Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: NY Times Supports Demilitarization, But Not in Gaza

Demilitarize everything everywhere, just not when it comes to Hamas.
Published: Monday, August 04, 2014 4:55 AM


You can tell Israel's demand for disarming Hamas is gaining traction when the editors at the New York Times stoop to using a headline that has almost nothing to do with the story underneath, in order to pour cold water on Israel's position.

"Quest for Demilitarization of Gaza Is Seen Getting Netanyahu Only So Far," the headline on a long July 31 news article announced. The only problem was that the article, by the Times's chief Jerusalem correspondent, Jodi Rudoren, barely even mentioned the demilitarization issue.

Except, ironically, in her lead paragraph, where she reported that "there is growing momentum around a new formula, 'reconstruction for demilitarization'."

After that opening paragraph, however, Rudoren set off on her theme: that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should stop focusing so much on stopping terrorists, and should instead "shift positions on the larger Palestinian question." In plain English, he should stop quibbling about tunnels and just let them set up a state in Israel's back yard already.

Rudoren proceeded to trot out various "analysts" and "experts" who just happened to agree with her argument. But only one of them, Nathan Thrall of the George Soros-funded International Crisis Group, mentioned the issue of disarming Hamas. He said the Israeli government's demand for demilitarizing Gaza is not feasible, and Israel is raising it just as "a card in order to limit the amount of concessions" that it has to make to Hamas.

Near the end of her article, Rudoren, threw in a couple of token alternative viewpoints, including that of Netanyahu adviser Ambassador Dore Gold. He pointed to the United Nations Security Council resolution demanding that Saddam Hussein give up his weapons of mass destruction, and the current international effort to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons. But Gold's remark was buried in the 18th paragraph of the 20-paragraph story. 

Most important, the headline that Rudoren's editors wrote reflected Nathan Thrall's viewpoint, not Dore Gold's.

The frustration of the Times's editors is understandable. In recent days, Israel's calls for demilitarization have attracted powerful adherents.

On July 15, Tony Blair --Middle East envoy of the Quartet and former prime minister of Britain-- said that action must be taken to remove Hamas's "military infrastructure."

On July 22, the European Union declared: "All terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm." 

On July 24, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a resolution calling on the Obama administration to make the disarming of Hamas a central part of any cease-fire proposal.

Also on July 24 and again on July 30, the Times's arch-rival, the Washington Post, published lead (unsigned) editorials calling for "the disarmament of Hamas." The Post specifically challenged the Obama administration's preference for putting off demilitarization until some far-off day. The Post proposed that any economic aid to Gaza be linked to Hamas surrendering its missiles.

Traditionally, the New York Times has always been on the side of international disarmament. Even when doing so would have given the Soviet Union military advantages over the United States, the Times could be counted on to hail the glories of demilitarization. But when it comes to choosing between demilitarization and championing the Palestinian cause, well, demilitarization has to give way.

And so the editors at the Times are left flailing their arms in frustration, watching world leaders and prominent newspapers endorsing Israel’s call for the demilitarization of Gaza, while all the Times can do is run misleading headlines and hope to fool those who aren't paying close attention.

Another lesson of the Gaza war: Ignore the New York Times and disarm Hamas. That is the real way to peace.

[Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn are members of the board of the Religious Zionists of America. This article is part of a series, but Arutz Sheva is unable to post them all. To view previous installments, please visit http://www.phillyreligiouszionists.org/lessons-from-the-gaza-war/.]