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Israeli reporter for ‘New York Times’ praises AIPAC at closed event: ‘You’ve got our backs’

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Ronen Bergman, a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, gave a talk to the Israel lobby group AIPAC in White Plains Monday night and lavished praise on AIPAC for its support of Israel.

“You know, I’ve been all over the U.S. with AIPAC and it’s always a great pleasure, as an Israeli. I always tell AIPAC, you do so much in the U.S., and I know that Israel is not the spirit of where you work, but you need to do a little more to explain to Israelis how much they owe AIPAC. Israelis are not aware. I am aware… I know that you’ve got our backs. It’s such a great feeling.”

AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is famous for its work to prevent any “daylight” between the U.S. government and the Israeli government on policy and maintain support for Israel in the U.S. Congress. It has been the subject of numerous investigations– generally not in the US mainstream press, and certainly not the New York Times.

Two congresspeople also spoke at the event at the synagogue Temple Israel, and over 400 people attended it. But the talk was closed to the press, according to two AIPAC screens over the synagogue sanctuary: “This event is off the record and closed to the press.” Circulars for the event did not include the off-the-record condition.

AIPAC event featuring Congresspeople Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel, was closed to the press and off the record. Oct. 8, 2018, Temple Israel, White Plains, NY. Event also featured Ronen Bergman, New York Times Magazine journalist.

Poster for Temple Israel event by Ronen Bergman, sponsored by AIPAC.

Bergman’s praise for AIPAC is in the tradition of New York Times support for Israel and its lobby. Former editorial page editor Max Frankel said he wrote all the paper’s editorials on Israel. “I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert,” he wrote in his memoir. Four New York Times writers have had sons serve in the Israeli military. Times columnists Roger Cohen, Bret Stephens and David Brooks are proudly Zionist. Stephens is scheduled to speak to AIPAC gatherings in Florida next month. Opinion editor Bari Weiss comes out of a career as an Israel advocate, and her father is a stalwart at AIPAC.

Per my internet searches, Bergman spoke in Cleveland at the behest of AIPAC in 2014; and reportedly appeared at this event in Columbus, Ohio, with AIPAC also in 2014.

The investigative reporter works for Israel’s largest newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth and has many sources in the Israeli government. While we have given props to Rise and Kill First, Bergman’s recent book on Israeli assassinations, as revelatory and gripping, he tends to support Israeli government positions. In his talk, Bergman said that Israel’s policy of assassinations may be illegal but it has worked.

“I know maybe that it’s not a popular view by some people in this country and in Israel as well, but after eight years of research, I can with definite assurance say that, in some cases in history… when it’s done without letting the enemy rest for one minute, when it’s done against the people that should have been killed not against the people that can be killed, yes targeted killings are effective and can change history.”

He said that many Americans’ understanding of Israeli assassinations is based on the 2005 Steven Spielberg movie Munich, but it’s inaccurate, Spielberg was hoodwinked.

“This movie is 100 percent fake news. It is not really true. Now of course there were enemies who were killed and afterwards there were sometimes people dropping dead in Europe, but all the rest, the methods, the… command and control, the hierarchy, who did that, is just 100 percent fake news.  Steven Spielberg fell victim to a crook by the name of Yuval Aviv, an Israeli claiming to be Avner, the commander of the Mossad assassination unit, but in fact behind it all he was the commander of a shift of baggage selectors at Ben Gurion Airport.”

The talk was titled, “Redactions Revealed.” Bergman referred to all the jokes about killing Palestinians and Arabs that Israeli agents make in his book. Saying that “Israelis have sometimes black humor,” he quoted a Mossad source who called Bergman on the day in February 2008 that Imad Mughniyah of Hezbollah was assassinated in Damascus by detonation of a bomb hidden in the spare tire cover of his Mitsubishi Pajero. When the source told Bergman the news, Bergman said, “You sound sad. Why are you speaking with a heavy voice?” The source said, “Ronen, I’m very sad…. It was a grand Pajero.” The hall resounded with laughter. The quote is not used in Bergman’s book, apparently because it was redacted by the Israeli government.

 

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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25 Responses

  1. Kay24
    Kay24
    October 10, 2018, 2:12 pm

    Well, Mondoweiss has always shown us just how pro Israel/zionist the New York Times is, and they are right. The New York Times has many staunch Israeli supporters in their staff, and article after article has shown such an ugly bias which shows that the NYT has no credibility at all when it come to the I/P conflict. Without publications like the NYT and so many of the zionist media in the US, Israel would not have that unwavering support, and the Palestinians would not be seen as the aggressors, who with no weapons, no military, nor the means, to be the constant threat that Israel seems totally afraid of, or so the story goes.

    Anyone knows of any situation where the side with billions of dollars in aid, weapons, brutal military, who keeps stealing lands, killing unarmed civilians, and sending precision bombs into homes, being the victim of unarmed and helpless civilians who live in open prisons?

    AIPAC has been a curse in this country, corrupting politicians, and our political system. This sorry excuse of a writer obviously is brown nosing the zionists, like many in the media do.

  2. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    October 10, 2018, 3:16 pm

    @Kay24
    “Well, Mondoweiss has always shown us just how pro Israel/zionist the New York Times is, and they are right. The New York Times has many staunch Israeli supporters in their staff, and article after article has shown such an ugly bias which shows that the NYT has no credibility at all when it come to the I/P conflict”

    Agreed but occasionally it is obvious that NYT writers on the I/P conflict have to jump through multiple hoops and avoid looking in multiple mirrors. They don`t give a toss about Palestinians be they peace activists or fellow journalists deliberately murdered by the most moral but when it comes to the increasing numbers of American citizens being detained,harassed,interrogated,deported by the Zio goons they have to have a stab along the lines of steady on old Zio chaps. . not good for the old Zio image what!!

    A classic case of this appears in the current NYT in relation to the young American student being barred from doing her course at an Israeli University because of her alleged links to BDS.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/10/opinion/israel-lara-alqasem-bds.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    As usual it is flavoured with the de rigeur pathetic deflectionary (they hope) whatabouteries viz:
    ” And the same activists who obsessively seek to punish and isolate Israel for its occupation of the West Bank rarely if ever display the same passion for protesting against China for its occupation of Tibet, or Russia for its occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine”

    The article of course is total and utter garbage but on the positive side it does illustrate the fact that Israel and the Israeli Firsters in America are getting seriously worried about the loss of support amongst young Americans and specifically young American Jews.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      October 10, 2018, 3:21 pm

      I agree.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      October 11, 2018, 9:19 am

      ” And the same activists who obsessively seek to punish and isolate Israel for its occupation of the West Bank rarely if ever display the same passion for protesting against China for its occupation of Tibet, or Russia for its occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine”

      Yes, those mean activists are out to give israhel a real whoopin’. This must have been a type-o or they realize they can’t deny the occupation anymore, so best just go to plan B and make sure to double down on whataboutery at every chance.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      October 11, 2018, 10:16 am

      “And the same activists who obsessively seek to punish and isolate Israel for its occupation of the West Bank rarely if ever display the same passion for protesting against China for its occupation of Tibet, or Russia for its occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine”

      There are many injustices in the world. It is better for activists to concentrate on one injustice, and perhaps help to alleviate it, than to gallop off in all directions at once and have no impact at all.

      (I will also point out that Russia is not occupying eastern Ukraine, and has annexed Crimea to make it part of Russia. )

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        October 11, 2018, 10:51 am

        On the political level no significant number of countries, if any, have ever recognized Tibet as independent from China. Therefore it is not considered or recognized as occupied.

        There is fairly significant support for allowing Tibetans the right to self determination but that is a different thing altogether.

        So that’s a fail on all fronts.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      October 11, 2018, 10:56 am

      “‘And the same activists who obsessively seek to punish and isolate Israel for its occupation of the West Bank rarely if ever display the same passion for protesting against China for its occupation of Tibet, or Russia for its occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine.’”

      Classic “whataboutery.”

      Also, for the edification of BS artist, Ronen Bergman: Unlike “Israel’s” illegal and brutal occupation of Palestinian and other Arab lands, China’s occupation of Tibet and Russia’s occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine are not financed by US taxpayers.

      A reminder:
      https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mid…
      “Congressional Research Service, U.S. Foreign aid to Israel, Jeremy M. Sharpe, Specialist in Middle East Affairs, April 10, 2018.”

      “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $134.7 billion (current, or non inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance. At a signing ceremony at the State Department on September 14, 2016, representatives of the U.S. and Israeli governments signed a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid covering FY2019 to FY2028. Under the terms of the MOU, the United States pledges to provide $38 billion in military aid ($33 billion in Foreign Military Financing grants plus $5 billion in missile defense appropriations) to Israel. This MOU replaces a previous $30 billion 10-year agreement, which runs through FY2018.”

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        October 11, 2018, 11:30 am

        No one can fight all battles but a battle where wrong is being done with the support of very bad arguments which most people seem to accept is not a bad one to choose.

  3. Kay24
    Kay24
    October 10, 2018, 3:30 pm

    I watched Rachel Maddow yesterday and noticed that when she covered the story about the Trump campaign seeking information from an Israeli firm to help with social media manipulation and to gather intelligence to help defeat Republican primary race opponents and Hillary Clinton, she dared not mention the word “ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE FIRM” but said “Foreign Intelligence firm”. What is it with Maddow, she never covers the I/P conflict, and never utters a single world of criticism of Israel. She however is quite free to call out Russia, whenever.

    How afraid can these journalists be? I guess this is what they mean by zionist media. It stinks.

    • CigarGod
      CigarGod
      October 11, 2018, 9:01 am

      She is a Zionist and is not about to break the media taboo of criticizing Israel or Jews…even if they richly deserve it.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        October 11, 2018, 11:01 am

        The ridiculous thing is, she easily reports on negative news items about Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and most other countries, but either she does not cover the Palestinian issue, the occupation, or if Israel attacks Gaza, which other journalists at least refer to briefly. To refer to an Israeli intelligence firm by calling it a “foreign intelligence firm” is absurd.

      • eljay
        eljay
        October 11, 2018, 11:21 am

        || Kay24: The ridiculous thing is, she easily reports on negative news items about Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and most other countries … ||

        Poor Rachel – I can only imagine what sort of nightmarish fury Zionists have unleashed upon her for “singling out” the “world’s only Jewish State” for special treatment.  :-(

  4. Donald
    Donald
    October 10, 2018, 4:36 pm

    Interesting. Thanks for the info about Maddow. I used to watch her from time to time, but stopped during the 2016 campaign. She has done an equally horrible job covering Yemen–that is, by not covering it or giving incredibly misleading accounts about the war. It’s not surprising she didn’t mention Israel by name. She is the most overrated pseudo-journalist on the so-called American left.

  5. hai_bar
    hai_bar
    October 10, 2018, 5:50 pm

    “then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin resigned from office due to his wife’s scandal” – Kay24

    How noble ..

  6. bcg
    bcg
    October 10, 2018, 6:57 pm

    @Mondonut: Kay24 said “I am disappointed in her too, but what can you do, no journalist in the US media, has the spine to say one single negative thing about Israel.”

    Well, the US media actually does report on crime and corruption in Israel – the NYT runs stories about this or that Israeli politician taking bribes or whatnot. Sure, Sara’s manic-depressive nature gets some column inches.

    But Kay24’s larger point – which I don’t she articulated as well as possible – is that the U.S. media treats Israel with kid gloves. The alternative media has reported on treatment of Palestinian children, home demolitions, administrative detentions, olive tree burnings, land theft and so on, but you will very, very rarely see that stuff on the 6 o’clock news.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      October 10, 2018, 9:55 pm

      You are right. I have stated the same things in many of my comments.

  7. Boomer
    Boomer
    October 10, 2018, 7:11 pm

    Thanks to Phil for his continuing work to support a more just and fair world, in Palestine/Israel, and here. His courage and commitment help maintain hope and faith that a better way is possible.

  8. CHUCKMAN
    CHUCKMAN
    October 11, 2018, 12:12 pm

    Good piece.

    Of course, this only adds to the evidence we have.

    It wasn’t long ago that The New York Times finally admitted that every story concerning Israel is passed by the official Israeli censor before publication.

    Some journalistic integrity.

    But critically-minded readers didn’t need confirmation. It is all fairly obvious.

    After all, they keep as an honored member of the staff the oleaginous Thomas Friedman.

    On the subject, readers may enjoy:

    https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/09/23/john-chuckman-comment-misconceptions-about-the-new-york-times-setting-the-record-straight-it-simply-aint-what-it-pretends-to-be/

  9. scott9854958
    scott9854958
    October 11, 2018, 5:34 pm

    “This event is off the record and closed to the press.”

    Haha, they must be joking. They think this is still 1985. I need to rsvp and get into some of these functions. I might even pass as Jewish. Some Orthodox guy in my nabe has asked me twice if I am.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      October 12, 2018, 1:09 pm

      “Some Orthodox guy in my nabe has asked me twice if I am.”

      And next time you can say “Yes” and he can say “There, I knew it!

  10. philweiss
    philweiss
    October 12, 2018, 9:48 am

    Please do. And then let us know what goes on.

  11. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    October 13, 2018, 5:29 am

    The NYT on Israel reminds me of this Galbraith quote :

    «  The conventional wisdom gives way not so much to new ideas as to the massive onslaught of circumstances with which it cannot contend »

    Judaism is tzedek/Justice or it is nothing. Bergman is a thug

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