Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Ambassador David Friedman with a friend, May 14, 2018.

Former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is embroiled in a confrontation with Channel 13 and Axios reported Barak Ravid.

It began with Ravid’s Wednesday report that was titled: “Scoop: Emirati FM tells Netanyahu he is concerned about ultra-right coalition.”

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The Ravid story began with the goods:

“Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed (ABZ) during a recent trip to Israel expressed concerns to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu about the possibility of ultra-right extremists being included in a new government if he wins the upcoming elections, three sources briefed on the meeting told Axios.”

“A different source briefed on the meeting said ABZ’s message seemed to signal that the inclusion of radical right-wing elements in the government could influence the bilateral relationship,” Ravid stressed.

Clearly, the left, including most of the media in Israel and elsewhere, are afraid of Itamar Ben Gvir, who potentially represents a new epoch in Israel’s democracy, where Israelis will cast their votes for the right and receive a right-wing government. If you think this is trivial, you should know that since the “revolution” of 1977, when Menachem Begin became the first non-Labor prime minister, no matter what Israelis voted, the result was always a left-leaning executive branch.

This is because Begin, ever the Polish bourgeois, refused to listen to his advisers and did not fire on the spot all the key civil servants he inherited from his predecessors. There have been attempts over the years to cleanse the openly leftist top civil servants who frequently disobeyed their right-wing ministers, often carrying out policies that were the opposite of what those ministers had promised their voters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was an even bigger offender on this point, and always included leftists in his government in key ministries such as Finance (Yair Lapid), Defense (Ehud Barak and Benny Gantz), and Foreign Affairs (Tzippi Livni).

Now, for the first time, at least as the polls are predicting, Netanyahu will be closely monitored in stirring his ship by two reliable, honest––incorruptible, really––right-wing politicians, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir.

Nothing is scarier to the left, which is why all of them, from provisional PM Yair Lapid down to the lowliest TV and radio reporters, Israel’s airwaves are drenched in nasty descriptions of both leaders as gay-bashers, Arab-haters, women-haters, you know the drill, and if you don’t, may I suggest my report: Who’s Afraid of Itamar Ben Gvir?

Ambassador Friedman, who has long since gone native, tweeted Wednesday night in response to Ravid’s story:

“Some scoop: An unnamed source describes a conversation that both sides of the conversation refuse to confirm and, in the case of a representative of the alleged speaker, actually denies.”

And a few hours later, Friedman tweeted:

“Just got a lovely call from Barak Ravid screaming and cursing at me because I didn’t have the courtesy to check with him before my tweet – this from a guy who wrote a book on the Abraham Accords filled with mistakes and never called me at any time to check the facts.”

But wait, there’s more. In February 2019, Ravid reported on Channel 13:

“Big deal. A rare moment in the history of the State of Israel in which the pro-Israel lobby (AIPAC) goes against the Prime Minister of Israel.”

Ravid transliterated “big deal” in Hebrew, a term which Israelis do not use with a belittling intent, but seriously, meaning, Ravid thought his report on friction between AIPAC and then Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was, indeed, a big deal.

I embedded above the AIPAC tweet so we’d all be on the same page. On February 22, 2019, AIPAC shared, accompanied by its approval, an announcement by the American Jewish Committee that attacks Otzma Yehudit, calling it “reprehensible.” But I challenge you to find anywhere in the AIPAC or the AJC messages a single, solitary reference to Netanyahu, or the words “prime minister.” There’s nothing there to support Ravid’s assertion that “the pro-Israel lobby (AIPAC) goes against the Prime Minister of Israel.” Nothing, gurnisht, nada.

So between Friedman and Ravid – Advantage Friedman.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.