Trending Topics:

Zero (0) Palestinians quoted in ‘NYT’ piece on rift between US and Israel

on 42 Comments

The uproar over Netanyahu’s scheduled speech to the Congress in March has landed on the front page of the Times today. The thrust of the article headlined “A Strained Alliance…” by Peter Baker and Jodi Rudoren is that things are very bad in the view of many Israel-watchers, but the two countries had better get over the problem soon. A friend says it is “conservative.” To me it reads like a dispatch from the Israel lobby.

The last paragraph is handed over to Josh Block, a right wing Israel supporter, who tells the countries’ leaders to grow up.

“It would be nice if a level of maturity kicked in and we did not allow the personality-driven issues and political issues to overwhelm what are incredibly important common global issues,” said Josh Block, president of the Israel Project, a pro-Israeli education group in Washington. “It’s important we focus on what really matters.”

The article quotes no Palestinians. None. Maybe they think this rift is a good thing? Maybe John Mearsheimer thinks it’s a good thing? Yousef Munayyer? Munayyer says on twitter today:

Imagine a pre-1994 MSM discourse on US-South Africa that entirely excluded black south africans

It quotes a number of Israel supporters and Israelis, from Block to Martin Indyk to Efraim Halevy to Eytan Gilboa (“Of course this is a crisis”) to Richard Haass.

It makes scant reference to all the substantive causes of a fallout between the countries, for instance the latest announcement of Israeli colonies in the occupied West Bank.

It is worried about what John Kerry might do because of the crisis:

[H]e may be emboldened to pursue an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan through the United Nations or outside powers without waiting for Mr. Netanyahu’s assent.

There is also not the slightest clue in this piece that Obama’s disdain for Israel may reflect real currents in US public opinion reflective of Israeli policy, for instance the slaughter of 500 children in Gaza last summer. The Times of Israel reports today: “Britons Loathe Israel More than Iran.” It shows that there has been a massive shift in attitudes in the last two years:

Britons feel more “unfavorable” to Israel than any other country worldwide except North Korea, a survey found.

The survey — taken in August and published Thursday by Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs — showed a massive surge in negative attitudes toward Israel since the previous such study, two years earlier. Thirty-five percent of Britons said they “feel especially unfavorable towards” Israel in the 2014 survey, compared to 17% in 2012.

Many Americans are also feeling this way. The core constituents of the Democratic Party are increasingly alienated by U.S. policy on Israel (Shibley Telhami reports): Hispanics, blacks, the young, and women.

In other words, Obama and other Democrats may feel that it is not just important but politically feasible to thumb their noses at a warmongering foreign leader. But you’d never know it from the Times.


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

42 Responses

  1. Blownaway on January 31, 2015, 11:40 am

    For decades Israel has worked to make this a religious conflict instead of a political one. The real story is that the feelings are anti-israel and no matter how hard they try to spin it not anti Jewish. Frankly when it comes to religion most western people don’t care. Israel know too much about the US for the U.S. to have a clean break. Witness today’s leak to the Washington Post that the Assasination of Imad Muginayeh was a joint CIA Mossad effort. I’m sure there is lots of blackmail going on. Imagine how much intelligence they get from all the trap doors in the security software they sold us. We all know how dirty politicians are. No this is much ado about nothing. Netanyahu knows full well there is no penalty to be paid for disrespecting not just the President but all Americans. But the penalty for the U.S. is huge loss of prestige and influence all over the world

  2. Donald on January 31, 2015, 12:07 pm

    Minor correction, in case someone didn’t know what they were and wanted to google the term–I meant “sundown towns”, but typed “sunset towns” by mistake.

    Sundown towns

    • Krauss on January 31, 2015, 4:36 pm

      Yeah, that was the phrase that Blumenthal has used a lot, as well. It captures the spirit of Israel well.

      Anyway, good reporting Phil. I keep being amazed at how far the NYT is going for Israel.

      Do you people remember how it used to be in 2010/2011? The Times was almost moving into progressive directions. Now it is 100% conservative, backing Israel up all the time. It fears that it has no choice but to do so, for if Israel loses the times, the liberal left establishment will follow. Well, it doesnt matter. The grassroots are already moving. It is only a question of time, now.

      • Pixel on February 1, 2015, 4:33 am

        Speaking of grass and roots,
        another growing factor is 6 feet under.

    • MRW on February 2, 2015, 1:08 am

      Good comment of yours in Phil’s article, Donald.

