Ariel Sharon vs. Time: A personal perspective

I went from reporting stories to becoming a part of the story – and I didn’t enjoy it at all.

By ROBERT SLATER
January 22, 2014 17:36
sharon 1973

Ariel Sharon a week after the Yom Kippur War cease-fire.. (photo credit: Emanuel A. Winston)

 
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It is rare for a journalist to become part of a story itself – yet I did; and I have Ariel Sharon to thank for it. Sharon’s libel suit against Time magazine turned me and my colleagues from news reporters into news items. For eight years before Sharon sued my employer, Time, for libel, I had worked as a reporter in the Jerusalem bureau, covering all sorts of stories, never landing in any controversy, and without being part of a lawsuit. But when Sharon filed his suit against Time in June 1983, I went from reporting stories to becoming a portion of the story – and I didn’t enjoy it at all.

For the past 29 years, I have not uttered a word in public about Sharon’s law suit, and the subsequent trial, against Time because at the time of the trial in 1984 and 1985, I was under instructions from my editors in New York to refer all queries to the magazine’s public relations department in New York. For 29 years, I have interpreted those instructions to mean that I should keep silent about the case for life. But now, after Sharon has left the stage, I decided that enough years have passed to allow me to reveal something about my personal role in his $50 million law suit against Time.

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