At last Haaretz—Israel’s left-wing daily that I’ve criticized on more than one occasion (here, here, or here, for instance)—has an editorial that I like. Appearing this week, it marks the retirement of left-wing Knesset member Haim Oron and describes the “entire Israeli left” as being at an “unprecedented nadir” and “in desperate need of a new path forward….”
Pleasant words, those.
Trying to account for what it calls the Israeli left’s “helplessness and hopelessness,” Haaretz adduces “the failure of Oron and Meretz [his party] to voice a clear-cut alternative” to what Haaretz calls “the murky right-wing wave that threatens to flood the country.” As for that “wave,” Haaretz describes it in terms of “the nationalistic, racist and anti-democratic legislation that [the right] is proposing almost unhindered in the Knesset.”
In other words—as usual—Haaretz portrays Israel in terms not distant from those used by the Israel Apartheid Week crowd. That habitual Israel-bashing led Marty Peretz—no friend of the Israel right—to assert regarding Haaretz last week that
many of its columnists are intellectual psychopaths…. If you want one reason for why the international press is so hostile to Israel, it is because the only paper foreign journalists read is Haaretz in English. It is an exemplar of Jewish self-hate, full of ridicule, righteousness, and loathing. Its circulation is going down, down, down.
Oh yes, Haaretz’s circulation—one thing the paper forgot to mention while lamenting the state of the Israeli left in general. The mournful editorial, that is, skips the fact that if the Israeli left as a whole is a sinking ship, Haaretz is going right down with it.
As for why that should be so, Haaretz, of course, doesn’t have a clue. In addition to the left’s supposed failure to “voice a clear-cut alternative” to the right, the editorial lamely attributes the left’s decline to “the fact that Oron focused in his work mainly on economic and social issues” while “the fight against the occupation was secondary….”
“The occupation” refers, of course, to Israel’s presence in the West Bank—something most Israelis hardly want to “fight against,” especially now that Israel’s removal of “the occupation” of Gaza has resulted in six straight years of rocket and mortar fire on Israeli communities.
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