Time’s Settlement

In response to:

The Press on Trial from the February 26, 1987 issue

The Integrity of Law from the April 14, 1988 issue

To the Editors:

In footnote 4 of my review of Renata Adler’s book Reckless Disregard [NYR, February 26], I slightly misquoted Uri Dan, General Sharon’s press adviser, though not in a way that changed the meaning of what he had written. I quoted him as claiming that Time’s proposed settlement statement, which Sharon rejected, “bore no resemblance” to a text Sharon had previously approved. In fact Dan wrote that there was “virtually no resemblance at all” to that text. I regret this error.

Most of the sentences in the two texts are either identical or differ only in terminology. (Time eliminated a redundant sentence, for example; and it substituted “Time has maintained and continues to maintain” for Sharon’s phrase “Time states.”) Sharon’s text said that Time “had no information” that Sharon knew that the massacres would take place; Time’s text substituted the statement that it did not say or intend to suggest that he knew they would take place. Sharon’s text said that Time had no access to the secret appendixes of the Kahan report; Time’s text said that it had no “direct” access to the appendixes, which in this context means the same thing.

I do not regard these as changes that make Time’s draft bear “virtually no resemblance at all” to Sharon’s, or as changes that would affect the substance of the settlement, from Sharon’s point of view, if he had been interested only in the accuracy of the historical record. I did, however, note one change Time made that did seem to me substantial in that sense: Time’s version said that Sharon was himself now satisfied that Time had not intended to suggest that he had condoned the massacres. Sharon might very well not have been satisfied of that, and I therefore said that Time should have withdrawn that proposed change.

Ronald Dworkin

Oxford, England