Unusual Suspects: Haaretz Impugns Rabbis, Bar-Ilan Graduates

Haaretz has long made clear that it regards justices living beyond the Green Line in the disputed West Bank as inherently tainted with intrinsically compromised professionalism. But now the paper’s English edition has apparently expanded the pool of automatically disqualified jurists to include rabbis and all those educated at Bar-Ilan University in central Israel. The university is located in Givat Shmuel, outside of Tel Aviv, within internationally-recognized Israeli territory.

Beyond the Pale? Bar-Ilan University (Photo by Dr. Avishai Teicher, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)

The English version of Amira Hass’ June 7, “Israel Stops Gazan From Getting Treatment in Jordan to Save His Leg From Being Amputated“) (page 1 of the print edition, and online here) reports about the judge who heard the Palestinian’s case:
The petition was heard on Sunday by Judge Ilan Sela, who has a doctorate in law from religious-Zionist-oriented Bar-Ilan University and is also an ordained rabbi. At the hearing, Sela said the classified material that two Shin Bet officials showed him had persuaded him the petition should be rejected.
How is the information that Judge Sela studied at Bar-Ilan and is also an ordained rabbi possibly relevant to the story? Notably, the educational institutions and extracurricular activities of no other figure in the story is reported. The effect is to cast doubt on the judge’s credibility and professionalism, as if studying at Bar-Ilan or being an ordained rabbi is a mark against him.
Notably, the Hebrew version of Hass’ article does not include the irrelevant biographical information.
Does Haaretz really intend to smear all religious Zionist rabbis and all graduates of Bar-Ilan University, a vast and diverse student body, as intrinsically suspect? At the very least, editors’ failure to heed CAMERA’s call to remove the irrelevant information indicates a certain level of comfort with the insinuation.
See also “Haaretz, Lost in Translation”

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