Despite Economist claim, ‘fanatical settlement’ of Kochav Ya’ir is neither fanatical nor a settlement (UPDATE)

(See UPDATE on this post below)

While the UK media (much like its US counterpart) often employ euphemisms – and often wild rhetorical somersaults – to avoid passing ‘value judgments’ on Palestinian terror groups, there are typically no such restraints in news stories and commentaries about Israeli ‘settlers’.  

Though only a tiny fraction of Israelis who live in cities across the green line (in Jerusalem and the West Bank) have engaged in violence or advocate its use, words like ‘radical’, ‘extremist’ and ‘fanatical’ are often used by journalists to place this Jewish population on the ‘wrong side’ of their moral divide. 

A good illustration of this knee-jerk impulse to demonize ‘settlers’ – by journalist who often seem to possess little real knowledge about such communities – can be found in a May 3rd article in The Economist titled ‘Making of a martyr‘ – a review of a book about the killing, by British officers, of Avraham (Ya’ir) Stern, leader of the pre-state underground Zionist group known as Lehi (Lohamei Herut Yisrael – Fighters for the Freedom of Israel).

After a few paragraphs which focus on the book itself, the article then pivots to a broader critique of what the anonymous Economist writer believes to be Stern’s legacy:

Stern still commands a striking hold over many of Israel’s ruling right-wingers, including the successors of the mandate-era Jewish underground who continue to perpetrate attacks on Palestinian civilians. Many still choose his nom de guerre, Yair, for their sons, including Israel’s current prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

The author’s rhetorical slight of hand is almost comical.  Though Ya’ir is a common Hebrew name, are we supposed to intuit from the sentence that the current Israeli Prime Minister chose his son’s name based on the life and politics of Ya’ir Stern?

However, the author’s polemical inventions become even more pronounced in the following sentence:

One of the most fanatical settlements, Kochav Yair, is named after him

Though the community was indeed named after Ya’ir Stern, a quick check on Google Maps would have demonstrated to the Economist journalist that Kochav Ya’ir is NOT a settlement:

Additionally, the claim that Kochav Ya’ir is “fanatical” does not hold up to scrutiny.  

First, contrary to the stereotype of such fanatical ‘settlers’ [sic] as religious fundamentalists, Kochav Ya’ir is an overwhelmingly secular community.  

Moreover, in the last national elections in 2013 a majority of Kochav Ya’ir residents (according to official results) voted for centre and left-wing political parties.  In fact, while Likud-Israel Beiteinu was the party which attracted the greatest percentage of votes overall in the country, the top vote-getters in Kochav Ya’ir were centrist Yesh Atid and the left-wing Labor Party (at 24 and 21 percent respectively).  

So, Kochav Ya’ir is clearly not a “settlement”, nor does it appear to be at all “fanatical”.

The Economist got it wrong. 

UPDATE, May 11: Following our communication with Economist editors, the article was amended and an addendum added acknowledging that Kochav Ya’ir is neither fanatical nor a settlement.

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82 replies »

  1. Kochav Yair a” fanatical settlement?” Best joke of the day! It couldn’t be more bourgeois if it tried! It’s peopled by current and ex-army and mostly Labor party supporters. The Economist writer didn’t know what he was talking about- but isn’t that the norm for many journalists in the western press who try to write something about Israel?

      • Everyone wants to go to Taybeh, the Palestinian beer village. There are few places as cool as Taybeh in Palestine and Israel. Fine restaurants, breathtaking archaeological ruins and a fine beer brewery: one of the most popular places with expats on week-ends.

      • You should visit Tabeyh as well, it’s one of the coolest places in Palestine and Israel with its brewery and winery, it’s beautiful Byzantine archaeological sites and old city, and it’s fine restaurants in the upper old City offering amazing, sweeping views on the Palestinian lands ape. Only Sebastian and Batir can compete. No wonder it is a favourite with the expat scene.

    • Abtalyon, in fact Ehud Baraq, a staunch Laborite at the time, lived in Kokhav Ya’ir before he became prime minister and went to Camp David in 2000 to offer arafat more than he deserved.
      I know two families who now or in the past lived in Kokhav Ya’ir. They are family friends through my wife. Anyhow, as you say, these people are hardly fanatical. One of the families was Labor, like Baraq, and the husband worked for the Israeli govt, whereas his wife taught at the American International school in Kfar Shmaryahu [now in Even Yehudah]. She was probably checked by US intelligence before they let her teach there.
      The other family were Likud voters and ran a business in Kfar Saba or elsewhere in that area. Again, hardly fanatical.

  2. In 2002, Bret Stephens, the then editor of the Jerusalem Post,
    accused the Economist of being an anti-Semitic publication. Obviously nothing has changed in the interim.

