Yisrael Hasson, a former deputy head of the Shin Bet and a Knesset member from the center-left Kadima Party, called on people to cancel Haaretz subscriptions until Blau is fired and returns all the documents. Ronit Tirosh, also of Kadima, said: “It is infuriating that on the eve of Holocaust Day [Sunday evening and Monday] we find that displays of anti-Semitism exist even in our midst. Justice must be meted out to all those involved in this story, and the media and especially Haaretz must take careful stock.”
And yet, amid the storm, Haaretz is sticking to its guns and to its reporter. On Sunday it published a piece called “Haaretz Answers Four Key Questions on the Anat Kam Case” that shows how low Israel’s security actually ranks in its priorities. “Haaretz,” the article states, “believes that it cannot pass on all the documents Blau has to the defense establishment because its senior officials may use them to trace his sources.” The article also accuses the Shin Bet of “reneging” on its agreement with Blau — even though it was Blau who hoodwinked the Shin Bet by handing over only a fraction of his contraband. Yet Haaretz admits that it “decided to instruct Blau to remain abroad” despite the danger entailed. (It’s even speculated that Diskin, out of desperation, sought to scare Blau into returning.)
Also on Sunday Haaretz ran an op-ed by its columnist Yossi Sarid, a former leftist politician, arguing that what Kam did was fine because the institutions and country whose laws she violated aren’t worth much anyway. “Let every Israeli mother decide,” Sarid intoned,
if she has entrusted her sons to an army and government worthy of her trust. … Let the parents judge whether exposing the debates in the General Command is more dangerous than the corruption and hedonism in high places. Perhaps the rift between Israel’s prime minister and the U.S. president is a greater threat to state security, because it disrupts, among other things, the effort to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat.
Ergo, why not steal top-secret documents from the army? But even this remarkable inanity was surpassed by yet another op-ed that Haaretz ran on Sunday. This one, by its notorious radical-left commentator Gideon Levy, portrays Kam and Blau as little less than heroes, claiming: “These two youngsters, each in his own way, wanted to contribute to the state. They saw evils and would not keep silent. This should be described and portrayed as patriotism and love of one’s country.”
With such patriots, Israel won’t need many enemies.
By Monday Kam had waived her journalistic immunity, and her lawyer was trying to convince Blau to return to Israel and hand over the documents on the understanding that he wouldn’t be charged. But even if such a deal is reached, Haaretz, for the bulk of the Israeli public, won’t smell like roses in this affair.
Indeed, the Israeli left as a whole has fallen on hard times lately. In the 2009 elections the two parties that most embody it, Labor and Meretz, won a total of 16 seats out of 120. Last February it was revealed that the New Israel Fund, a major and wide-ranging left-wing NGO, had supplied most of the false information enabling the Goldstone Report — recognized as an anti-Israeli calumny across the Israeli spectrum, that is, except for the far left.
The Kam affair, with the role played in it by Haaretz, the Israeli left’s main journalistic bastion and, through its English website, an endless source of fodder for Israel-bashers and haters the world over, already has the makings of another severe blow to the left. And that, for all the harm done and yet to be done, is the silver lining.