The problem with many newspaper editorials is that the authors often ignore the content of their own publication. A case in point is the New York Times Editorial Board’s vicious attack on the emerging Netanyahu government, headlined, “The Ideal of Democracy in a Jewish State Is in Jeopardy.”
The NY Times Editorial Board must hire a reliable historian, whose sole job should be to warn them against publishing idiocies such as: “…the far-right government that will soon take power, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, marks a qualitative and alarming break with all the other governments in Israel’s 75-year history.”
On December 3, 1948, the NY Times published a public statement by Dr. Albert Einstein, Prof. Sidney Hook, and nineteen other scholars and teachers denouncing Israel’s Herut (Freedom) party led by Menachem Begin, who was visiting the United States, saying he “openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state.”
On May 17, 1977, the Likud, headed by Begin, won the Knesset elections by a landslide, becoming the biggest party in the Knesset. On June 4, 1977, the NY Times reported (Putting the Israeli Election Under a Microscope): “Possibly the most surprising aspect of Israel’s parliamentary elections is the general amazement concerning the results.” The report further noted that “the latest elections, therefore, in which Likud (together with General Sharon’s Shlomzion Party) finally overtook the alignment by a plurality of 12 seats, constituted only the culmination, however dramatic, of a seemingly inexorable trend that started well over a decade ago.”
But in addition to the NY Times’ failure to recognize the path that led the “Fascist” Menachem Begin from the edge of Israel’s militant right wing to a landslide victory 30 years later, it also was bamboozled by the same Menachem Begin becoming the first Israeli leader to sign a peace agreement with an enemy Arab state.
In short, the NY Times, much like the Bourbon dynasty, learns nothing and forgets nothing. Just as they fanned the flames of fear about Begin, they now say “Mr. Netanyahu’s government … is a significant threat to the future of Israel — its direction, its security, and even the idea of a Jewish homeland.”
Three paragraphs down, the editorial board notes: “This board has been a strong supporter of Israel and a two-state solution for many years, and we remain committed to that support.” And they add knowingly: “Antisemitism is on the rise around the globe, and at least some of the criticism of Israel is the result of such hatred.”
In addition to being willfully ignorant of the history of antisemitism that includes hatred of Jews because they were too clean or too dirty, too rich or too poor, too lower-class or too upper-class, too ignorant or too educated––the list is endless, starting with the biblical pharaoh – the board also ignores the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism as “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”
In its superior “analysis,” the NY Times actually absolves antisemites who attack Jews over the actions of the State of Israel.
But by its strong support for the two-state solution, the editorial board also ignores its own pundit, Thomas L. Friedman who concluded last Thursday (What in the World Is Happening in Israel?): “A week of reporting from Israel and the West Bank has left me feeling that the prospect for a two-state solution has all but vanished. But no one wants to formally declare it dead and buried — because categorically ruling it out would have enormous ramifications.”
On Wednesday, I cited a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, showing a significant decline in PA Arab support for the two-state solution, accompanied by a significant rise in those who think the solution is no longer feasible or possible due to settlement expansion (Survey: More PA Arabs Taking Hardline over Netanyahu’s Coalition, Qatar Games).
Israeli voters last November overwhelmingly chose a right-wing coalition that openly rejects the two-state solution and promises to curb and eliminate the Palestinian Authority’s illegal insurgency in Area C which is under full Israeli control.
All of the above rejections of the two-state solution are wasted on the NY Times editorial board that insists the Netanyahu “government’s posture could make it militarily and politically impossible for a two-state solution to ever emerge.”
It will also make it close to impossible for human beings to grow wings and fly from flower to flower suckling on nutritious nectar, but, thankfully, the Times board skipped that one rant.
Of course, now comes the part the Times board could have lifted from its affiliate, Ha’aretz, copy and paste fashion: “Ministers in the new government are set to include figures such as Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was convicted in Israel in 2007 for incitement to racism and supporting a Jewish terrorist organization. He will probably be minister of national security. Bezalel Smotrich, who has long supported outright annexation of the West Bank, is expected to be named the next finance minister, with additional authority over the administration of the West Bank. For the deputy in the prime minister’s office in charge of Jewish identity, Mr. Netanyahu is expected to name Avi Maoz, who once described himself as a ‘proud homophobe.’”
It’s the newspaper of record’s right to voice its objections to the decision of a majority of Israeli voters who were easily as familiar with the above accusations and still went with Ben Gvir, Smotrich, and Maoz. They also chose a prime minister who is under three criminal indictments and a former interior minister who has recently been convicted of tax fraud. However, ballot boxes, by and large, don’t read editorials, and newspapers should know better than to attack voters for disagreeing with their world view.
The Times board is also unhappy with Israelis’ reproduction choices, stating: “Demographic change in Israel has also shifted the country’s politics. Religious families in Israel tend to have large families and to vote with the right. A recent analysis by the Israel Democracy Institute found that about 60 percent of Jewish Israelis identify as right-wing today; among people ages 18 to 24, the number rises to 70 percent. In the Nov. 1 election, the old Labor Party, once the liberal face of Israel’s founders, won only four seats, and the left-wing Meretz won none.”
Next, the editorial puts on paper the following sentence which is the culmination of the demise of its self-awareness. They actually wrote: “Moderating forces in Israeli politics and civil society are already planning energetic resistance…” See, when it’s right-wingers exercising their democratic rights, they’re called fascists; when they’re from the left, they’re “moderating forces.”
Finally, the editorial reiterates its archaic and tired mantra about 2-state, warning: “Anything that undermines Israel’s democratic ideals — whether outright annexation of Jewish settlements or legalization of illegal settlements and outposts — would undermine the possibility of a two-state solution.”