The New New Republic

By Nathaniel Popper

Published March 02, 2007, issue of March 02, 2007.
  • Print
  • Share Share

One of the most hands-on pro-Israel media personalities in America has sold his magazine to one of the most hands-on pro-Israel media personalities in Canada.

Martin Peretz sold the last of his stake in The New Republic to CanWest, the Winnipeg-based media company owned primarily by Leonard Asper and his family. Peretz, who has been both part owner and editor-in-chief, is staying on as editor-in-chief under the new owners.

The New Republic, a Washington-based opinion journal, had a long history as a mouthpiece for the political left. But since Peretz bought the weekly magazine in 1975, he has turned it into an intellectual playground for the hawkish Democratic center. The new owners, CanWest, own multiple daily newspapers in Canada, which are known for reflecting the Aspers’ laissez-faire economic positions and pro-Israel views.

The sale to CanWest caps a tumultuous year at The New Republic. Last year, Peretz hired a new editor, Franklin Foer, who has quickly taken the magazine away from its early support of the Iraq War. Earlier this year, Peretz’s two co-owners — financier Roger Hertog and philanthropist Michael Steinhardt — sold their shares to CanWest. At the same time, the magazine has been ramping up its Web site and carrying out a substantial redesign, and soon it will be cutting back to a biweekly print schedule.

Through it all, Peretz has been famous for the controlling hand he exercised at the magazine as both owner and editor, most of all when it came to issues surrounding the Middle East. The magazine frequently published columns by Peretz on Israeli and Jewish topics. More recently, he has built up his activity with a new, personal blog on the magazine’s Web site, called The Spine.

It remains to be seen how this will mesh with the Aspers, who are known for their own controlling managerial style. In 2001, CanWest ran into criticism when the company began distributing uniform editorials from its head office in Winnipeg for all its subsidiary newspapers.

Some CanWest editorial staff complained that they were barred from running articles and editorials that were critical of Israel. The Aspers further gained the ire of some journalists with their cost-cutting attention to the bottom line.

In 2004 the Aspers attempted to buy The Jerusalem Post, but the deal soured after Leonard Asper worried that his co-owners would not stick to the paper’s “conservative political position,” according to court papers.

The relationship between CanWest and Peretz may be able to grow on more common ground, given their shared support for Israel and antipathy for Israel’s detractors. During a speech in 2003, Asper criticized what he described as the anti-Israel bias of most media.

“I do not lightly come to the conclusion that antisemitism is part of the reason for the anti-Israel bias of the media,” Asper said, “but the evidence suggests it is indeed a major factor.”

Not at The New Republic.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.