A couple of days ago, New York Times opinion-writer (and self-opinionated pompous blowhard buffoon) Thomas Friedman penned a disgraceful article essentially accusing the “Israel Lobby” of manipulating Congress.
I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.
That statement, and the entire article, has brought about outraged reactions from Israel and its supporters, including a great take-down by Elder of Ziyon, and an excellent editorial in the Jerusalem Post. But in truth Friedman’s item is just a continuation of the NYT’s constant digs, accusations and blame for the failure of the Middle East peace process laid at Israel’s door. Thomas Friedman is not the only such self-appointed pundit, and possibly not the worst, but he is certainly the most influential and he characterises all that is wrong with the NYT.
Now we learn that, presumably for some balance, the Times invited PM Netanyahu to write an op-ed – which he “respectfully declined” (I would not have been so polite) due to their anti-Israel bias.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is refusing to pen an op-ed piece for The New York Times, signaling the degree to which he is fed up with the influential newspaper’s editorial policy on Israel.
In a letter to the Times obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Netanyahu’s senior adviser Ron Dermer – in response to the paper’s request that Netanyahu write an op-ed – wrote that the prime minister would “respectfully decline.”
Dermer made clear that this had much to do with the fact that 19 of the paper’s 20 op-ed pieces on Israel since September were negative.
Ironically, the one positive piece was written by Richard Goldstone – chairman of the UN’s Goldstone Commission Report – defending Israel against charges of apartheid.
The letter itself, written by Netanyahu’s spokesman Ron Dermer, is a masterpiece of a put-down. (The emphases are mine).
On matters relating to Israel, the op-ed page of the “paper of record” has failed to heed the late Senator Moynihan’s admonition that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but that no one is entitled to their own facts.
A case in point was your decision last May to publish the following bit of historical revision by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas:
… In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative. Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued.
This paragraph effectively turns on its head an event within living memory in which the Palestinians rejected the UN partition plan accepted by the Jews and then joined five Arab states in launching a war to annihilate the embryonic Jewish state. It should not have made it past the most rudimentary fact-checking.
The opinions of some of your regular columnists regarding Israel are well known. … Worse, one columnist even stooped to suggesting that the strong expressions of support for Prime Minister Netanyahu during his speech this year to Congress was “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby” rather than a reflection of the broad support for Israel among the American people.
… it would seem as if the surest way to get an op-ed published in the New York Times these days, no matter how obscure the writer or the viewpoint, is to attack Israel. Even so, the recent piece on “Pinkwashing,” in which Israel is vilified for having the temerity to champion its record on gay-rights, set a new bar that will be hard for you to lower in the future.
I addressed that disgusting article on “Pinkwashing” in my post here.
… I discovered that during the last three months (September through November) you published 20 op-eds about Israel in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. After dividing the op-eds into two categories, “positive” and “negative,” with “negative” meaning an attack against the State of Israel or the policies of its democratically elected government, I found that 19 out of 20 columns were “negative.”
The only “positive” piece was penned by Richard Goldstone (of the infamous Goldstone Report), in which he defended Israel against the slanderous charge of Apartheid.
Yet your decision to publish that op-ed came a few months after your paper reportedly rejected Goldstone’s previous submission. In that earlier piece, which was ultimately published in the Washington Post, the man who was quoted the world over for alleging that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza, fundamentally changed his position. According to the New York Times op-ed page, that was apparently news unfit to print.
Your refusal to publish “positive” pieces about Israel apparently does not stem from a shortage of supply. It was brought to my attention that the Majority Leader and Minority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives jointly submitted an op-ed to your paper in September opposing the Palestinian action at the United Nations and supporting the call of both Israel and the Obama administration for direct negotiations without preconditions. In an age of intense partisanship, one would have thought that strong bipartisan support for Israel on such a timely issue would have made your cut.
So with all due respect to your prestigious paper, you will forgive us for declining your offer. We wouldn’t want to be seen as “Bibiwashing” the op-ed page of the New York Times.
Senior advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu
Ouch! Very well said. He has expressed what I am sure are the feelings of most Israelis and Israel supporters and it’s about time the New York Times understood the reactions to their words.
I just wish Bibi would be as steel-spined in his dealings with the Palestinians (see the Mughrabi Bridge fro example) as he is in dealing with the New York Times.