‘NY Times’ trivializes UN abstention, reducing it to ‘tense and tetchy’ relationship between Obama and Netanyahu

US Politics
on 26 Comments

Today’s New York Times includes a “news analysis” that trivializes truth by reducing the US turn against Israel at the United Nations to a personality clash between President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu. The article, by Peter Baker, is full of references to “forced smiles and strained jokes,” “tense and tetchy relationship,” “blistering anger,” “mutual contempt,” and more. Anyone who relied on the Times to understand what just happened at the United Nations would be woefully misinformed.

“If [the abstention] is the last word,” Baker writes, “it will serve as a coda to a relationship that never clicked.”

Peter Baker

Peter Baker

In fact, personal differences have nothing to do with the historic American decision to not veto a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli “settlements” in occupied Palestine. First, even Barack Obama’s critics recognize that he maintains his cool, and he has mastered his emotions about political opponents who have been far more vicious than Netanyahu. Over the years, Obama has made clear that he understands the reality of Israel/Palestine, and that even more “settlements” will destroy any tiny, lingering hope for a 2-state solution. To suggest he would change U.S. policy in a fit of anger is journalistic malpractice.

But neither is Benjamin Netanyahu motivated mainly by personal rancor. Israelis and others who have followed him for years recognize that although he is certainly right-wing, his main aim is to maintain himself in power, a task he has done so successfully that he is the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history. Netanyahu’s aggressive stance toward Obama is aimed directly at an Israeli electorate that in recent years has moved vigorously toward the far-right.

The New York Times, along with the rest of the U.S. mainstream media, has covered up this surge to the far right in Israel. Times reporters mostly avoid interviews with Israelis, either politicians or in the general public, who spout views that could fairly and without exaggeration be called “fascist.” On rare occasions, the Times will talk to a right wing figure, but the result is a whitewash, as in this laughable 2015 profile of the current Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked.

The Times article is dangerous. It implies that if the problem is basically a personality clash, it should end when the new president is sworn in on January 20. But it won’t — and Israel/Palestine will continue to move closer to a cataclysm.

26 Responses

  1. Maghlawatan
    December 24, 2016, 1:21 pm

    Israel has a serious problem. This is not cyclical. It is systematic. No settler has a legitimate right to live east of the green line. Israel assumed it would all work out. It will not. The basis of global order is no forced border changes.

  2. lonely rico
    December 24, 2016, 1:40 pm

    The Times article is dangerous. It implies that if the problem is basically a personality clash, it should end when the new president is sworn in on January 20.
    But it won’t — and Israel/Palestine will continue to move closer to a cataclysm.

    Worth noting that 14 members of the Security Council voted FOR the resolution, demanding Israel end the settlements.
    The 14 members who voted against Israel’s theft and occupation of Palestine represent over two billion people, who are sickened by Israeli criminal racist cruelty.

    • hophmi
      December 25, 2016, 12:04 pm

      Really? You think that the two billion people that they represent all care about Israel? I think they probably care about clean water, and their own lack of democratic rights. I assure you that 99.99℅ of the people in China do not care one way or the other.

      • Mooser
        December 25, 2016, 12:47 pm

        “Hophmi”, our 2 billion is every bit as good as their 2 billion!

      • Talkback
        December 25, 2016, 1:43 pm

        hophmi:: “You think that the two billion people that they represent all care about Israel?”

        It is not surprising, that hophmi, who has ‘adopted the worst of Jewish tendencies’ (loosely based on his comment http://mondoweiss.net/2016/12/historical-evidence-support/#comment-863498) , is only concerned with the question, if someone cares about Israel and cannot imagine, that people could actually care about human rights, international law, the right to self determination etc. in general.

      • Mooser
        December 25, 2016, 2:15 pm

        “It is not surprising, that hophmi, who has ‘adopted the worst of Jewish tendencies”

        Nah, there’s worse tendencies, like getting all caught up in prayer during IDF Guard duty.

  3. yonah fredman
    December 24, 2016, 2:30 pm

    It is not case of journalistic malpractice, but Netanyahu is not the longest serving prime minister of israel, that record is held by Ben gurion. Netanyahu’s current premiership of 7 years and almost 9 months is the longest consecutive service, longer than Ben Gurion’s longest stint of 7 years and almost 8 months. But bibi’s total is 10 years and 9 months, less than ben gurion’s total of 13 years and 4 months.

    (Ben Gurion’s first term in office began before he was elected to office, from may of 48 until elections in January of 49. Since the election itself was for a constitutional assembly and not for knesset and the assembly renamed themselves as a legislative body, the knesset, strictly speaking his term as elected prime minister rather than putschist prime minister began later after the second knesset elections. But Israelis consider his elected term of office to have begun in February 49, making his total term in elected office still longer than bibi’s so far, by about a little less than 2 years. )

    • Eva Smagacz
      December 25, 2016, 7:16 am

      Pilpul. Can we have comment about the subject in hand?

