The New York Times editorials are written by a board of journalists who adhere to an identical formula when penning columns about Israel. It consists of three tenets:
Pay lip service to Israel's right to defend itself.
Follow with "but" and devote the bulk of the column to condemning Israel's self-defensive actions, whatever they may be.
Ignore inconvenient facts, statistics, or anything else that may provide readers with a deeper understanding of or sympathy for Israel's actions.
So it really was not in the least bit surprising when the day after Israel launched a defensive military operation against Hamas terrorists and weapons facilities, that the newspaper's editorial used the same recipe to criticize Israel for what it called "one of the most ferocious assaults on Gaza since its invasion four years ago."
Never mind that the leader targeted in an Israeli airstrike, Ahmed Jabari, was the commander of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Disregard that he was involved in multiple terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, including a 1998 attack on a school bus that killed two children. Ignore the fact he commanded the operation in which Gilad Shalit was abducted and two other IDF soldiers killed. Forget that he ordered the launching of rockets into Israeli cities.
All the above facts went unmentioned. Instead, The New York Times described Jabari deceivingly as simply a "military commander."
Never mind that since the end of Israel's last military incursion and the beginning of its current operation in Gaza, the number of rockets launched into Israel had been steadily increasing to more than 650 fired during 2011 and more than 800 fired in 2012.
Those statistics were not cited. Instead, the newspaper deceptively insisted that Hamas "has mostly adhered to an informal cease-fire with Israel after the war there in the winter of 2008-09."
The column threw together a sundry list of unrelated and mostly irrelevant reasons for why Israel's operation was supposedly bad:
"It has provoked new waves of condemnation against Israel in Arab countries."
"It threatens to divert attention from what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly described as Israel's biggest security threat: Iran's nuclear program."
Israel's last operation "was widely condemned internationally" and "did not solve the problem."
"Mr. Netanyahu's decision to order the operation is connected to elections in January."
"There are other options available...Israel could have asked Egypt... to mediate a more permanent cease-fire."
Israel could have "avoid[ed] high-profile assassinations while attacking rocket-launching squads, empty training sites and weapons manufacturing plants."
These reasons cover up inconvenient truths that New York Times editorialists refuse to acknowledge that Israel's civilian population has been attacked increasingly from Gaza with the blessings, encouragement, urging and participation of Hamas, that Hamas has repeatedly made it clear that it does not believe in a permanent cease-fire, that attacking empty training sites has not deterred the Gazan terrorists before and conversely convinces them that they can continue to attack Israel with impunity.
The editorial's confused logic obliquely acknowledged that after Israel's last military operation in Gaza, Palestinians stopped firing rockets (albeit temporarily) and that Israel does have the right to self-defense, but at the same time insisted that Prime Minister Netanyahu should refrain from anything that might provoke Arab anger or criticism (which, of course, means any sort of operation whatsoever). It suggested that Israel should have limited itself to attacking rocket-launching squads and weapons manufacturing plants but refused to acknowledge that these squads and plants are deliberately located by Hamas in populous areas and that such actions by Israel are the very ones that provoke condemnation, including by the newspaper editorial itself.
With all its evasions about the situation and its unrealistic demands for restraint on Israel's part, the editorial belied its statement that Israel has the right to defend itself. Indeed, it makes clear just one thing that no matter what the reality is, in the eyes of The New York Times editorial board, Israel will always be at fault.