Israel’s Vicious Circle: Ten Years of Writings on Israel and Palestine

Charles Glass writes:

Avnery left the army to write editorials for Haaretz, until he despaired of the paper ever running his condemnations of the state theft of Arab property. In 1950, with a friend and the support of two investors, he bought Haolam Hazeh, an ailing family magazine, which he transformed into a muckraking weekly that became famous for its exposés of government scandals, its irreverent coverage of high society and its brazen defiance of Israeli taboos around the treatment of Arabs, and the role of Jewish councils during the Holocaust. His pugnacious journalism, particularly his denunciation of Ariel Sharon’s 1953 raid on the Jordanian village of Qibya, in which 69 civilians were killed, earned him a beating and two broken hands: he was now Israel’s number-one enemy, according to the chief of the secret service, Issar Harel. Haolam Hazeh also exposed Israel’s 1954 bombings of American cultural institutions in Cairo – the aim of the operation was to sabotage the emerging relationship between Washington and Nasser. In 1965 Avnery created a new political party named for his paper, the Haolam Hazeh-New Force Movement and, to everyone’s astonishment, got himself elected to the Knesset. ‘I am ready to mount the barricades in order to get Avnery out of the Knesset!’ Golda Meir shouted; One against 119 was the title of Avnery’s 1969 book about his experience in the 120-seat parliament.

(LRB 11 June 2009)