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Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Middle East Media Sampler: New York Times Bias Index December 2012 Part (II)

New York Times Op-Ed Index for December 2012 (continued)

I) Haggling Over Hagel - Shmuel Rosner - December 19, 2012

But it’s significant that on Israel, he’s largely been wrong. That he wasn’t willing to call terrorism “terrorism”; that he doesn’t know how to set priorities (Iran first, Palestinian statehood later); that one can’t tell if he supports taming Iran with sanctions —all these things rightly make him suspect to Israelis, as well as to many American defenders of Israel.

It's hard to believe that someone in the New York Times makes that case that Israeli opposition to Hagel is reasonable! I could do without some of Rosner's snark, but this is a welcome respite from the usual anti-Israel fare of the Opinion pages of the New York Times.

Current tally - Anti-Israel - 8 / Pro-Israel - 1

J) The Fading Mideast Peace Dream -Editorial - December 20, 2012

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is a weak leader who has squandered chances to negotiate peace. But he is the best partner Israel has, and Mr. Netanyahu’s belligerence, including the settlement activity, increases the stature of Hamas, Mr. Abbas’s violent rival.

It's interesting that the Times acknowledges that Abbas "has squandered chances to make peace." After all the paper hosted an op-ed by him in which he stated his intent to avoid negotiations. Do the editors of the Times have the self-awareness to acknowledge that they abetted Abbas's squandering?If Abbas is a weak leader what benefit is there to Israel to making material concessions to him?Usually what boosts Hamas's stature is its terror against Israel. To a large extent, Abbas feeds this with the PA's anti-Israel propaganda. The ADL has a good letter disputing the editorial. Kenneth Jacobson argues that Israel took the actions it did "...to impress upon Mr. Abbas that he cannot continue his anti-Israel, anti-peace behavior without paying a price."

Current tally - Anti-Israel - 9 / Pro-Israel - 1

K & L) Give Chuck a Chance -Thomas L. Friedman - December 25, 2012

I am certain that the vast majority of U.S. senators and policy makers quietly believe exactly what Hagel believes on Israel —that it is surrounded by more implacable enemies than ever and needs and deserves America’s backing. But, at the same time, this Israeli government is so spoiled and has shifted so far to the right that it makes no effort to take U.S. interests into account by slowing its self-isolating settlement adventure. And it’s going to get worse. Israel’s friends need to understand that the center-left in Israel is dying. The Israeli election in January will bring to power Israeli rightists who never spoke at your local Israel Bonds dinner. These are people who want to annex the West Bank. Bibi Netanyahu is a dove in this crowd. The only thing standing between Israel and national suicide any more is America and its willingness to tell Israel the truth. But most U.S. senators, policy makers and Jews prefer to stick their heads in the sand, because confronting Israel is so unpleasant and politically dangerous. Hagel at least cares enough about Israel to be an exception.

Don’t Let Pro-Israel Extremists Sink Chuck Hagel - James D. Besser -December 26, 2012

Today mainstream Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, are either silent about the mounting controversy or offering cautious support for those who want to kill Mr. Hagel’s nomination. They have been driven into silence and submission by a radical fringe that in no way represents the American Jewish mainstream.

Yikes, the extremists are taking over. In one case they intimidate Congress; in the other, mainstream Jewish organizations. Read Shmuel Rosner's column, which was cited above. Hagel's been wrong on Israel on multiple counts (and a number of other issues) and that's a reason to oppose him. Note that neither Friedman nor Besser raises alarms at the likes of Saree Makdisi and the mainstreaming of views like his.

Final tally - Anti-Israel - 11 / Pro-Israel - 1

Methdology: I searched the New York Times archives for all opinion articles mentioning the word "Israel" from December 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. Included are article that are substantially about Israel. Letter to the editor are not included in the count.

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