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Israeli leader’s ‘extremism’ charge makes headlines around the world — but 10th paragraph in New York Times!

US Politics

Is the New York Times incompetent — or conniving once again to hide Israel’s extremism from its readers? We tend to believe the latter, but the reason hardly matters. Today there is yet another explosive story from the new Israel, and the New York Times covers it as blandly as if it’s the latest twist in the Connecticut governor’s race.

First, look at the news as covered by the Washington Post: “Israel’s defense minister abruptly resigns in slap at growing ‘extremism’”.

OK, we have to wait a few paragraphs in William Booth’s story, but he doesn’t try and put any shoeshine on it; he even refers to the murdering Israeli medic of Hebron on March 24:

In a press conference Friday, [Moshe] Yaalon, a fellow member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, warned that Israel was drifting dangerously toward extremism.

“I fought with all my might against manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society, which are threatening its sturdiness and trickling into the armed forces, hurting it already,” he said.

Yaalon appeared to be referring to widespread support by Israeli leaders for a combat medic who shot to death a wounded Palestinian attacker as he lay on a street in Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

That video at the top of the Washington Post piece is even stronger. Ya’alon says:

To my great dismay extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel and also the Likud Party and have shaken the house and are threatening to hurt the inhabitants. This is not the Likud Party I joined.

Now look at the New York Times headline: “Moshe Yaalon, Israeli Defense Minister, Resigns”. Big deal. See what we mean about the Connecticut governor’s race?

Reporters James Glanz and Irit Pazner Garshowitz soft-peddle the lead, too:

The Israeli defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, announced on Friday that he was resigning, an abrupt move that comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly conducts negotiations with a far-right party to join his government.

No mention of Ya’alon’s charge of “extremism” till the tenth paragraph.

“I fought with all my might against phenomena of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society that threaten its fortitude, and which are trickling into the I.D.F., that are already hurting it,” he said, referring to the Israel Defense Forces.

New Israel Fund gets the story. It sent out a frightened email today, titled: “extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel”. BBC gets the story. Its subhead: “Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon has resigned, warning that Israel has been taken over by ‘dangerous and extreme elements'”. Look at the Times of Israel. It led with the shocking quote that the Washington Post had in its video:

Outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned on Friday that “extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel and the Likud movement and are destabilizing our home and threatening to harm its inhabitants.”

Haaretz‘s headline and lead are also stunners:

Outgoing Defense Minister Ya’alon: Extremists Have Taken Over Israel

‘I recently found myself in strong disagreement with the prime minister on moral and professional issues,’ Ya’alon says of his resignation from politics.

Extremist elements have taken over the country, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned on Friday morning as he explained his resignation from political life.

This is the Israel that Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen have been telling us about for years —

but that the Times refuses to even acknowledge, purveying a fairyland Jewish democracy to its readers at a time of momentous change in the country’s political culture that has frightened establishment types over there. The Times has also lately suppressed the Yair Golan story, in which the deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army seized on the murdering medic episode from Hebron to warn that Israel was manifesting extremist strains reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

No one can say where this is leading, but it’s an important story. Earlier this year Chemi Shalev said at a downtown NY gallery opening for his newspaper, Haaretz, that Moshe Ya’alon was the political hope of the Israeli center-left. He’s got military cred, which “may not serve our self-image,” but is necessary for Labor to gain political support, and he lives on a kibbutz and has removed settlers from some illegal communities. Shalev portrayed Ya’alon as “shy” and a “man of principle”:

“He’s an anomaly. He’s a rightwinger, he’s a hawk, he’s a supporter of settlements. … He is one of dying breed of rightwingers who despite being hawkish and distrustful of any peace  with the Palestinians, he still believes in fair play and the rule of law…

“If we have to have somebody to succeed Bibi, he’s the best of the worst, because even though he might not advance the peace process, he would treat America differently, a lot of the stuff that’s going on now in the goverment that we’re very worried about, anti-leftist agitation, bordering on hysteria, he wouldn’t let all that happen.”

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24 Responses

  1. Yakov Hirsch
    May 20, 2016, 12:23 pm

    Israel has finally joined the Middle East. She now seems just as likely as any of her neighbors to have some sort of military coup.

    • gamal
      May 20, 2016, 12:54 pm

      “military coup.”

      but Israel has a military,

      Ok Egypt had coup and does have an “army”, but its army is not military its more like a street gang.

    • Mooser
      May 20, 2016, 1:41 pm

      “She now seems just as likely as any of her neighbors to have some sort of military coup.”

