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Why Did The Times Publicize Romney And Netanyahu's Friendship?

Analysis: The New York Times editorial slant makes even seemingly favorable articles objects of suspicion.
By Amiel Ungar
First Publish: 4/9/2012, 10:12 PM

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney
Reuters

A famous story about the 19th century Austrian statesman Count Metternich - a balance of power virtuoso who inspired Henry Kissinger -relates that he was once informed of the demise of a leading European diplomat. "I wonder why he did it," mused Metternich in response.

That possibly apocryphal story illustrated the diplomatic grandmaster's penchant for analyzing every move on the European chessboard to the point of absurdity.

When one reads the story in the New York Times by Michael Barbaro about the warm relations between Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin that he says go back a long time, we may be forgiven a Metternich moment in asking "I wonder why  they published it?"

In more innocent times, publishing a definitely newsworthy article should have  evoked no more analysis than a diplomat's natural demise. These are, however, not innocent times; and many of us do not consider the New York Times to be an innocent.

The Times can hardly be considered friendly to Israel and particularly to the Likud government - so much so, that Prime Minister Netanyahu recently rejected the opportunity to submit an op-ed to the paper.

The editor of the New York Jewish Week, Gary Rosenblatt, who is definitely not a political conservative was struck by the flood of leaks designed to deter Israel from a unilateral strike against the Iranian nuclear program, writing "I do know that the mainstream press (and especially The New York Times) has had a steady drumbeat of reports these last few weeks characterizing Israel unfairly in the delicate diplomatic dance of Jerusalem, Washington and Tehran."

 It was the Times that furnished Peter Beinart with a pulpit for his article calling for a boycott of the Israeli settlements.

No sooner had Kadima elected Shaul Mofaz as its new leader, Mofaz received a welcome aboard puff piece in the New York Times where he proclaimed his willingness to surrender 100% of the territories liberated during the Six-Day War. Mofaz also used the article to portray himself as a person with a social conscience. (We will return to this point later).

Given this record, what is the New York Times doing publishing an article that would seem to help Mitt Romney amongt Jewish voters?

Jewish voters are most comfortable when a cordial relationship exists between an American president and an Israeli prime minister. On the basis of this article, they would have justification for believing that with Mitt Romney in the White House. relations would show a marked improvement over the chilly relationship between Barack Obama and Netanyahu.

Writing in The American Thinker. Leo Rennert, a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers believes that this is a takedown of both Romney and Netanyahu.

He notes that at the close of the article, Barbaro quotes former US ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, a true believer in Oslo who never concealed his disdain for Netanyahu, to the effect that Romney's excessive deference to Netanyahu "implies that Romney would subcontract Middle East policy to Israel (and) that of course, would be inappropriate."

Rennert believes that this is a subtle conspiracy theory designed to show Israel's excessive influence on the Romney campaign.

While it is refreshing to see that someone else is thinking like Metternich, I believe that the major thrust is directed against Netanyahu, rather than Romney.

Liberals are feeling very confident at the moment about Barack Obama's prospects against Mitt Romney and this optimism is currently backed by public opinion polls. The polls show Obama leading in the swing states and doing well among independents and women voters.

Obama, the "post-partisan president", is about to launch a very partisan attack against Romney, using the code words "Social Darwinism". Romney with his Bain Capital mentality cannot empathize with the plight of Middle America and the common man.

The Israeli prime minister is being set up as the alter ego of Mitt Romney. When Mitt Romney is repudiated in November, this repudiation will rub off on Binyamin Netanyahu - and that may be why the author mentions the incidental fact that Netanyahu's second wife once worked at Bain capital.

This also ties in neatly with the accurate portrayal of Shaul Mofaz, who clawed his way up from poverty and claims that his children cannot make ends meet.

If they are not making ends meet, perhaps they should approach papa, who in addition to his Knesset salary is drawing a most sizable IDF Chief of Staff pension and lives in the very upscale town of Kochav Yair.

This, however, would conflict with the narrative of the plutocrats, Romney and Netanyahu, versus the up from poverty politicians, Obama and Mofaz.