Today, Haaretz announced in an article that Ari Shavit, accused of sexually assaulting Jewish Journal reporter, Danielle Berrin, would be “taking a break” from Haaretz. Haaretz management released this statement:
“Haaretz is vehemently opposed to any form of sexual harassment. Such behavior is utterly unacceptable and must be thoroughly rooted out. Haaretz expects all of its employees to behave in a professional manner. Ari Shavit is a senior journalist with many achievements over the past 20 years of working for Haaretz. Today he informed us that, in light of recent publications, he has decided to take a time out from his journalistic work.”
First, what does “taking time out” mean? The phrase is so vague as to be virtually meaningless. He certainly wasn’t suspended. If Haaretz really wished to convey a message of zero-tolerance for sexual assault it would’ve suspended him without pay or fired him. Further, this statement uses Shavit’s phrase to portray his behavior: “harassment.” It was not harassment, it was sexual assault. That’s the word Berrin used and if Haaretz really cared about the victim it would honor her own terminology.
Further, the paper articulated the decision as Shavit’s own. This may’ve been a way of Shavit saving face. But what debt does a newspaper owe to an employee who betrays the standards of journalism and his own newspaper by engaging in such behavior? Given this journalist’s overweening pride, I seriously doubt it was his choice.
Another seamy development is that Hillel Schocken, brother of Haaretz publisher, Amos Schocken, and part owner of the newspaper, has published a particularly tone-deaf Facebook post in which he writes:
Before the Ari Shavit story, no one knew who Berrin was. Chizik (another U.S. Jewish journalist who has come forward claiming she was sexually assaulted by a different Israeli journalist) wants more of the same. Why should only Danielle get published? No fair!
I think that a journalist who was attacked many years earlier [it was only two and a half years earlier] and stayed quiet should remain quiet. If the information she had was important to the public she had no right to conceal it. And certainly when doing so concealed the identity of her attacker.
Tell me what was her real purpose? To say that senior journalists are potential rapists or that only Israeli journalists are? Why did she choose now to publish this? [she explains in her original article that she was motivated by the revelations concerning Donald Trump]
This is the Old Boys Club circling the wagons to protect one of their own. Shameful!
Contrast Haaretz’s lurching response with Hillel International, which immediately cancelled Shavit’s upcoming national speaking tour. This shows that sexual assault is taken much more seriously in the U.S. than in Israel. It also shows that despite Haaretz being Israel’s leading liberal paper, it is beset by the same sexism as the rest of Israeli society. Shavit did not appear as a panelist on his weekly show on Israel’s Channel 10, but the station made only a vague statement that it would wait to see how the case unfolds before making any longer-term decisions.
How will this charge affect the status of Shavit’s HBO documentary? I will contact the company to find out if they’ve made a statement on this.
In her rejection of Shavit’s sort-of apology, Berrin adds this mystifying sentence about Shavit’s brilliance as a writer:
I remember how excited I was to interview the author of “My Promised Land,” a book of astonishing insight and self-reflection. It is mystifying to me how someone so deeply attuned to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be so obtuse when it comes to human relationships.
I automatically grant sexual abuse victims great latitude regarding their suffering. But about politics I can’t. Only a liberal Zionist could write these words. Only a liberal Zionist could have such a shallow view of Shavit’s work and his analysis of the conflict. Shavit is not “deeply attuned” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is deeply attuned to the Israeli perspective. He gives it a nice sheen so that it appears humane and generous (to a point). But when push comes to shove, Shavit grants no agency or independence to Palestinians. He offers no ideas or approaches that can help end the conflict. He reinforces the stereotypes that permit Israelis and liberal Zionists in general to believe that they’ve done everything in their power to heal the suffering–but that in the end such healing is either impossible or so far in the future as to be a fleeting wisp of hope.
So, you are 100% sure Shavit’s version is false and Berrin is 100% correct in her recollection of what happened? Are you so sure that you expect no less than ending Shavit’s career for good?
Usually we leave this decision to courts, but perhaps I am old fashioned.
The media outlets Shavit works for can only know for sure that there was sexual harassment, as Shavit himself admitted that. For that he is being suspended for now. Claims of actual assault need to be investigated.
Oh, and when you write that in the USA such complaints are taken more seriously than in Israel do you refer to the fact that Tramp is still running for presidency (and currently actually has a chance to win) despite numerous accusation regarding sexual harassment and even sexual assault? or perhaps to the former president, Mr Clinton, who also has been accused of sexual harassment and has admitted that he had sex with a young subordinate but still completed a second term and is still very popular in the USA?