    And little has changed in Blighty since the days of the Mandate when a certain class of Brit took great pleasure in beating up survivors of the Holocaust.

    • Here’s a link to that Bret Stephens article (“Fear and loathing at ‘The Economist'”):

      Incidentally, in 2012, Bret Stephens who is now the foreign-affairs columnist and the deputy editorial page editor at The Wall Street Journal was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for “his incisive columns on American foreign policy and domestic politics.”

    • The Jerusalem Post being a right wing, pro-settlement publication they may not be that impartial.

      • Worth mentioning that the JPost includes some top notch journalists and some excellent reporting, but the editors are definitely rift wing and pro settlement.

        • Do you have a comment on the article, or do you come here just to create your own topics for discussion?
          The Economist claims that a left-leaning Israeli town is really a fanatical right-wing settlement in the West Bank? Comment?

  3. Unless of course they considerd all of Israel to be occupied which mean that Tel aviv is a settelment as well.

  4. The Economist got it wrong.
    They didn’t get it wrong – they lied.

    1. Only taking a superficial look at any map everybody would realize that Kochav Ya’r is inside the green line.
    2.Common knowledge that the population of Kochav Ya’ir are mostly secular left leaning professionals and high ranking military officers.

    Demonizing Jews are old European habits, some of them are addicted to it. The post-Holocaust detoxication cure has failed miserably.

    • Peter, I can’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that they lied but it is poor journalism at best.

      • Proving beyond reasonable doubt? This is not a trial by jury Itsik. This is delegimitization, demonization – the prelude of Auschwitz. Whether they did it intentionally or by mistake is irrelevant, it was a lie adding fuel to the fire of the resurgence of EU antisemitism.

        • What proportion of Europeans would you say still have the habit of demonizing Jews? And how many would – as you suggest – like to see another Holocaust?

          • “What proportion of Europeans would you say still have the habit of demonizing Jews? ”
            Why not look up the polling data? Polls I’ve read suggest a trend.
            Mass media greatly influences popular perceptions. You do the math.

  5. Demonizing Palestinians is part of the Zionist and fascist ideologies (part of the colonial construct)

    • Interesting that you come to the defence of “The Economist”

      Just so there is no misunderstanding are you ‘Abu Hiddad’ writing that you regard “The Economist” as unbiased, well-researched and a truthful publication based on fact?

    • Here on Cifwatch you are the only poster who is demonizing Palestinians Abu, and you definitely are not a Zionist but a card-carrying psychopathic turd.

    • Palestine has always been the colonial construct. Israel is the true indigenous name for this piece of property. The demonizing of Jews is a big part of anti-democratic ideologies.
      Save the b.s. for the rhubarbs.

    • The Arabs are among the great land-grabbing nations in history, along with the British, British-Americans, Russians and Spaniards

  6. You can`t demonize terrorists and their organisations like Hamas, PLPF, Fatah etc., they do it by themselves.

  7. Neither can you demonize Israel, everytime it bombs Gaza or attacks Lebanon or demolishes a Palestinian house in Palestine it demeans itself. That is why evey year since 1949 The General Assembly of the UN demands that the refugees be allowied to return to their homes in Palestine. Today, even the US is seeing Israel developing as an Aparheid state. Everytime it imprisons young Palestinian children, arresting them in the middle of the night the Israeli regime demeans itself.

    So here we have it. The need for cifwatch multiplies as more and of the world sees Israel for what it is. Perhaps cifwatch should change its name to worldwatch.

    • Abu,
      You’re confusing UNGA go along to get along votes with what its members really think of you. Even with your b.s. propaganda campaigns, and bribes in petrodollars, they still don’t like you very much. For example, most of them know it’s insane to label people as aggressors for simply shooting back at you.

  8. Gerald, So you do not deny Israel is an Apartheid state that imprisons Palestinian children arresting them in the middle of the night.

    • Boo Boo are you unable to understand the question I asked you earlier?

      Now cut the pathetic attempts to divert away from questions when they are asked, it does not fool anyone it only further decreases your already low level of credibility.

      I’ll repeat the question for you;
      “Just so there is no misunderstanding are you ‘Abu Hiddad’ writing that you regard “The Economist” as unbiased, well-researched and a truthful publication based on fact?”

      A simple yes or no will do.

