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Israeli fear that Netanyahu will start war to save his skin won’t make it into the ‘NYT’

Media Analysis
on 10 Comments

Here, yet again, is an article you can read in an Israeli newspaper that you will never see in the New York Times. 

The Haaretz headline tells it all: “Netanyahu should not be allowed to start a war with Iran to save himself.” The two authors note that Israel’s prime minister goes into his third election campaign in a year facing three criminal indictments, and 

The concern is that he could initiate a major armed conflict with Iran in the hope of convincing the Israeli electorate that there is no substitute for his leadership in spite of the costs to Israel of such a war.

What makes the article even more compelling is that its authors are hardly left-wing extremists. Shlomo Brom is a retired Brigadier General in Israel’s army, and Shimon Stein is a retired ambassador who is a senior fellow at the Institute for Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Meanwhile, what does today’s report in the New York Times say about the risk that Benjamin Netanyahu might start a war? Nothing. The long article by Isabel Kershner notes that Netanyahu just won a convincing victory in the primary within his Likud party, smashing challenger Gideon Saar by nearly three to one. The article’s tone is respectful, even admiring, as Kershner notes that the prime minister, “like a political phoenix, rose to fight another day.” Kershner devotes most of her report to handicapping Netanyahu’s chances in the electoral horse race (although she nowhere says that a central element of his strategy once again is sure to be stoking racism against the 20 percent of Israelis who are Palestinian).

And here’s another article that appeared in the Israeli press that the Times will never touch; the online +972 Magazine reports on the inspiring campaign within Israel to “expose Israel’s arms sales to the world’s most repressive regimes.” A brave human rights attorney named Eitay Mack and others have carried out a campaign over the past decade with the result that:

Israel’s arms industry has become a topic of public debate. Government officials and politicians, for the first time in a long time, are required to give answers.

The Times reporters in Israel, Isabel Kershner and the paper’s bureau chief, David Halbfinger, don’t even have to read Hebrew to follow these stories. Both Haaretz and +972 Magazine publish in English.

James North

James North is a Mondoweiss Editor-at-Large, and has reported from Africa, Latin America, and Asia for four decades. He lives in New York City.

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10 Responses

  1. just on December 28, 2019, 3:09 pm

    Thanks for doing the hard work and revealing the NYT for what it truly is… @%&!!! I fear that this racist and indicted PM will do anything to maintain power and rid himself of more and more Palestinians, Syrians, Iranians, and Lebanese…

    I do read elsewhere and this popped up on The Guardian a bit ago:

    “New York Times columnist accused of eugenics over piece on Jewish intelligence

    Bret Stephens faces backlash after suggesting that Ashkenazi Jews are smarter than other people

    The rightwing New York Times columnist Bret Stephens has sparked furious controversy online for a column praising Ashkenazi Jews for their scientific accomplishments, which critics say amounts to embracing eugenics.

    In a column titled The Secrets of Jewish Genius and using a picture of Albert Einstein, Stephens stepped in the eugenics minefield by claiming that Ashkenazi Jews are more intelligent than other people and think differently.

    Citing Sarah Bernhardt, Franz Kafka, Albert Einstein, Rosalind Franklin, Benjamin Disraeli and Karl Marx, Stephens asked: “How is it that a people who never amounted even to one-third of one per cent of the world’s population contributed so seminally to so many of its most pathbreaking ideas and innovations?”

    He answered: “The common answer is that Jews are, or tend to be, smart. When it comes to Ashkenazi Jews, it’s true … Ashkenazi Jews might have a marginal advantage over their gentile peers when it comes to thinking better. Where their advantage more often lies is in thinking different.”

    That prompted furious accusations that Stephens was using the same genetics arguments that informed Nazism and white supremacist thinking. …

    …Stephens is a regular target of liberals’ ire for other columns attacking climate change science, saying the activist group Black Lives Matter has “some thuggish elements” and for writing a piece about “the disease of the Arab mind”.”

