11 August '16..
Over summer vacation, the New York Times ran an essay by U.S.-based Israeli writer Ruth Margalit. Headlined “How Benjamin Netanyahu Is Crushing Israel’s Free Press,” the article accused Netanyahu of attempting “to control the country’s pages and airwaves” while engaging in “a broader attack” on “Israel’s democratic institutions.” Netanyahu, we are led to believe, exercises a Svengali-like hold over the Israeli media, intimidating reporters and editors and broadcasters and shaping the news to further his agenda and ambitions. So terrifying has the situation become, it would seem, that Israeli journalists must turn to the most influential newspaper in the world to have their voices heard.
Finished laughing? For anyone even remotely familiar with the Israeli media landscape, Margalit’s charges are absurd. But they are also deeply revealing—of a bankrupt Israeli left that is powerless, isolated, unpopular, unlamented, and vengeful. Defeated at the polls, the left in Israel mobilizes external pressure—the diaspora, J Street, President Obama, the U.N., nongovernmental organizations, foreign press—to compel the Israeli government to enact the very policies the Israeli public rejects. It is a strategy of delegitimization, of convincing world opinion, such as it is, that Israel is neither liberal nor democratic and therefore undeserving of moral sanction, foreign aid, and other forms of diplomatic support.
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