    • Abu Hiddad, like your leader Abu Mamzer [also called Abu Kazabeen], you are proficient at the Big Lie. Calling Israel an “apartheid state” is a Big Lie of Nazi-like, Goebbelsian dimensions. By the way, Arabs live on my street in Jerusalem, shop in the shopping malls with Jews, ride buses and trams with Jews, go to Israeli Health Fund clinics with Jews, etc etc. In the Health Fund clinics and hospitals, even part of the staff, doctors, nurses, technicians, etc are Arabs.
      Shouldn’t you feel anger at the people who told you the lie that Israel is an “apartheid state”?? You should be angry at them, not at those of us who correct your false beliefs.

  9. Abu Haddad I take it from your answer that you do consider Israel an Apartheid state. How about boycotting Israeli products?

    • Abu you should take a rest, when you start speaking to yourself then there is a serious danger of pissing in your own pants too.
      To lift your seemingly deteriorating spiritual state I suggest you to watch this clip. It will serve you as a useful help to understand why you never will be allowed close to any civilized place.
      And now repeat a hundred times slowly and loudly: “We are all Boko Haram now…”
      If you forgot to breathe during this small psychological exercise then don’t worry – the world will be a much better place instantly….

      • It will serve you as a useful help to understand why you never will be allowed close to any civilized place.

        Why? (given that clip of a bust-up on Jordanian TV)

        And now repeat a hundred times slowly and loudly: “We are all Boko Haram now…”

        WTF are you on about, Mr. self-hating-European?

  10. Oh well I already do. Israeli Aparheid is very bad for anybody’s health not just the Palestinians..

      • Intel,Google:HP ,Marvell … none of which are Israeli companies. Sorry, but: what’s your point?

          • Bit of sliiiiight exagerration there on your part, of course. But as I’m hardly pro-BDS it’s of little import anyway.

  11. alexa you boycott whatever you want I boycott Israeli goods not American- I am not a luddite. You must understand the boycott is of ZIonist regime in Israel and companies that are complcit in the occupation of Palestine. Not an indescriminate boycott of anything Jewish but the Boycott of the Zionist regime.

    • LOL I thought you knew better .Israel is home to dozens of R&D labs that belong to multinational tech companies, some of them the principal development facility for their parent corporation The comapnies I listed are just few examples . So you should boycott all those companies and more because many of their products have something to do with israel and you woulnd;t want to help Israel now would you.

      Read more: 65 years on, Israel is top choice for tech by multinationals | The Times of Israel

    • Abu Hiddad I wager you do not boycott products made in Israel by Arab famillies but only the ones made by Jews or Jewish owned factories.

      There’s a name for this…

      • I’ve always wondered what the full-BDS (i.e. Israel itself, not settlement products) crowd say when faced with that question.

  12. Typical racist ideology. We gave everything to the world as the superior race. Now where have I heard this before from another European ideology. Ah they call it fascism. . And look what happened. Ultimately they were defeated and their empire dismantled.

    • Boo Boo your inability to answer questions is quite concerning.

      Is it due to you being only able to type, sometimes very poorly, what the puppeteer tells you to?
      Or, are you just a dickhead with limited intelligence and unable to engage in debate?

    • do you forget that the Arab nationalist movement collaborated with the Nazis? That Haj Amin el-Husseini, the top palestinian Arab leaders was in Berlin during the war and collaborated in the Holocaust?
      The Arabs are far from innocent. And don’t forget more than 1000 years of oppressing Jews as dhimmis.

    • Typical racist ideology. We gave everything to the world as the superior race.

      WTF? Neither this current article nor any other on CiFW makes such claims.

    • Typical racist ideology? you mean the fact that many international companies choose to work in Israel? The fact that becuase of that you who want to boycott all Israelis products need to boycott these companies as well? I do pity you.

  13. To the Economist’s credit, such as it is, they did issue a correction in the article after the error was pointed out. It obviously would have been better had they fact checked their article ahead of time, but at least, unlike some publications, they’re willing to correct themselves when shown they’re wrong. I

  14. AbuAntisemite equates Jews to Nazis. Not really surprising when bearing in mind his homepage where Jews are smeared as Zionazis.

  15. Gerald you put a very cogent argument. You have convinced all the racists in the world, yourself and the Zionists included. Now move on.

    • Boo Boo the hold up in moving on is your refusal, or inability, to answer questions.

      Now at long last would you like to answer the question?

  16. Gerald, we Palestinians are like that way we never listen to what the Zionists tell us – but as soon as they let us move into our houses things will change. Until than move on.

    • Boo Boo your increasingly desperate attempts to avoid answering a question are becoming increasingly pathetic.

      So as you want to move on what is the answer to the question?

    • Boo Boo you want to play ‘Hide and seek’ do you?

      Come out, come out wherever you are Boo Boo the nasty man isn’t going away until you answer his question.

