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Haaretz Writer ‘Wins’ 2012 Prize for ‘Dishonest Reporting’

HonestReporting, which tracks media bias against Israel, awards Haaretz writer Gideon Levy the “Dishonest Reporting Prize” for 2012.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/18/2012, 2:17 PM

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The HonestReporting website, which tracks media bias against Israel, awards Haaretz writer Gideon Levy the “Dishonest Reporting Prize” for 2012.

The media watch site explained that although it traditionally cites only international media for faulty reporting, it cited Levy as the worst offender this year because foreign media often base their reports on Haaretz, the most popular radical left-wing newspaper in Israel.

The newspaper  denies it is anti-religious or anti-Zionist, but only the most left-wing liberals, and non-Israelis who do not know much about the country, could view it otherwise.

Gideon Levy is arguably its top writer for writing articles that are against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Orthodox Jews, “settlers” and just about anything in Israel while there is a non-left administration.

HonestReporting noted, “While Haaretz is entitled to fulfill its role as a critical domestic judge of Israel and its government’s policies, what happened when it published a story that was — quite simply — dishonest?

Levy’s recent front-page article entitled ”Most Israelis support an apartheid regime in Israel," based on a survey, was picked up major news media throughout the world.

The only problem is that it was based on his own opinion that was totally contradicted by the survey itself.

Nevertheless, several international headlines were, “Israelis back discrimination against Arabs: poll,” “Israeli poll finds majority would be in favor of ‘apartheid’ policies,” and “Israelis approve discrimination if West Bank annexed: poll.”

He stated in the opening of his article, “Most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formally annexes the West Bank.” Levy’s conclusion was based, Honest Reporting explained, “on a hypothetical situation where Israel annexes the West Bank – a policy that the majority of Israelis are opposed to according to the very same poll.”

“Minority opinions were highlighted, and illustrated graphs that appeared in the Haaretz Hebrew edition were noticeably absent from the English article,” the media watchdog added.

“After an outcry over the article, Haaretz was forced to issue a clarification stating that the original headline did not accurately reflect the findings of the poll and amended the headline. While it did not publish a correction or apology, Haaretz did publish an opinion piece by Dr. Yehuda Ben Meir, who shredded Levy.”

He wrote, “There’s a lot of room for improvement in Israeli society, but this article does an injustice to the State of Israel, the Jewish people and the truth... "

Toronto’s Globe & Mail (to its credit) was the only non-Israeli paper to report the clarification – an indication of just how much damage the original story had caused to Israel internationally.”

Levy was not about to concede. He admitted there had been a mistake but later wrote that the errors were negligible

“For his slander against the State of Israel and his persistent promotion of the falsehood even after he had been found out, HonestReporting readers judged Gideon Levy a worthy winner of the 2012 Dishonest Reporter Award,” the website said.