+972 Magazine is a left-wing news and opinion website established in August 2010 by a group of writers. Writer Noam Sheizaf, the +972 chief executive officer, described the reason for establishing +972 Magazine to "sound a new and mostly young voice which would take part in the international debate regarding Israel and Palestine." The name of the magazine is derived from the 972 international dialing code that is shared by Israel and the Palestinian territories.
History, goals, management structure
Liel Leibovitz writing in Tablet, +972 was founded in August, 2011 when four working journalists who also blog and hold progressive and anti-occupation views agreed to create a shared platform. Sarah Wildman, writing in The Nation described +972 as, "Born in the summer of 2010 as an umbrella outfit for a group of (mostly) pre-existing blogs... The site is now an online home for more than a dozen writers, a mix of Israelis, binational American- and Canadian-Israelis, and two Palestinians, all of whom occupy, if you’ll forgive the term, space on the spectrum of the left."
+972 has a horizontal, collaborative organizational structure. Proposed new members are "voted on by the group and can be rejected." The editor has authority neither to hire nor to fire members, rather, the collaborative hires and fires the editor.
The magazine has an, "unorthodox journalistic ethos: All the magazine’s bloggers have complete freedom to write whenever and whatever they want." According to The Nation, editors do not make assignments, "There is no hierarchy. Two rotating editors [recently changed to one editor] copy-edit and do a light legal sweep on each story... If they see something that needs to be changed for legal reasons, they’ll notify the writer before making the change." According to Leibovitz, "the magazine’s reported pieces... adhere to sound journalistic practices of news gathering and unbiased reporting," while its commentary and essays, like its members, are, dedicated "to promoting a progressive worldview of Israeli politics, advocating an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and protecting human and civil rights in Israel and Palestine," and "support specific causes and are aimed at social and political change." According to The Nation, the editors rarely do more than copy-edit and scan for legal problems.
According to Leibovitz, +972 reporters are well-positioned to report from the West Bank because several member of the cooperative are "frequent participants in joint Israeli-Palestinian demonstrations behind the Green Line," and work closely with, "the activists who coordinate such protests."
Sarah Wildman writing in The Nation calls it, "purposefully, uniformly progressive."
In 2010, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, a German think-tank affiliated with the German Green Party, provided 6,000 euros in funding.
According to The Nation, +972 had received grants of $70,000 from the Social Justice Fund at the New Israel Fund.
Israeli leftists Akiva Eldar and Merav Michaeli told The Nation that Israelis have never heard of +972, Michaeli describing it as simply "not relevant" to Israeli politics. The magazine's staff asserts that the vast majority of +972's readers are outside Israel, with about 40% in the United States and 20% in the Palestinian territories. According to CEO Noam Sheizaf, only about 20% of its readers are Israeli. According to Alexa Internet, 40.1% of the site's traffic comes from the United States, 9.5% from France, 8.1% from Israel, 6% from Canada, and 6% from the United Kingdom.
According to The Nation, +972's political stance is criticized by writers for the left-wing newspaper Haaretz and left-wing Israeli intellectuals.
The pro-Israel organization NGO Monitor criticized +972 as being antisemitic for using the apartheid analogy regarding Israel. Noam Sheizaf answered to the criticism: "The attack on +972 is being carried out in the standard way NGO Monitor, Im Tirzu and similar organizations work these days: Not by debating the content of our reports and commentary pieces, but by trying to delegitimize and silence us". In February 2012, Sheizaf said "Jewish American liberals are not on our side. [Most Americans] will only support my liberalism to a certain degree. When I fight for the right of an Arab woman to become a doctor, you will stand by and donate to the New Israel Fund. But if I say 'Jerusalem is an apartheid city,' which it is—Jerusalem is the worst place in the world in terms of citizenship laws—American liberals get goosebumps."