Dotan Rousso

The Changing Face of Haaretz: From Critical Voice to Questionable Agenda

As someone who has lived outside of Israel for about a decade but still feels deeply connected to it, Haaretz newspaper has been my primary source for news, analyses, and opinions. Well-known for being a “newspaper for thinking people,” Haaretz has always stood out intellectually compared to other Israeli newspapers (in fact, I published quite a few opinion pieces in this newspaper in the past).

As is known, the newspaper has always had a clear leftist inclination. Therefore, not surprisingly, many within the Israeli left (including myself) have chosen it to be their main source of news commentary.

However, since the outbreak of war, it seems that the newspaper has primarily become a mechanism seeking to promote a certain worldview, even at the expense of compromising its basic and superior commitment to its readers: presenting facts as they are.

Editors, newsroom staff, and writers at the paper are focused on disseminating an agenda that seeks to portray Israel in its worst light. Often, this is done by relying on information from sources whose reliability is at least questionable. For example, one out of many, the newspaper persistently repeats the casualty figures in Gaza and their types (“most of them women and children”), knowing that the source of this information is the Hamas Health Ministry, entirely controlled by the unreliable Hamas terror group. The same organization currently claims that the vast majority of those killed on October 7 were victims of the IDF and that the abduction of women and children was an “unintended consequence” of the “chaos prevailing in the area”.

My difficulty with Haaretz and its editors and writers is not the audible criticism they level against the Israeli government (the most disastrous government we’ve known) or their criticism of the war (although Haaretz is good at criticizing, it is much less good at suggesting reasonable alternatives). The difficulty lies in the realization that Haaretz’s writers “come in bad faith.” The impression is that they are not interested in the welfare of the State of Israel.

Many of its writers exude self-hatred and hollow righteousness. Their opinions, even if not all of them, seek and act to further demoralize Israelis. To make them feel more defeated and pessimistic. All of this stems from what sometimes seems like a pathological joy of bitter people, haters of their people, and themselves.

What’s worse, it often seems that this is also done out of narrow personal motives by writers seeking to promote themselves – to find favor in the eyes of Israel’s greatest critics, its enemies, and those who seek its harm. And indeed, it cannot be denied that the more this is their goal, the more successful they are. There are regular writers in Haaretz whose place on panels and channels such as Al Jazeera is assured, with all the perks that come with it.

The impression is that Haaretz newspaper (its editors, writers, and content editors) often acts deliberately to undermine the very foundation upon which Israeli society stands. Thus casting doubt and undermining, directly or indirectly, explicitly or implicitly, the basic right of the Jewish people to their homeland and acting in defense to protect themselves from those seeking to annihilate them.

I still hold a subscription to Haaretz. But I admit, it becomes harder for me day by day. Perhaps because my hope for a more balanced newspaper has not yet been lost. One that I, too (as someone who has always seen himself as a center-leftist), can find as my home.

About the Author
Dotan Rousso, Holds a Ph.D. in Law—a former criminal prosecutor in Israel. He currently lives in Alberta and teaches Philosophy at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).
Related Topics
Related Posts