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Important tantrum: Netanyahu adds ‘NYT’ and Thomas Friedman to growing list of enemies

on 22 Comments
Dermer left with Sharansky
Dermer left with Sharansky

The Jerusalem Post has published a letter to an op-ed editor at the New York Times from Ron Dermer, a top aide to Netanyahu (and a guy who grew up in Florida). The addressee, “Sasha,” is editor Sasha Polakow-Suransky, the author of The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa.

This is an important shot across the bow, and another indication of the inevitability: some liberal Dems, alarmed by the self-destruction of the Jewish state with American compliance, will seek to make Israeli intransigence an issue in the 2012 election campaigns. Note the refusal to mention Thomas Friedman by name. Thomas Friedman won’t like that! Note the deployment of Richard Goldstone. Note the Israeli insistence that our newspapers not mention the Nakba.

Dear Sasha,

I received your email requesting that Prime Minister Netanyahu submit an op-ed to the New York Times.  Unfortunately, we must respectfully decline.

On matters relating to Israel, the op-ed page of the “paper of record” has failed to heed the late Senator Moynihan’s admonition that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but that no one is entitled to their own facts.

A case in point was your decision last May to publish the following bit of historical revision by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas:

It is important to note that the last time the question of Palestinian statehood took center stage at the General Assembly, the question posed to the international community was whether our homeland should be partitioned into two states. In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative.  Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued.

This paragraph effectively turns on its head an event within living memory in which the Palestinians rejected the UN partition plan accepted by the Jews and then joined five Arab states in launching a war to annihilate the embryonic Jewish state.  It should not have made it past the most rudimentary fact-checking.

The opinions of some of your regular columnists regarding Israel are well known.   They consistently distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace.   They cavalierly defame our country by suggesting that marginal phenomena condemned by Prime Minister Netanyahu and virtually every Israeli official somehow reflects government policy or Israeli society as a whole.  Worse, one columnist even stooped to suggesting that the strong expressions of support for Prime Minister Netanyahu during his speech this year to Congress was “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby” rather than a reflection of the broad support for Israel among the American people.

Yet instead of trying to balance these views with a different opinion, it would seem as if the surest way to get an op-ed published in the New York Times these days, no matter how obscure the writer or the viewpoint, is to attack Israel.    Even so, the recent piece on “Pinkwashing,” in which Israel is vilified for having the temerity to champion its record on gay-rights, set a new bar that will be hard for you to lower in the future.

Not to be accused of cherry-picking to prove a point, I discovered that during the last three months (September through November) you published 20 op-eds about Israel in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune.   After dividing the op-eds into two categories, “positive” and “negative,” with “negative” meaning an attack against the State of Israel or the policies of its democratically elected government, I found that 19 out of 20 columns were “negative.”

The only “positive” piece was penned by Richard Goldstone (of the infamous Goldstone Report), in which he defended Israel against the slanderous charge of Apartheid.

Yet your decision to publish that op-ed came a few months after your paper reportedly rejected Goldstone’s previous submission.  In that earlier piece, which was ultimately published in the Washington Post, the man who was quoted the world over for alleging that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza, fundamentally changed his position.   According to the New York Times op-ed page, that was apparently news unfit to print.

Your refusal to publish “positive” pieces about Israel apparently does not stem from a shortage of supply.   It was brought to my attention that the Majority Leader and Minority Whip of the U.S.  House of Representatives jointly submitted an op-ed to your paper in September opposing the Palestinian action at the United Nations and supporting the call of both Israel and the Obama administration for direct negotiations without preconditions.   In an age of intense partisanship, one would have thought that strong bipartisan support for Israel on such a timely issue would have made your cut.
So with all due respect to your prestigious paper, you will forgive us for declining your offer.  We wouldn’t want to be seen as “Bibiwashing” the op-ed page of the New York Times.


Ron Dermer
Senior advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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22 Responses

  1. justicewillprevail on December 18, 2011, 12:14 pm

    What hypocrites. They get their knickers in a twist when some basic facts are presented to the American people and have the gall to claim. “no one is entitled to their own facts”. They have been making up ‘facts’ for decades, lying and misrepresenting Palestine and their land grab and violence, and then whine when someone points it out. Apparently they think they are entitled to a pliant, craven US media which jumps at their command and dances to their tune. Who would want to dance to the tune of squalid, violent thieves?

