Censorship? Haaretz deletes Amira Hass article on surging settler violence

Update: 21 July 2012

As of today, the deleted article has been restored to the Haaretz website, at a new url: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/the-anti-semitism-that-goes-unreported-1.452594

Original post

Israel’s Haaretz has mysteriously deleted a powerful article by Amira Hass headlined “The anti-Semitism that goes unreported,” about an unchecked upsurge in violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers.

This is at least the second notable act of apparent censorship by Haaretz in recent months. In December, as we reported, the newspaper expunged from its website an article by David Sheen on a horrifying anti-African rally in Tel Aviv.

Hass’ article, originally published on 18 July, likened the alarming increase in settler attacks to the period leading up to the 1994 settler massacre of Palestinians in Hebron:

For the human rights organization Al-Haq, the escalation is reminiscent of what happened in 1993-1994, when they warned that the increasing violence, combined with the authorities’ failure to take action, would lead to mass casualties. And then Dr. Baruch Goldstein of Kiryat Arba came along and gunned down 29 Muslim worshipers at the Ibrahim Mosque.

Hass is one of Haaretz’s best known writers, renowned internationally for documenting Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Article disappears

The Hebrew version of Hass’ article still appears on the newspaper’s Hebrew language website. It is the English version that is gone.

An image of the now deleted English version can still be seen via Google Cache (above).

However, the original url for the article now redirects to an unrelated page: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/the-anti-semitism-that-goes-unreported-1.394279.

A search of Haaretz archive for articles by Amira Hass indicates that as of today, her most recent article was from 16 July. The 18 July article is nowhere to be found.

Ironically the url originally leading to Hass’ article now links to one by a man subtitled “Women, don’t be suckers; The protest’s female voice is not being heard.” Hass is one of Haaretz’s few prominent female writers, and apparently her voice cannot be heard.

Full text of censored article

Luckily, The Electronic Intifada captured the text of the article Haaretz didn’t want you to read. Here it is in full:

Amira Hass: The anti-Semitism that goes unreported

18 July 2012
By Amira Hass, Haaretz - 18 July 2012
Tens of thousands of people live in the shadow of terror

Here’s a statistic that you won’t see in research on anti-Semitism, no matter how meticulous the study is. In the first six months of the year, 154 anti-Semitic assaults have been recorded, 45 of them around one village alone. Some fear that last year’s record high of 411 attacks - significantly more than the 312 attacks in 2010 and 168 in 2009 - could be broken this year.

Fifty-eight incidents were recorded in June alone, including stone-throwing targeting farmers and shepherds, shattered windows, arson, damaged water pipes and water-storage facilities, uprooted fruit trees and one damaged house of worship. The assailants are sometimes masked, sometimes not; sometimes they attack surreptitiously, sometimes in the light of day.

There were two violent attacks a day, in separate venues, on July 13, 14 and 15. The words “death” and “revenge” have been scrawled in various areas; a more original message promises that “We will yet slaughter.”

It’s no accident that the diligent anti-Semitism researchers have left out this data. That’s because they don’t see it as relevant, since the Semites who were attacked live in villages with names like Jalud, Mughayer and At-Tuwani, Yanun and Beitilu. The daily dose of terrorizing (otherwise known as terrorism ) that is inflicted on these Semites isn’t compiled into a neat statistical report, nor is it noticed by most of the Jewish population in Israel and around the world - even though the incidents resemble the stories told by our grandparents.

The day our grandparents feared was Sunday, the Christian Sabbath; the Semites, who are not of interest to the researchers monitoring anti-Semitism, fear Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Our grandparents knew that the order-enforcement authorities wouldn’t intervene to help a Jewish family under attack; we know that the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Police, the Civil Administration, the Border Police and the courts all stand on the sidelines, closing their eyes, softballing investigations, ignoring evidence, downplaying the severity of the acts, protecting the attackers, and giving a boost to those progromtchiks.The hands behind these attacks belong to Israeli Jews who violate international law by living in the West Bank. But the aims and goals behind the attacks are the flesh and blood of the Israeli non-occupation. This systemic violence is part of the existing order. It complements and facilitates the violence of the regime, and what the representatives - the brigade commanders, the battalion commanders, the generals and the Civil Administration officers - are doing while “bearing the burden” of military service.