  3. annie on January 31, 2015, 12:58 pm

    my instinct is that netanyahu is gambling the “friction” boosts his chances of holding onto power. so everything happening right now is aimed at enhancing his attractiveness as a candidate, his image as someone tough who can stand up to the WH and compete on an equal footing, also proving his bonafides with congress. what looks like a clusterf’ck from here may look like schadenfreude to the settler types.

    of course, i could be wrong. but if he’s about to lose an election he probably doesn’t care about the overall US/IS relationship right now. he’s looking at where he can pick up votes. it’s not from the left or the ‘moderates’ (by israeli standards). there are a bunch of israelis who want to be tough..never apologize (sound familiar) . there’s his competition. the worse the relationship looks between now and the election, the better are his chances of capturing the votes.

    just a hunch. and what BS of josh block to say It would be nice if a level of maturity kicked in and we did not allow the personality-driven issues and political issues to overwhelm…

    he’s all about personality-driven issues when it comes to taking down his opponents. this is nothing but a rah rah holding the troops together (US israel supporters)thru the rough storm. that’s why they didn’t interview any palestinians, it has nothing to do with palestinians (from their perspective) because it was written for israel’s supporters who are fretting and rubbing their hands together. it’s a lobby driven piece and that’s why it doesn’t mention the most likely scenario, that this is all about enhancing netanyahu’s image at home where insulting the US president looks good where it matters>the israeli electorate.

    • Krauss on January 31, 2015, 4:38 pm

      Annie, I think you are probably onto something. Everytime Bibi ”acts tough”, his poll numbers go up. By going to Congress and getting ovations, he can show the Israelis that ”America is behind me” and then use the conflict with Obama as a rallying cry.

      Of course, he damages the relationship in the process, but Bibi does not care. It is all about personal and political survival for him, which is why the left/center parts of the lobby are freaking out. Whatever. Let them rot.

  4. amigo on January 31, 2015, 1:40 pm

    “that this is all about enhancing netanyahu’s image at home where insulting the US president looks good where it matters>the israeli electorate.” Annie.

    Translated means that if Nietanyahu is elected , then the majority of Jewish Israelis agree with his view that Americans are dumb s—s and are there to serve Israel,s needs at the expense of their own.Sure , Dick and Jane , keep sending Yossi and Jodi your hard earned dollars and keep up the diplomatic cover at the UN while our beloved Bibi insults your leader and gives him a swift kick in his family Jewels when he gets out of line.

    Pathetic behaviour by the most powerful nation on this planet.

  5. James North on January 31, 2015, 2:22 pm

    As Annie points out, part of Netanyahu’s motivation is to improve his electoral prospects — an angle that was also completely left out of the Times’s “analysis.”

    • annie on February 2, 2015, 6:27 pm

      an angle that was also completely left out of the Times’s “analysis.”

      yes, of course, as i mentioned (w/italics) “it’s a lobby driven piece and that’s why it doesn’t mention the most likely scenario.”

  6. David Doppler on January 31, 2015, 2:48 pm

    Why no Palestinians, or realists for that matter, quoted? Why did it take a week for the White House to respond to this monumental insult, through an anonymous source quoted in the NYTimes? Why does that Times article NOT get picked up by the rest of the MSM, eg, the Newshour, or McClatchy, at least not out here on the West Coast. How does Dermer get reported by the NYT as being thrown under the bus by the White House in the morning, and then show up on the Newshour that evening, where he gets the last word on Iran, without reference to the NYT article and his potential scape-goat status being raised?

    Is there no decency, left, in journalism? Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?

    [For you youngsters, that’s a reference to the point in the Army-McCarthy hearings where Senator McCarthy’s hold on substantial power, and the corrupt and abusive mechanisms of that power, slipped from his grasp, through the able questioning of the Army’s lawyer, Joe Welch.]

  7. joemowrey on January 31, 2015, 3:23 pm

    “To me it reads like a dispatch from the Israel lobby.”

    Again, not to belabor the point (okay, I love to belabor this point), any article with Judi Rudoren’s name on it (and pretty much any article on the subject of Israel in the NYT) actually is a dispatch from the Israel lobby.

    • Pixel on February 1, 2015, 4:38 am


      They don’t need a dispatch, they have the party line memorized.

  8. hophmi on January 31, 2015, 5:16 pm

    35% of Britons are dumb. No surprise there.

    • justicewillprevail on January 31, 2015, 7:15 pm

      Couldn’t be anything to do with the genocide in Gaza which occurred between the two surveys. Not so dumb, then, as merely reacting to the incontrovertible evidence shown on their tv screens.