    • Of course things will change ,. YOu will be able at last after so many years to eliminate the Jewish state, Don;t worry it will never happan. Keep on dreaming instead of making the effort to built a life. This will surely keep you people in the sorry state you are in now. So typical of you; blaming everyone instead of taking responisibilities for your life.

  17. AbuAntisemite admits that the negotiations were just hot air on the part of the Arabs.

  18. I thought I was very clear there is no way we would agree to anything that does include the right of return. Your side knew that from day 1. So why start negotiations when you do not want to keep to it. Lying idiots. Every Palestinian has insisted on the right of return. The UN General Assembly has reaffirmed that right every syear since 1949. Have you got it now.

    • Boo Boo you have come out from hiding under your stone, but STILL not answering my question.

      But you write this; “I thought I was very clear there is no way we would agree to anything that does include the right of return.”
      So now even you would not agree to this mythical ‘right of return’, you’ve become a convert.

      When your Hamas friends read that they will treat you as they do others that oppose them, take you to the top of a high building and ‘air-mail’ you off the top!
      Bye Bye Boo Boo happy landing.

    • your side knew very well that israel can;t accept the right of return and never will .So why did you start negotiation when you knew you are not going to give that up,

  19. alexa – settlements, right of return, return to pre-1967 borders not negotiable has always been the Palestinian position. They will stand by that to the last man standing. Zionists have to decide. Do they want to be living in that region and if so are they going to compromise on the basis of the right of return and return to pre-1967 borders.

    • Boo Boo I am still waiting for an answer.

      Although I was surprised by your last post in which you ‘out’ yourself as a covert Zionist.
      Remember Boo Boo “I was very clear there is no way we would agree to anything that does include the right of return”
      I can hear the Hamas thugs looking for you now.

    • So you believe that if Israel wants peace it has to agree to remove itself from existence? Fascinating.

    • Abu Hiddad yes we know you people want to eliminate the Jewish state. Right of retrun will make sure of that. We also know that is your real motivation and all talks of peace is just a wast of time. So thank you for admitting that you want no jewish state in the region.

  20. Gerald Palestinians prefer not to negotiate any part of Palestine. If the Zionists are happy with that that is fine. Now the only choice remaining is whether we are going to be democratic or Jewish (ie apartheid) – That is what even the US is saying now. Writing on the wall is clear.

    • Boo Boo your attempts at evasion are very poor and substandard.
      Please either try harder or stop.

      I can understand that after posting that you oppose the mythical ‘right of return’ , in your post above @ 6:42 AM, you must be concerned for your own safety from the Fascist thugs of Hamas. But before you get thrown off a high building at least answer my question.

    • “Palestinians prefer not to negotiate any part of Palestine.”
      Defined since 1948 as Israel and only Israel. The British (who invented the place) gave away 78% of it to an Arabian prince (today called Jordan). The original PLO Charter specifically excluded the so-called West Bank and the Gaza as part of Palestine, which left only Israel within the 1949 armistice lines as “historic” (chuckle, chuckle) “Palestine,” i.e., a western colonialist construct that you now falsely claim as an organic historical nation for the sake of Arab hegemony (and apartheid). The only thing you’re against is democratic self rule for Jews, with equal rights for minorities. What bothers you is not the rights the Arab minority has, but rather the idea of Arabs being a minority at all, (try Viagra instead).
      Just as we’ve suspected all along. Thanks for the confirmation.

  21. The Afrikaaners had to dismantle Apartheid South Africa. Same should apply to Israel. Dismantle the Apartheid state and live in peace. Deny others their rights they will fight you until their rights are restored. Remember all empires all occupations end. It is only a question of time.

    • The Afrikaaners had to dismantle Apartheid South Africa. Same should apply to Hamastan, PA-istan, (plus most Arab states).
      “Deny others their rights they will fight you until their rights are restored.”
      A great victory in that respect was done in 1948. That’s called justice. 1967 was justice on steroids. You got what you deserved. All empires do come to an end, even Arab ones. Perhaps it’s time to put it to bed and stop wasting your time on imaginary “rights,” calls for sham democracies, and annihilating and taking over real democratic states that don’t belong to you.

    • Boo Boo here you go with the substandard attempt at deviation again.

      Never mind I understand that you are trying to ingratiate yourself with the Fascist thugs of Hamas after your surprising post earlier that you do not support the mythical ‘right of return’.
      I note that you did not contradict my description of the Fascist thugs of Hamas in my post @ 10:01 AM.

      So you no longer support the mythical ‘right of return’ and you consent to the description of Hamas as Fascist thugs.

      Poor Boo Boo a covert Zionist and destined to end up looking like a smashed strawberry jam jar at the bottom of a high building.

  22. And the outcome of the dismantling is pure corruption and violence, well, something the Palestinian organisations are already notorious.