New York Times op-ed index, January 2013
Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Sunday, February 3.
New York Times Op-Ed Index for January, 2013
A) Rape, Lies and Videotapes - Shmuel Rosner - January 2, 2013
Statistically, illegal immigrants account for far fewer rapes than
Israel’s legal residents. Yet statistics don’t mean much in the lead-up
to election day or in areas where immigrants are heavily concentrated.
There, those figures don’t do much for the locals, who feel scared in
their own neighborhoods, or the immigrants, who often live in inadequate
conditions and face discrimination from residents, or the local
authorities, who have to manage a problem their superiors seem
uninterested in solving.
I'm very uncomfortable with this, given the record of the New York Times. But unlike a news story last week which attempted - with no credible evidence
- to smear Israeli society with the "racist" label, Rosner limits his
criticism to a small number of politicians attempting to exploit
grievances. Because Rosner's criticism is limited and not general, I
won't rate this anti-Israel. But it isn't pro-Israel either. Neutral.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 0 / pro-Israel - 0
B) Nominations for Defense and the CIA - Editorial - January 7, 2013
Mr. Hagel’s independence and willingness to challenge Republican
orthodoxy on Iraq, sanctions on Iran and other issues — both in the
Senate and later as an administration adviser — have so alarmed neocons,
hard-line pro-Israel interest groups and some Republican senators that
they unleashed a dishonest campaign to pre-emptively bury the
nomination. It failed, but the confirmation process could be bruising.
The opponents are worried that Mr. Hagel will not be sufficiently in
lock step with the current Israeli government and cannot be counted on
to go to war against Iran over its nuclear program if it comes to that.
Despite the obnoxious language here, ("hard line pro-Israel" without a
comma, "lock step") I was prepared to give this editorial a pass. It
didn't appear to be about Israel. However, following Senator Hagel's
abysmal performance last week, the Times followed up with an editorial
faulting Senate Republicans for the disaster. The editorial even
acknowledged implicitly that Hagel was unprepared, but again used the
term "in lock step with the current Israeli government..." suggesting
that his disagreements with Israel are a major reason that the editors
at the Times support Hagel.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 1 / pro-Israel - 0
C) Israel's true friends - Roger Cohen - January 7, 2013
Five years on, that needed dialogue has scarcely advanced.
Self-styled “true friends” of Israel now lining up against the Hagel
nomination are in fact true friends only of the Israeli right that pays
no more than lip service to a two-state peace (when it even does that);
scoffs at Palestinian national aspirations and culture; dismisses the
significant West Bank reforms that have prepared Palestine for
statehood; continues with settlement construction on the very shrinking
land where a Palestinian state is envisaged (and was granted nonmember
observer status at the United Nations last November by 138 votes to 9
with 41 abstentions, including Germany); cannot find a valid Palestinian
interlocutor on the face of the earth despite the moderate reformist
leadership of Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad; ignores the grave
implications for Israel of its unsustainable, corrosive dominion over
another people and the question of how Israel can remain Jewish and
democratic without a two-state solution (it cannot); bays for war with
Iran despite the contrary opinions of many of Israel’s intelligence and
military leaders; and propels Israel into repetitive miniwars of dubious
The photograph accompanying this op-ed is a protest by Jewish Voice for
Peace, an extreme anti-Israel group. Was the picture included for the
sake of irony or out of naivete? I'm guessing the latter. Most of the
above paragraph is a poorly constructed run on sentence. As I've noted
previously, given the decrease in rocket fire from Gaza since Pillar of Defense,
shows that November's war against Hamas accomplished a very real goal.
There's nothing dubious about that. How is it that someone who
criticizes Israel for defending its citizens presumes to identify
Israel's true friends? That's what's dubious about Cohen's column.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 2 / pro-Israel - 0
D) Extreme Makeover, Israel - Shmuel Rosner - January 8, 2013
You can’t want to be seen both as a fun-loving, entrepreneurial
society and as a hardy frontiersman fighting for your survival. You
can’t be both a start-up nation and a place on the verge of
annihilation. But what if you are?
It's a generally sympathetic look at Israel. I could have done with a little less cynicism, though.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 2 / pro-Israel - 1
E) In defense of Hagel for Defense - Nicholas Kristof - January 9, 2013
It’s bullying and name-calling to denounce people as anti-Semitic
because they won’t embrace the policies of a far-right Israeli
government that regularly shoots itself in the foot. In a world in which
anti-Semitism actually does persist, this is devaluing the term so that
it becomes simply a glib right-wing insult. Maybe that’s why Jewish
Voice for Peace, a liberal American Jewish organization, has announced
that its supporters have sent 10,000 e-mails to President Obama in
support of Hagel’s nomination.