  2. pabelmont on December 18, 2011, 1:31 pm

    Here’s the hasbara machine in active agit-prop mode. If I were that writer and had his job and his soicial/economic/etc/situation, I might say all the same things. Being retired and depending on no man for my daily rice, I prefer truth and honorable and ethical expression.

  3. irena on December 18, 2011, 1:49 pm

    “in which the Palestinians rejected the UN partition plan accepted by the Jews and then joined five Arab states in launching a war to annihilate the embryonic Jewish state.”

    How about you mention WHY they rejected it. Giving the Zionists over 55% of historic Palestine when they only owned 6-7% of it with approximately 38% of population was unfair, period. Only a mentally-challenged person would agree to that deal.

  4. lobewyper on December 18, 2011, 2:43 pm

    Now that the chickens have come home to roost, they don’t seem likely to be welcomed with open arms…

  5. split on December 18, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Talking about spin – Do they really think that we’re that stupid ? ,…

  6. kalithea on December 18, 2011, 3:46 pm

    Walt and Mearsheimer tried to do the U.S. a favor when they came out with their expose on the Lobby but now they need to shut up or at least Stephen Walt needs to. He wrote an article defending Tom Friedman as a “true” friend of Israel. Who caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaares if he’s a true friend of Israel because of his recent criticism of The Lobby? Doesn’t everyone see what’s going on here??? It’s still ALL about Israel! Israel, Israel Israel or rather, ZIONISM!

    • lobewyper on December 18, 2011, 7:47 pm

      Disagree, kalithea. Walt understands that Friedman has made a shift of sea-change proportions and is correctly (IMHO) welcoming him to the fold. Friedman has the ear and respect of many of the folks out there who should be giving Mondoweiss millions of dollars to spread the word!

      • kalithea on December 18, 2011, 11:16 pm

        If I were you, I wouldn’t bet the farm on Friedman. Until people start recognizing the real victims in all this and making it about them, the Palestinians, who were literally robbed and punished for something they had nothing to do with, nothing will change. The world owes the Palestinian people a serious apology and compensation for their pain.

      • lobewyper on December 19, 2011, 6:42 am

        Kalithea wrote:

        “The world owes the Palestinian people a serious apology and compensation for their pain.”

        Of course it does.

  7. seafoid on December 18, 2011, 3:56 pm

    Israel goes deeper into psychosis. There are key bridges that link US Jews and US goys to Israel and one of them is the MSM.

    I think when it all collapses experts will identify Hebrew as a key reason why Israel failed. All the really disgusting stuff that Israel gets up to is hidden from Americans by a wall of Hebrew. Israel is essentially a mendacious , capricious, sadistic autistic organism and the Palestinians are getting the word out and US citizens are beginning to turn away. Hitler blamed the German people for 1945. When Bibi turns on the NYT the end is beginning.

  8. catherinewriter on December 18, 2011, 4:21 pm

    I think this goes in the folder entitled “See, you’re not sucking up enough.”
    Or, perhaps, “See, we really are insane.”

  9. kalithea on December 18, 2011, 4:21 pm

    What happened to my comment??? I pressed update and it disappeared. I went through a lot of trouble to write that. Please bring it back.

  10. mig on December 18, 2011, 4:23 pm

    This is so revealing, as usual :

    This paragraph effectively turns on its head an event within living memory in which the Palestinians rejected the UN partition plan accepted by the Jews

    Accepted by Jews ? If that what jews ( zionists ), did to the palestinians starting few weeks after resolution 181 came out, as a acceptance of that resolution. I really dont know then what would be rejection. They try to keep on living in the world of imagination.

  11. lobewyper on December 18, 2011, 4:49 pm

    Krauthammer’s probable response to Friedman:

    1) There is no such entity “The Israel Lobby”

    2) Even if there were, it would never have pushed for American entry into a self-destructive war.

    3) Even if it had so pushed, The Lobby has promised never to do it again.

  12. Tristan on December 18, 2011, 5:04 pm

    to annihilate the embryonic Jewish state

    Can’t Zionists ever dispense with the hyperbole? I understand that internet Hasbarists are there to spread the hysteria, but can’t government officials speak like adults? Annihilate? There’s something so childish about the Israeli Establishment.

