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Daily Israel Report

Top Journalist Confesses: Media Pushed Disengagement

Israeli journalist N. Barnea admits that most of the Israeli media has acted more like the "guard dog" of the Disengagement than that of democracy.
First Publish: 3/11/2005, 1:47 PM / Last Update: 3/11/2005, 12:58 PM

Respected Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea admits that most of the Israeli media has acted more like the "guard dog" of the disengagement plan than that of democracy.

Writing in the most recent edition of the monthly media publication "The Seventh Eye," Barnea stated that Israeli journalists made a mistake that must now be acknowledged.

"There is no argument that the tone in the Israeli media is pro-disengagement," Barnea wrote. "Were the media just supportive, or also enlisted [in its favor]?"

He added that had the Prime Minister presented a program to strengthen Jewish communities instead of dismantling them, the media would have treated him "with cruelty."

Barnea noted that only certain newspapers have published articles against the Prime Minister. He noted that the "right-wing" media, mainly the B'Sheva and Makor Rishon weeklies and the daily HaTzofeh, correctly have emphasized that Sharon promised he would accept the results of last year's Likud party referendum on whether to accept the disengagement plan.

"Two-thirds of the party members voted against it in a party referendum, but Sharon ignored the results," Barnea wrote. "Even Ben-Gurion, whom Sharon admires, would not have dared to act that way towards his party. When he [Ben-Gurion] lost in a party vote, he obeyed it while gritting his teeth."

Israel's media treated Sharon with "kid gloves" although he acted pretentiously, Barnea confessed. "We were the guard dog of disengagement more than we were the guard dog of democracy. Our duty is to report, expose, criticize, educate and influence." The media's conscription in the disengagement program was "a mistake" and the media should admit it now and not later, Barnea concluded.