated, are not pro-Palestinians, they are anti-Israel. They are not in favor of a two-state solution. Rather they advocate for a one-state solution -- a Palestinian state from the river to the sea.
There is nothing particularly remarkable about this anti-Israel petition. Such initiatives are commonplace. Noteworthy, however, was Ha'aretz's decision Thursday evening to post the Khalidi/Butler petition in full on its English Web site under the headline:
Ha'aretz published the petition without any preface or explanation. It appeared as a full, bona fide article, with a headline, a subheadline and text (the petition), including the 150 names that signed on to the document. Had editors linked to the petition as part of an article about the document, the item would have carried some news value. The current item, however, which contains absolutely zero reporting, analysis or context, is not journalism. It is free publicity for prominent anti-Israel polemicists who support the boycott of the Jewish state. Ha'aretz is blatantly carrying out the work of anti-Israel organizations.
Has Ha'aretz decided to come out of the closet, shrugging off any pretense of being a news organization? What other explanation is there for this very bizarre and very un-journalistic act? Pro-Israel and anti-Israel groups routinely publish petitions. Why did Ha'aretz pick this petition in particular, publishing its "full text" as if it were a speech by the Prime Minister at the United Nations? Could it possibly be because Ha'aretz editors support the petition penned by two anti-Israel activists calling for the boycott of Israel (not settlements)?
Furthermore, six hours after the "full text" appeared, Ha'aretz's English site posted a news article about the boycott petition. Why wasn't the news article published six hours earlier? Was it added after an editor realized that there is no justification for publication of the "full text" of any petition, for any cause, without providing context? More importantly: why does the petition still appear as a standalone item on Ha'aretz's Web site?
Ha'aretz, apparently, is not at all ashamed that it has abandoned journalism in favor of blatant anti-Israel activism.