‘NYT’ serves as echo chamber for Israeli hawks, quoting 7 on Iran, plus 2 Israel lobbyists

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A frontpage New York Times piece yesterday about the Iranian threat served as an echo chamber for hawkish Israeli opinion. The piece quoted seven Israelis and two Americans closely associated with the Israel lobby, almost all arguing that Iran is an “existential threat” to Israel and pushing for the US to threaten war on Iran. 

The piece’s message:

“If the U.S. makes it clear to the Iranians that they may go to war, there will be no need for anyone to go to war,” one top Israeli official said.

And this:

a nuclear weapon, which virtually every leader here regards as an existential threat

Yes, the piece was datelined Jerusalem and concerned the Israeli government’s response to the latest IAEA report; but why do twitchy Israelis get such a frontpage platform in our media?

When the issue is another war in the Middle East, why should Americans only hear from: Ari Shavit, Yossi Melman, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon (on twitter), Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (on television), “a senior government official here”, “a senior government official,” “one top Israeli official,” and Uzi Arad, a former national security adviser for Israel.

As a bonus, the piece also quoted two Israel lobbyists: David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Martin S. Indyk of Brookings.

Shouldn’t the Times have to state that Brookings is funded by Indyk’s good friend Haim Saban, a former Israeli who is an ardent supporter of Israel? Shouldn’t it state that the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which was spun off by AIPAC, is widely seen as ferociously pro-Israel? Shouldn’t it state that Uzi Arad has worked with the Washington Institute?

The Times didn’t quote Israeli leaders who say that Iran is not an existential threat. Nor the Israelis who say that Netanyahu and Barak have lost their sense of reality and can’t be trusted.

More to the point: When do American realists get their turn? When will American experts be quoted who say Iran can be contained, or that Israel should give up its nukes? What about the Indians who live with the Pakistani threat, and vice versa– can we hear from them? And aren’t Pakistani nukes a far greater threat to world peace?

This reminds me of the Times turning over its magazine to an Israeli journalist to argue for war; the Times is determined to serve as an echo chamber for the Israeli military establishment.

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