I closely follow the American coverage of the political crisis in Israel, in which Israeli generals have issued historic critiques of the government as fascistic and reminiscent of Nazi Germany, because some pro-Israeli American journalists have historically been less than honest when “reporting” news from that region. How are they going to do with Israel’s latest black eye?
The results haven’t been very encouraging so far. The New York Times has portrayed the crisis fatuously as a “changing of the guard.” Max Boot in Commentary tells us that the battle is “complex and interesting” and only shores up Israel’s reputation as the most moral army in the world. Bret Stephens is essentially a mouthpiece for Benjamin Netanyahu in the Wall Street Journal, saying that the military establishment should shut up and let the “people” rule. While Jeffrey Goldberg, the most important journalist on the subject, has had nothing to say, afraid to condemn Netanyahu too soon lest the Prime Minister demonstrates real staying power.
Reading these articles must be what it was like reading Pravda in the former Soviet Union: You just can’t believe a line. No matter what is going on, apparatchiks are going to spin it in the most positive way, and the reader knows that he or she will only learn the truth by finding samizdat, illegally-circulated reports. If not for Haaretz, the leading Israeli newspaper, no one in America would have any idea what is really going on in Israel.
Now here is the latest and surely the lamest effort of all: Eli Lake’s report on the crisis in Bloomberg, “Netanyahu loses his allies, but keeps his grip on power.” From start to finish this article has one goal: obfuscation about the depth of the crisis in Israel.
The article began with what seems to be an innocent statement.
For most elected leaders, the speech Moshe Ya’alon gave last week at the annual Herzliya conference in Israel would have been devastating. Here Ya’alon, the former defense minister, accused his onetime patron Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of deliberately scaring Israelis in order to stay in power.
Notice that Mr Lake refuses to share with the reader what Netanyahu was “scaring” them with. You need to read Haaretz. Because among the things Ya’alon is accusing Netanyahu of is cheapening the Holocaust to use it for political purposes and “Hitlerization” of regional disputes. Call me anti-semitic, but perhaps Eli Lake doesn’t want to call attention to the part Mr. Lake and other Netanyahu-firsters played in helping Netanyahu do some “scaring” here in the United States last year about the Iran nuclear program.
Some of this can be chalked up to egos.
Egos– not a fight over ideas and policy.
But Ya’alon’s remarks were particularly brutal. “Israel must remain being a Jewish, democratic state, and part of the family of peoples..”
Again, a misrepresentation. The “brutal” part of what Yaalon said– and former PM Ehud Barak, too — is deliberately left out of this article.
But Netanyahu is not like most Western leaders. His office issued a terse response, and the prime minister went on with the dreary work of running the world’s only Jewish state.
Poor Netanyahu, just trying to serve the Jewish people.
In this respect, Ya’alon’s defection is part of a larger pattern. Ehud Barak, the former Labor prime minister who joined Netanyahu’s coalition government (to the consternation of his own party) is now openly calling Netanyahu a fascist….
Ah, nothing to see here. It is all normal politics. And about all the fascism talk that some of his readers might have heard about elsewhere?
One [Netanyahu loyalist] told me… “This is Israel; they call you a fascist if the garbage isn’t picked up on time”.