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Sunday, June 08, 2014

New York Times empathizes with Netanyahu?

The New York Times published an editorial on Friday that caused the Times of Israel to think that the New York editorial board is somehow empathizing with Prime Minister Netanyahu. This is from the first link.
Mr. Netanyahu is correct that Hamas, the Iran-backed group that took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, is a violent, extremist organization committed to Israel’s destruction. Gaza militants regularly fire rockets into Israel; in 2012, Hamas fought an eight-day war with Israel.
It is also true that Fatah has renounced violence, recognized Israel and cooperated for years in administering the West Bank through the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Abbas has promised that the new government will abide by those principles, set out in 2006 by the United States and other major powers. To make it more palatable to Israel and the West, the new government, which is supposed to organize elections within six months, is composed of technocrats not affiliated with Hamas or other partisans.
Mr. Netanyahu has scoffed at that distinction — and some skepticism is warranted. While Hamas cannot simply be wished away, the United States and other countries that consider Hamas a terrorist group may find it impossible to continue aiding the Palestinians if Hamas plays a more pronounced role.
Many experts say that if there is ever to be an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, admittedly a distant dream at this point, the Palestinians must be united. But the United States has to be careful to somehow distinguish between its support for the new government and an endorsement of Hamas and its violent, hateful behavior. To have some hope of doing that, the United States and Europe must continue to insist that Mr. Abbas stick to his promises and not allow Hamas to get the upper hand.
The places I highlighted in bold don't sound like much (and they're not), but compared to past treatment of Netanyahu by the Times, they're a potentially huge change
The editorial marked a significant if temporary change from the paper’s often harshly critical tone of Netanyahu and his government.
In October, the paper criticized the prime minister’s “aggressive speech” at the UN General Assembly, saying he used “sarcasm and combative words” in an attempt to show that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is in truth a “smooth-talking charlatan… determined to continue building a nuclear weapons arsenal.”
The paper took Netanyahu and his allies in the US Congress to task for being “so blinded by distrust of Iran that they exaggerate the threat” and could prevent President Barack Obama from “taking advantage of new diplomatic openings and sabotage the best chance to establish a new relationship since the 1979 Iranian revolution.”
In his UN speech, Netanyahu quoted from, and derided, a New York Times editorial from 2005 that erroneously hailed the success of diplomacy in thwarting North Korea’s drive to the bomb. A year after that editorial was published, he pointed out, “North Korea exploded its first nuclear weapons device.”
In 2011, the paper invited Netanyahu to write an op-ed  – an invitation firmly rebuffed by his then adviser Ron Dermer, now the Israeli ambassador to the US.
In his rejection letter, Dermer accused the New York Times of failing to “heed the late Senator Moynihan’s admonition that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but that no one is entitled to their own facts.”
Dermer further said that the paper’s columnists consistently “distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace.”
Someone asleep at the wheel at the New York Times? I'm not ready to mark this change as anything other than temporary at least for now.

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