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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘NY Times’

Never Mind Bombing Iran, Sheldon Adelson Wants To Buy The NY Times

Monday, November 10th, 2014

First published in Jewish Business News

OK, the world is really changing, and staying the same, and everything in between. That would have to be your conclusion if you added up everything two of the most notorious Jewish power brokers, one on the left, the other most decidedly on the right, said last night in a joint appearance before a new group calling itself the Israeli American Council (IAC), in Washington, DC.

Media mogul Haim Saban, 70, Hillary Clinton’s major sugar daddy, criticized President Obama’s dealings with Iran, saying: “We’ve shown too many carrots and a very small stick.”

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, 81, who put in $400 million to support various Republican presidential candidates in 2014—with nothing to show for it, told IAC that both U.S. political parties are “on the same side” when it comes to supporting Israel.

“Everyone in this room—whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or Independent… when it comes to Israel, we’re on the same side,” Adelson said Sunday.

But what Sheldon Adelson said on a completely different topic totally caught our attention: he laid out a plan to buy the NY Times. Even though it’s not for sale.

Mind you, Adelson knows a thing or two about owning the media. Over in Israel, he created a daily newspaper, Yisrael Hayom, so powerfully-enlisted in support of PM Benjamin Netanyahu — that the Knesset is now working on special anti-democratic legislation to kill his paper.

So how would he buy the Times? Simple – by throwing too much money at it.

“There’s only one way to buy it,” Adelson said. “Money.”

It started when Shawn Evenhaim, the national chairman of the Israeli American Council, asked the two men if they thought the news media are biased against Israel.

Saban said they were, except for both of Rupert Murdoch’s children, Fox News Channel and the Wall Street Journal.

He didn’t mention the NY Post. but he did tell Adelson they should have bought The Washington Post together.

“I wish that [Amazon.com founder] Jeff Bezos hadn’t bought The Washington Post,” Saban said. “For $250 million — bupkis — he stole it.”

So Adelson suggested, “Why don’t you and I go after the New York Times?”

Saban admitted that he had “tried over and over to buy it” but the family-owned Times is not for sale.

So Adelson laid down a familiar strategy: “You pay significantly more than it’s worth, then the non-family shareholders have the right to bring a suit between the real value and what’s been offered.”

One day we’ll come home to discover that Sheldon Adelson bought our children and is putting them inside his U-Haul — and we won’t even put up a fight, because he paid way more than we could get for them on the market.

Both Adelson and Saban called for unity when it comes to supporting Israel, reminding all prospective presidential candidates who are brandishing their swords this winter of the supreme value of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

They also agreed that President Obama has not done enough to protect Israel.

You don’t have to like what these two men said last night, but you do have to acknowledge that their merged notions are going to carry tons of weight in the next two years, regardless of what Obama is doing or planning to do or planning to sit out.

Or, as Evenhaim told both men: “After the election in 2016, one of you will get me a private tour of the White House.”

And the Lincoln bedroom.

And Lincoln.

NY Times Says No Intimidation From Hamas

Monday, August 25th, 2014

NY Times Israel Correspondent Jodi Rudoren said Sunday that reports of Hamas intimidation of reporters in Gaza is “nonsense.”

Participating in a lengthy Twitter debate about a statement put out by Israel’s Foreign Press Association – “The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month” – Rudoren essentially accused the Foreign Press Association of becoming a stooge for the Israeli government.

“Every reporter I’ve met who was in Gaza during war says this Israeli/now FPA narrative of Hamas harassment is nonsense,” Rudoren wrote. Of course, Rudoren failed to address substantive questions that surfaced during the debate – how come no international media has reported from Hamas offensive positions at schools, mosques, refugee camps and civilian neighborhoods? How come no photographs of Hamas rocket launchers have made their way to the Times, CNN, BBC or the Sydney Morning Herald?

Rudoren also refused to address multiple claims made by journalists who said they had suffered intimidation at the hands of Hamas in Gaza. At the end of the day, perhaps the most convincing comment in the debate came from Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute in Brussels.

“That those accused of having played by Hamas rules now deny it (the fact that Hamas intimidates journalists into silence) is hardly convincing,” Schwammenthal wrote.

NY Times Completely Misunderstands Hamas

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

A NYTimes Editorial on Friday showed an amazing lack of understanding of Hamas’s intentions and motivations.

“Mr. Netanyahu has scoffed at that distinction — and some skepticism is warranted. While Hamas cannot simply be wished away, the United States and other countries that consider Hamas a terrorist group may find it impossible to continue aiding the Palestinians if Hamas plays a more pronounced role.”