    There’s more @

  2. JaapBo on December 28, 2019, 4:43 pm

    To be honest, I think it is far sought that Netanyahu would start a war with Iran.
    He’s always shown restraint when it comes to starting outright wars:
    – he likes the US to do the fighting,
    – he started the ground invasion in Gaza only at a real good opportunity: the MH-17 crash (although before that he did stoke the conflict seriously)
    – he likes special operations and small scale actions

  3. Misterioso on December 28, 2019, 6:50 pm


    Agreed!! Netanyahu has been doing his best to get the U.S. to attack Iran for years. Thankfully, to no avail.

    • just on December 29, 2019, 4:25 pm

      It worked! Check this out:

      “U.S. Strikes Iran-backed Militias in Iraq and Syria, Targeting Weapon Depots, Command and Control Centers

      Kataib Hezbollah is suspected of carrying out the attack on a U.S. military base in Kirkuk that killed an American civilian contractor on Friday

      The U.S. military has carried out “defensive strikes” in Iraq and Syria against the Kataib Hezbollah militia group, U.S. officials said on Sunday.

      The Pentagon said it targeted three locations of the Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslim militia group in Iraq and two in Syria. The locations included weapons storage facilities and command and control locations the group had used to plan and execute attacks on coalition forces.

      The United States had accused the group of the 30-plus rocket attack on Friday that killed the U.S. civilian contractor and injured four U.S. service members and two members of the Iraqi Security Forces near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

      “In response to repeated Kata’ib Hizbollah attacks on Iraqi bases that host Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) coalition forces, U.S. forces have conducted precision defensive strikes … that will degrade KH’s ability to conduct future attacks against OIR coalition forces” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in the statement. …

      Israeli Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz called the Pentagon’s announcement a “turning point in the regional response to Iran and its proxies” in a tweet Sunday night. He added, “If Iran fails to understand the power of the U.S., they will be making a big mistake.”

      Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iranian-backed forces for a series of attacks on bases in Iraq and warned Iran that any attacks by Tehran or proxies that harmed Americans or allies would be “answered with a decisive U.S. response.” …

      This week, Israeli military Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi emphasized Iran’s missile program and the increased military presence of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards in Syria. “Their self-assurance is growing,” noted Kochavi, predicting a clash in 2020. Israel’s red line, he clarified, includes Iraq.

      Kochavi also hinted at the inaction the United States in the face of Iranian strikes on oil installations and ships. “It would be better if we weren’t alone,” he remarked.”

      Happy New Year…

  4. Kay24 on December 28, 2019, 7:51 pm

    He has tried every trick in the book, including cartoon bombs, and dire warnings, saying that Iran was only a few months away from bombing the world, and let’s not forget that idiotic glare he gave the international community at the UN. A jackass who wants the US to once again use their blood and money to get yet another Muslim nation. He will now use Hamas as some excuse to perhaps even bomb Gaza, or promise more illegal settlements.
    By now his people should be wise to these tactics, but apparently they don’t care.

  5. lonely rico on December 29, 2019, 2:05 am


    By now his people should be wise to these tactics, but apparently they don’t care.

    Perhaps his people are, or tend to be, stupid?
    His people might be at a disadvantage compared to others when it comes to thinking better?
    Maybe there are some thuggish elements in their group, who (like Netanyahu) have diseased minds?

  6. Vera Gottlieb on December 29, 2019, 9:55 am

    I am sick and tired of hearing about Netanyahu. Sick and tired hearing about Trump. Sick and tired hearing about Johnson. The asses of evil.

    • Boomer on December 29, 2019, 1:59 pm

      re: “the asses of evil.”

      Great phrase. And useful in so many contexts, given the large number.

    • Misterioso on December 29, 2019, 3:12 pm

      @Vera Gottlieb

      “The asses of evil.”

      Love it!!!


  7. Rusty Pipes on December 30, 2019, 5:06 pm

    Probably not an attack on Lebanon, because Hezb has demonstrated that it will take a real toll the next time Israel attacks. More likely, Netanyahu will try to goad a response out of some group in Gaza as a pretext to attack Gaza. There’s nothing like watching a fireworks display from the Sderot hills to motivate Netanyahu’s base to turn out for him. As they test their latest weapons on a besieged population, they can count on the MSM ignoring that 2020 is just hours away, the deadline for when the UN has predicted Gaza will become unlivable.

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