Friday, December 16, 2011

Netanyahu declines to pen New York Times op-ed

As reported in the WaPo:

A senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the leader has refused an offer to write an opinion piece for the New York Times, accusing the paper’s opinion pages of anti-Israel bias.

The unusual public refusal appears to reflect the hardline Israeli government’s increasingly prickly relations with much of the outside world.

In a letter to the Times published in The Jerusalem Post website, Netanyahu adviser Ron Dermer says the prime minister decided to “respectfully decline” penning an opinion piece. He says past op-ed articles in the Times have “vilified” Israel and “constantly distort the positions of our government.”

Poor, sad, picked-upon Bibi has taken chutzpah to a new level.  For the last several decades, the NYT has had Israel's back.  Yes, it does indeed publish a range of opinions on Israeli actions and policies, but this is the same NYT op-ed page that once had William Safire defending Israel no matter what, that still has Thomas Friedman constantly reminding us that, yes, Israel does mess up, but those Persians and Arabs (with the exception of those Arabs who, like Salam Fayyad or Anwar al-Sadat, are willing to make nice with Israel) are meshugga.

And it's the same NYT whose principal journalist on the job in Israel, Ethan Bronner, is closely tied to the Israeli establishment.  His son served in the IDF; and during that time, the NYT refused to reassign Bronner to another post.  And get this (from Wikipedia):

In September, 2011, a piece in the Columbia Journalism Review revealed that in 2009, a year after becoming Jerusalem correspondent for the New York Times, Bronner had joined the speakers bureau of one of Israel’s top public relations firms, Lone Star Communications. Lone Star Communications arranged speaking events for Bronner and took a commission on his fee, as well as pitched stories for him to cover. The revelation resulted in an number of articles commenting on conflicts of interests and impartiality and caused Bronner to end his relationship with Lone Star Communications.

Nonetheless, Bibi decides that the NYT is simply too hostile a venue for him to publish an op-ed.

Not that I feel a need to complain to the NYT about that.  But you can bet that a lot of subscribers will - and that Krauthammer and Fox News will hammer the NYT, con gusto.


Bottomfish said...

Dr Robertson:

As a scholar, perhaps you should have comments as to the historical accuracy of Abbas's Op-Ed in the NY Times some time back. It is not a model of historical accuracy. That was one of the subjects of Ron Dermer's letter. Your comments on "poor picked-on Bibi" sound more like schoolboy hectoring than anything else. Ranting for ranting, why not just admit that beautiful Barack Obama has blown it in the Middle East?

John Robertson said...

Frankly, I missed Abbas' op-ed (mea culpa) (I'll try to track it down) - but I don't look to op-eds by heads-of-state for anything other than "spin" - which, I'm sure, Bibi's would have been if he'd chosen to write one. But can't you see the irony of Netanyahu dissing a major American newspaper whose editorial board has, by and large, stood with Israel, and against the Arabs, for decades?
But I completely agree that Obama has blown it with regard to Israel and the Palestinians, but owing more to his pusillanimity in the face of Netanyahu and the Israel lobby. I wrote as early as late 2008 that Netanyahu was a savvy pol who would try to bully and "school" Obama. But I don't think that many people thought he would cave as quickly and meekly as he did. Shame on him. But if Netanyahu keeps taking Israel down its current path, the damage he will have done to Israel will greatly surpass the harm that BO has done to the US's standing around the world.


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