      Lots of countries, some of the best countries, have had military coups! Why shouldn’t Israel? You would deny them that? ‘No coups for Jews’, huh? Why should Israel of all countries be denied the benefits of a military coup?

      After all, what is the most admired, most trusted institution in Israel? The IDF, natch! So why shouldn’t the Army rule Israel? If that’s what the people want, that’s democracy!

      • pabelmont
        May 20, 2016, 2:02 pm

        Mooser, the USA has installed militaries (supported coups) in many countries including in M/E, so why not in Israel? Surely, in the USA view, military dictatorship is generally the best government (unless “democracy” can be preserved in name but replaced, in actuality, by oligarchy). So, you are absolutely on target — whatever the form of government, if the USA approves of it, it’ll be called ‘democracy”.

      • Mooser
        May 20, 2016, 3:09 pm

        “Mooser, the USA has installed militaries (supported coups) in many countries including in M/E, so why not in Israel?”

        Hmmmph! I think Israel is entirely capable of having a breakdown and a military coup without any help from anybody except a few rich Americans.

    • Talkback
      May 22, 2016, 4:08 am

      The military coup allready happened in 1948.

  2. Pixel
    May 20, 2016, 1:38 pm

    When Jimmy Carter called Israel out for apartheid it was considered ultra-radical. I didn’t think it went far enough.

    I remember the days here long ago when there was criticism of Israel. Then MW moved into the “it’s like the Jim Crow south” period, which morphed into the “apartheid” period.

    Enough of this pussy-footing around. Everyone knows what’s going on – what’s been going on for a very long time. Only Yair Golan and a few others in the EU have had the courage to publicly name it. I know that MW is loathe to go down that road but when the jackboot fits…

    My guess is that soon after the Netanyahu-Lieberman deal goes through FINAL plans for their SOLUTION will be put in place.

    I think they believe that they can eliminate the problem both literally and figuratively in one fell swoop. If they just “do it,” and get it over with, our Kardashian clickbait world will quickiy move on to other things and forget all about it.

    They feel that it’s the drip, drip, drip, incident after incident, that unjustly keeps Israel in world’s moral crosshairs. Eliminate that and you’ve eliminated the problem. No more BDS, no more upstart Jewish youth in America, no more anything because they will have eliminated the problem and the goal.

    • pabelmont
      May 20, 2016, 2:07 pm

      Pixel — you could be right. But I always thought that Israel’s slow-and-steady violence-and-cruelty was aimed at never being “bad enough” to get really bad publicity. Of course, Gaza and Lebanon and Mavi Marmara were a bit on the transgressive side, but as bridge players know, if you don’t lose some finesses your not taking enough of them.

      But, yes, today’s new government and the warnings from two politicians of on-rushing fascism suggest that the glove are coming off. Maybe it IS “final solution” time back at the ranch.

  3. Mooser
    May 20, 2016, 3:25 pm

    “To my great dismay extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel and also the Likud Party and have shaken the house and are threatening to hurt the inhabitants. This is not the Likud Party I joined.”

    I think this guy is pathetic.

    • pabelmont
      May 20, 2016, 4:15 pm

      Mooser: Nah, not pathetic, just distracted. All these years, he was thinking about something else, never noticed the trend lines. Same distraction seems to be affecting the NYT, too. Catching?

      • Mooser
        May 20, 2016, 4:39 pm

        ” …just distracted.”

        Oh, you know how I am. I find it very hard to trust an Israeli. It would be just like me to see him as concerned exclusively for Israel.

    • gamal
      May 20, 2016, 6:28 pm

      “I think this guy is pathetic.” what has happened to the Gender!

      Tanya says “when one man gone a better one come him name Woman”

      Big Heavy Gal (serious)

    • Citizen
      May 22, 2016, 8:00 pm

      So he never read the Likud charter?

  4. WH
    May 20, 2016, 6:39 pm

    ‘he still believes in fair play and the rule of law’

    Yup, he really showed that during Protective Edge.

  5. Nevada Ned
    May 20, 2016, 6:48 pm

    How bad is the internal situation in Israel? How right-wing has Israel become?

    Medea Benjamin discusses the growing similarities between Israel and Saudi Arabia. .

    Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of Code Pink. Jewish, also.