“…the United States has to be careful to somehow distinguish between its support for the new government and an endorsement of Hamas and its violent, hateful behavior. To have some hope of doing that, the United States and Europe must continue to insist that Mr. Abbas stick to his promises and not allow Hamas to get the upper hand.”

It would appear that the NY Times doesn’t actually understand or recognize the Hezbollah model that Hamas is carefully following, or the role Iran is playing here.

Hamas tried its hand at ruling Gaza. It learned that it’s hard to remain a popular resistance organization when you’re also required to pick up the trash, and make sure the toilets don’t flush into the streets, not to mention being held personally responsible for every terror attack (or IDF retaliation), even when its not in your benefit to be blamed.

Hezbollah had a similar problem, they wanted to be in charge of Lebanon, but without the responsibilities and popularity issues that being in charge carry with it.

So they (or more likely their patron, Iran) came up with a neat solution.

Build yourself the largest, independent army in the country, maintain only a little official representation in the government, and let it officially appear as if other people are in charge. I call it the “talk softly-carry a big gun” model. Ehud Ya’ari calls it “adding ballots to your bullets”.

You get all the power, freedom and money, but none of the responsibilities or blame for the day to day stuff.

Hamas (following advice from Iran) is doing almost exactly the same.

They’re keeping their massive independent army, with all their terrorists, guns and missiles, but they’re handing off the municipal responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority. Let collecting garbage and paying salaries be Abbas’s headache.

Hamas can now go back to doing what they do best – terror and social programming.

We’re going to now start seeing Hamas building up its grassroots support via a proliferation of Hamas funded social and religious programs that will pop up all over Judea and Samaria.

Hamas, with its large, independent army and swelling grassroots support, will run the Palestinian Unity Government (PUG) from behind the scenes, but all the responsibility and blame will fall on Fatah (Abbas) – making Hamas even more popular and powerful.

The NY Times simplistically calls on Abbas to not let Hamas get the upper hand.

Hamas doesn’t want the upper hand, not openly, not yet. That would cut off the US funding for the day to day stuff. It’s that US funding which will free up Hamas resources for the more important thing, the unhindered expansion of Iranian-supported terror bases into Judea and Samaria.

If the NY Times really wanted to prevent a “collision course” between Israel and the Palestinian Unity Government they would have recommended the only course of action that would avert it in the long term – disarming Hamas.

Once again, the NY Times proves it just doesn’t get it.

A Closer Look at Bill de Blasio’s Record

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Bill de Blasio, the current frontrunner in the Democratic primary for mayor, has been running his second television commercial of the campaign, titled “Dignity,” since Monday. Fact checking the ad, Michael Barbaro of the NY Times found it quite misleading. Mr. de Blasio argues he’s the only candidate pledging to end the way the Police Department carries out the stop-and-frisk tactic. The problem with that claim is that his opponents have all, in one way or another, pledged to reform it, too.



Nor is Mr. de Blasio, per his claim, the only candidate proposing an income tax on the rich to pay for education. John C. Liu, the city comptroller, has proposed raising the city’s marginal income tax to pay for after-school programs, among other things.

“Dropping the misleading word ‘only’ from several of his claims, or using it more carefully, would do wonders for the accuracy and credibility of his commercials,” Barbaro concludes.

Bill de Blasio’s exaggerating his role as an advocate for the issues he believes are at the top of voters’ concerns is nothing new. In fact, his record of representing the outer-boroughs, as he now promises not to let down any New Yorker, is far from exhilarating.

Back in 2001, when he first ran for City Council in the 39th district, Mr. de Blasio was examined for mismanagement and controversial ties that had put in question his credentials at the time. “[Bill de Blasio] carries a lot of baggage as well,” The Village Voice wrote in a profile on the race for council.

“De Blasio was elected to School Board 15 in 1999, and his tenure has been rocky. Many public school parents charge that de Blasio was stubbornly supportive of Frank DeStefano, the former superintendent of District 15 who resigned in the winter amid allegations of overspending and mismanagement. Reports first surfaced in the fall of 1999 that DeStefano had begun to run up big deficits, taking himself and other school officials on several expensive junkets costing a total of more than $100,000. One year later the school deficit topped $1 million, leading to the cancellation of a popular after-school reading program while DeStefano maintained an expensive car service.