The Jewish Voice for Peace is not liberal and it's also not pro-Israel.
(Understand that JVP supports dialogue with Hamas - no doubt part of why
Hagel appeals to the group - and the Palestinian right of return, which would destroy Israel.)
Current tally - anti-Israel - 3 / pro-Israel - 1
F) Financial crisis in the West Bank - Editorial - January 10, 2013
There are many causes. After Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian
president, won an upgrade for the status of Palestine as a nonmember
observer state at the United Nations General Assembly last fall, Israel
retaliated by withholding the $100 million in monthly tax revenues it
collects on behalf of the Palestinians. Congress, meanwhile, has been
withholding more than $450 million in American aid. Last year, Mr.
Fayyad said he hoped to improve the authority’s financial condition by
cutting spending and raising taxes on wealthier Palestinians. The tax
plan ran into strong protest and the West Bank’s modest economic growth
Much as I want to classify this editorial as being anti-Israel, I'm not
sure that it is. It is certainly critical of Israel and unfairly so. It
absolves the Palestinian Authority of any responsibility for its
financial woes. But this editorial really isn't mostly about Israel.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 3 / pro-Israel - 1
G) President Morsi's repulsive comments - Editorial - January 15, 2013
The problem goes deeper than just Mr. Morsi, however. The remarks
were made at a time when anti-Israel sentiment was running high in Egypt
and the region after the three-week Gaza conflict in 2009 between
Israel and Hamas. The sad truth is that defaming Jews is an all too
standard feature of Egyptian, and Arab, discourse; Israelis are not
immune to responding in kind either.
There's a significant point here about defaming Jews. However it's
undermined by the false equivalence and even the degree to which the
editorial seeks to justify Morsi's comments (by attributing it to Cast
Current tally - anti-Israel - 3 / pro-Israel - 1
H) Reckless driving - Shmuel Rosner - January 15, 2013
But if Israel is riding a safety tide, it is riding it high, with
even better results than most other countries. Australia, Canada, the
United States, France and Japan were all ahead of it 10 years ago; now,
they are all behind.
By objective measures Israel has improved its road safety. No negativity. Wow.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 3 / pro-Israel - 2
I) The Blight of Return - Roger Cohen - January 17, 2013
When I was in Cairo recently, I saw a senior Western official who
meets regularly with President Morsi. She told me she has no doubt of
his belief in Israel’s right to exist and the urgent need for a
two-state peace. Power is responsibility; it can change people. The
United States should test Morsi by pressing him hard to forge
Palestinian unity in pragmatism. That would remove an Israeli excuse for
oppression that tramples on the Jewish state’s own best interests.
Oh, good! A "western official" told Cohen that Morsi is really a
pragmatist even as he asserts control over the military and the media!
And he insists that trusting Morsi to oversee a merger between Hamas and
Fatah would be "pragmatic." I keep on repeating that the occupation has
long been over. The only matter left is borders. If the Palestinian
wish to negotiate they will get their state. Cohen does Israel (not to
mention the cause of peace) no good by insisting that Israel must trust
extremists to reform or to buy into compromise when there's no
constituency for it in the Palestinian political sphere. Cohen is
correct that the Palestinians need to give up on the right of return.
It's a shame that he doesn't note that even the moderates are still insisting on it.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 4 / pro-Israel - 2
J) The Countersettlement - Raja Shehadeh - January 17, 2013
Then came the Oslo Accords, which divided the West Bank into Areas A,
B and C. The Palestinian Authority was given some jurisdiction over
Areas A and B; Area C, amounting to 60 percent of the West Bank [pdf],
was placed under exclusive Israeli control. This helped create the
impression among Israelis that settlers in Area C would be safe from
eviction because under any final agreement between Israel and the
Palestinians the zone would be fully annexed to Israel. Since the
beginning of the occupation, 120 settlements sanctioned by the Israeli
government and 99 unofficial outposts have been erected in the West
What Shehadeh doesn't mention is that portions of Gaza were Area C also, and those were all evacuated. Earlier he made a claim about "state lands" that is objectively designated as propaganda (scroll towards the end of the post). Please also read Barry Rubin's The Ultimate Settlements are not the problem article.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 5 / pro-Israel - 2
K) Bibi forever - Shmuel Rosner - January 21, 2013
The Israeli public also agrees with Netanyahu’s skepticism about
finding a negotiated settlement on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, about the
Palestinian peace process and about the long-term prospects of the Arab
Spring. Shelly Yacimovich of the Labor Party paid a price for trying to
bypass all this by focusing on social and economic issues. Her peers and
rivals of the center-left criticized her for abandoning a core issue of
the left: peace. And for many Israelis that position made her
irrelevant in the race. What’s the point of having a leader with no
clear agenda on the most urgent matters?
