Daily Israel Report

Journalistic Dogfight over Gaza, Dogs Continues

Ha'aretz's Gideon Levy admits (sort of) the front page story about a dog's funeral was not published during Cast Lead but three years earlier.

By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 10/24/2010, 5:56 PM / Last Update: 10/24/2010, 6:37 PM

Flash 90

Ha'aretz's Gideon Levy, possibly the most rabidly anti-Israeli Israeli journalist, is under fire in Israel after he besmirched the Jewish state in an interview for the British daily Independent. On Friday, Levy halfheartedly admitted inaccuracy in his earlier claim that Israeli dailies played up an IDF dog's death while ignoring the deaths of numerous Gazans during operation Cast Lead.  

Maariv's popular and veteran journalist Ben-Dror Yemini wrote a blog post on October 15th titled “Baron of the Lie Industry” about Levy. It was an unusually harsh condemnation of a fellow journalist, but Yemini explained that Levy had left him no choice after the way he had “set a new record” in his slander of Israel in the Independent interview. Levy, he said, is “a dangerous propagandist who is writing the new protocols against Israel.”

Yemini drew particular attention to a claim Levy made in the interview regarding coverage of a dog's funeral. Levy said, according to the interview, that during Operation Cast Lead, “a dog – an Israeli dog – was killed by a Qassam rocket and it [was reported] on the front page of the most popular newspaper in Israel. On the very same day, there were tens of Palestinians killed, they were on page 16, in two lines.”

Yemini reported that after reading this claim he searched through issues of Yediot Acharonot (Israel's most popular daily at the time of the Cast Lead operation) and could not find a front page report about a dog. He did find articles that expressed concern over civilian deaths in Gaza – but no dog. He checked in Ma'ariv too, and found no sign of “Gideon Levy's dog.”

Yemini also quoted other claims by Levy, that Israeli soldiers “gleefully” and routinely murder innocent Arabs, and that Israel conducts “ethnic cleansing wherever it is possible,” and explains that in the eyes of the interview's readers, “the image of the common Israeli is horrific. These are not people we are talking about, but bloodthirsty brutes.” He compares Levy's claims to those in “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” that served the Nazis in dehumanizing Jews. 

Yemini reported that Levy has been holding a a lecture tour abroad, and has appeared in a club clled SPSC, which has “pro-Hamas tendencies.” Levy may be Israel's most famous journalist, he added, and the damage he causes Israel is substantive.

Levy's response: 'oops'
Gideon Levy responded to Yemini's attack in Ha'aretz with a sarcastic "oops!"  and brought pictures of front page reports in Yediot Acharonot and Ma'ariv about the death of an IDF dog named Arcos. He noted that this event occurred three years before the 2008-2009 Cast Lead campaign, but does not mention the fact that he claimed it happened during Cast Lead in the Independent interview.

Levy noted that “another Israeli dog killed by a Qassam rocket during Cast Lead received greater coverage than the dozens of Palestinians who were killed on the same day.” However, he does not note that this was not front-page coverage, as he had claimed in the Independent. Nor does he show that Arab deaths were reported “on page 16 in two lines” on that day.