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On ’60 Minutes,’ Stahl is positive about BDS and suggests Netanyahu is anti-American

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“60 Minutes” put Benjamin Netanyahu on first last night, allowing the Israeli Prime Minister to say that Donald Trump “feels very warmly about the Jewish state and… the Jewish people,” but when it was over I realized how much we miss the late Bob Simon. Correspondent Lesley Stahl gushed over Israel’s new alliances across the Arab world and its alleged technological miracles. She left the Palestinian issue to the end, and described the occupation as an alleged occupation, with only a few seconds of footage of Palestinian persecution.

To her credit, though, Stahl made it a point not to use the nickname “Bibi,” and she did mention the BDS campaign (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and favorably: “This is the playbook that they used, you know, against Apartheid in South Africa.”

And she slipped in some America-first references, for the home crowd:

Stahl: When you campaigned against [President Obama] and you spoke to the Congress, it was read as a lack of respect and something that had never been done before….[D]o you regret that you did that?… You have a friendship with Mr. Putin, and a friendship with China. You seem to be inching toward an anti-American bloc.

Netanyahu: God, no….

Stahl: Well, talk about that ‘cause I think there’s an impression of that.

God no. Netanyahu didn’t like those questions!

This was the worst part, Stahl’s glowing report on startup nation.

Israel boasts of more start-ups per capita than anywhere in the world, many based in Be’er Sheva, and nations have lined up to buy drones, as India has, and cutting-edge agricultural technology, as China has. There’s excitement about a new innovation that extracts drinking water out of air… So this is Israeli diplomacy through technology?

There were more pictures of startups than of persecuted Palestinians. Has Stahl even visited Qalandiya? Her examination of the occupation was clueless. She called it the quote-unquote occupation and limited it to the West Bank, leaving out East Jerusalem and Gaza.

What about the quality of Palestinians’ lives. You know, it’s 50 years since what people call “the occupation.”  It’s 50 years. You still have checkpoints.  People have to be cleared. Soldiers everywhere in their lives.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Actually, I’ve lifted checkpoints quite a bit and we’re trying to create bridges and thoroughfares and so on so we can have freer movement. Palestinians know– they look at Aleppo in Syria, and they look at Yemen, and they look at Libya, and they look at other places, and they know that our intention is coexistence.

Lesley Stahl: You told us that Israel is less isolated today than it has been in many years in the past. And yet, at the same time, you’re losing support in– in Western Europe.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Isolated?? All these countries are coming to Israel and it’s a fantastic change.

Lesley Stahl: But not Western Europe.  Not you, your natural allies, or your older allies yet.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Well, they’re coming—

Lesley Stahl: They call you colonials.

Benjamin Netanyahu: They’re coming around too.

Lesley Stahl: But they call you occupiers.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Well they call us a lot of things but I think they’re coming around too, I have to tell you.

But criticism has spread, on U.S. campuses too.

Lesley Stahl: There’s a movement called BDS, to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel and its products, because of the Palestinian issue, the unresolved Palestinian issue. And this is the playbook that they used, you know, against Apartheid in South Africa—

Benjamin Netanyahu: Yeah, well, I don’t buy it. It’s not about this or that issue. It’s against the very existence of the State of Israel.

Lesley Stahl: You know what they want? I know what they want.  They want you to stop expanding and building settlements.

What kind of a state is it going to be if you just, you know, don’t do anything?

Benjamin Netanyahu: I’m not going to just not do anything. I’m going to do something.

Lesley Stahl: Well, if you don’t negotiate with the Palestinians—

The problem with this type of questioning is the assumption that the crisis is still prospective. Israel & Palestine will become one state, there will be apartheid there some day. When it’s one state now, and it’s apartheid. Seven years ago Bob Simon told Americans that time was running out for a two-state solution. How long a clock are the timekeepers at “60 Minutes” giving Israel? Tick tick tick.  

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13 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay
    December 12, 2016, 12:03 pm

    Interviewer: What about the quality of your victims’ lives? You know, it’s been 50 months since what people call “the kidnappings”. You still have chains. The women are routinely searched. Security cameras everywhere in their lives.

    Rapist: Actually, I’ve removed quite a few of the cameras and I’ve lengthened the chains so that the women can have freer movement. These women know – they look at places better…I mean, worse than the basement they’re chained in – and they know that my intention is co-existence.

    Interviewer: You’re losing support in the community.

    Rapist: Nah, people are coming around and it’s a fantastic change.

    Interviewer: Not in the community.

    Rapist: Well, they’re coming around, too.

    Interviewer: They call you a rapist.

    Rapist: Well, they call me a lot of things, but they’re coming around.

  2. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    December 12, 2016, 1:46 pm

    I thought it was a good interview, and that Nethanyahu was cast in the position of supplicant at the hem of Trump – a very different attitude than he’s grown accustomed to giving Obama: a constant show of disrespect/disdain. I think Netanyahu felt no fear of Obama, either in his ability to affect US policy toward Israel, or to move Israeli voters in their attitude toward Netanyahu. I think he now fears Trump on both fronts.

    I get a sense that Trump is already negotiating, and that Yair Lapid’s call for new elections, and proposing to just go ahead and “build a wall” to separate the two people in two nations, shows how much and how fast political ground may shift or is already shifting in Israel, due to Trump’s election.

