At a private meeting of some 20 journalists with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in September, 2007, Ha'aretz Editor David Landau urged the U.S. to "rape" Israel — to force a settlement on the country. In a December 26 story on the incident, Jewish Week editor Gary Rosenblatt quoted Landau saying: "'I told [Rice] that it had always been my wet dream to address the secretary of state' on these vital matters."
Despite expressions of dismay by other commentators -- including Jerusalem Post columnist Isi Leibler, who termed Landau's conduct "unconscionable" and "unacceptable," and leading broadcast and print journalist Ehud Yaari who called the comments "embarrassing" -- Landau told Rosenblatt he is actually pleased with his performance.
The Ha'aretz editor's objectionable statements are indicative of a striking lack of judgement generally by an individual who has also refused to correct serious factual errors in his newspaper, falsehoods that cast Israel as racist, oppressive and unjust in its treatment of Arabs.
In response to repeated calls by CAMERA for redress of inaccurate reporting, Landau has taken the highly unprofessional measure of insisting his staff not address the organization's inquiries regardless of the merit of the issue.
Together with Ha'aretz's like-minded publisher, Amos Shocken, Landau has promoted an extreme political position, characterizing Israel as "apartheid" in both the news and editorial pages. Moreover, a number of the paper's contributors go so far as to participate in radical anti-Israel activity outside the country, and figures such as Danny Rubenstein and Gideon Levy denounce Israel in extreme statements at one-sided United Nations meetings.
The promulgation of the apartheid slander, like Landau's comment to Rice, is part of the use of the paper as a tool to cudgel Israel down Ha'aretz's preferred political path.
Readers in Israel and around the globe, as well as other journalists who cite the publication, may want to consider the bizarre views expressed by senior figures guiding the paper and the disconnect with an Israeli mainstream that does not seek to be "raped" but, as with any normal, self-respecting people, seeks an equitable and prudent resolution of a difficult conflict.