“De Blasio still defends his decision to stick with DeStefano for as long as he did. “He was a visionary and a great educator, but he was a horrible communicator,” de Blasio says of DeStefano. “I was deeply concerned, but I was not going to make a final decision until I saw the evidence.” In the end, de Blasio says, “he could have made better decisions, but I don’t think the spending was wildly excessive. Both of my parents were victims of the McCarthy era. I do not take lightly the idea of ousting someone. You have to have the evidence.”

“De Blasio has also been linked to the flap over New Square, the Hasidic village in upstate New York that has been mired in pardon scandals. Candidate Clinton assiduously courted the small Rockland community last year, winning the town by the whopping margin of 1400 to 12. Six weeks after the election, Israel Spitzer, New Square’s deputy mayor, met with the Clintons at the White House, where pardons for four New Square civic leaders convicted of fraud were discussed. In January, Bill Clinton commuted their sentences, leading to a probe by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in which several Hillary Clinton campaign aides were called in for questioning. At a Manhattan fundraiser for de Blasio in December, Spitzer made a $2500 donation, the largest permitted under the city’s Campaign Finance Board. De Blasio refused to comment on that matter, including the issue of whether he was questioned by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. De Blasio would only offer this comment: “I’m waiting to hear what’s going to happen with that.”

in 2007 as councilman, Mr. de Blasio was lambasted for not living up to his promises and for a lackluster performance as representative of his district.  In a hard hitting piece by a local blogger named “Parden Me For Asking,” Mr. de Blasio was criticized for running a dysfunctional office and keeping himself distracted from the issues that mattered to the neighborhoods he represented, going back to his time he served on the Board of Education before his run for council.

NY Times Blaming Israel for Egyptian Havoc

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The first outright finger pointing at Israel was published in the Sunday NY Times (Pressure by U.S. Failed to Sway Egyptian Military Leaders from Crackdown):

The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.

Israeli officials deny having reassured Egypt about the aid, but acknowledge having lobbied Washington to protect it.

When Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, proposed an amendment halting military aid to Egypt, the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee sent a letter to senators on July 31 opposing it, saying it “could increase instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israeli ally.” Statements from influential lawmakers echoed the letter, and the Senate defeated the measure, 86 to 13, later that day.

The fact is, Israel—and the Saudis—are trying desperately to save America from its own delusions about a democratic Arab world springing forth with equality and freedom for all. Egypt’s neighbors are anxious about the possibility of a civil war in Egypt and understand that a firm government is the essential first step towards recovery from the events of the past three months and the past two years in Egypt.

But now, according to the way the NY Times sees the world on Monday morning, Israel is “Escalating Efforts to Shape Allies’ Strategy.”

The original headline, according to NewsSniffer, was “Israel Puts More Urgency on Shaping Allies’ Actions” and was modified twice since the earlier posting.

An unnamed Israeli government official told the Times that Israel is going to spend this week twisting European and American arms in an attempt to prevent them from pulling their support from the Sisi regime, even though his soldiers have been brutal in their treatment of the Muslim Brother demonstrators.

The official explained the Middle east realities in blunt terms: “We’re trying to talk to key actors, key countries, and share our view that you may not like what you see, but what’s the alternative? If you insist on big principles, then you will miss the essential — the essential being putting Egypt back on track at whatever cost. First, save what you can, and then deal with democracy and freedom and so on.”

And he added, even more bluntly:

“At this point,” the official added, “it’s army or anarchy.”

Speaking of anarchy, no one is certain that even with full Western support the Sisi regime would be able to withstand the onslaught of highly motivated, unafraid Muslim Brothers. While the army is bound by some modicum of restraint, the Muslim Brothers recognize no such boundaries. While about a thousand of their number have been killed, they have been joyfully burning down Coptic churches and murdering Egyptian Christians in the streets. Over the long haul, if the Brothers are not stopped effectively, they could wear down the regime and demoralize the army. That could throw Egypt into a full blown, Syrian style civil war.

In addition to it being a public relations disaster for the Obama Administration, as caring individuals like senators Paul and McCain rip the president mercilessly on his policy and call for cutting off $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt, there’s President Barack Obama’s injured ego. A project he began right after his election has collapsed right before his eyes, and despite all of his efforts to communicate his strong views on the matter (Sec. Hagel called Sisi 17 times), the Muslim Brothers revolution is no more.

“The violent crackdown has left Mr. Obama in a no-win position: risk a partnership that has been the bedrock of Middle East peace for 35 years, or stand by while longtime allies try to hold on to power by mowing down opponents,” the Times wrote on Sunday.