They are grabbing as much land as possible, using pretexts and tricks made kosher by the High Court of Justice; they are confining the natives to densely populated reservations. That is the essence of the tremendous success known as Area C: a deliberate thinning of the Palestinian population in about 62 percent of the West Bank, as preparation for formal annexation.

Day after day, tens of thousands of people live in the shadow of terror. Will there be an attack today on the homes at the edge of the village? Will we be able to get to the well, to the orchard, to the wheat field? Will our children get to school okay, or make it to their cousins’ house unharmed? How many olive trees were damaged overnight?

In exceptional cases, when there is luck to be had, a video camera operated by B’Tselem volunteers documents an incident and pierces the armor of willful ignorance donned by the citizens of the only democracy in the Middle East. When there is no camera, the matter is of negligible importance, because after all, you can’t believe the Palestinians. But this routine of escalating violence is very real, even if it is underreported.

For the human rights organization Al-Haq, the escalation is reminiscent of what happened in 1993-1994, when they warned that the increasing violence, combined with the authorities’ failure to take action, would lead to mass casualties. And then Dr. Baruch Goldstein of Kiryat Arba came along and gunned down 29 Muslim worshipers at the Ibrahim Mosque. The massacre set the stage for a consistent Israeli policy of emptying the Old City of Hebron of its Palestinian residents, with the assistance of Israeli Jewish pogromtchiks. Is there someone among the country’s decision-makers and decision-implementers who is hoping for a second round?




I wrote an email to Amira Hass about this, and she was kind enough to respond. She mentioned that this may be a "technical error" and directed who I should write to, which I just did. So I am awaiting a response. The thing here is that there is nothing on the Haaretz website that even mentions this article in Amira Hass' recent articles that were published. So the question is, how "technical" does this error go? We shall see.


I'd tried to get this article yesterday when it was listed in my New Profile e-mail and it became evident that it had been removed.

Thanks for posting it.


The article now using the URL has this dateline:
Women, don’t be suckers
By Uri Misgav | 01:27 19.07.12 |

Interestingly, it has 34 comments, all posted before publication date July 19 (and not one related to the current content). 32 are even from way before this date: November 2011 - June 2012. Quite a mess. Two are more recent, from July 18 (so still from before Misgavs piece), quite probably this one is related to Hass's:

"amira hass on antisemitism against palestinians

By mark gardner
18 Jul 2012

From Mark Gardner, Community Secruity Trust, UK. I appreciate your desire to shock and draw attention - but this corruption and debasement of the word antisemitism is not the way to do it. One immorailty does not excuse another; and one idiocy does not excuse another.


The subtitle is changed from
"Tens of thousands of people live in the shadow of terror"
"The daily dose of terror inflicted on these Semites isn't noticed by most Jews - even though the incidents resemble stories told by our grandparents."

This way the word "terror" is changed from factual noun to passive action by unnamed.


They allow Israeli Hebrew speakers to read it because they already don't care, for the most part; or their caring consists in feeling good about themselves that they have read such an article, then it is back to life as normal. They do not want American Jews to wake up from their hypnotic slumber and have to deal with unpleasant facts.


I wrote the following "talkback" to the newly restored Haaretz article:

"Some readers have noticed that this article, after originally published in both Hebrew and English, had been removied from the English edition of Haaretz for a couple of days. Ali Abunimah wrote about this in his blog Electronic Intifada: http://electronicintifada.net/...

It seems as if only today, three days after the original publication, the English version has been restored. I believe the regular, devoted readership of Amira Hass and Haaretz in general deserve a meaningful explanation.

Thank you."

As of now, it is awaiting moderation:


Your talkback has been submitted successfully.
If selected for publication, it will appear as soon as possible on Haaretz.com."

I'm not holding my breath.


Thank you, Amira, for your courage and your clarity. The only way the world will wake up to the daily assaults on Palestinians is if the truth gets told gets told over and over, even when it seems that no one is listening.


I have enormous respect for Amira Hass. Her name is synonymous with Truth and journalistic integrity- little wonder she is a target of Israeli censorship.