    • Mooser on January 31, 2015, 9:57 pm

      “35% of Britons are dumb. No surprise there.”

      Naturally, the only possible effect your comment can have is a lower respect for British intelligence among Mondo readers, and a higher level of respect for your omniscience, Hophmi.
      I don’t see how there could be any other effect, do you? Everywhere, people are saying: “Hophmi said it, I read it, and I believe it!”

      BTW, Hophs, what was the name of the Muslim-outreach and dialogue organizations you serve on the boards of?

    • hungrydave on February 1, 2015, 2:28 am

      Thanks Hophmi, i’m gonna take that as a compliment. Perhaps we’re too dumb to know that we’re just ‘supposed’ to look at these two countries with an automatic predilection for Israel and are now actually looking at the evidence with a fresh perspective. Both Israel and Iran seem guilty of serious human-rights issues, so you’re even on that score, but we see the vast harm Israel does on the world stage through it’s ever-tightening control and manipulation of the world super-power. We don’t want to be dragged into another mid-east conflict, and we don’t see Iran initiating one nor dragging us into one on its side.
      Mostly though you have Netanyahu to thank for this. Be honest with yourself, no right thinking person is going to look at Netanyahu and not see a vile demagogue who is literally prepared to say or do anything to get his way. A proven liar who has never presented a case honestly but prefers to manipulate and create fear to win his support, hoping that fear of the other and ingrained stereotypes will always win out over any critical thinking. He appeals to the basest parts of human nature, his victories will always be in sloganeering and ignorance as demonstrated by his UN ‘cartoon’ because he has no concept of how to present an idea and debate it honestly. He is a sick caricature doing immeasurable harm.
      American leaders and media pretend to find Netanyahu acceptable because of their lobby pressures, and you’ve gotten so used to the kowtowing you’ve forgotten that it’s just pretend, it shocks you that other countries are less scared to point out that your emperor has no clothes.

      • hophmi on February 1, 2015, 4:09 pm

        Actually, I think you can thank your media, which obsesses over this issue and ignores others that are more important. You’re brainwashed.

      • justicewillprevail on February 1, 2015, 4:54 pm

        Ha ha, a brainwasher blames the messenger. The commie media! Yahoo is a paragon of peace and virtue. who only wants to help poor Gazans, if only the media would reprint the helpful handouts from the Israeli Press Bureau. Lucky the UK doesn’t have military censors of the press, like Israel, eh?

      • talknic on February 2, 2015, 4:31 am

        @ justicewillprevail “Ha ha, a brainwasher ..” .. a promotion way beyond our poor hophmi’s station

      • Rodneywatts on February 2, 2015, 5:49 am

        Hey Hungrydave – absolutely spot on! We certainly could not be paid a greater compliment. Perhaps our dumbness comes from being able to differentiate anti-semitism and anti-Israel feelings; that two wrongs never made a right, such as the Holocaust and the Nakba which still continues. Injustice is injustice whatever the situation. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens here in May.

      • talknic on February 2, 2015, 9:06 am

        @ justicewillprevail
        “The commie media! Yahoo is a paragon of peace and virtue … “

        As any ass in the background knows!

      • Mooser on February 2, 2015, 1:36 pm

        “Pantalone must lose by the end of the show”

        Great nickname for Hophmi, there.

    • talknic on February 2, 2015, 4:26 am

      @ hophmi “35% of Britons are dumb”

      A far more admirable score than 80% of Israelis or 100% of Israel’s apologists

  9. JWalters on January 31, 2015, 6:29 pm

    I’ve heard the NYT described as “progressive on everything but Palestine”, essentially being staffed by American Israelis (like the State department).

    Early on, Zionists took over the London Times, so this is not new. Naturally, neither Times would report on it.

    I’m glad to see the American president standing up to Israel, for the voluminous reasons documented so thoroughly on this website.

    Many Israelis believe President Clinton was preparing to stand up in his second term also, but was derailed by the Monica affair, which they believe was an Israeli honeytrap. According to Kay Griggs, ex-wife of a top-level U.S. Army assassin, Linda Tripp was in covert operations’ Delta Force. Tripp was Monica’s handler, and we know was responsible for preserving the blue dress evidence.

    There are two motives for the Israelis to avoid a peace treaty. First, some want to definitively take over the territory of their imagined ancient Israel. For some, this extends to the Jordan river, and for some to the Tigris river (Baghdad). Second, there are vast profits to be made in wars, and no rational financier would want to leave money on the table.

