Why do neo-Nazis love ‘Haaretz’?

The reason that right-wing anti-Semitic extremists frequently cite a radical leftist Israeli newspaper is its hostility to the Jewish state.

English and Hebrew editions of the Israeli newspaper “Haaretz.” Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
English and Hebrew editions of the Israeli newspaper “Haaretz.” Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Yehezkel Laing. Credit: Courtesy.
Yehezkel Laing
Yehezkel Laing is a Jerusalem-based journalist, scriptwriter and filmmaker.

A neo-Nazi website claims that Orthodox Jews treat women “like filth,” and says that doing so is commanded by Jewish law. The claim is backed up with quotes from an article from the far-left daily, Haaretz, and even includes a direct link to the Israeli newspaper’s site.

Another post on the neo-Nazi forum claims that Orthodox Jews are spreading the COVID-19 virus in Australia. This, too, is backed up with quotes from and a link to Haaretz.

A third neo-Nazi post includes a call by Haaretz to reprint Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic, genocidal book, Mein Kampf, and put it back on sale in German bookstores. Germany currently outlaws the book.

There are actually hundreds of anti-Semitic posts on the site based on “news items” from Haaretz—1,400 references, to be precise. And if it were a little-known publication, perhaps such citing would be inconsequential. As the leading paper among Israel’s ruling elite, however—with subscribers including Supreme Court justices, government ministers, leading journalists, Israel Defense Forces generals and cultural icons—the powerful Hebrew broadsheet with an English-language edition wields enormous influence, both inside and outside the country. Nor is it only the secular elite who read Haaretz. Many left-wing religious Jews are also subscribers.

The neo-Nazi website in question is Stormfront, described by Wikipedia as a “neo-Nazi Internet forum, and the Web’s first major racial hate site …  primarily focused on propagating white nationalism, anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, anti-Catholicism and white supremacy.”

It was founded in 1996 by Don Black, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and a member of the National Socialist White People’s Party. According to a 2014 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Registered Stormfront users have been disproportionately responsible for some of the most lethal hate crimes and mass killings since the web forum became the first hate site on the Internet.”

Stormfront isn’t the only neo-Nazi or white-supremacist website to have a passion for Haaretz. The Daily Stormer, for example, which has more than 300 references to Haaretz, is described by Wikipedia as “an American far-right, neo-Nazi, white supremacist, misogynist, and Holocaust denial commentary and message board website that advocates for a second genocide of Jews.”

Take, for instance, an article titled “Kikes Shoot and KILL TO DEATH Gazan with Hands Up” extensively quotes Haaretz in its claims that Jews “slaughter” people of color. After the Haaretz passages, the author of the piece, Andrew Anglin, opines: “I really honestly hate the kikes and think they should all be stuffed into gas chambers and gassed like insects with diesel fumes from a repurposed Soviet submarine engine.”

Another post, “Israel to Officially Become Jew Ethnostate,” uses quotes from a Haaretz article in a claim that Israel only allows “genetically pure” Jews to live in the country.

Then there’s American neo-Nazi David Duke, described by Wikipedia as “an American neo-Nazi, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, far-right politician, convicted felon, and former grand wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. His publications and politics are largely devoted to promoting conspiracy theories about Jews, such as Holocaust denial and Jewish control of academia, the press, and the financial system. The Anti-Defamation League has described Duke as “perhaps America’s most well-known racist and anti-Semite.”

A search of his website (DavidDuke.com) reveals more than 300 mentions of Haaretz. Links and citations include, among others, the use of Haaretz to “prove” that Jews control the global pornography industry; a column by Gideon Levy about the situation in Gaza; an op-ed equating Israel and Nazi Germany; a story by Amira Hass that compares the Gaza Strip to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and much more.

The question that arises from this is why right-wing anti-Semitic extremists would want to cite a radical leftist Israeli newspaper. The answer is two-fold. In the first place, unity between the far-right and far-left is nothing new.

In 1940, Hitler and Communist leader Joseph Stalin signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, to join forces and divide Europe among themselves. Stalin often expressed admiration for Hitler. It was only when Hitler later threatened to take over the Soviet Union that the communists decided to fight the fascists.

In the second place, Haaretz is obsessed with finding the negative in anything Jewish or Israeli. This applies even to organ donations.

Recently, the newspaper admitted what is widely known in the medical community: that observant Jews are by far the country’s biggest kidney donors. But the newspaper claims to know the “real reason” for this incredible self-sacrifice, which has saved hundreds of lives. It is all done for negative, narcissistic reasons, in order to “claim moral superiority.”

Does it bother Haaretz journalists that their views find approval among people who openly say that they seek the destruction of the Jewish people and the State of Israel?

I asked editor-in-chief Aluf Ben this very question. His response was: “What do you want us to do? Anyone is allowed to quote from Haaretz. I have nothing more to say.”

The Jewish people spend enormous sums fighting global anti-Semitism. But before we try and fix the world, perhaps we should take care of the anti-Semitism at home first.

Filmmaker Yehezkel Laing is the creator of the dramatic television series Iron Sky about Jewish bravery in Stalinist Russia. He can be contacted at hezy13hezy13@gmail.com.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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