Ahead of Obama Visit, NY Times Publishes Three Anti-Israel Op-Eds


obama-koselBy Jerold Auerbach

In anticipation of President Obama’s forthcoming visit to Israel The New York Times published three “Op-Ed” columns in a single day (March 13) assessing the dim prospects for Middle East peace – and, to be sure – holding Israel responsible. Even if “Op-Ed” refers only to location (adjacent to the editorial page) rather than to policy (deviating from the editorial position), this was an unusual, but hardly random, concentration of journalistic firepower.

With his characteristic airy detachment, columnist Thomas Friedman seemed to applaud Obama’s belated realization that given current realities on the ground, “benign neglect” toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is preferable to active intervention. After all, as Friedman correctly notes, “the most destabilizing conflict in the region is the civil war between Shiites and Sunnis,” not the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Furthermore, the obstacles to an Israeli-Palestinian peace are, at least at the moment, insurmountable. Why? Because Israeli settlers and Hamas rockets make it so. Note the moral equivalence.

Nonetheless, Friedman prepared questions for the President to ask Israeli officials – but not Palestinian officials in Ramallah: How can “your relentless settlement drive” fail to undermine Israel as “a Jewish democracy” and further “delegitimize” Israel worldwide? Shouldn’t Israel “be constantly testing and testing whether there is a Palestinian partner for a secure peace” – as though Israel had not repeatedly done that ever since the Oslo Accords were drafted. “As a friend,” Friedman also wants to know whether Israel even has a long-term strategy for peace.

Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit pointedly declared the “Old Peace” of Oslo to be dead. Waves of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, Yasir Arafat’s refusal to accept generous Israeli peace terms at the Camp David summit in 2000, and destruction during the Arab Spring of the “corrupt yet stable tyrannies” (especially Egypt) that had supported peace with Israel demolished peace efforts.

But Shavit is optimistic about the prospects for a “New Peace.” The Arab awakening, in conjunction with the “social justice protest movement” that emerged in Israel in 2011, promises “a pragmatic, gradual process” leading to peace based on mutual respect. The burden, to be sure, is on Israel, which must implement a “real” settlement freeze. Settlers, he recently wrote in Haaretz, not only occupy the West Bank; they “occupy Israel.”

Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi wants President Obama to guide a peace process that any Palestinian would applaud: an end to Israel’s “intransigence,” “illegal” settlements, “apartheid-style wall,” and “ghettoization” of Palestinians, with a government “hellbent on territorial expansion.” The Israeli “occupation” must end, and settlements must be removed. What Palestinians must do is not mentioned.

From their quite different perspectives Friedman, Shavit and Khalidi reach the shared conclusion that surely pleases Times editors: the absence of peace is entirely Israel’s fault. And, no surprise, Jewish settlers are primarily responsible. Not a word about the Palestinian terrorism that led to the “apartheid-style wall” separating Israel from the West Bank. Nor about Israel’s 10-month settlement freeze two years ago that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pointedly ignored. Nor about the vast Hezbollah accumulation of rockets in south Lebanon that probably exceeds what Hamas has stored in Gaza. Nor about the absurd claim, echoed by Khalidi, that “5 million” Palestinians live “in a state of subjugation or exile” for which Israel implicitly bears responsibility.

It is highly unlikely that the Times would publish three op-eds in a decade, no less in a single day, that even mention, no less defend, the right of “close settlement” west of the Jordan River enjoyed by Jews ever since the League of Nations approved the Mandate for Palestine nearly a century ago. That right has never been rescinded. Or that UN Resolution 242 following the Six-Day War called upon Israel to withdraw its military forces from “territories,” not from “the” territories or “all” the territories that it had gained from Arab aggression. Or, even in passing, that there already is a state (now known as Jordan) with a Palestinian population majority, in Palestine as originally defined by the League of Nations. Or that settlement in the Land of Israel is what Zionism has always meant. Might the Times recognize that the largest Jewish settlement in the Middle East, endlessly calumnied in its own pages, is the State of Israel?


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  1. This article wasn’t bad until the last paragraph, when it started promoting the dangerous “Jordan is Palestine” nonsense.

  2. The only place to get information about what the Tumes says is here.Do not buy the rag and feed them money to support them in their crusade against the Jews

  3. If Vatican’s Osservatore Romano had published these 3 op-eds in one day, we would have screamed bloody murder, antisemites, resho’im etc.

  4. Foreshadowing this latest volley of anti-Israel smears, the New York Times ran an absurd opinion this last weekend authored by a self-identified Jewish professor at a Massachusetts university practically denouncing the right to exist of a Jewish State of Israel and advocating its abandonment by the United States. This opinion was based on the apparent unspoken and untenable premise that a people’s right to self determination is incompatible with democracy where ethnic minorities with separate aspirations of self-determination reside as non-citizens in the same state as the ethnic majority. Hence, he contends, Israel as a Jewish state cannot be democratic and is thus unworthy of American support. Most noteworthy is the “Jewish professor”‘s failure to apply his standard of democracy to any nation state other than Israel, which would lead him to the inexorable conclusion that the world is practically devoid of democratic states. Even more remarkable is the fact that the particular non-citizen ethnic minority he considers “oppressed” in Israel, unlike most any other non-citizen ethnic minority populations in the nation states of Europe, America or the Middle East and Asia, is generally known to be and is politically committed to the destruction and elimination of the State of Israel by any means available. That the New York Times found it “fit to print” such a specious piece of rank political propaganda earlier this week, followed by the orchestrated chorus of patently biased opinions pointed out by Jerold Auerbach yesterday in his article above, only evidences the extreme one-dimensional ideological depths to which the Times has fallen in it’s pursuit of highly partisan political, and decidedly not professional,objective or journalistic, aims.


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