    • split on December 19, 2011, 1:44 am

      “annihilate” , “never again” “holocaust” those are the buzz words to keep the rebble in line – Pre-conditioned for centuries old obedience and reliance on rabbies makes it much easier for the zionists to control the flock but harder and harder since those guys in black (rebbes) figured out that they losing their share of power and influence followed by money and more power and influence ,…

      Greed rules the World and always did. There’s always someone around the corner waiting for you to slip or exploite your weakness and trash you as soon as he can ,
      ask the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Mongols,
      bla bla or Mohamed Ali ,…

      • Walid on December 19, 2011, 4:41 am

        “… Pre-conditioned for centuries old obedience and reliance on rabbies makes it much easier for the zionists to control the flock but harder and harder since those guys in black (rebbes) figured out that they losing their share of power and influence followed by money and more power and influence ,…”

        Split, give some credit in that department to Christian and Muslim clerics too. They share the same fears.

  13. on December 18, 2011, 6:32 pm

    Israel is very good in making new enemies.
    Once you have lots of them, you have to constantly watch your back.
    It’s getting harder and harder fully control them.
    That’s why they are getting more and more desperate.
    Soon they will be afraid of their own shadow.
    The more they try to monitor ,gag and micro-control things in the world ,the more steady resistance they’ll meet.

    • john h on December 18, 2011, 7:11 pm

      Just another step, another crack, along the way…

      the widowhood of every government,
      signs for all to see

  14. kalithea on December 18, 2011, 6:56 pm

    I have serious issues with Stephen Walt’s defense of Tom Friedman. Can’t he just stay out of it and let Zionists duke it out on their own instead of writing stupidity like this:

    “He also informed his readers that all those standing ovations for Netanyahu in Congress were “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby,” and he correctly noted that this blind and unconditional support for Israel was not really “pro-Israel” at all. Why? Because it was leading Israel away from a two-state solution and toward one of three disastrous options from Israel’s perspective: 1) apartheid, 2) ethnic cleansing, or 3) a binational democratic state which would eventually be dominated by the more numerous Palestinians.”

    He considers “a binational democratic state which would eventually be dominated by the more numerous Palestinians” DISASTROUS??? Why does it come down to being a “true friend of Israel”??? BALONEY! And here I thought rescuing Democracy for ALL was the goal! Why the OBSESSION with saving ZIONISM from itself?? ZIONISM is not worth saving; Zionism is evil and has a life of its own! Zionism is hubris gone mad! Does he really imagine that a Palestinian state is still salvageable given the growing number of lunatics in the West Bank, in the Israeli Military, in the Government and the catatonic apathy, denial and selfishness that afflicts the rest of Israeli society, because Zionism IS cult-like in its nature?

    Why is the obsession always with Israel’s welfare? What about the welfare of Palestinians??? It’s always about saving Israel from looking apartheid like, from exercising ethnic cleansing. WAKE UP CALL!! Zionists have been ethnically cleansing SINCE DAY ONE and Zionism begat Apartheid! Stop trying to rescue Zionism at the expense of the rights of Palestinians! It’s time to admit that Zionism IS the problem here! Zionism IS evil because it has destroyed the lives of many, especially Palestinians, since its inception in some Eastern European country and because it is progressively morphing into something ugly and out of control. It’s time to stop trying to save Israel from itself and save the Palestinians and our own Humanity! Zionism is the poisoned fruit of emotional psychosis (guilt, trauma, superstition, paranoia, delusion…) and it is UNSUSTAINABLE, and eventually it will be destroyed by a catastrophic event, or hopefully, before by everyone taking a stand to ISOLATE it for the threat to our humanity that it represents.

    A line is being drawn in the sand and on one side are those who are trying to rescue Zionism from itself and pretending this abject effort is also about the suffering of Palestinians, that this delusional struggle to rescue Israel might haphazardly benefit the Palestinians as well, and on the other are those fighting for Democracy, justice and human rights for Palestinians and condemning Zionism for destroying these and for being the obstacle to restoring humanity and peace.

    Those who are trying to rescue Israel from itself (who’d never even consider packing it up and living there anyway) instead of condemning Zionism outright are denying Palestinians their rights and are weak, selfish, tribal-minded enablers of injustice!

  15. eGuard on December 18, 2011, 8:08 pm

    Now NYT is to stand up.

    I hope they don’t remove the Page Three girls, especially since they wear these awful diamonds and watches this month (That’s why, The Sun, I don’t buy you).

  16. southernobserver on December 18, 2011, 8:36 pm

    ‘Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.’ is a great quote, usually attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan. I see it used frequently by people, particularly Zionists, immediately before presenting long discredited ‘facts’. Did the NYT actually stand up for the historical record?

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