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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Friday, May 11.
1) Yesterday's news

Yesterday, I mocked Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria, who were once reported to be President Obama's favorite Middle East experts. Apparently though, Friedman and Zakaria are being supplanted. Dylan Byers reports in Politico, Obama courts new foreign policy crowd:
Shortly after announcing his newfound support for the legalization of gay marriage yesterday, President Barack Obama walked into an off-the-record foreign policy meeting with nine editors and columnists to discuss Afghanistan, Israel, NATO and the forthcoming G8 Summit at Camp David, sources present at the meeting tell me.The nine: The New Yorker's David Remnick and Jane Mayer, Time Magazine's Joe Klein, Newsweek's Peter Beinart, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, The New York Times's Carla Robbins, The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib, The Los Angeles Times's Doyle McManus, and David Ignatius of the Washington Post.
While some of these writers -- most notably Ignatius, one of the most respected and influential columnists in Washington's foreign policy circles today -- are familiar faces at the White House, the group as a whole marks a notable shift away from the Tom Friedmans and the David Brooks toward younger voices and fresh perspectives.
Klein and Ignatius are in their 60's and older than Friedman, so it's hard to know what Byers means by "younger voices."

In Obama meets with left-wing critics of Israel to plot next moves, Adam Kredo gives the anti-Israel background of some of these reporters:
Liberal author Peter Beinart—who has compared Israel to the segregated South and advocates boycotting areas of the country that he deems “non-democratic”—is reported to have joined forces with several other Israel bashers, such as the New Yorker‘s David Remnick and Time magazine’s Joe Klein, for a powwow with the president. Left-wing activist Jane Mayer of the New Yorker also attended the meeting.
“The group is also notable for the inclusion of writers with radically different views on the Israel debate,” observed Politico’s Dylan Byers.
Remnick has described Israel as undemocratic and akin to Syria and Egypt, while Klein is known for penning a series of misleading articles chastising the Jewish state. He also has expressed sympathy for Iran, a country run by Holocaust-denying anti-Semites who are intent on developing a nuclear weapon.
(Also see Daled Amos, Jonathan Tobin and Israel Matzav)

Apparently with respect to President Obama seeking their wisdom, Friedman and Zakaria are yesterday's news.

2) Krauthammer vs. Zakaria

I don't know if he intended it as such, but today's Charles Krauthammer column comes across as a rebuttal to yesterday's sloppy column by Fareed Zakaria.

In Under Netanyahu, Israel is stronger than ever, Zakaria wrote:
While Iran does pose a threat, it has been systematically exaggerated over the past few years. Many serious Israeli leaders, including several senior members of its military and intelligence establishment, have spoken up about this in an unprecedented manner. Tamir Pardo of Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, has said that Iran is not an existential threat. Last month, Army Chief Benny Gantz described the Iranian regime as rational. Mossad’s Meir Dagan has said that an attack on Iran would be “stupid.” Kadima party head Shaul Mofaz, the new vice prime minister and a former army chief, has said that an Israeli attack on Iran would produce a regional war and accelerate Iran’s nuclear program. He argues that “the threat that Israel will become a binational state is far more serious than the Iranian nuclear issue.”
Aside from quoting a mistaken assertion at the end, Zakaria attempts to show that Netanyahu is all by himself when it comes to the threat from Iran. But as Krauthammer wrote in Echoes of '67: Israel unites:
So much for the recent media hype about some great domestic resistance to Netanyahu’s hard line on Iran. Two notable retired intelligence figures were widely covered here for coming out against him. Little noted was that one had been passed over by Netanyahu to be the head of Mossad, while the other had been fired by Netanyahu as Mossad chief (hence the job opening). For centrist Kadima (it pulled Israel out of Gaza) to join a Likud-led coalition whose defense minister is a former Labor prime minister (who once offered half of Jerusalem to Yasser Arafat) is the very definition of national unity — and refutes the popular “Israel is divided” meme. “Everyone is saying the same thing,” explained one Knesset member, “though there may be a difference of tone.”
3) Re-assigned

Yesterday I noted a couple of articles telling of the growing lawlessness in the Jenin area. Radi Asideh, the Palestinian Authority commander who blamed the problem on the unresponsiveness of the PA, has been re-assigned.
Asideh’s remarks angered the PA leadership, a Palestinian security source told The Jerusalem Post.
On Thursday, Asideh was informed of the decision to remove him from his job and appoint him commander of the Kalkilya area, the source said.
Asideh was replaced by Muhammad al-A’raj, who assumed his new job Thursday.

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