Rosner effectively argues that Netanyahu is mainstream. Is anyone else
at the New York Time paying attention? Roger Cohen in his latest, Israel's Mr. Normal, clearly isn't.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 5 / pro-Israel - 3
L) U.S. Inaction, Mideast Catacalysm? - Bernard Avishai and Sam Bahour - January 21, 2013
Second, the status quo is not a path to a one-state solution, but to
Bosnian-style ethnic cleansing, which could erupt as quickly as the Gaza
fighting did last year and spread to Israeli Arab cities. Right-wing
Israelis and Hamas leaders alike are pushing for a cataclysmic fight.
Mr. Abbas, whose Fatah party controls the West Bank, has renounced
violence, but without signs of a viable diplomatic path he cannot unify
his people to support new talks. If his government falls apart, or if
the more Palestinian territory is annexed (as right-wing Israelis want),
or if the standoff in Gaza leads to an Israeli ground invasion,
bloodshed and protests across the Arab world will be inevitable. Such
chaos might also provoke missiles from Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed
Shiite militant group based in Lebanon.
Abbas has, of course, avoided any "viable diplomatic path" in hope of
bringing international pressure on Israel to make concessions without
his having to concede anything in return. In the meantime his media and
schools delegitimize Israel and glorify terror. The idea that the status
quo is untenable is baseless fear mongering.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 6 / pro-Israel - 3
M) Break all the rules - Thomas Friedman - January 22, 2013
On Israel-Palestine, the secretary of state should publicly offer
President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority the following: the
U.S. would recognize the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank as the
independent State of Palestine on the provisional basis of the June 4,
1967, lines, support its full U.N. membership and send an ambassador to
Ramallah, on the condition that Palestinians accept the principle of
“two states for two peoples” — an Arab state and a Jewish state in line
with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 — and agree that permanent
borders, security and land swaps would be negotiated directly with
Israel. The status of the refugees would be negotiated between Israel
and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which represents all
Palestinians inside and outside of Palestine. Gaza, now a de facto
statelet, would be recognized as part of Palestine only when its
government recognizes Israel, renounces violence and rejoins the West
It's kind of remarkable that Friedman's analysis doesn't mention
"Hamas." Yes, there's implicit reference "de facto statelet," but I
think he's not mentioning Hamas explicitly because he knows how absurd
his argument is. Why should Israel make any further concessions -
political or territorial - when Hamas has not moderated and could still
very well gain power in the West Bank? Furthermore the very fact that
when Israel made the sort of concessions Friedman calls for, the result
in Gaza was to empower Hamas, which has been threatening southern Israel
Current tally - anti-Israel - 7 / pro-Israel - 3
N) Peace Process? Check the back burner - Mark Heller - January 23, 2013
Finally, nothing Obama does can be effective unless it fully
complements an equally visible redefinition by the Palestinian
president, Mahmoud Abbas, of the purpose of the process. For while Obama
may inject an element of urgency, only Abbas can dispel the sense of
pointlessness — by clearly communicating that positive movement will
culminate not just in Israeli concessions on territory but also in a
definitive termination of the conflict, the renunciation of any further
claims, and the peaceful coexistence of two states for two peoples.
There's a lot of sense in this article. Heller explains why Israel
doesn't feel urgency about the peace process (something that Thomas
Friedman occasionally) but explains that further progress is out of
Israel's hands (something Friedman never does.)
Current tally - anti-Israel - 7 / pro-Israel - 4
O) The Israeli Center Lives - Roger Cohen - January 23, 2013
Benjamin Netanyahu campaigned as the incarnation of a strong Israel,
square-jawed before the Western Wall. He emerged weakened and chastened.
The Israeli people delivered the one thing he believed an early
election would not produce: A comeuppance.
P) Israel's election - Editorial - January 23, 2013
The White House on Wednesday renewed its call for peace talks to
resume. This won’t mean much if President Obama is not ready to invest
political capital in a new diplomatic initiative. Unlike the bungled
effort in his first term, though, he needs to carefully prepare the
political ground, including making his first trip to Israel as president
and explaining to the Israeli people how any peace plan will enhance
Q) A better Bibi - Shmuel Rosner - January 28, 2013
As I was detailing last week, one can’t beat something with nothing,
and Netanyahu couldn’t be beat by rivals who are inexperienced or unable
to articulate an agenda that contrasts with his on the most serious
issues facing Israel. It is true, as many have noted, approvingly or
disapprovingly, that Israeli voters cast their ballots this time based
on domestic issues — another trend I had not anticipated.
