‘Pamphlet of grotesque propaganda’: Left-wing Haaretz newspaper refuses to publish Zionist ad

The ad is part of a campaign launched last week to call attention to judicial overreach in the High Court’s handling of the Nation-State Law.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu is threatening legal action against Haaretz after the newspaper refused to publish an ad protesting what the group alleges is the High Court’s judicial overreach in dealing with Israel’s 2018 Nation-State Law, Channel 20 reported on Wednesday.

Attorney Ziv Maor, a member of Im Tirtzu’s legal division, told Channel 20 that Haaretz has become “a pamphlet of grotesque propaganda.”

“Every time [columnists] Gideon Levy and Rogel Alpher spit in the face of the Israeli public, we hear how much the Haaretz newspaper cares about freedom of expression,” said Maor.

“But when a national organization wants to express its opinion, the door slams shut,” he said.

Maor sent a notice on behalf of Im Tirtzu to Haaretz warning that the newspaper’s conduct constitutes discrimination in violation of the Prohibition of Discrimination in Products, Services, and Entry into Places of Entertainment and Public Places Law.

The law prohibits discrimination in supplying products and public services based on grounds such as race, religion, or political affiliation.

“The conduct of the advertising department not only constitutes a civil tort and even a criminal offense under the said law, it also impairs the newspaper’s ability to boast of being a stronghold of freedom of expression,” the letter said.

Im Tirtzu said that it will consider taking legal action against Haaretz if the newspaper fails to allow publication of the ad.

The ad, which Im Tirtzu published on its Facebook page, is part of a campaign launched last week to call attention to the “overreach of the High Court,” particularly in relation to hearings which the Court is scheduled to hold on December 22 on the legality of Israel’s Nation-State Law.

The ad reads, “High Court: protect terrorists – yes; protect infiltrators – yes; protect supporters of terrorism – yes; Jewish state – no.”

“Stop the repeal of the Nation-State Law. The High Court has no right to rule on the Nation-State Law,” it says.

Israel lacks a formal constitution and instead operates according to 14 Basic Laws, one of which is the Nation-State Law.

This week’s hearings will be the first time in Israeli history that the High Court will be considering striking down a Basic Law.

“The very idea that it could review such a law is akin to stating that a provision of the Constitution could be unconstitutional,” wrote Im Tirtzu’s chairman of the board Douglas Altabef in a Jewish Press op-ed last week.

Altabef called the hearings, “wild overreach,” and said, “If this Law is overturned, the Court will show its complete contempt for our legislature, the Knesset, and could open the door to further challenges on the nature of Israel as a Jewish State.”

The Nation-State Law, formally titled, “Basic Law: Israel – The Nation-State of the Jewish People,” was adopted in July of 2018.

The law contains basic principles such as, “The Land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people,” and, “The exercise of the right to national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish People.”

Since its adoption, multiple groups have petitioned the High Court against the Nation-State Law.

A recent poll found that only 6% of Israelis have full confidence in the judges of the High Court.