  6. yonah fredman
    May 21, 2016, 2:04 am

    The inclusion of Lieberman in the current Netanyahu coalition makes much more sense in terms of domestic politics than does the hypothetical Herzog Netanyahu coalition that was being bandied about as a possibility earlier this week. Two questions arise: how will Lieberman react to this sudden power. (The foreign ministry has traditionally been a powerless position in Israel, and thus even though Lieberman’s appointment as foreign minister in 2009 was disturbing in terms of symbolism, it was relatively innocuous in terms of power.) The minister of defense is subservient to the prime minister, certainly usually, (although a defense minister like Lavon could undercut a prime minister like Sharett), but it still is a powerful position. Will Lieberman see responsibility as his way to increase his popularity in the long run, or will he see an opportunity to push for new policies: 1. change the rules of engagement for Israeli soldiers so that someone like Azaria will not be prosecuted. 2. greater militancy vis a vis Gaza and/or 3. an assertion of the civilian (read right wing) authority over the traditional power of the army (read center/left).

    The second question is will this move mark the moment when centrists were cast out of Israeli governments or will it mark the moment when the center left had to get their act together and end Netanyahu’s dominion over Israel. Can the combination of Gideon Sa’ar, Ya’alon and Kahalon force bibi out? Will Bennet, lieberman and bibi go too far and force the other parts of the political map into vibrancy to save the day or is this the first day of the rest of the future of rightward history of the Israeli governments.

    • Mooser
      May 21, 2016, 11:12 am

      “Yonah” think about those new tires. All-season mud-and-snow radials, or maybe even ‘nobbies’. You just ain’t getting no traction.

  7. talknic
    May 21, 2016, 2:25 am

    = Moshe Yaalon trying to avoid charges of war crimes …

    • just
      May 21, 2016, 8:18 am

      That’s apparently very easy with Fatou Bensouda at the helm of the ICC.

  8. Boomer
    May 21, 2016, 6:05 am

    “Extremism in defense of Zionism is no vice. Moderation in defense of Zionism is no virtue.”

  9. Ossinev
    May 21, 2016, 7:41 am

    @Yonah Fredman
    “Can the combination of Gideon Sa’ar, Ya’alon and Kahalon force bibi out? Will Bennet, lieberman and bibi go too far and force the other parts of the political map into vibrancy to save the day or is this the first day of the rest of the future of rightward history of the Israeli government”

    The first day in question was 14th May 1948.

  10. just
    May 21, 2016, 8:37 am

    “Israel Has Been Infected by the Seeds of Fascism, Says ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak

    Barak tells … that ‘there are no serious leaders left in the world who believe the Israeli government.’

    Israel has been “infected by the seeds of fascism,” former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak said during a TV interview on Friday night.

    Responding to the resignation of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon earlier in the day, Barak said that it “should be a red light for all of us regarding what’s going on in the government.”

    “Life-sustaining Zionism and the seeds of fascism cannot live together,” Barak told … .

    Ya’alon’s resignation is “the end of a chain that began with the case of the soldier who shot [a wounded Palestinian assailant to death],” Barak said. “Such incidents give us an X-ray image that is opposed to the will of the people.

    “What has happened is a hostile takeover of the Israeli government by dangerous elements. And it’s just the beginning.”

    To illustrate his point, Barak referred to legislation promoted by members of the coalition, including the law to lift the parliamentary immunity of Knesset members who allegedly support terrorism and a bill to impose Israeli law on Israelis living in the West Bank.

    “This government needs to be brought down before it brings all of us down,” Barak added. “There are no serious leaders left in the world who believe the Israeli government.””

    read more:

    He’s hopefully and happily mostly right except for that bit about the “will of the people” and that “Life-sustaining Zionism ” which brought them all the” fascism” that they enjoy today. Israel has never been a democracy~ it has always been a thug.

    • Kay24
      May 21, 2016, 9:01 am

      Maybe it is time for the “Jewish Spring”. The US/Israel encouraged some of Arab springs in the ME, and if the people are not happy at the direction Nutty is taking the country, or that he has chosen to kick one senior official and replaced him with a rabid right winger who has called for Gaza to be nuked (with nuclear weapons they have not admitted to), time for Israelis to take to the streets too. I guess on the other hand polls show the majority of Israelis are happy to have apartheid policies, hates their neighbors, and agrees to the collective punished meted out to those they occupy.

      I hope the US/WH/Congress is happy now.

  11. a blah chick
    May 21, 2016, 10:27 am

    There was a time when an apparatchik like Lieberman wouldn’t be allowed to wash Yaalon’s jock strap much less replace him in government. But now it looks like the “sane” war criminals are being replaced by the “insane” ones. What a choice.

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