Op-Ed: Who are Haaretz' Shareholders?
Prof. Steven PlautSteven Plaut teaches at the University of Haifa and is author of "The Scout" (available from Gefen Publishing House). More of his writings can be seen on the New Plaut Blog, as well as in numerous electronic and print newspapers.
On Friday, April 16, the New Israel Fund held a big party in a Tel Aviv nightclub. Much of the Israeli Left was on hand. Outside the party a large group of students from the Im Tirtzu Zionist student group held a protest against the New Israel Fund and denounced it for being an anti-Israel radical group that funds anti-Israel propaganda.
The New Israel Fund claimed its event was to celebrate Israeli Independence Day. Im Tirtzu claims that the Fund financed the attempts by anti-Semites in Europe to get Israeli army officers and politicians indicted there in kangaroo courts for "war crimes."
Haaretz, whose role in the latest anti-Israel espionage operation does not come down from the front page, ran a large news report on all this (not on its web site though, only in print edition). It blew up the importance of the New Israel Fund event and spent most of the article denouncing the Im Tirtzu students as supposedly radical right-wingers funded by a Christian evangelical group.
There are two important twists to this story that deserve your attention. The first is that the Haaretz reporter interviewed and published comments in the story by one of the key people at the New Israel Fund event - and that person was none other than Dov Chanin (also spelled Khenin), a Knesset Member from the hard-core Israeli communist party. That party has never gotten around to repudiating Stalinism.
Chanin is an unreformed Stalinist and cheerleader for Arab terror, but was being featured at a celebration of the New Israel Fund. He is quoted at length in Haaretz as saying that the "attacks" against the New Israel Fund represent a clear and present danger to Israeli democracy, and that it is essential for all good people to rush to the defense of the besieged Israeli democracy.
Got that? A Stalinist who has never gotten around to repudiating the Soviet regimes that produced a conservatively-estimated 100 million deaths in the 20th century and which suppressed all freedoms, including the right to vote, is suddenly alarmed that students who criticize the behavior of the New Israel Fund are a threat to Israeli democracy. And Haaretz cites him as if his words deserve serious attention. Chanin by the way has a PhD in political science from Tel Aviv University - many of whose department faculty members are communists.
But there is a much more relevant part of the story. Ever since the criticism by the Zionist students of the New Israel Fund and its Chair-rhino Naomi Chazan began, the Left has been trying to discredit the Im Tirtzu students by pointing out that they accepted a small donation from a group of Christian Zionists. And the Far Left
considers Christian Zionists to be cryptic fascists, not because they are Christians so much as because they are Zionists.
Every single news story in Haaretz that mentions Im Tirtzu dredges up the fact that the student group accepted some money from the Christian Zionists, as if there were something horrific in that. (Wanna lay any wagers on who finances the Israel communist party and Dov Chanin that Haaretz adores so?) So does every leftist web site on the planet that mentions the group.
But there is something far more important here. On the one hand we have Haaretz attempting to discredit and smear the Im Tirtzu students in a campaign of leftist McCarthyism over a donation the students received. But THIS IS THE VERY SAME HAARETZ THAT IS NOW ONE QUARTER OWNED BY A GERMAN INVESTMENT GROUP THAT MADE ITS FORTUNE IN WORLD WAR II FROM ITS NAZI TIES AND FROM GRABBING PROPERTY STOLEN FROM JEWS!
In 2006 the Schoken family, which began Haaretz and still is the largest shareholder in it, sold 25% of the ownership shares in Haaretz to a German investor named group DuMont Schauberg. (It also is a major funder of the Shimon Peres Center!) Now according to the leading German news magazine Der Spiegel, the DuMont family
The DuMont family amassed the lion's share of its wealth during World War II.
amassed the lion's share of its wealth during World War II, in no small part by grabbing property stolen from Jews.
Der Spiegel wrote that although the family tends to depict itself as a victim of the Nazi regime, it essentially profited from it. Der Spiegel also claimed that the DuMonts used a front group to secretly grab up stolen Jewish property (if you read German, you can see the report at http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-49298923.html) .
According to the British Guardian (Oct 30, 2006), group chairman "Alfred Neven DuMont's father had been a member of the Nazi party." On the DuMont web site, the time line that describes the company's history simply skips over the entire Nazi era mysteriously. The DuMonts later sued Der Spiegel and won a small libel suit against Der Spiegel for supposed inaccuracies in its report.