This is while in Israel Ramon, a senior politician, has his career ended because he stuck his tongue to the mouth of a young soldier? Not to mention Yinon Magal, another senior politician that was forced to resign following accusation of sexual harassment.
So, in which country such allegations are taken more seriously?
People won’t vote for Trump but against Clinton, so he is not a good example.
In the future, any time an American will lecture anyone around the world about moral all you’ll have to say is “2016 Presidential Election” and that person better shut up. Millions of American are going to vote in the next few weeks to either a womanizer or a corrupted politician,
Richard Silverstein says
Oh please! First of all, of course I’m sure Berrin is correct because Shavit has essentially conceded she was. Second, ending his career? Are you mad? He has a best-selling book, an HBO film deal, and five-figure speaking gigs. I’m not ending anything. Third, even if this was ending his career: did he deserve the career he had based, as it was, on abusing & assaulting women? Did he think he could get away with this forever and no one would take him to task?
No, not ‘old-fashioned.’ Either stupid or ignorant. When you live in the U.S. you can’t prosecute an Israeli citizen for a crime unless they are on U.S. soil. And Israeli police would probably not take seriously a crime committed by an Israeli citizen in a foreign country. So Berrin could file a criminal complaint against Shavit in LA (which I hope she does). THen when he steps on U.S. soil he could be arrested. But it’s unlikely she will do this.
Did you not read my post? If you didn’t, read it now. And always read the post in full before you comment. If you had in this instance you would know he was NOT suspended. He himself chose to “take a break.” Why do you make me repeat what I already wrote in the post?
As for Trump, a woman has to file a complaint against an abuser or it can’t be investigated. So if no women file complaints he can’t be charged. But like Bill Cosby, who got away with this shit for decades, Trump will eventually have to pay the piper. Women will come forward. Either they will sue him & win huge judgments or he will go to jail.
As for Trump “actually having a chance to win,” in what universe are you? He’s behind by 14 pts & will probably lose by 20 before this is over. Why do you bother to express opinions about U.S. elections or politics when you’re so completely out of touch?
Clinton, much as I despise him and his behavior, had sex with consenting adults. Women have come forward with complaints against him & they’ve been investigated & none have resulted in charges. That’s called letting the system work. In Israel you have virtually no system which investigates violence against women seriously.
Shavit, on the other hand, is accused of forcing himself on a woman who clearly did not consent. That is entirely different.
Ramon’s political career didn’t end because of the charge against him. He became a minister after serving his sentence. His career ended because he picked the wrong political horse & couldn’t get back in the Knesset. If he’d been willing to join Likud he’d be in politics now & probably a minister for women’s affairs!!
First, thanks for the “complimants”. Allow me not to recipocate and let the facts speak for themselves.
1. I did not said that he lost his career. I wrote that this is what you seem to expect. If it was up to you, would you let him work in Haaretz or give lectures in the USA? BTW, I liked the sentence about “the career he had based, as it was, on abusing & assaulting women?”. And i thought his carrerr was based on his journalitic work, but we already established I am stupid.
2. Shavit did not admit sexual assault, which is exactly why Berrin was angry. Only an objective investigation can determine if what happened between them was actually an assault and this is the point you missed.
Let me quote what you wrote about Tramp: ” a woman has to file a complaint against an abuser or it can’t be investigated. So if no women file complaints he can’t be charged”. This is eactly the case with Shavit and Burrin… And if Burrin does not file a complaint (and she can) that there is investigation, he can not be charged and his guilt can not be determined. Do you think that Shavit should be punished without due processes becuase Berrin refused to file an official complaint (and she can)?
3. Shavit was forced to “take a break” and that is in reality a suspension. It was described as “his decision” only to save face. That I know for sure.
4. There have been several serious complaints against tramp, including a recent one that ended with a lawsuit
There were many more allegations, not to mention his own description of what he can allow himself to do to women because his is famous. According to the BBC, Tramp currently enjoys 46% support. http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37450661
That is, 46% of the American public doesn’t care that he treats women the way he does. What else needs to be said?
5.Clinto had sex with a young subordinate. In some countries, including Israel, this is considerd to be a sexual offence. Perhaps the Americans see it otherwise.
More women will come forward in Shavit’s case.
What the latest woman describes may not be assault, but it is behavior that should lead to him being disinvited for talks etc. Men like him need to learn what the effect is of their harrassment. Organisations cannot expose their staff to this kind of thing.
