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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The New York Times presses all the anti-Israel buttons

The New York Times' full-blown anti-Israel obsession is on display for all to see in Tuesday's editions.
One dispiriting lesson from Chuck Hagel’s nomination for defense secretary is the extent to which the political space for discussing Israel forthrightly is shrinking. Republicans focused on Israel more than anything during his confirmation hearing, but they weren’t seeking to understand his views. All they cared about was bullying him into a rigid position on Israel policy. Enforcing that kind of orthodoxy is not in either America’s or Israel’s interest.
If Hagel had spoken against Britain or Canada and been called on the carpet for it at the hearing, would the Times have found grounds to object? Let's face it: No. And yes, he should have been (and likely will be if there is a second hearing) called on the carpet more for his views on nuclear disarmament and defense spending, but the most out-of-line quotes from Hagel involve Israel.
Brooklyn College is facing a similar trial for scheduling an event on Thursday night with two speakers who support an international boycott to force Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories. While this page has criticized Israeli settlements, we do not advocate a boycott. We do, however, strongly defend the decision by the college’s president, Karen Gould, to proceed with the event, despite withering criticism by opponents and threats by at least 10 City Council members to cut financing for the college. Such intimidation chills debate and makes a mockery of the ideals of academic freedom.
No one objected to having the speakers. What they objected to is the lack of balance. And they're right. But then, the Times would rush to object were Brooklyn College to invite, for example, Moshe Feiglin and Danny Danon to speak without inviting any representatives from the Left.
Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator, has repeatedly declared support for Israel and cited 12 years of pro-Israel votes in the Senate. But that didn’t matter to his opponents, who attacked him as insufficiently pro-Israel and refused to accept any deviation on any vote. 
Talk about setting up a straw man. Declarations of support for Israel in the past month don't vitiate a laundry list of refusals to support Israel in the Senate. And if Hagel is so pro-Israel, why has Iran endorsed him?

And then we have the Left's standard refrain:
The sad truth is that there is more honest discussion about American-Israeli policy in Israel than in this country. Too often in the United States, supporting Israel has come to mean meeting narrow ideological litmus tests. J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group that was formed as a counterpoint to conservative groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has argued for vibrant debate and said “criticism of Israeli policy does not threaten the health of the state of Israel.”
AIPAC is not conservative. It has supported every Israeli government since its inception. AIPAC is a mirror of the will of the citizens of Israel as expressed through their election votes. Israel is rapidly becoming a very conservative country (support for Yair Lapid in last month's election notwithstanding).

J Street is not pro-Israel and has no place in an Israeli domestic debate. For that matter, neither does the New York Times. How often does the Times write about the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus or Hezbullah's dominance in Lebanon as compared with  how often it whines about the 'poor Palestinians.'

Here's hoping the Times goes out of business real soon.

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