The New York Times’ Anti-Bibi Campaign

The New York Times is so consumed with everything that goes on in Israel that it actively ‘campaigned’, so to speak, against Israeli leader Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu in the run-up to Israeli elections. Even Paul Krugman, an economic affairs columnist, weighed in with an attack piece on Netanyahu a day before the election (“Israel’s Gilded Age”, March 16, 2015). Accusing Netanyahu of deflecting attention away from Israelis’ economic discontent,” Krugman expounded on what he declared was the “disturbing transformation in the country’s income distribution and society” under the Israeli leader’s helm.

But many Israelis put security concerns above economic ones, giving Bibi’s party the most support,and apparently leaving The New York Times editorial staff fuming.

The newspaper’s lead editorial following the election was a hysterical screed against Netanyahu. Under the headline, “An Israeli Election Turns Ugly,” the editorialist piled on the insults against the Israeli leader: Netanyahu was labelled “desperate,” “craven,” “duplicitous,” “subversive,” “inflammatory,” “outrageous,” “racist,” and more.

It is disturbingly evident that the news side of the newspaper does not differ much from its editorial pages. New York Times news coverage similarly appears to be aimed at influencing opinion against Bibi. An example in point is the front page news analysis that appeared in the wake of the elections, entitled “Deep Wounds and Lingering Questions After Israel’s Bitter Race.” Just like the above-mentioned editorial smearing Bibi (published in the same edition), the article hurled epithets, for example, “cynical” and “calculating,” at him, attributing the insults to unnamed “critics.” And readers were informed that Netanyahu conducted “a shrill campaign that raised questions about his ability to heal Israel’s internal wounds or better its standing in the world.”

In its zeal to denigrate the democratically elected Israeli leader, the article misinformed readers with the overstatement that Netanyahu “railed against Israeli Arabs because they had gone out to vote” and later in the story, that he “launched a tirade against Israel’s Arab citizens.”

In fact, Netanyahu did not direct a tirade against Israel’s Arab citizens. Nor did he rail against Arab citizens for voting. His was a rallying cry to his supporters to bring out the vote for his party and counteract what he saw as a foreign funded, bring-out-the-vote effort on behalf of those trying to topple him, namely Herzog’s party and the “Joint Arab List.” In one of his messages, he clarified that his problem was not with Israeli citizens–both Arabs and Jews– voting as they see fit..

But that part of Bibi’s quoted message was completely missing from the published news analysis. Nor did even the selected quotes from Bibi’s controversial comments appear on the front page (which noted only that he railed against Israel’s Arabs for going out to vote). The clear, but false, implication was that Prime Minister Netanyahu opposes voting rights for Arab citizens.

As it turns out, this news analysis was redacted to delete relevant passages of Bibi’s Facebook message.. Although some of these comments were posted online in the original article, they were deleted from the published version, presumably because they did not support the image the newspaper was trying to promote of an anti-democratic and racist Netanyahu lashing out Arab citizens for voting in the election.  

This is not the first time The New York Times has suppressed information that does not support the message it is trying to promote. When US Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Palestinian incitement for the brutal murder of Jews praying in a Jerusalem synagogue –“a pure result of incitement and of calls for days of rage” by the Palestinian Authority – and called on the “Palestinian leadership at every single level to condemn this in the most powerful terms,” New York Times editors deleted his comments from the published version of the article. These comments supported a narrative that The Times does its best to conceal, namely, that the Palestinian leadership and its incitement are major contributing factors to the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict.

The newspaper’s current editorial mission, as demonstrated both on the news and opinion pages, is to smear Israel’s prime minister in the harshest terms, and this is hindered by relaying any of Netanyahu’s mitigating comments.

But by overstatement and concealing inconvenient details, The New York Times, is cementing its growing reputation as the advocacy journal of record.

Read the entire column, including the deleted quotes at The Times of Israel by clicking here.

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