I was never a fan of Shavit and he always struck me as an aggressive and vulgar man. He should pay a price for his behavior, and he does. Still, even criminals deserve a chance to reform. Shavit did an important first step by immediately admitting that his conduct was wrong and apologized.
Not inviting him to give talks sounds very reasonable to me, especially as I never found what he has to say particularly interesting….
Hmmm, his statement reads more like a denial to me.
He agreed he was wrong and and appologized. Beyond that I guess it is in the eyes of the beholder
Werner Fenster says
Shavit’s hand grew limp, and he ‘hand groped’ the woman.
Did he give the woman a one-handed ‘hand grope’ or two-handed ‘hand grope’?
I’m confused and creeped out at the same time.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Amico: Shouldn’t you ask his victims what his punishment should be? As for me, I think he deserves punishment. He deserves to lose things he holds dear because he tore from numerous women their self-respect & dignity. Lose his job? OK by me. Lose his career as an author? I doubt it. Some publisher somewhere may be willing to publish a new book written by a sexual predator. He sells books, so publishers will still work with him. But why should we care about him? He behaved abominably over many yrs toward women. What sympathy does he deserve? When confronted he at first punted instead of admitting his behavior.
Just now, He resigned from Haaretz, but only after a second woman came forward. Oh & btw, where there are two women attacked there are scores more who haven’t come forward for their own personal reasons. What sympathy indeed.
His career is based on a quicksand of self-inflated vanity and male testosterone. Whatever value there was to his work (& there wasn’t much imo) is completed tarnished by his extra curriculur activities.
No, the victim’s word especially when corroborated by the attacker & subsequent victims is quite enough to establish the facts. Since there will likely be no investigation your articulation is a convenient cop-out.
Of course his guilt can be determined. He’s now admitted to attacking 2 women. He admitted it. Admitted he’s guilty. That’s a confession by the abuser. Only a misogynist knucklehead like you says guilt can’t be determined.
You’re out of your mind. He doesn’t enjoy 46% support. The BBC poll source is RealClearPolitics, which is Republican polling outfit. You have to look at who’s compiled the poll before you determine its accuracy. After the latest e mail scandal the race has tightened considerably. But there is almost a week before the election. And even with the scandal she is still leading. And just because someone votes for a candidate who is a rapist doesn’t mean they don’t care about his behavior. They just care about other things more. They may be idiots for that. But you can’t infer their beliefs on one issue because they say they’ll vote for him.
As for Clinton, it is a sexual offence–if the woman reports it. But Lewinsky didn’t report it & it was consensual. That’s why he couldn’t be charged for a crime in the case, but was caught lying about something afterward. The charge against him was perjury, not sexual.
[comment deleted: I warned you not to publish more than three comments in any 24 hour period. This is your eighth today. Do not do this again. Take a break for another 24 hours. If you publish again in that time-frame, you will be moderated. And if I tell you not to comment in a thread, that does not mean you may publish in a different post thread that is directly related to the thread I told you to stop commenting in (such as the series on Shavit). Don’t push the envelope here. Don’t manipulate the rules. And don’t comment again on the subject of Ari Shavit in any post thread dealing with him. Your view of the subject is clear. You’re repeating your arguments over & over again. That is another rule violation.]
[comment deleted: you are now moderated for publishing more than three comments in a 24 hour period.]
Ari Shavit has now resigned from both Haaretz and channel 10. He published yet another apology in which he wrote he was ashamed of himself and that he intends to improve himself (I am translating the gist of it)
You cry wolf about not being credited while even here you didn’t credit Navi Sheker or asked for him to be credited.
As a friend of the blogger, I find it distasteful.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Jim: There WAS a link to Navi Sheker’s blog post in my post. You missed that (and much else). That is the credit I was seeking from other media. I didn’t mention the blog by name because he only included a graphic that alluded to Shavit as the culprit but didn’t come out & say it explicitly as I did in my blog post. If he had been more explicit I would have been more explicit in my credit.
Next time, don’t be offended on behalf of anyone else. I find that distasteful. Speak for yourself. I assume Navi Sheker can speak for himself & is welcome to contact me if he is as offended as you. But he will find that quite a few Israelis visited his blog as a result of the link I provided. Ask him.
Please do not write comments more than once. Duplication violates my comment rules, clogs up the threads with commenters saying the same thing multiple times. One comment, period.