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September 15, 2016 3:32 pm

The New York Times Provokes With Coverage of Bibi Video

avatar by Ira Stoll

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

A New York Times dispatch about a US-Israel memorandum of understanding outlining a ten year, $38 billion military aid package includes this passage:

Just in recent days, the Obama administration publicly chastised the prime minister for a provocative video in which he accused Palestinian leaders of favoring “ethnic cleansing” by demanding a Jew-free Palestinian state through opposing Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Palestinians said he twisted reality.

It’s funny how the Times describes Mr. Netanyahu’s video as “provocative,” but not the Palestinian opposition to Jewish settlements. If anything is provocative, it’s the Times coverage of the video, which, rather than grappling in a straightforward manner with the questions the prime minister raised, instead turns it into a club with which to make yet another predictable attack on the Israeli leader.

An earlier Times news article about the video itself also describes it as provocative, and also doesn’t really address the totally legitimate question Mr. Netanyahu raises, which is why not only the Palestinian Arabs, but even the American State Department and European countries seem to take the public position that a Palestinian state must be Jew-free, and that Jews shouldn’t live in places, such as Judea and Samaria, where Jews have lived for thousands of years.

It’s a line of argument that leaves the Times so flummoxed that the newspaper doesn’t really know what to do about it other than harrumph over and over again about how provocative it is.

The Times article about the video concludes, “Some have also questioned whether Mr. Netanyahu’s predecessors should be considered guilty of ethnic cleansing. These include Israeli leaders such as Ariel Sharon, who destroyed all the settlements in Gaza in 2005, or Menachem Begin, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who evacuated the Sinai settlements as part of the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt.”

The “some have questioned” formulation is one that, as one at least prominent and credible New York Times reporter recently observed in another and arguably similar context, has been heavily criticized. And for some good reason. Who “questioned”? And do the questioners have any legitimate ground to stand on?

I’d argue that the job of the Times is to try to answer some of the questions, or at least report who is asking them, rather than to simply pass them along irresponsibly in the manner of, say: “Some have questioned whether Barack Obama was really born in the United States.”

In the case of Sharon and Begin, in both cases they were dealing with formidable international pressure and threats (more than threats, actually; deadly attacks) of violent extremism. Agree or disagree with the wisdom of their decisions, they were negotiating strategic retreats, not engaging in “ethnic cleansing.” The Times might ask why the PLO, Egypt, President Carter, and the George W. Bush administration wanted Sinai and Gaza to be empty of Israeli Jews. But it would rather, instead, accuse Netanyahu of being provocative.

Some have questioned whether this is Times “journalism” at its worst, or just the typical level of mediocre Israel-bashing that has come to characterize the newspaper.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • NYT Owner comes from “Jewish roots.” That often means ashamed of his ancestors and ready to be part of the goyim – with gusto.

  • Bernhardt Baume


  • Holy Shirt

    PROVOCATIVE is the Progressive Left’s latest code word for Jew-bashing and [oddly] Trump-bashing. Trump is Jewish? Call them on it, and they plead the First Amendment of a Constitution whose destruction is their reason to exist. NPR and its big-brother BBC are not-so-easily-dismissed, especially where Trump-bashing is concerned. Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c) (3) forbids political activity by tax-exempt entities. Tax-dodging is NOT a right granted by the Constitutional. Advocacy for or against candidates for public office are strictly forbidden. Chartered by Her Majesty the Queen of England, the political spin machine that is today’s BBC Whirled Service (with no FCC license to broadcast) has its tax-exempt U.S. co-conspirators carry out its all-day/all-night-long indoctrination. The White House punishes any and all administrators who enforce American law contrary to their political goals. Bi-partisan corruption is as destructively illegal as any other form of corruption. Like Bibi, the New World Order sees a Trump presidency as a direct threat. The idea scares the hell out of them!

  • Bibi claiming that the world’s objection to the colonialism of Israeli civilian settlement of the West Bank is ethnic cleansing, is similar to the joke about a man requesting clemency after murdering his parents, because he is an orphan.

    If Israeli right winger’s hands are clean, why do they not make the West Bank part of Israel and give all the residents citizenship ? The answer is obvious, and reveals the truth.

    • You are brilliant!! Lead the way to thinking that has substance.2 wrongs don’t make a right. I firmly support Jimmy Carter, one of our great humanitarians and former Presidents of the United States. He has stated many times on National tv and it can be seen on Youtube that Israel is an Apartied nation. I could point out many examples. They haven’t changed some mind yet but I’m confident that under Netanyahu we will see more of these changes. Such as a new task force to find BDS supporters and expel them from Israel along with any Arabs who say anything contrary to his party.

  • Jerry Ram

    Can one expect anything from the “times” other than anti-Semitism, anti-Israel, and anti-Zionism? After all, are they not going along with what sells?
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom, is is not putting it in a fruit salad. This is where the “times” have problems.

  • stevenl

    The more irrelevant the greater the RAGE and assaults! Poor NYT. I am going to cry!

    The US Adm and SD don’t know what cleansing means! Oy Vey! Not in their lexicon perhaps!

  • Carla

    The Times is a notorious bad newspaper.lrady for 30 years the most liberal, leftist newspaper of the States.
    Also, in articles about Trump the ‘journalism’ is more mental illness of hate than anything else..
    If only the jewish people living in the USA would finally ,finally stop voting for Democrats, then there may come an end to this filthy reporting as there would be less readers..stop your subscriptions and vote for anybody, but a democrat!