Leibler & Rabin
Isi Leibler with Yitzhak Rabin, circa 1992

The incredible gall of Haaretz

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The gall of Haaretz is incredible. I previously reported on the refusal of Haaretz to provide me with a right of reply to an article criticizing me by Bradley Burston which was published in the Hebrew and English sections of the newspaper and appeared for three weeks on the homepage of their website.

On Tuesday November 2, the homepage of the English website carried yet another article attacking me by Carlo Strenger, a Professor of Psychology at Tel Aviv University, titled “Memo to Jewish haters of Liberals: The Middle Ages are over.”  This was a defamatory attack utterly distorting what I had written. Strenger accused me of seeking to reintroduce medieval excommunications “against the large proportion of the Jewish people who disagree with him”. He implied that the alleged murderer Yaacov Teitel could have been influenced by my writings and links the J Street convention with the 14th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination, implicitly suggesting that similar views to those I express led to the assassination of Rabin.

I wrote once more to Haaretz stating “Once again you have a piece on the home page of Haaretz attacking me. Whereas Burston’s article represented a viewpoint from which I differ, the piece by Carlo Strenger is an absolute misrepresentation of what I wrote. I am sure you are aware that the Guardian did provide me with an opportunity to respond. One would perhaps expect that an Israeli newspaper which continuously publishes views which most Israelis would consider extreme, would provide an Israeli whose views have been misrepresented and condemned, with equal opportunities to those provided to columnists who demonize the State and the IDF. I therefore once again formally request a right of reply as distinct from a letter to the editor.”

The editor of the English edition replied informing me that the matter was beyond her jurisdiction and passed my communication to the editor of the internet edition. To date, I have not even had the courtesy of an acknowledgement.

Strenger’s distortion of the facts is typical of the effort by extremists to deny any discussion relating to those who use the instrumentalities of the state to demonize and even call for international boycotts of Israel.

My only reference to excommunication was to point out that self hating Jews can be traced back to apostates in the Middle Ages who were excommunicated by Jewish communities when they wrote obscene anti Semitic tracts which frequently culminated with massacres.

I did say that those self loathing Israelis who exploit academic freedom to undermine the state and call on the world to boycott even their own universities and institutions are abusing academic freedom and should not be provided tenure at institutions funded by Israeli taxpayers and Zionist philanthropies. I stand by this.

I also said that Diaspora Jews who are one dimensional Israel bashers or actively campaign to persuade foreign governments to pressure the Israeli government to make further unilateral concession should be marginalized from mainstream Jewish organizations. I compare these to Jewish communists who defended Soviet anti Semitism and exploited “peace” as an instrument to promote the objectives of the Evil Empire. I also stand by this.

I consider as obscene and not worthy of comment the implication by Strenger that my views create insane monsters like the alleged murderer Yaakov Teitel.

I also object to Strenger and those like him who exploit the memory of Rabin to promote an agenda which runs contrary to everything Rabin believed in. I knew Rabin and met with him frequently. Alas, the Oslo Accords over which he presided proved to be disastrous. But he was a patriot, a Zionist and a man whose motivations were pure. I will not repeat the language Rabin used to describe those Israelis who opposed him when he was alive, and yet today have the chutzpa to bracket themselves with him whilst promoting views he detested.

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