web analytics
September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Arab terrorists at the traffic circle in Ras al-Amoud May 2011
Children Evacuated as Arabs Attack JM Neighborhood of Maaleh HaZeitim [video]
Latest News Stories
Anti-Semites have a message for Jews in the Diaspora, but some people just don't understand it.

Jews are becoming as safe in France as they are in Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

Arab terrorists at the traffic circle in Ras al-Amoud May 2011

Children were rushed to bomb shelters in the Jerusalem neighborhood when Arabs began throwing explosives at the neighborhood and at Jewish toddlers playing near their nursery schools.

Leonard Nimoy and Tar Trek's Jewish stars, William Shatner.

Volkswagen tries to cleanse its Nazi-linked past.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed for a much deserved lunch in Midtown Manhattan with Sheldon Adelson, at Fresco by Scotto, accompanied by 30 security guards. Bibi had the veal chop.

Rabbi David Kushner’s Ford Explorer was torched next to the Rodef Sholom Synagogue in Atlantic City on the first day of Rosh Hashanah.

How can Netanyahu say that Iran, which hangs innocents, is like ISIS, which beheads them?

More than two dozen Jews under heavy police escort moved into six more homes purchased by a Jewish investment company in Silwan Valley, including the City of David complex, in eastern Jerusalem Monday night. A group of Arabs hurled firecrackers and stones at police in a failed attempt to enter one of the buildings, and […]

ZIM may not call on the Port of Oakland again, certainly not until the ILWU 10 has a contract and guarantees to unload ZIM ships. Other shipping companies wary of the port’s unreliability may also consider the same.

Dozens of Jewish graves and gravestones on the Mount of Olives were desecrated during Rosh HaShanna.

An intruder actually made it to the East Room of the White House earlier this month, much farther than previously reported.

The following is the speech delivered by PM Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly on September 29, 2014:

The new Jewish Temple will offer millions of pilgrims underground parking, according to a new plan that just received the endorsement of hundreds of supporters who put their money where their faith is.

Subject to government approval, EL AL will place its “LY” code on select JetBlue flights to and from JFK and Newark, which will presumably expand the options for EL AL customers throughout the United States.

The Oklahoman called it a bizarre coincidence. On Friday, a second man was arrested for threatening to behead a coworker.

ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran all share a fanatic ideology, Israeli PM Netanyahu warned the UN General Assembly on Monday. No freedom or tolerance.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas

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

Capital-Bldg-091214

“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.

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.

But Israel’s stance is not sufficiently consequential to set off a fight between friends, neoconservative scholars said.

Tensions between Russia and the West are mounting over the Russian military takeover of the Crimean Peninsula, with the United States and European countries threatening to impose sanctions.

Expansive outreach, of course, is nothing new for AIPAC. But in the wake of battles over Iran sanctions legislation that pitted the pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse against the White House, many congressional Democrats and liberals more generally, AIPAC’s traditional emphasis on Israel as a bipartisan issue has taken on added urgency.

Administration officials and Jewish groups sympathetic to Kerry’s initiative say there is a longer-term agenda in preempting attacks on the framework peace agreement the Obama administration is expected to propose soon.

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: