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March 20, 2015 4:26 pm

Major Jewish Groups Condemn New York Magazine Comparison of Netanyahu to Arafat

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was called "Israel's Arafat" in an article published by New York Magazine. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Major Jewish groups expressed outrage on Thursday over a comparison between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Palestinian leader and arch-terrorist Yassar Arafat that was printed in New York Magazine.

“It’s outrageous,” Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told The Algemeiner. “To compare a democratically reelected prime minister of Israel to a terrorist; to a murderer. It’s outrageous. It’s just outrageous.”

The New York Magazine article, which was published on Thursday, focuses on US-Israel relations and how a change in the alliance “may be inevitable” following Tuesday general election win by Netanyahu’s Likud party. The piece cited Netanyahu’s now famous pre-election assertion that the implementation of the “two-state solution” is not practical at this time, though he later told NBC News, “I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution.”

New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait charged that with such a move, “Netanyahu is reprising tactics employed for years by Yasser Arafat, who would issue maximal demands in Arabic and follow them with conciliatory remarks to the foreign press.”

Chait added: “Netanyahu may be best understood as Israel’s Arafat — a master of nationalist politics, yet also disastrously lacking any strategic vision, and able to survive only at the deep and possibly fatal cost to his own people’s long-term aspirations.”

Likening the Israeli prime minister to the former chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is “way off the mark” and “nonsensical,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algeimeiner. “For starters, Arafat was a terrorist and Bibi Netanyahu spent his early adult life fighting, combating and literally, physically overcoming terrorists. Number two, obviously the author is very disappointed by the outcome of the democratic election process in the Jewish state.”

“There are people and publications that I guess had already written Bibi Netanyahu’s political obituary and are upset that they couldn’t use their brilliantly crafted essays,” he added. “Really, the election has spoken.”

Chait insisted in his article that US-Israel policy, “which for decades has born almost no meaningful differences between the parties, is destined to cleave along two tracks” following Netanyahu’s triumph in the elections. The diplomatic relationship between the two countries will “face a day of reckoning,” he claimed. However, Foxman said Chait has a “jaundiced, biased, prejudiced view” of the situation.

“It’s wishful thinking on the part of the author. [The] projection of worsening US-Israel relations,” Foxman told The Algemeiner. “I think that US-Israel can only get better from here on in. He’s hoping it to get worse.”

Chait previously attacked the Jewish state in a 2014 article headlined, “Israel is Making it Hard to be Pro-Israel” and pro-Israel business tycoon Donald Trump once called Chait a “no-talent illiterate hack.”

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