Media Analysis

Now that Israel has gone apartheid, Matti Friedman and the ‘NYT’ aim to make it Palestinians’ fault

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Matti Friedman, a contributing writer for the New York Times op-ed page, is back in print today putting forward propaganda about the country he moved to from Canada. Titled, “The One Thing No Israeli Wants to Discuss,” his column says that the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada are a “repressed memory” no one can talk about, but they transformed Israeli politics and when Netanyahu says he will keep “Israel an island of stability and safety,” he is playing his strongest card in the election campaign.

The repression:

As a psychiatrist might tell us, the deeper something is repressed, the more power it exerts…. This repression of memory has helped the Palestinian leadership pretend that none of it ever happened…

That repression explains everything: “Why are moderate Israelis afraid to pull out of the West Bank? Why has the once-dominant left become a meager parliamentary remnant?”

This is utter bullshit. People constantly talk about how the suicide bombings killed the Israeli left. It is one of those commonplaces that as soon as you engage this question you are told about. Hasbarists say it all the time. From Daniel Gordis’s book, “Saving Israel” (2009):

One of the things that is most amazing about Israeli life, particularly after the Palestinian Terror War of 2000, is that some very intelligent people remain unwilling to admit what is sadly undeniable: there is no peace to be had…

“Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor,” by Yossi Klein Halevi (2018), states at the outset that the “moment that changed Israeli society, and changed me” was when the “human bombs detonated in the early 2000s.”

The second intifada exhausted my capacity for outreach…

Worse, there is not one word in Friedman’s column about Palestinian deaths. That part of history really is repressed.

The attacks picked up in the mid-1990s, as Israel pursued a peace deal and ceded land, but the worst came between 2000 and 2004. Though other forms of violence persist, the last Israeli fatality in a Palestinian suicide bombing was in 2008.

B’Tselem says that about 6000 Palestinians died in the Second Intifada, and 1000 Israelis. Gershom Gorenberg gives the same total in his book, “The Unmaking of Israel.” Alan Dershowitz even acknowledges the vast difference in his book, “The Case for Israel.”

But Palestinian deaths go unmentioned in a column by an Israeli propagandist, and his editor– not surprisingly, Bari Weiss — does not call on him to put that fact into his column. This bias is so obvious it is insulting to anyone with any understanding of the conflict.

Now that Israel has gone full apartheid, the New York Times is determined to make it entirely the fault of Palestinians.

Comments are now allowed on the article. Most of the NYT picks are sympathetic to the Israelis and ignore the Palestinian deaths.

It really is like being back in the 19th century and listening to one-sided laments about (genuine) acts of Native American atrocities committed against white settlers. How stupid and racist do you have to be in the 21st century not to see the similarity?

PS. Last year Matti Friedman justified the slaughter of Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza, said that Israel was the victim, of a Palestinian-driven international news story, and suggested that Israel should have adopted an even more aggressive response to the demonstrators.


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Even if you want to talk about Israels ‘security’ in the narrowest terms what Friedman says is – to borrow a phrase from the article – utter bullshit. Consider the wall, which Friedman mentions in his article – Israeli economist Shir Hever quotes General Yair Golan: And, in fact, the wall, even though Israel calls it the security barrier officially, in a meeting in which I was present, the brigadier general Yair Golan, the former… Read more »

Although it is often said that Palestinian suicide bombings killed the Israeli left, I don’t believe it’s that simple. Both happened at the same time, but that does not prove cause and effect. The decline of the Israeli left set in long before the suicide bombings started, and went on after they stopped. I think the real reason for the decline of the Zionist left is that it has lost credibility. Young Jews who chose… Read more »

RE: Titled, “The One Thing No Israeli Wants to Discuss,” the column says that the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada changed Israel politically, but they are a “repressed memory” no one can talk about . . . ~ Weiss & Johnson SEE: “The Dogs of War: The Next Intifada”, By Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 9/03/11 [EXCERPT] . . . The second (“al-Aqsa”) intifada started after the breakdown of the 2000 Camp David conference and Ariel… Read more »

… Now that Israel has gone full apartheid, the New York Times is determined to make it entirely the fault of Palestinians. … The rapist may have kidnapped his victims, chained them in his basement and raped them but, dammit, those women failed to lie back and enjoy the ride so now pro-rapists are determined to make the kidnapping, the chaining and the raping entirely the fault of those victims. Who could argue with that… Read more »

Reading his article (and subsequent comments) at the New York Times was like reading only half of a Tale of Two Cities. It also reminded me of another tale, the End of Apartheid in South Africa, and exactly how different and far away the Israeli people are from making the right and hard decisions necessary for a peaceful, prosperous, and just end to Apartheid in Israel/Palestine. I grew up in Apartheid South Africa. I was… Read more »