Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spinning the Israeli Elections? Par for the Course at the NYT

Ari Lieberman..
29 January '13..

It is now beyond dispute that when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the New York Times is not interested in the facts or the truth, but is rather invested in propagating fiction bordering on the absurd. The TimesJanuary 24 screed on the results of the recently concluded Israeli elections leaves no room for doubt on the veracity of the above-stated truism.

It begins with a quote lifted from the radical leftist Israeli daily Ha’aretz, a paper in near bankruptcy for lack of readership, which exudes a sort of giddiness over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party’s loss of parliamentary seats. It then launches into its usual one-sided “blame the Jews” narrative for the stalled “peace talks,” and coddles “Palestinians who rejected violence and recognized Israel’s right to exist as part of the 1993 Oslo Accords.” I’ll get to these and other fictions featured in the editorial momentarily but there’s something worth noting from the get-go.

In a region plagued by sectarian violence and internecine warfare, where change is effectuated through the barrel of an AK-47 (and in the age of Obama, an M-16) and xenophobic Islamo-fascism is the norm rather than the fringe, Israel stands out as a beacon of democracy and a shining example of the democratic process at its finest. Elections came off without a hitch. No protests. No guns. No violence of any sort was recorded. That is the norm for Israel. Indeed, Freedom House recently conducted a study concluding that Israel was the only truly free country in the entire region. Islamist Turkey, under the thuggish Erdogan, was rated only “partly free.”

One would think that the New York Times, a paper that supposedly prides itself on liberal and progressive values, would devote at least one sentence highlighting the stark contrasts between Israeli democracy and an Islamist Arab world in the throes of medieval backwardness. But that would be asking too much from a paper dedicated to venomous defamation of Israel while singing the praises of the Palestinian holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed “Jews-Are-Bloodsuckers” Morsi.

Instead, the editorial boys at the New York Times treat us to a flawed analysis and the usual litany of complaints against Israel and its Prime Minister. Israel’s electoral outcome, far from being a rejection of Netanyahu’s foreign policies as the Times would have us believe, actually served to validate them. Israeli voters shifted their allegiance further to the right evidenced by the ascendancy of Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party, which is currently Israel’s fourth largest. Netanyahu will almost certainly include Bennett’s party in his next coalition as the two share similar ideologies.

Moreover, the enigmatic Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party garnered an astonishing 19 seats, has taken great pains to distance himself from the left, correcting reporters who erroneously labeled him as such. Lapid has already signaled his intention to join a coalition led by Netanyahu, rejecting outright calls from the leftist Labor party to form a blocking opposition. By contrast, Israel’s traditional leftist bloc (Labor, Hatnua and Meretz) garnered a paltry 27 seats, less than half required for a governing coalition, representing a complete and near-total rejection of the left by the Israeli electorate.

Aside from a skewed analysis that erroneously attempts to portray the election results as the left’s fantasy, the New York Times couldn’t resist the temptation to engage in the usual blame game. Of course, in the parallel universe of the New York Times, the Israelis are to blame for stalled peace talks while the so-called Palestinians are blameless.

The Times notes quite comically that the Israeli right “insults Palestinians who rejected violence and recognized Israel’s right to exist as part of the 1993 Oslo Accords.” It’s difficult to say, because the Times is ambiguous (perhaps deliberately), which Palestinians “rejected violence,” but presumably the paper is referring to Yasser Arafat because, after all, he was the signatory who stamped his approval for the Oslo Accords and shook hands with Yitzhak Rabin on the White House lawn. What the Times, however, fails to note is that it was Arafat who unleashed his gangsters and launched pre-meditated murder after he rejected then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s generous offer and territorial concessions at Camp David in 2000.

The Times also fails to note that Israelis are rightfully reserved and suspicious when it comes to Arab promises of peace, love and acceptance and this is especially true when their so-called peace partners refer to them as the, “descendants of apes and pigs” and “bloodsuckers,” among other aspersions.

The editorial concludes with a suggestion for Obama to visit Israel and explain, “to the Israeli people how any peace plan will enhance their security.” Israelis have been down that road before and it resulted in the unleashing of a wave of terror not experienced in Israel’s history. Israelis are astutely aware of what’s best for their security and their electoral outcome, which resulted in a strong center-right bloc, clearly demonstrates which path they wish to take. Obama is more than welcome to visit Israel (something he failed to do during his infamous 2009 Arab apology tour) but Israelis are in no mood for sanctimonious, patronizing “we know what’s good for you” lectures from Obama or the New York Times.


Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor.

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