By Ira Stoll
The State Department spent US taxpayer dollars funding a political campaign against Benjamin Netanyahu, then destroyed emails that documented the campaign, a US Senate investigation found.
It’s big news, as several journalistic institutions recognized this week. “The State Dept. Plan to Bring Down Netanyahu,” was the headline that Tablet used in an email to promote its newsarticle. “Senate report: State Dept. grant also aided campaign to unseat Netanyahu,” was the headline over Politico’s story.
Over at the Council on Foreign Relations, Elliott Abrams, a former State Department and National Security official, wrote a blog post about the situation. “Is foreign intervention in Israeli politics a serious issue? You bet, and one of the main culprits turns out to be the United States of America,” Mr. Abrams wrote. Mr. Abrams also pointed out the hypocrisy — Prime Minister Netanyahu was accused by critics of meddling in American politics by speaking to Congress against the Iran deal, yet here was the Obama administration funding a campaign to oust the Israeli premier from office.
The Washington Post found it worthy of coverage, too: “Senate investigation says top U.S. diplomat deleted emails,” said one Post headline, over an Associated Press article. “NGO connected to Obama’s 2008 campaign used US dollars trying to oust Netanyahu,” was the headline over another Washington Post account of the news.
What has the New York Times deemed fit to pass along to its readers about this highly newsworthy situation? Not a single word. Nada. Zilch. Bupkis. Granted, it’s been a heavy news week, what with the presidential campaign in full swing and the Dallas police shootings. But the Washington Post and Politico, facing the same heavy news week with smaller editorial staffs than the Times, managed to serve their readers by covering the news rather than ignoring or suppressing it.
What Israel news has the Times been busy with instead? Well, there is a long feature about Honeymoon Israel. The Times describes it as:
an organization in Buffalo that offers interfaith partners, including gay and lesbian couples, subsidized 10-day trips to Israel.
The trips cost $1,800 a couple — or about 20 percent of the total cost — with the remainder picked up by a Jewish family foundation in Boston (which prefers to be unnamed), as well as by Jewish organizations in the cities where Honeymoon Israel operates.
The Times’ reticence to name the Boston-based foundation is either comical or cowardly here, since the foundation was already named in articles about Honeymoon Israel that appeared in the Washington Jewish Week, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Haaretz, and several other places and that are easily discoverable online to anyone with access to Google.
But it does offer at least one possible explanation for why the Times found the news of the State Department’s document-destruction and meddling in Israeli politics, and the US Senate report on the subject, unfit to print. Maybe the State Department preferred that the Times not write about it. After all, if the newspaper’s new practice is going to be to edit the news by withholding information from readers whenever the funders, article subjects or participants in newsworthy events “prefer” that the information be left out, where does it end?
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal