Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit apologizes for sexually assaulting an American journalist. Well, kind of.
Eight days after American journalist Danielle Berrin published allegations of sexual assault against an Israeli journalist who she refused to name, Haaretz columnist and author Ari Shavit identified himself on Thursday and issued an apology “from the bottom of his heart for this misunderstanding.”
Those eight days were filled with speculation that the “dark eyed” and “black haired” author of a highly popular book in the American Jewish community was in fact Shavit. In the Israeli media, there was far more talk about uncovering his identity than about the act itself and its implications. In that sense it is unfortunate that she didn’t name him, especially since her story describes no less than sexual assault — the crime of forcible touching.
In his apology Shavit writes that he “wrongly interpreted the interaction between us” and that until he read her story, he considered it to have been a “friendly encounter” that included “elements of courtship,” and that he did not mean to cause her any discomfort or hurt her feelings.
Berrin’s hints left almost no question it was in fact Shavit, so it makes sense that Haaretz understood Shavit would have to identify himself and issue an apology to try and get ahead of the story. Haaretz has yet to issue any statement* — neither a condemnation of Shavit nor the act itself — and it remains unclear whether it has plans to take any action against him.
Shavit is one the paper’s most prominent columnists, and is especially well known among the American Jewish community, to which he regularly speaks. Israel’s Channel 10, which employs Shavit as a commentator, has said it is deliberating how to respond. Hillel, the North American campus group, already issued a statement last night that it is suspending Shavit’s campus tour.
— Hillel (@HillelIntl) October 27, 2016
Asked for comment, Haaretz Editor-in-Chief Aluf Benn told +972 he has no comment at this time, and will update if there is. My sense is that they are still deliberating what to say, and whether this will blow over and they will only have to issue a formal condemnation — without actually suspending or firing Shavit. But the clock is ticking. Meanwhile...Read More