Unlike Roger Cohen or the editors of the New York Times, Rosner
acknowledges that he got the Israeli election wrong in underestimating
the strength of Yair Lapid and domestic issues generally. Cohen and the
editors were more concerned with scoring points off of Bibi rather than
acknowledging their hysterical fear mongering about a "right wing"
Israel government. The discredited hysterics should have occasioned some
humility, but didn't. Of these three election reviews, only one can be
Current tally - anti-Israel - 9 / pro-Israel - 5
R) Sitting down with Amos Oz - Roger Cohen - January 28, 2013
At 73, Oz has been surprised often enough not to regard the worst as
inevitable, even if war has been Israel’s leitmotif since 1948. He asks
this question: “Who ever expected Churchill to dismantle the British
Empire, or De Gaulle to take France out of Algeria, or Sadat to come to
Jerusalem, or Begin to give back the whole of Sinai for peace, or
Gorbachev to undo the whole Soviet bloc?”
Boldness? Sounds like a Thomas Friedman line. Yes Begin gave up the
Sinai for peace. Now there are many who say even that wasn't enough.
Peres withdrew from most of the West Bank, Netanyahu from Hebron, Barak
retreated from southern Lebanon and Sharon withdrew from Gaza. Agree or
disagree with these actions, the question is did any of these "bold"
moves bring peace closer? The so called "Aqsa intifada," the
Israeli war with Hezbollah in 2006, Operations Cast Lead and Pillar of
Defense, followed each of these bold moves. When Cohen explains why none
of these bold moves brought peace closer, then he'll be in a position
to lecture Israel.
His message to the incoming Israeli government is clear: Peace is
impossible without boldness; nothing is beyond the capacity of an
open-ended, surprise-prone humanity.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 10 / pro-Israel - 5
S) Why Palestine should take Israel to court in the Hague - George Bisharat - January 29, 2013
The Palestinians’ first attempt to join the I.C.C. was thwarted last
April when the court’s chief prosecutor at the time, Luis Moreno-Ocampo,
declined the request on the grounds that Palestine was not a state.
That ambiguity has since diminished with the United Nations’ conferral
of nonmember state status on Palestine in November. Israel’s frantic
opposition to the elevation of Palestine’s status at the United Nations
was motivated precisely by the fear that it would soon lead to I.C.C.
jurisdiction over Palestinian claims of war crimes.
In response Elder of Ziyon quoted international law expert, Eugene Kontorovich as to why Bisharat's scenario is hogwash. Regardless of how fanciful Bisharat's scenario is, it's the continuation of a campaign announced by Mahmoud Abbas on the op-ed pages of the New York Times
in May, 2001. At that time Abbas said that he would international fora
to pressure Israel. Since then, the New York Time has lent its pages to
those who would abet this campaign all the while regretting that there was no movement on the peace process. The hypocrisy is mind boggling.
Current tally - anti-Israel - 11 / pro-Israel - 5
T) Israel ducks on human rights - Editorial - January 30, 2013
Human rights reviews are an important tool for judging all countries
by universal standards and nudging them to make positive changes. By
opting out, Israel shows not only an unwillingness to undergo the same
scrutiny as all other countries, but it deprives itself of an
opportunity to defend against abuse charges. The decision could also
undermine the entire review process by providing an excuse for states
with terrible human rights records — like North Korea, Iran and Zimbabwe
— to withdraw as well. It certainly will make it harder for Washington
to argue for reviews when an ally rejects the process.
The illogic of this editorial is stunning. Two paragraphs earlier the
editorial noted, "...Israel is the only country that is a standing item
on the agenda for the council’s biannual meetings." Acknowledging the
special treatment Israel gets from the despots who run the Human Rights
Council shows that Israel does get unfair scrutiny from the council; a
perfectly good reason to avoid the kangaroo court.
Final Total - anti-Israel - 12 / pro-Israel - 5 / neutral - 3
Methodology: I surveyed all opinion articles at the New York Times website from January 1 - 31, 2013.
I included articles that were substantially about Israel in the count,
but not letters to the editor. A bulk of the opinion was driven by the
Israeli election and the Hagel nomination.
Labels: Middle East Media Sampler, New York Times, Soccer Dad