web analytics
December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Israeli Officials Escalate War Of Words With The N.Y. Times


Thomas Friedman is visiting in Israel this week.

Thomas Friedman is visiting in Israel this week.

WASHINGTON – Israeli officials are stepping up their criticism of The New York Times, slamming columnist Thomas Friedman and arguing that the newspaper is an unfit venue for an op-ed column from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a scathing letter first leaked last week to The Jerusalem Post, Ron Dermer, a top aide to Netanyahu, declined an invitation for the prime minister to write an op-ed for the Times. By way of explanation, Dermer cited what he alleged was the newspaper’s anti-Israel tilt.

“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,” he said.

Dermer’s letter came just days after Friedman, a frequent critic of Israeli settlement policies, asserted that U.S. congressional support for Netanyahu was “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), a top congressional appropriator, joined a chorus of commentators in decrying Friedman’s allegation. And Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, said Friedman had “strengthened a dangerous myth.”

“This allegation is profoundly disturbing,” Oren told JTA. “The term ‘Israel lobby’ implies the existence of a Zionist cabal wielding inordinate economic and political power. Unintentionally, perhaps, Friedman has strengthened a dangerous myth.”

The recent flaps are casting a light on the degree to which the Israeli government believes it has not been getting a fair shake from what is arguably the most influential newspaper in the world.

In September, in an editorial about the push for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood, the Times declared in an editorial that it put the “greater onus on Mr. Netanyahu” for the stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks, claiming he “has used any excuse to thwart peace efforts.”

In another editorial a few days later, the newspaper accused Netanyahu of refusing “to make any compromises with the Palestinians.”

The Times published a response from Israeli Embassy spokesman Lior Weintraub in which the Israeli official noted that during his current tenure, Netanyahu has endorsed the idea of a Palestinian state, pushed for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without pre-conditions, ordered the removal of hundreds of checkpoints and implemented an “unprecedented 10-month moratorium on new West Bank settlement construction.”

Netanyahu “offered to extend the moratorium for an additional three months if the Palestinians would return to the negotiating table. But they did not,” Weintraub continued, adding that in his May speech to Congress the prime minister said that “some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s borders” and pledged that the Jerusalem issue could be resolved “with creativity and with good will.”

Weintraub argued that “obscuring Mr. Netanyahu’s record in pursuing peace only emboldens the Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations with a genuinely willing and eager partner.”

Dermer in his letter suggested that ignoring Netanyahu’s outreach amounted to bad will. Times columnists, Dermer said, “consistently distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace. They cavalierly defame our country by suggesting that marginal phenomena condemned by Prime Minister Netanyahu and virtually every Israeli official somehow reflects government policy or Israeli society as a whole.”

The letter has created a Washington buzz, with some officials with pro-Israel groups scratching their heads at the strategy. Off the record, they say they agree with Dermer’s assessment of the Times, but wonder at the wisdom of turning down an opportunity to appear on one of the most influential op-ed pages in the United States.

David Harris, the American Jewish Committee’s executive director, would not comment on the strategy, but said it was clear that the Times had a problem with Israel, noting some of the trends Dermer listed in his letter: The Friedman column and others critical of Israel by Nicholas Kristof; publishing, without adequate redress, an op-ed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that blames Israel for rejecting two states in 1947, when it was the Arabs who rejected the UN partition plan; and a column suggesting that Israel’s gay rights advances were merely a function of a propaganda campaign to make Arabs seem backward.

Friedman in his column listed reasons he believes American Jews like himself are growing uncomfortable with Israel: the closeness of the foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, to Russian autocrats and their anti-democratic leanings; the controversy about segregating women from men on buses that serve haredi Orthodox neighborhoods; a slate of laws seeking to limit the influence of human rights groups; and attacks by extremist settlers on Palestinians and the Israeli army.

“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,” Friedman wrote, referring to Netanyahu’s address to a joint session last May. “That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

In response to Friedman’s column, Rothman issued a statement saying that the characterization of the nature of congressional support for Netanyahu reinforced a “dangerous narrative” about supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Israeli Officials Escalate War Of Words With The N.Y. Times”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Christian Israeli Kay Wilson and Mohammed "Zionist" Zoabi.
Christian Terror Victim Protected ‘Mohammed the Zionist’ from Terrorists
Latest News Stories
Police and the IDF find the vehicle and its driver suspected of having tried to run down Jews Thursday morning.

Bereaved family says hit-and-run death was terrorism.

Christian Israeli Kay Wilson and Mohammed "Zionist" Zoabi.

Anti-Zionist Arabs don’t always distinguish between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Rami Levi will have to start paying minimum wage workers more money.

Elections, and not Netanyahu, raised the minimum wage.

Armed Palestinian Authority soldier, whom Abbas says he won't order to kill Jews but won't be able to stop him.

Palestinian Authority head says he can’t stop attacks on Jews.

Oscar-winner “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport” has been selected for permanent preservation in the Library of Congress by the National Film Registry. The film, released in 2000, documents the rescue of some 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Nazi-dominated Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia in the months leading up to World War II. […]

Dr. Ben Carson is waiting for God to tell him if he should run for president.

Four arrested in crackdown on anti-assimilation group Lehava.

The decision of Uri Aril’s Tekuma faction to remain in the party and re-start a “Yesha faction” is a blessing.

PM Netanyahu lit the 5th Chanukah candle at the Kotel. We understand that he then sung a beautiful rendition of Maoz Tzur, but we unfortunately don’t have that on video.

It doesn’t pay to be a foreign volunteer soldier in the ISIS army.

This is the first flask of ritually pure olive oil made in 2000 years.

First Lebanon’s Hezbollah started the Second Lebanon War, now the UN wants Israel to pay Lebanon for damages.

Stern expressed dismay at Tzipi Livni’s merger with the Labor party.

The Islamic terrorist entered the police station and began stabbing policemen while yelling “Allah hu Akbar”.

Two girls in Kibbutz Nir Yitzchak were taking a selfie video when the rocket siren went off on Friday morning.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
Hillary Clinton

Clinton derided perceptions that U.S.-Israel tensions had become tense under Obama.

“We have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive discussions on every element of a possible text.”

It’s not yet clear if Nemmouche was acting on orders and, if so, whether the orders came from ISIS.

“The Jewish community is going to have to work harder,” said one veteran official who has worked both as a professional in the Jewish community and a staffer for a Jewish lawmaker.

The disagreements don’t seem to have gone away, despite a cease-fire that appears to be firmly in place.

“On the Hill and with some people with whom I have spoken who are robust Israel supporters, people are concerned if not angry,” one of the staffers, a Democrat, told JTA

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israeli-officials-escalate-war-of-words-with-the-n-y-times-over-anti-israel-tilt/2011/12/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: