Whether the chronically biased New York Times coverage of Israel is motivated by deliberate calculation or sheer incompetence is an intriguing question. Here’s the latest example; the lead story in today’s print edition is a long report on Israel’s attacks across the Middle East against what the article calls Iran’s “Arab allies.” In recent weeks, Israeli warplanes and drones have struck at targets in Syria, Beirut and Iraq.
The article could have been written by Israeli intelligence. (In fact, one of the 3 Times reporters, Ronen Bergman, is rumored to actually have such connections.) The article completely adopts the Israeli point of view — that an aggressive, bellicose Iran is arming proxies across the region, and that Israel is only reacting, defensively. Here is the paper’s slant, “. . . Iran’s opportunistic expansion in much of the Middle East is coming up against fierce Israeli pushback.”
This is criminally one-sided and misleading. First, the Times takes until the 29th paragraph to point out that Benjamin Netanyahu faces close elections in less than 3 weeks, which just may have encouraged him to order the attacks to win votes.
But an even more glaring sign of Times bias or incompetence is that the long article nowhere — nowhere — points out that Donald Trump may be moderating his hostility toward Iran, and seems open to at least considering going to the negotiating table. This is the last thing that Israel wants. For years, Tel Aviv has tried to induce the U.S. to attack Iran, and Netanyahu in 2015 made that infamous speech to the U.S. Congress to try and sabotage the Obama administration’s Iran deal.
In Lobelog, the distinguished researcher Sina Toossi did the Times’s work for it. His headline tells the story: “Israeli Strikes Seek to Bait Iran and Scuttle U.S.-Iran Diplomacy.” Toossi points out that “the timing of the Israeli strikes suggests that they are at least partly aimed” at stopping Trump from following up on the peace feelers that French President Emmanuel Macron put out at last weekend’s G7 meeting.
Maybe the Times doesn’t trust Sina Toossi. But what about yesterday’s editorial in Haaretz, the respected Israeli newspaper, which raised the same suspicions about Netanyahu’s true motivations? The paper said simply and clearly:
Now Netanyahu is confronting a change in direction in Trump’s policy, which is reflected in an attempt to arrange a meeting and reach an understanding with the Iranian leadership. . . These circumstances explain Netanyahu’s decision to escalate Israel’s military activity against Iran and its proteges in the region. . .
The Times propaganda article rattled on for 43 paragraphs without a single mention of Netanyahu’s incentive to sabotage the possible Trump-Iran detente. Again, is this deliberate bias — or just incompetence?