      • Annie Robbins
        December 25, 2016, 7:18 am

        exactly eva, 2 paragraphs on netanyahu vs ben gurion! about as relevant as:

      • yonah fredman
        December 25, 2016, 11:55 am

        Eva- once upon a time journalists worried about accuracy and I thought James north was from that school. Even a minor factual error would embarrass a real journalist.

        Remind me. Have we (me and you, eva) ever had an exchange of thoughts or ideas that one could call civil? So why are you curious about my opinion all of a sudden?

      • Mooser
        December 25, 2016, 12:06 pm

        “Remind me. Have we (me and you, eva) ever had an exchange of thoughts or ideas that one could call civil?”

        Right you are, “Yonah”! So have you ever thought about not be such a jerk, and maybe learning a few manners?

        (Hey folks, it’s Christmas, and Christmas is traditionally a day for miracles. It could happen.)

    • Marnie
      December 25, 2016, 9:02 am

      Yawneh yonah. You have a real talent for going straight to the swamp. .

  4. JLewisDickerson
    December 24, 2016, 2:43 pm

    RE: The article, by Peter Baker, is full of references to “forced smiles and strained jokes,” “tense and tetchy relationship,” “blistering anger,” “mutual contempt,” and more . . . ~ North

    ■ PHOTO of Netanyahu and Obama*

    * recently used by Haaretzhttp://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.745959

  5. Talkback
    December 24, 2016, 2:50 pm

    “The Times article is dangerous. It implies that if the problem is basically a personality clash, it should end when the new president is sworn in on January 20.”

    That’s not only an implicaton, but the only intentionen of the article. To distract from the different and long standing difference on settlements between Israel and the US and to hope, that Trump will take an individual approach in Israel’s favor.

    From the article:
    “Mr. Oren said the real obstacle to peace was Palestinian incitement, not Israeli settlements.”

    What a ludicrous attempt to whitewash nearly half a century of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians. What I don’t get is why ther Palestians are not able to present a verifiable compilation of the daily incitement and violence from Israelis to counter this accusation at the UN.

    “It’s not only an anti-Israel resolution but an anti-Semitic resolution,” he said.”

    Hasbara trolling 101. Or he demands the right for Jews to violate the human rights of Nonjews and international law.

  6. oldgeezer
    December 24, 2016, 3:34 pm

    And the guardian focuses on upset Israelis amd not the UK gov position. Go figure.

  7. AddictionMyth
    December 24, 2016, 6:09 pm

    The Atlantic did the same thing: “It’s Official: America Has Two Presidents at One Time”. They basically tried to pawn it off as confusion and typical Trump bluster. But it was far more. and all Trump’s horses and all his men can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

    • RoHa
      December 24, 2016, 7:09 pm

      Only to be expected from the absurdly long gap between the election and the inauguration.

      In Britain, if the PM’s party loses the election, s/he concedes on election night. The moving van arrives at Number Ten the next morning. By mid-afternoon the new PM is having tea and bikkies at the Prime Ministerial desk. It is similarly brisk and brutal in Australia. (We don’t even bother with elections to chuck out PMs.)

      • straightline
        December 24, 2016, 8:51 pm

        I think you will find that before occupying Number Ten and indeed becoming Prime Minister of the UK the nominee has to have done the required “kissing hands” with Brenda.

      • RoHa
        December 24, 2016, 11:55 pm

        Yes. That’s usually done while the old PM is packing his socks, underpants, and the Present From Margate mug he kept his pens in.

  8. talknic
    December 25, 2016, 7:16 am

    “… personal differences have nothing to do with the historic American decision to not veto a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli “settlements” in occupied Palestine”

    Permanent Security Council Members cannot veto a UN resolution reaffirming, emphasizing and/or reiterating predetermined/existing International Law, the UN Charter and relevant conventions, all of which are binding. States can only abstain in the hope that a majority will abstain.

    Veto can be used to defeat VII resolutions demanding actions which are not predetermined.

  9. Kay24
    December 25, 2016, 8:14 am

    Do the Christian zionists in the US know that the zionist grinches in Jerusalem do not want Christmas trees over there?

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-rabbis-instruct-hotels-to-drop-christmas-trees/

  10. Theo
    December 25, 2016, 12:18 pm

    This vote doesn´t mean anything unless the palestinians act fast before Trump redones the whole thing. Since we cannot trust Abbas, who is nothing but a paid agent of Israel/USA, so who in the upper ranks of palestinians have the courage to go fast to the International Criminal Court, ICC, in The Hague? I personally see noone.

  11. talknic
    December 25, 2016, 6:12 pm

    Trump can’t undo a UNSC resolution

    He is / they are talking nonsense

    He could push to table a contradictory Chapter VI resolution. If the latest vote is any indication, it could be easily defeated by a majority simply abstaining and; if they let it be known they’ll be abstaining, it would become quite obvious to all there’d be no point in trying to table it

Leave a Reply