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HAARETZ Awarded Take-A-Pen’s Liar Of The Month For May 2004

30 May 2004

HA'ARETZ   is the liar of the month for May 2004 at Take-A-Pen, for its 'achievements' in Amira Hass' article "One step ahead of the bulldozer".          

The title 'Liar of the month, published on our site http://www.take-a-pen.org/, is being translated into 15 languages. This is the first time the title goes to an Israeli media organ.

It is not easy to be an outstanding or #1 liar in any month in today's brutally biased media, over which we, Take-A-Pen!, maintain a constant watch in several languages.

HA'ARETZ  has been a runner up for this 'title' several times in the past Many readers and media-activists have written objecting to HA'ARETZ articles which they claim frequently quote  and promote unfounded and even libelous accusations and  stories, without questioning their validity. Letter writers complain that by lending the prestige of 'Israel's leading newspaper'  to anti-Israeli lies and libels, HA'ARETZ gives them undeserved credit and earns wider distribution for them than they would otherwise achieve, contributing greatly to the upsurge in hatred against Israel and Jewry.

Before reaching our final decision to award the title to HA'ARETZ, we scrutinized the May 14 and 21  weekend editions..  We selected three major assaults on true and responsible journalism, and sent 3 separate politely written readers' letters, supported with factual information, in order to give the newspaper  a fair chance to reply.. The response we received to all three letters was NIL, indicating a lack of interest by Ha'aretz in establishing the truth by sincere self-examination.

Three instances of bad reporting in one month were bad enough, but HA'ARETZ finally won the title based on the worst of the three, a libelous lie in an article by Amira Hass: "One step ahead of the bulldozer". See the Reader's letter below that we sent to HA'ARETZ.  You can judge for yourself whether the journalist and the editor did or did not their duty, fully or even partially, to check such libelous claims before publication.

To consider HA'ARETZ a liar is no fun for us, we feel very sad about it.  We'd be happiest to see a change in Ha'artez's policy and see "Israel's Leading Newspaper" show a sense of balance, avoiding publication of unsubstantiated allegations, misleading headlines and staged Palestinian photographs..

We will gladly cooperate with Ha'aretz by sharing our views for comment before publishing them or, where advisable, even without publishing them. If Ha'aretz wishes to correct or comment on anything we have written we will gladly publish their submissions as we did in the case of a recent response by the Guardian newspaper of London.


Endre Mozes

Chairman, Take-A-Pen

The Award winning article

Amira Hass in "One step ahead of the bulldozer" (May 21) cites in length the story of Mansur from Rafah suggesting that IDF bulldozers intended to kill his family by destroying their house on top of them - after their  neighbors hardly "fled for their life". The 50 members of the Mansur family, the story-teller says, fled exactly 1 second before sure death, on a by-chance-there iron ladder. 

Neither the journalist nor Ha'aretz editors asked one single question on the fantastic story, though every child in Israel knows that no bulldozer driver is allowed to operate for a minute without another person checking its route, even on a minor maintenance work. All know that Tzahal gives several warnings before any necessary house demolition and an officer makes it sure that no civilians are caught inside.

Distributing such libelous sensations may earn dubious rating to Ha'aretz, particularly among 'good old' Jew-haters or new Israel haters, but this time they earned the title "Ha'aretz Is The Liar of the Month at Take-A-Pen" (in May 2004)

(Read below the Reader's Letter sent on it to Ha'aretz  - and remained unanswered)



To: Ha'aretz
         Letter Editor                                                                                          24 May 2004 

Subject: Does IDF deliberately kill civilians?

Dear Editor!

Does IDF deliberately kill civilians? Amira Hass's "One step ahead of the bulldozer" (May 21) strongly suggests 'Yes'. Ninety percent of this article cites the story of Mansur from Rafah, how a "large bulldozer rumbled over neighbors' home, and ...residents fled for their life". The Mansur family escaped death more closely, because the driver "blocked the entrance". "We were just a second from being killed - 50 persons, children, the elderly, women, all of us with our backs to the wall". Their life by mere luck "was saved by an iron ladder" - where 50 people descended, seemingly in that one second left.

Hass did not ask the story-teller one single question! Like: 'Were you not warned to leave the house?'.  Only at the end, does she quote IDF briefly that "claims made by local residents about the demolition of houses are not correct." And so, unchallenged by the journalist or the editor, one more blood libel against Israel can take off.

Today many people in Europe believe that IDF deliberately kills civilians, even children.

The Swedish 'Expressen' called Rafah 'an Israeli massacre', while in the same place the US killing 40 at a wedding in Iraq an "accident".  When asked, the editor said he knew the IDF deliberately targeted civilians. Rev. Margaret Oaken, Deputy Chairman of the Danish parliament, said in a conference that the Israeli Army murdered knowingly three times more Palestinian children than the Palestinians did by explosive belts.

Europeans wouldn't go so far based solely on Palestinian sources. They may remember how Saeb Erekat lied that 520 Palestinian civilians were massacred in Jenin, while a UN's committee later found 52 killed, out of them 47 young male combatants. But when 'Israel's leading newspaper' is telling Europeans that IDF intends to kill civilians, why shouldn't they believe?


Endre Mozes


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