So now, it appears, the largely quiet efforts on the part of Netanyahu to communicate to Obama (the two are yet to speak directly since the start of the crisis) how crucial it is that American support—and the Egyptian-Israeli peace deal—remain intact, will be used to portray Israel as some kind of puppet master, goading the generals to shoot into the crowd.

Who Killed the Peace Process?

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The so-called ‘peace process’ was based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and the most serious attempt to implement them on the ground was the Oslo Accords, agreements signed in 1993-95.

Although both sides complained about violations of the Oslo Accords — Israel complained about continued incitement and terrorism, which increased sharply after Arafat’s return from exile in Tunis, and the Palestinians complained that Israel was not withdrawing fast enough — the final nail of Oslo’s coffin was hammered in by Mahmoud Abbas, when he asked the UN to declare ‘Palestine’ a state.

Art. XXXI.7 of the 1995 Interim Agreement says “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations”). This is exactly what Abbas did, and he can’t blame it on unaccountable terrorist factions, as Arafat liked to do after his assassins murdered Jews.

Israelis always understood Oslo as a compromise — that neither side would get everything that it wanted. But the PLO always saw it as a surrender agreement, and became ‘frustrated’ (and everyone knows how Palestinians behave when that happens) when Israel didn’t simply withdraw from all of the territories in return for nothing.

The father of all peace processes was UN Security Council Resolution 242, which called for  Israel to withdraw from territories conquered in 1967, and for

Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.

Land for peace and secure borders. At first the Arabs wouldn’t even consider an agreement that promised peace (see the “Three No’s“). But more recently, they proposed the “Arab Initiative,” which calls for complete Israeli withdrawal, assumption of guilt, and right of return for Arab refugees (what a deal!).

The decision of the UN General Assembly to grant Palestine non-member state status in all of the territories conquered in 1967 directly contradicts resolution 242 because it gives all of the territories to Palestine, without guaranteeing Israel secure boundaries or peace.

If we go back farther, the GA has also taken back the promise to the Jewish people made by its predecessor, the League of Nations, and embodied in the Palestine Mandate, to encourage “close settlement on the land” by Jews in their historic homeland.

It is interesting that although Israel has made great concessions since 1967 — withdrawing from the Sinai, withdrawing from Gaza, legitimizing the PLO, etc. — the Arab side has taken precisely one step since the Three No’s: it has agreed to talk, and this only because its military initiatives consistently failed.

Of course, General Assembly resolutions are nonbinding, and this one does not have consequences on the ground.

Which brings us to E1. Israel has announced plans to build housing in the area called E1, which is located between eastern Jerusalem and the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, 4 miles away. This has stirred up a hornet’s nest in the anti-Israel camp. The NY Times (which accurately reflects the position of the Obama Administration) wrote in an editorialthat this

could doom the chances for a two-state solution because building in the E1 area would split the northern and southern parts of the West Bank.

Apparently the Times editorial board does not possess a map of the region or the ability to read one. I can help:

Ma’ale Adumim is one of those communities that were expected to become part of Israel in any negotiated settlement. Not only does it not cut the “West Bank” in half as the Times asserts, but the distance between the eastern part of Ma’ale Adumim and the Jordan is greater than the width of Israel at its narrowest point according to the pre-1967 borders!

So who doomed the “two-state solution?” If you mean a compromise solution in which neither side gets everything it wants, but in which both sides can have peace and security, as envisioned in UNSC 242, then it never had a chance, because this is not what the Arabs mean by the expression. The diplomatic ‘peace process’, worthless though it may have been, died on November 29, 2012 at the hands of Mahmoud Abbas.

Islamo-Realism

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Satellite communications, the Internet, even cheap air travel have brought our society face to face with the Muslim world in a way that we couldn’t have imagined as recently as 1960. The issue of how we, Westerners, Christians, Jews, ought to deal with our meeting with this almost wholly foreign portion of humanity literally exploded into our consciousness in September 2001. Today, with the worldwide Muslim fury associated with (or taking as a pretext) the Innocence of Muslims video, we see that nothing has been settled.

Attitudes in the U.S. are all over the map, from those who think that the problem is that our right of freedom of expression makes it possible for ‘intolerant‘ people like Nakoula Basseley Nakoula to provoke violence, to those who think that it is the Muslim propensity for violence when insulted (and it’s so easy to insult them) that is important.

