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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 Solny

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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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  • Lynne T

    Chait is certainly not a “no-talent illiterate hack”. He recently gave Obama’s spokesthingies a very hard time over the “just a bunch of folks in a deli” debacle, but his comparison of Netanyahu to Arafat here does stink. What Netanyahu said was taken wildly out of context, both about the emergence of a Palestinian state within the next few years and about the unprecented efforts of the Zionist Camp to assist the Arab List vote get out to reduce a Likud pluralisty by a media pack that smelled blood.

  • Ephraim

    Unfortunately, the charge that the US and Israel may reach a day of reckoning may be all too true, G-d forbid. Obama has abandoned any pretense of not hating Israel, and has given himself permission to destroy Israel if possible. The sad thing is that the Democratic Party seems bound and determined to continue to prostrate itself to our bigot-in-chief’s infamy. It has now decided that Jew hatred is more important than US national interest, including Jewish members. It is a sad day for the Democratic Party, with which I identified all of my life. To them, worshiping Obama is more important than any other concept, including the safety of the United States.

    G-d help us!

  • Francis Figliola

    This is the perfect example and reason I cancelled my subscription to the NY Times! They have an obnoxious agenda that shows itself in their news slant. They are advocates, not just purveyors of news.

  • duPont

    There is no accounting for uninformed opinions from those with obvious intellectual disabilities. Unfortunately I also think there are strong biases at work in his writings as well. New York Magazine should really clean house and look for more informed, intelligent and unbiased writers.

  • Yes, it may be shocking to read two contradictory statements from P.M. Netanyahu within the same week. HOWEVER, CONSIDER THIS: Israel needs US support, especially in the corrupt UN against illegal moves by the Palestinian Authority, but US Pres. Obama, in irresponsible and outrageous behavior and not serving the US’ best interests by a long shot, insults a foreign Prime Minister in various truly despicable ways, and has the gall to interfere in a foreign nation’s popular election. In addition, in mindless fashion he insists on promoting the failed two-state “Solution,” which is no solution at all, because neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians want it. That is why it has not succeeded during the more than twenty years US administrations stubbornly and mindlessly tried to push it down these two peoples’ throats. This is what Netanyahu is up against!
    But despite his apparent contradictory statements, to compare this outstanding, courageous statesman, who has the trust of his people, erudite author of books, holder of the Medal of Distinguished Service in Israel’s Defense Forces, (more than Obama can claim who never served in the US military) to the notoriously two-faced terrorist Arafat who lied about everything, including his birthplace!! is shameful, dispicable!!

  • Wm. J. Levy

    Who cares about New York Magazine?

    Liberal Jews are responsible for Obama’s hatred of Bibi and Israel because they support him and his Community Organizer ideas.

    How could Jews have voted for a man who attended an anti-Isral, anti-Jew church for 20 years. Was Valerie Jaret also a member?

    We are in a lot of trouble because of the worst president in the history of the U>S.


    Unfortunately Jonathan Chait gets his prominence from outlets like Charlie Rose, PBS, Bloomberg news, etc.

  • I prefer a true comparison of Obama and Mohammed!Both maniacs want Hegemony on their terms while little,much older,spiritually powerful Israel desires to be left in peace!

  • Pearl

    Another self hater hating Jews. Gee, what a surprise!

  • Bullfrog Europe

    If the world wants a Palestinian state, it must first stop funding Palestinian terror groups and secondly, insist they recognise Israel. The same goes for Iran. Then, and only then can serious dialogue begin.

  • Fred

    Chait a new policy maker ??????

  • art

    Well folks it is OPEN SEASON ON JEWS. For those of you who continue to back Obama just remember eventually they gassed the kapos

  • Henry Chmielnicki

    Jonathan Chait is the main reason I stopped my subscription to New York Magazine. He truly is a “no-talent illiterate hack” who sees the world exclusively through the lens of the blind extreme left ideology.

  • Outrageous is a short adjective to place that comparison of Netanyahu with Arafat. It is a complete demonstration of a lack of history and survival of a jewish nation.

  • steven L

    J Chait is a blissful imbecile and a biased ignorant. He must be a J St fanatic.
    Once Obama goes, the like of Chait and J St will disappear too.


    all this pressure is coming from the antisemitic white house

  • According to Mr. Chait, “Liberals have a deep (and, in my opinion, correct) attachment to Israel’s founding ideals as a democratic haven for the Jewish people.”

    Bernard Baruch was correct about writers like Mr. Chait, “Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”

  • to be politically chic ( not politically correct ) is today to be anti Israel and Netanyahu is surely helping !
    New York Magazine is comuflging antisemitism with this article
    Shameful !

  • RobiMac

    I wouldn’t expect anything less from the liberal jackass media/magazines.

    I wonder, who chose the ass sigil for the liberals?
    There was never any greater fit.

  • Chair wishes he could have worked for Der Sturmer…

  • Yale

    What’s really going on here is the Left is using its perch in the media to vent its anger that the Israeli vote demonstrates that the Left’s understanding of the region and the conflict is simply wrong. Since the Left regards itself as more intelligent, better informed, and wiser than people in the center, never mind on the right, being confronted with evidence that they just don’t know what they’re talking and writing about attacks their self-image and that enrages them.

  • Mayven