    I never understand the relationship between the big media outlets and political initiatives (maybe they’re actually independent sometimes), but I thought Lesley Stahl cast doubts on the solidity of Netanyahu’s position, on Europe, BDS, the Occupation, and in her point, which you leave out, where she rebutted Netanyahu’s tired canard that peace is entirely up to the Palestinians, they just need to recognize Israel’s right to be a Jewish state. She’d just asked him about how his relations with Egypt, Jordan and the Saudis had been improved into an alliance of sorts against Iran, by the Iran deal, (again, Netanyahu invoked God in his answer – God yes) and she asked whether any of these others states had given such recognition, or whether he’d demanded it of them. [O course not, that’s just excuse we use to justify building more settlements]. I thought her attitude showed his canard to be a phony.

    You also left out a curious distinction Netanyahu made: Trump’s a friend of Israel, of THE Jewish people, and of “Jewish people.” Not sure what he meant by that THE, but he seemed to have a distinction in mind, as if the latter was more general than the former. Maybe to your points about the shattering of Jewish unity in the US, the distancing of Diaspora Jews from Israeli Jews.

    When she asked about undoing the Iran deal, which Netanyahu nearly drooled at achieving with Trump, she adopted Mattis’s follow-up, “then what?” His hemming and hawing led her to push, you’ve got something in mind, tell me. I’ve got five things in mind, he said, but I’d rather discuss them with Trump before 60 Minutes. So’s he’s very eager to get some things from Trump, and he’s publicly made himself the supplicant in that process.

    As Annie asked recently, what will Trump ask in return?

  3. Citizen
    Citizen
    December 12, 2016, 2:07 pm

    Glad I missed the interview, kid gloves all the way, as usual.

  4. Jasonius Maximus
    Jasonius Maximus
    December 13, 2016, 10:22 am

    “Benjamin Netanyahu: Actually, I’ve lifted checkpoints quite a bit and we’re trying to create bridges and thoroughfares and so on so we can have freer movement.”

    Classic Netanyahu double-speak and innuendo. What he fails is to mention, and what Stahl completely fails to push him on, is that these measures he boasted of are to benefit Israelis living in the Occupied Territories and NOT the Palestinians she was originally referring to!

    As usual it’s nothing but typical softball American mainstream journalism for the Liar in Chief of Israel where open mistruths and outright lies are left to stand completely unchallenged or addressed by the interviewer and are therefore digested as fact by the unsuspecting audience. We’ve seen this for decades with Israel on US TV and are now about to receive a decade of education on this exact kind of pushover journalism in the face of bullying leaders nearer to home under a Trump administration,

    As Trump has already proved in his first weeks post election, these bullies will only do highly controlled interviews in their “safe places” in the media and it’s an indictment and stain on ’60 Minutes’ that they allow themselves to be used just like some of the world’s worst dictators and bullies use their own “safe media outlets”!

  5. James Canning
    James Canning
    December 13, 2016, 1:31 pm

    The interview was certainly interesting, but I think Lesley Stahl should not have referred to Russia as an “adversary”.

  6. hophmi
    hophmi
    December 15, 2016, 9:32 am

    Did you ever think that maybe the pessimists have a habit of being wrong about Israel? No one would have predicted that it would become one of the most diverse states on Earth, a first world country that leads the world in everything from tech to art.

    Maybe that’s why your message isn’t very well received.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      December 15, 2016, 10:37 am

      Only in your dreams hoppy. Israel is a first world state thanks to subsidies from other first world states. There have been some great innovations from Israel but it is not a world leader. Much of the innovations is more due to US branch plants in Israel.

    • eljay
      eljay
      December 15, 2016, 10:57 am

      || hophmi: Did you ever think that maybe the pessimists have a habit of being wrong about Israel? No one would have predicted that it would become one of the most diverse states on Earth, a first world country that leads the world in everything from tech to art. … ||

      No-one would have predicted that a country so openly and unapologetically oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist would receive decades worth of unquestioning economic, military, financial and political support from the U.S. and other Western nations.

      It’s amusing to see you praising Israel as “one of the most diverse states on Earth, a first world country”, knowing that it won’t be long before you’re defending Israel by pointing out that it’s not quite as bad as Saudi Arabia, Mali and African “hell-holes”. :-)

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      December 15, 2016, 11:14 am

      Hoppy

      Israeli education is shit.
      Israeli building standards are shit
      Israeli planning is pitiful.

      the country is living on borrowed time with that occupation.

      the first Jewish kingdom collapsed
      Another Jewish age ended in Masada
      A mean reversion will really hurt

    • amigo
      amigo
      December 15, 2016, 3:38 pm

      “Did you ever think that maybe the pessimists have a habit of being wrong about Israel? No one would have predicted that it would become one of the most diverse states on Earth, a first world country that leads the world in everything from tech to art “hopknee

      Yup all that and right at the top of the list of least liked , or was that most hated “states “on earth.Seems as if the optimists lost this one to the pessimists.

      “Maybe that’s why your message isn’t very well received.”hopknee.

      You sound like someone who knows all about not being well received .

      • annie
        annie
        December 15, 2016, 4:00 pm

        first world country that leads the world in everything

        oh my, i had no idea.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 15, 2016, 4:28 pm

        ” a first world country that leads the world in everything from tech to art.”

        “Hophmi”, a country with 810,000,000 people, supported by most of the 1.2 billion Jews in the world is bound to be very successful.
        But why rub it in? Show some class.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      December 15, 2016, 3:46 pm

      hophmi
      Zionism is racism. Zionism is theft. Zionism is fascism.

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