Haaretz publisher removes tweet after charges of racism


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The publisher of the left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz deleted a response to a critical reader that many took as racist.

Amos Schocken was responding on Twitter to reader, Ravit Dahan, who tweeted at Schocken that it was because of the ideology of those on the right that he was able “to continue and live here like a king and publish your surreal newspaper without interruption.”

Schocken responded: “Insolent woman. My family led the Zionist movement when you were still swinging from trees. The Schocken family has been here for 83 years, and we got along very well without your ideology, and we will continue to do so.”

Readers suggested that Schocken chose the insult because Dahan is a traditionally Sephardi surname.

He later deleted the tweet though it was captured in screenshots by several Twitter users.

Schocken later attempted to clarify that his tweet was not meant to be racist.

“When I wrote the tweet, I used an expression that, as far as I’m concerned, has no racial or ethnic connotation, but one that applies to all races,” said Schocken. He said he only meant to point out the tweeter’s “ignorance.”

Schocken is the scion of a German-Jewish family of publishers; his grandfather arrived in Palestine in 1933 and bought Haaretz in 1935.

Amos Schocken was responding to criticism over the cover story for the newspaper’s main weekend supplement, in advance of Israel’s Independence Day. The story asked reporters to choose “the most hated Israeli song.” Leading the list was the country’s national anthem “Hatikvah,” followed closely by Naomi Shemer’s Six-Day War song “Jerusalem of Gold.”

Readers took to social media to criticize the newspaper for making criticism of the national anthem the subject of an article in honor of Yom Haatzmaut.