    At the hub of the MIC are the bankers, since all large corporations need a large bank or two. The banks know intimately what their clients are doing, and can exert financial pressure to direct their clients’ business strategies. (Wendall Potter has described how this works in the insurance industry, where he was VP of PR for a large company. He oversaw the creation of his company’s excuses for the predatory practices required by the banks.)

    The banks’ power comes from their wealth, so huge they can coerce Congress into overlooking their ocean of insider information in market trading. They are able to funnel a cut to Congress through two channels, the bank lobby and the Israel lobby, giving them double influence.

    Getting money out of politics would eliminate all this. Practically, the problem needs to be addressed on all fronts. Facts are the most powerful ammunition. Emotional pleas eventually wear down in the face of overwhelming facts. The lies are chipped away one by one. The last barricades of denial give way. Reality rushes in. The die-hards are swept away.

    Lincoln said there was no daylight between the North and the South.

    • Pixel on February 1, 2015, 4:47 am

      “Many Israelis believe President Clinton was preparing to stand up in his second term also, but was derailed by the Monica affair, which they believe was an Israeli honeytrap.”

      Utter nonsense!

      The next thing we’ll be hearing is that a joint CIA-Mossad operation killed, Imad Mughniyah, senior Hezbollah figure, in a car bombing!!

      • JWalters on February 2, 2015, 1:21 am

        I understand your incredulousness. But consider the following –

        Dr. Beilin, a leader of Israel’s opposition Labor Party, described the Monica affair’s big effect on U.S. policy toward Israel at that time thus. “To think that the greatest power on earth is out of commission because of Monica Lewinsky’s dress — it’s one of the most surreal episodes in history.”

        The situation –

        “Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had just landed in Washington, expecting to have Bill Clinton read him the riot act for what the Administration saw as foot-dragging on the peace process.

        “Enter Ms. Lewinsky, and Mr. Clinton was suddenly preoccupied. Mr. Netanyahu had an unexpectedly placid visit and returned to Israel a happy man.”

        From “How Monica Lewinsky and her dress destroyed the Middle East Peace Accords” by J.J. Goldberg.

        Rev Jerry Falwell met with Netanyahu the night before Netanyahu’s meeting with Clinton.

        “I put together 1,000 people or so to meet with Bibi and he spoke to us that night,” recalls Falwell. “It was all planned by Netanyahu as an affront to Mr. Clinton.”

        The next day, Netanyahu met with Clinton at the White House.

        “Bibi told me later,” Falwell recalls, “that the next morning Bill Clinton said, ‘I know where you were last night.’ The pressure was really on Netanyahu to give away the farm in Israel. It was during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.… Clinton had to save himself, so he terminated the demands [to relinquish West Bank territory] that would have been forthcoming during that meeting, and would have been very bad for Israel.”

        The Monica scandal broke exactly when Netanyahu was in Washington to meet Clinton. And Netanyahu was working behind Clinton’s back to sabotage his peace efforts, exactly as he is doing now with Obama.

        Monica’s testimony included Clinton telling her that he believed he was being bugged by a foreign government. (Turned out to be true.)

        Linda Tripp was a Delta Force covert operative (along with her husband), and she advised Monica to preserve the evidence on the blue dress. (Kay Griggs interview on YouTube)

        When all this is put in the context of Israel intentionally trying to sink a U.S. naval vessel, the USS Liberty,
        it would not be out of place.

        I would agree that these pieces of evidence do not conclusively prove the story. But the pattern in Netanyahu’s modus operandi for dealing with visits to both Clinton and Obama is certainly notable, and so is the significant effect of the Monica affair on foreign policy in the Clinton case.

  10. Pixel on February 1, 2015, 4:14 am

    “It shows that there has been a massive shift in attitudes in the last two years: The survey…”

    I don’t think there’s been a massive shift in attitudes, at all.The massive shift has been in vocalizing something that has long been felt but, until this point, has immediately and effectively been silenced – even to the ludicrous extent that laws have been enacted!!

    “You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.”
    – John Viscount Morley, On Compromise, 1874

    Fast Forward: Democracy Now (May, 2013):
    Shulamit Aloni:
    ”Anti-semitic, Its a Trick, We Always Use it.
    In Europe it’s the Holocaust” (Sorry, I don’t know how to embed.)

    In the infamous words of Shep Smith, ”It just seems like, like they think we don’t pay any attention and we’re just a bunch of complete morons, the United States citizens [and Europe], like we wouldn’t pick up on what’s happening…,”

    Over decades, MANY people picked up on what was happening and/or knew it all along.