The official response from our government has of course been to condemn violence. This is usually joined with a statement that while we find ‘denigration of any religion’ distasteful or worse, we can’t interfere with it (although we should note that Nakoula has been jailed for violating a — ridiculous — condition of parole forbidding him from using the Internet).

By a fortuitous combination of circumstances, the video controversy was quickly followed by yet another. In response to anti-Israel transit ads like this one -

– which, by the way, is much more professional and effective than anything our side does, managing to project an image of love and friendship while opposing Israel’s self-defense — blogger Pamela Geller managed to purchase space and install images like this one, below (it required a court order to persuade New York’s MTA to allow them):

These ads immediately provoked (are you surprised?) Muslim and ‘progressive’ outrage, and were immediately defaced. After all,vandalism (and assault) are considered by this crowd to be legitimate responses to expressions of ‘racism’, by which they seem to mean anything that offends Muslims.

The use of the word ‘savage’ (it’s a quotation from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) seems to be the focus of those who object to the ad, who say that it claims that all Muslims are savages. Geller defended herself:

[The word 'savage'] is entirely apt. They claim that the ad refers to all Muslims, or all opponents of Israel. It doesn’t. It refers to those who rejoice in the murders of innocent civilians. The war on Israel is a war on innocent civilians. The targeting of civilians is savage. The murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens was savage. The relentless 60-year campaign of terror against the Jewish people is savage. The torture of hostage Gilad Shalit was savage. The bloody hacking to death of the Fogel family was savage. The Munich Olympic massacre was savage. The unspeakable torture of Ehud Goldwasser was savage. The tens of thousands of rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel (into schools, homes, etc.) are savage. The vicious Jew-hatred behind this genocide is savage. The endless demonization of the Jewish people in the Palestinian and Arab media is savage. The refusal to recognize the state of Israel as a Jewish state is savage. The list is endless.

Unfortunately, ‘respectable’ voices in our society, even — especially — among Jews, are unable to understand what the deliberately outrageous, over-the-top Geller sees clearly. For example, here is what the head of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Richard ‘Rick’ Jacobs wrote in a recent NY Times op-ed:

By using the term “jihad” in the context of a war against savages, the ad paints Islam as inherently violent, evil and bent on overthrowing the Western democracies and their key ally in the Middle East, Israel — even though, for the vast majority of Muslims, “jihad” refers to a spiritual quest, not the more politicized idea of holy war.

Yes, these ads are lawful. But they are wrong and repugnant.

What other purpose can they have but to incite hatred against Muslims?

Jacobs is wrong about ‘jihad.’ Daniel Pipes, unlike Jacobs, is a bona fide expert on Islam, explains that the primary meaning of the word is, as a matter of fact,

the legal, compulsory, communal effort to expand the territories ruled by Muslims at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims.

Pipes does recognize variant, more benign meanings. But to say that the “vast majority” of Muslims perceive it as a spiritual quest is silly. Even if the vast majority does not participate in violent jihad, hundreds of millions support it and all understand it.

The Obama administration removed the word ‘jihad‘ and others relating to Islam from the National Security Strategy document in 2010 for the same reason that Jacobs wants these ads gone: Muslims don’t like it when it is suggested that more and more Muslims today are becoming radicalized, supporting the attempt to expand the territory under Shari’a.

There is a debate over whether violent radicalism is inherent in Islam. This is stupid: Islam doesn’t have to be anything other than what Muslims think it is, and the fact is — as should be evident from the daily news broadcasts — that more and more Muslims think it should be radical and violent, and that radical Islamist regimes are replacing conservative ones all over the globe.

Calling attention to this isn’t inciting hate against Muslims — it is asking for us to realize that there is an enemy of what we call Western civilization, an enemy that has already showed us its savage side on 9/11 and in the Middle East, an enemy that does not want to coexist with us but wants to replace our civilization. This enemy is radical Islamism, an ideology associated with a religion, but no less an ideology than communism and fascism.

Rabbi Jacobs would like us to believe that the ‘vast majority’ of Muslims are just like Reform Jews, except that they say “allahu akbar” instead of the shema, and he would like the others to be invisible.

But it’s not rational (or safe) to ignore them, even if it were possible to ignore the open sewers of hate speech pouring from the media in Egypt, Iran, the Palestinian Authority, etc.;  the rockets falling on Israeli towns (559 so far in 2012); the vicious threats from Iran to destroy Israel; religious wars, terrorism and more.

As another ad that Rabbi Jacobs finds hateful says, “it’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”

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