INTO THE FRAY: Haaretz vs. IISS-The anatomy of “Fake News”

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:

Haaretz vs. IISS-The anatomy of “Fake News”

(Kindly consider “liking”, sharing, tweeting – please use hash-tag ‪#‎IntoFray)


Had Haaretz wanted to give a fair portrayal of my policy proposal, instead of alluding to “Transfer, the headline would have read “Evacuation-compensation for Arabs: An answer to Israel’s geographic and demographic imperatives?”

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):


Several short excerpts:

Martin Sherman, the founder and CEO of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, is probably the most extreme of all the annexationists. He advocates applying Israeli sovereignty to the whole West Bank …According to Sherman, Israel needs to act vigorously to reduce the Arab presence. How? War is the best way – Carolina Landsmann – How Israeli Right-wing Thinkers Envision the Annexation of the West Bank, Haaretz, August 18, 2018.

One wintery afternoon, towards the end of January (22nd to be precise), I was contacted by Carolina Landsmann of Haaretz, who asked to meet me.

How it all began…

Haaretz’s Carolina Landsmann
Haaretz’s Carolina Landsmann

She told me that she had been referred to me by “Women in Green” as someone she should talk to regarding an article she was preparing on the various plans being aired for applying Israeli sovereignty to areas across the 1967 lines—particularly Judea-Samaria (a.k.a. the “West Bank”)…

As this is something I have been advocating for over two decades, I thought this would be a good opportunity to convey my views to audiences less familiar with them than my regular readership…

How it all began…

The entire conversation between us was conducted in a most congenial atmosphere, and Landsmann gave the distinct impression that, even if she did not agree with my positions, she did understand them and the rationale on which they were based….ndeed, this impression was reinforced when Landsmann—on her own initiative—suggested that I should begin writing for the Opinions section of Haaretz, and that I should approach the editor, Aluf Benn, on this matter. However, she recommended that I should wait until the publication of her article before doing so… As time passed, I began to wonder whether the planned publication had been aborted—especially as several inquiries from me were left unanswered…Then, last week, on August 12, almost seven months after our initial meeting, I received a short WhatsApp message, informing me that the article was to appear…

Truncated and twisted…

Sovereignty advocates featured in Landsmann’s article
Sovereignty advocates featured in Landsmann’s article

The almost 5000 word article (almost 4000 in Hebrew) appeared in the weekend supplement of Haaretz (August 18 in the electronic edition)—which included reports on other proposals from Education Minister Naftali Bennett, columnist Caroline Glick, Islamic scholar Mordechai Kedar, Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin, veteran publicist Elyakim Haetzni, Ambassadors Alan Baker and Yoram Ettinger ……I was shocked and appalled at the grossly truncated and twisted manner in which my views were conveyed to the reader…I should point out that, over the last three decades, I have been interviewed a fair number of times in the written media, and although I have not always been accurately quoted, to the best of my memory, I have never felt the need to contact the journalist/editor to vent any protest—and certainly not to devote an entire article to express intense indignation…Indeed, her blatant bias and disdainful disregard for the wealth of material provided her was clearly evident from the brutally condensed format in which she chose to articulate the content of two hours of face-to-face discussion and almost a score of articles. All this Landsmann attempted to compress into a piece around 270 words long, with only about 170 relating—misleadingly and inaccurately—to my proposed policy prescription…

Disappointing, distortive and deceptive

The “Great Humanitarian” Herbert Hoover (L) and Nobel Prize Laureate, Fridtjof Nansen- saw population transfer as a means of conflict-resolution between inimical ethnic groups.
The “Great Humanitarian” Herbert Hoover (L) and Nobel Prize Laureate, Fridtjof Nansen: Saw population transfer as a means of conflict-resolution between inimical ethnic groups.

Apart from the fact that she allotted far less space to my proposal than to the others—although I’d bet a dollar to a dime that most of them had not provided her with similarly comprehensive information as to their preferred prescription—Landsmann’s naked mal-intent to portray my proposal as an emaciated caricature of what it really is, was immediately apparent from the heading of her piece. In the English version it was “Martin Sherman: The transfer method” while in the Hebrew version, it was a little less laconic: “Dr. Martin Sherman: The Transfer method: Let them go to Indonesia; ‘Transfer’ is not a dirty word”. … Readers, who have followed my writings for the last two decades and more, will at once recognize this is a grave mis-characterization of what I propose…On reading the alleged coverage of my policy prescription, I immediately sent an outraged WhatsApp message to Landsmann: “Carolina, I saw the article. Disappointing, Distortive and Deceptive!!!
The epitome of fake news that creates a malicious caricature of what I presented you.”

“Evacuation-Compensation”, not “Transfer”: Why its scares the “Left”

Of course, had Landsmann really wanted to give an accurate portrayal of my policy proposal, she would have headlined it completely differently. Instead of alluding to “Transfer”,  it would have been along the following lines “Evacuation-compensation for Arabs: An answer to Israel’s geographic and demographic imperatives?”.

After all, what I am proposing is application of a principle, often advanced for the removal of Jewish residents in Judea-Samaria—to facilitate the establishment of yet another homophobic, misogynistic Muslim tyranny (a.k.a. Palestinian state). However, instead, I propose its application for the evacuation of the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria–to prevent the establishment of such a homophobic, misogynistic tyranny…

Perhaps, it is its compelling logic and morality that so troubles the radical Left proponents of Palestinian Arab statehood, who hitherto have only wrought tragedy and trauma on Jew and Arab alike, that drives them to attempt to deprecate it with distortion, deception and deceit.

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,
Best wishes,

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