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Bibi Rejects the New York Times

Bibi Rejects the New York Times

Why Netanyahu refuses to publish an op-ed in the so-called “newspaper of record.”


Ron Dermer is a senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The following letter was written to the editorial board of the New York Times.

I received your email requesting that Prime Minister Netanyahu submit an op-ed to the New York Times. Unfortunately, we must respectfully decline.

On matters relating to Israel, the op-ed page of the "paper of record" has failed 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.

A case in point was your decision last May to publish the following bit of historical revision by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas:

It is important to note that the last time the question of Palestinian statehood took center stage at the General Assembly, the question posed to the international community was whether our homeland should be partitioned into two states. In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative. Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued.

This paragraph effectively turns on its head an event within living memory in which the Palestinians rejected the UN partition plan accepted by the Jews and then joined five Arab states in launching a war to annihilate the embryonic Jewish state. It should not have made it past the most rudimentary fact-checking.

The Times consistently ignores the steps Israel has taken to advance peace.

The opinions of some of your regular columnists regarding Israel are well known. They consistently distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace. They cavalierly defame our country by suggesting that marginal phenomena condemned by Prime Minister Netanyahu and virtually every Israeli official somehow reflects government policy or Israeli society as a whole. Worse, one columnist even stooped to suggesting that the strong expressions of support for Prime Minister Netanyahu during his speech this year to Congress was "bought and paid for by the Israel lobby" rather than a reflection of the broad support for Israel among the American people.

Yet instead of trying to balance these views with a different opinion, it would seem as if the surest way to get an op-ed published in the New York Times these days, no matter how obscure the writer or the viewpoint, is to attack Israel.

Even so, the recent piece on "Pinkwashing," in which Israel is vilified for having the temerity to champion its record on gay-rights, set a new bar that will be hard for you to lower in the future.

Not to be accused of cherry-picking to prove a point, I discovered that during the last three months (September through November) you published 20 op-eds about Israel in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. After dividing the op-eds into two categories, "positive" and "negative," with "negative" meaning an attack against the State of Israel or the policies of its democratically elected government, I found that 19 out of 20 columns were "negative."

The only "positive" piece was penned by Richard Goldstone (of the infamous Goldstone Report), in which he defended Israel against the slanderous charge of Apartheid.

Yet your decision to publish that op-ed came a few months after your paper reportedly rejected Goldstone's previous submission. In that earlier piece, which was ultimately published in the Washington Post, the man who was quoted the world over for alleging that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza, fundamentally changed his position. According to the New York Times op-ed page, that was apparently news unfit to print.

Your refusal to publish "positive" pieces about Israel apparently does not stem from a shortage of supply. It was brought to my attention that the Majority Leader and Minority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives jointly submitted an op-ed to your paper in September opposing the Palestinian action at the United Nations and supporting the call of both Israel and the Obama administration for direct negotiations without preconditions. In an age of intense partisanship, one would have thought that strong bipartisan support for Israel on such a timely issue would have made your cut.

So with all due respect to your prestigious paper, you will forgive us for declining your offer. We wouldn't want to be seen as "Bibiwashing" the op-ed page of the New York Times.

Do you agree with Bibi's decision? Let us know in the comment section below.

December 18, 2011

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 143

(136) Anonymous, July 16, 2015 4:26 PM

The New York Times wanted to honor Netanyahu and

give him a chance to explain his views. Who was honoring whom? Who was dishonoring whom? Netanyahu and Israel's loss...

(135) ARTH, July 16, 2015 4:15 PM

What does not presenting one's position in the most

prestigious editorial page of the world accomplish and how does that advance the interests of Israel and/or Netanyahu's agenda? Would someone care to explain? He had a change to explain his views and he threw it away.....

(134) Anonymous, August 4, 2014 7:35 PM

read the free every day in whole or part on the net

The times supposedly limits the number of articles you can read on its website and, supposedly, requires you to subscribe if unlimited viewing is desired. I regularly delete all cookies from my browser. Once the times’ cookies are deleted, you can once again read the maximum number of article. if you delete cookies often enough, you can read the entire paper every day of the year. Why pay for garbage, when you can wrap your fish in as much garbage as you wish for free. Of course, you do have to pay for blank paper.

(133) Anonymous, August 9, 2013 11:32 AM

This makes me proud

Thank you so much for sharing this awsome letter to NY Times. It makes me proud of the leader of Israel

(132) Ellis Bradin, August 7, 2013 7:09 PM

I completely agree with Bibi. Israeli blood is cheap and there are always those who will continue to attack us.

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