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Thursday, January 2, 2014

One More Reason Not to Read Haaretz: Peter Beinart

One more reason not to read Haaretz? Yup! I just received the following email:

"One more reason to read Haaretz

Renowned journalist and author Peter Beinart, one of the most dynamic, creative and controversial voices in contemporary U.S. politics and the American Jewish community, has joined Haaretz.

He will be writing a weekly column and other articles on the U.S.-Israel-Diaspora Jewry nexus, exclusively for our readers.

Now more than ever before, if you want to be part of the conversation, you should make your way to Haaretz.com."

Could Beinart save Haaretz? I don't think so. As Jonathan Tobin wrote in a Commentary item entitled "Beinart Book a Collossal Flop" (http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/05/03/peter-beinart-book-colossal-flop-sales-zionism/):

"Both conservative and liberal Jewish critics have panned Peter Beinart’s book about the so-called Crisis of Zionism, giving the onetime neo-liberal scribbler a series of spankings that would daunt a less conceited author. But because the disillusioned lover of Zion didn’t let his own abysmal ignorance about both Israel and the Palestinians stop him from writing a book about the topic, there’s no reason to assume he won’t go on annoying audiences with his agonized but all too predictable misgivings about the real life state of Israel (as opposed to the imaginary ideal liberal version of the Jewish state he prefers to the one where the voters reject his ideas) as he continues on a book tour far and wide. All this chatter and buzz may be giving even Beinart’s detractors the idea that he is making some headway with the public, but apparently the book-buying public, like the critics, aren’t buying it.

According to BookScan, the respected service that tabulates point-of-sales purchases of books at stores around the nation, Beinart’s much-hyped effort is a flop. Reliable sources tell us that BookScan, which is believed to capture the figures that represent about 60 percent of the book buying in the nation, has tabulated that as of this week Beinart had only sold 2,845 copies of The Crisis of Zionism. Because books that sell thousands more than that number are considered by publishers to be busts, Beinart’s ballyhooed cri-de-coeur must be considered a colossal flop. And considering that Beinart is believed to have received an advance of several hundred thousand dollars for it, one imagines that the brass at Times Books — the partnership between Henry Holt and the New York Times that published Crisis — are kicking themselves for being duped into believing the market for post-Zionist carping extended beyond the tiny group of people who will buy anything that takes a dim view of Israel.

Crisis’s current Amazon rating is 2,530. That might not be considered embarrassing for a run-of-the-mill non-fiction book. But it’s a terrible ranking for a book whose author has been feted on broadcast and cable networks in the kind of public relations blitz orchestrated by his publisher normally reserved for a blockbuster."

Given the dismal circulation of Haaretz, which is frequently quoted by Thomas Friedman and Roger Cohen, it appears that this Israeli newspaper and Beinart deserve one another.

2 comments:

  1. Peter Beinart, Haaretz, Thomas Friedman, Roger Cohen...
    No, this isn't the way to start a New Year.
    Boy, do I despise this garbage!

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  2. Beinart will fit in like a glove working at Haaretz alongside Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, Akiva Eldar and rest of their ilk.
    When the NYT quotes their only favorite Israeli newspaper, they somehow always forget to mention that Ha'aretz has a minuscule circulation of less than 6%. Most of it's subscribers would bolt if it weren't for it's financial subsidiary, 'TheMarker'.

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