Hari defends himself over Levy interview storm

Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy

The award-winning Independent journalist Johann Hari has defended himself over criticism for repeating quotes from a Haaretz comment piece. He did so in an interview with the Israeli writer Gideon Levy.

Mr Hari was accused of plagiarism, breaching copyright and attacked by thousands of Twitter users after it emerged that an interview with Haaretz writer Gideon Levy included a direct copy of Mr Levy's words in a piece he had written several months earlier.

In that interview Mr Levy was quoted as having said: "The facts are clear. Israel has no real intention of quitting the territories or allowing the Palestinian people to exercise their rights. No change will come to pass in the complacent, belligerent, and condescending Israel of today. This is the time to come up with a rehabilitation programme for Israel."

While Mr Levy had said this, it was not during his conversation with Mr Hari.

Asked about the furore, Mr Levy said he stood by everything that was published in the Independent piece. "It was an accurate presentation of my thoughts and words," he said.

However he added that he had not known that comments made outside the interview would be included in the final copy.

In a piece for today's Independent, Mr Hari said "Every word I have quoted has been said by my interviewee, and accurately represents their view."

Mr Hari was awarded the prestigious Orwell Prize for journalism in 2008.

Last updated: 10:22am, June 29 2011