UPDATE: An earlier version of this story was in error. After congratulating him on his new appointment, Ori Nir informed me that he is not the new Haaretz correspondent in Washington. That honor goes to Natasha Mozgovaya, a “talented young reporter,” according to Nir. I apologize for my part in spreading this inaccurate report into the English-language blog world.
Two months ago, Dov Alfon did approach Nir about taking the job since they’d both worked earlier at Haaretz. But Nir was quite happy at Americans for Peace Now and did not want to leave.
Big news out of Israel. I recently reported that Shmuel Rosner will be leaving Haaretz soon as its Washington correspondent. Shraga Elam has just provided me a link to this Hebrew language story at Ice News confirming that Rosner is leaving. Rosner’s replacement is Natasha Mozgovaya, which is not noted in the ICE report.
Ori pointed me to a fascinating profile in the Hebrew edition of Haaretz detailing Mozgovaya’s problems in gaining acceptance as a Russian-Israeli television news anchor. Apparently, she faced tremendous resistance from listeners who found her Russian-inflected Hebrew accent distressing. All this went to the even broader issue of Israeli prejudice toward Russian immigrants. She maintains a Russian and Hebrew language Livejournal site.
The transition from Rosner to Mozgovaya is a major shift for Haaretz and welcome news for the Jewish peace community.
This shift will also match the political times with Democrats ascendant in Congress and possibly the White House. One can assume that Haaretz’s U.S. coverage will become more diverse and balanced as the U.S. and Israel face difficult policy decisions in the coming years. If Obama wins the White House then we can expect vigorous efforts to advance Israel-Arab peace and an energetic Haaretz correspondent would be a boon.
Haaretz’s new editor, Dov Alfon, has made an auspicious editorial choice and I applaud him for it.
One anonymous correspondent of mine says Rosner was fired. Though the ICE report indicates that the costs of schooling his children in Washington on a Haaretz salary was no longer feasible. Sounds like he’s likely sending them to a very expensive Jewish day school or private college.
Shammai Leibowitz says
Natasha is an outstanding reporter, with an understanding of the importance of human rights issues and a keen eye for grassroots peacemaking efforts and non-profit advocacy. This is really good news. Thanks for the update.
She’s cute, with a sympathetic, understanding sort of face. I guess that’s not very rigorous, substantial criteria to go by in evaluating her as a reporter. I guess I’ll defer to the first commenter.
Galuteus Maximus says
Unfortunately Mozgovaya is turning out to nothing but a Russian Rosner. If you read her article about Biden becoming VP , you can see how she is careful to include the pooh-poohing of the Republic Jewish Coalition but NOTHING from Jewish Americans who are pleased with Obama’s choice. She is clearly more attuned to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran foreign policy than committed to any sort of peace agenda.
Here’s the full-text, in case Haaretz decides to yank the article from its website and archives, as it so often does when events make their coverage embarrassing:
ANALYSIS / Obama played it safe, but is Biden good for Israel?
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent
Aug. 24, 2008
After weeks of anticipation, speculation and even gambling – presidential candidate Barack Obama’s plan to name Senator Joe Biden as his running mate was leaked in the middle of the night. The Democratic candidate was forced to send out text messages to his supporters at 3 A.M. so that they would not be disappointed, having expected to be the first to know.
As far as Obama is concerned, Biden is not a soul mate, but he is certainly a safe choice. Biden, 65, who participated in the Democratic Party primaries, brings with him a lot of experience, but also a heart wrenching history, which is essential in enticing the middle class voters. Biden was born to a wealthy family, but his father went bakrupt and the family moved to a working class neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden was forced to do manual labor on the weekends to supplement his family’s income when he was growing up.
It appears that Obama’s choice will make the lives of the Republican campaign writers a little harder than usual. In the past, Republicans went to great lengths to demonstrate how “Democrats in limousines” were detached from the needs of the people. Flashing the elitist card has helped the Republicans defeat many Democratic candidates, including John Kerry. This time, Obama, a product of a single mother home, and Biden, appear much more authentic and down to earth than their rival John McCain, with his wealthy wife and the family’s seven homes.
Only a few weeks before he was elected to the U.S. senate in 1972, Biden’s wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. Biden considered leaving politics, but ultimately remained. Today he is remarried, and father to two children from his first marriage and another child from his second marriage.
Biden is a Catholic, a Syracuse University graduate and a politician with 35 years of experience. He quit the presidential race earlier this year due to his low ranking in the polls. His bid to reach the White House in 1988 also ended in failure after he was accused of plagiarizing one his speeches. That year, Biden nearly died from an arterial aneurism.
The vice presidential candidate currently chairs the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, a post that Obama hopes will compensate for his own lack of experience in the global realm.
Biden is a firm supporter of Israel, but the way he sees the U.S.’s role in the Middle East doesn’t necessarily reflect Jerusalem’s ideal of the ideal “American partner.”
When it comes to the Iranian threat, it is not clear that the Obama-Biden combo will raise smiles in Jerusalem. Biden’s past remarks have sparked criticism and have been described as “inconsistent.” Biden has said more than once that he does not think that isolating Iran is the most efficient way to combat the Islamic republic’s nuclear ambitions, and he has even urged sensitivity to Iran’s needs. He met with a senior Iranian official in Davos, which led his detractors to say that he was willing to negotiate with an extremist regime that supports terrorism. On the other hand, Biden has proclaimed that a nuclear Iran was “unacceptable.”
Following Obama’s announcement that he selected Biden, the Republican Jewish Coalition immediately issued a response, saying that with Biden, Obama’s ticket was even more dangerous. Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matthew Brooks explained that “with the selection of Senator Joe Biden the Democrat’s ticket has become an even greater gamble for the Jewish community. Throughout his career, Senator Biden has consistently been wrong on Iran and his voting record on Israel has been inconsistent. Like Obama, Biden fundamentally misunderstands the threat posed by an Iran determined to obtain nuclear weapons. Biden has continuously demonstrated poor judgment on Iran. He has voted against significant legislation that would pressure Iran to stop pursuing nuclear weapons. Biden has failed to recognize the serious threat that Iran poses to Israel and the US and its allies in the Middle East.”
During his years on Capitol Hill, Biden has developed a reputation of a decent principled man. His main weakness is the fact that he talks a lot and usually says what he thinks without censoring his comments. This weakness could be an advantage for Obama because when he says what he thinks, Biden falls in line with Obama’s message of revolutionizing politics.
Obama, if elected, will quickly find that despite the presidential authorities, a president often has difficulty advancing his own agenda, facing resistance from the House of Representatives. Biden could certainly help Obama grease the right wheels.
Galuteus Maximus says
Follow-up: There is a separate article on the Haaretz website by Mozgovaya and AP sources,, consigned to “Jewish World, that mentions the approval of Ira Forman, head of the National Jewish Democratic Council for Obama’s choice of Biden . Interestingly, it was written BEFORE the “analysis” article that questions Biden’s “good for Israel” credentials. A bit of balance might have been appropriate in the analytical piece, not just the Republican Jewish slam. Again, she’s just a Russian Rosner.
Richard Silverstein says
@Galuteus Maximus: Oh God, I hope she’s not just a Russian Rosner. I agree that quoting an RJC press release isn’t the most creative reporting I could imagine. And not including a positive quote fr. a Jewish Dem. was unfortunate. But I think she got the main pts in the story & it was much better than what Rosner would’ve penned.
I’m going to tell me DC friends at J Street & elsewhere to spend some time acquainting her w. their agendas so she can come calling when she writes future stories like this one.