    Yes, something HAS changed.

    People have found their voice.

    And… Courage is contagious.

    • Pixel on February 1, 2015, 4:25 am

      Might I add that the NEW trick is “Holocaust Denial”
      and I refuse to co-sign that bull$hit.

      • Pixel on February 1, 2015, 4:42 am

        I forgot the emphasis…

        I REFUSE to co-sign that bull$hit!

      • Mooser on February 1, 2015, 2:00 pm

        “I REFUSE to co-sign that bull$hit!”

        The present changes the past. Sometimes in shocking, and very unexpected ways.

  11. MRW on February 2, 2015, 12:28 am


    It makes scant reference to all the substantive causes of a fallout between the countries, for instance the latest announcement of Israeli colonies in the occupied West Bank.

    It makes scant reference to how the majority of America is perceiving this. Israel, in its myopic stupidity, thinks this is an Israeli/Presidential./Congressional issue, as if the people out here are, as Shep Smith said, a bunch of morons. As if the only people Israel should be concerned with are those in power in DC.

    Just read the comment thread, this is Pixel’s:

    “You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.”

    – John Viscount Morley, On Compromise, 1874

    No shit, Sherlock. In fact, when you silence him, you harden his views. The Netanyahu/Boehner public spectacle is the door for many in my part of the land to express their views. Government of Israel lurkers here on MW would be surprised how they really think. Really surprised.

    HuffPo is reporting that [link that you can’t tell is a link] “Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer Pokes Fun At Critics Of Netanyahu Invitation.” This man is an Ambassador to the US apparently. He mocks us? He fucking mocks us?

    • Eva Smagacz on February 2, 2015, 4:47 pm

      MRW, check out the gallery of pictures called “Israel-Gaza Conflict” that accompanies the article

      This is the greatest bullshit of a propaganda that I saw in a long time. You could almost cry for poor Israelis. No wonder some Americans feel sorry for Netanyahu’s and their ilk.

      I especially liked the picture of fruit ” they are not starving, silly” market in Gaza.

      The collection like that cannot be random. This is deliberate falsification of reality. Someone in Huffington Post sat down, and deliberately chose these pictures and withheld pictures coming from Gaza. Those pitifully few pictures from Gaza that ARE chosen, are deliberately inane.

      I am so mad.

  12. MRW on February 2, 2015, 12:32 am

    Phil, really liked this piece.

  13. MRW on February 2, 2015, 12:32 am

    Mooser, sorry about the Seahawks.

    • Mooser on February 2, 2015, 1:58 pm

      From my deck, it was possible to hear the entire town (Bummertown) go from shouts of impending victory to a shocked silence. And then a bit later, sirens, for those who took it too much to heart.

      • annie on February 2, 2015, 6:17 pm

        what an awful couple seconds that was. i was aghast. just unreal. and it was the first time i ever watched a whole superbowl game too. just flabberghasted.

      • RoHa on February 2, 2015, 8:44 pm

        I never understood why it’s called “superbowl” when it has nothing to do with bowling.

      • eljay on February 2, 2015, 9:24 pm

        >> RoHa: I never understood why it’s called “superbowl” when it has nothing to do with bowling.

        I think it was originally called Super Bowel in honour of the ridiculous amounts of food consumed by the fans over the course of the day the game is played. :-)

      • Mooser on February 3, 2015, 11:50 am

        So who was the Atticus Finch in that Superbowl?

  14. CigarGod on February 2, 2015, 10:27 am

    Good point, Phil.
    We are not good at seeing what isn’t there. Magicians use that to there advantage. Reminds me that the Brits hired teams of magicians during their wars.
    It is especially insidious when these papers and shows pretend to give a diverse voice…by letting an Indian, spaniard, etc. speak on the topic. Most of us aren’t smart enough to know that hispanic sounding guy…is actually Jewish. NPR, FOX, CNN…all those guys are real good at this. The viewer thinks he got diverse opinion…but just got worked.

  15. SonofDaffyDuck on February 2, 2015, 11:19 am

    Several commentators addressing that piece also objected to the insistence of “equivalence” between Bibi’ s slap in the face and Obama’s response.

    My take? Oh! Pleeeeease let Bibi not change his mind and let it be on National TV with the camera focused directly on the Applause Machine following Netanyahu’s presentation of Likud interests while trying to insist that War with Iran is in our Interests. Let the Light Shine In!!!

Leave a Reply