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Pro-Obama Media at War with Government over Iran

Liberal journalists in full frontal assault on government, hoping to prevent preventive Iran strike.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/13/2012, 12:30 PM

Israeli press
Israeli press
Flash 90

Israeli journalists who support U.S. President Barack Obama are waging a full-scale war against the government of Binyamin Netanyahu as Israel prepares to launch a preventive strike against Iran's nuclear Holocaust program.

"I have been a journalist since 1957," said veteran writer Shlomo Nakdimon on Galei YIsrael Radio Monday morning, "and a reigning government has never been attacked this way." He accused the press of damaging the government's ability to rule.

The accusation follows weeks in which Israel's second-largest daily, Yediot Aharonot – which also publishes the Ynet website – and both of the commercial television stations, Channel 2 and 10, have been pummeling the Netanyahu government over its military plans.

Yediot Aharonot contended in its Friday issue that the plan to strike Iran is opposed by every single senior official in Israel defense establishment. Its writers – and the analysts on Channel 2 and 10 – portray Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak as men who are driven by "messianic" thinking to act against the advice of the entire security establishment, both present and past.

On the previous Friday, Yediot quoted unnamed sources in the Obama administration as saying that Saudi Arabia would shoot down Israeli jets en route to an Iran attack. Other "spins" launched by the newspaper recently are that the U.S. has presented to Israel detailed plans for its own Iran strike, which is supposed to take place in 2013, and that a strike on Iran would help get Obama reelected rather than hinder his reelection.

Naftali Bennet, who is running for the top spot in the Jewish Home party, wrote in a Facebook post Monday: "The press has fallen on its head – national strength is required!"

"This is the first time in the history of the state of Israel that an orchestrated and thorough campaign is being waged against the right of the state of Israel to defend itself – and this is being done from the inside," he wrote.

"A day does not go by without a headline that says: 'Israel is not ready for war'; 'Netanyahu will lead us to a disaster'; 'the home front is unprepared', and more – all in order to frighten the Israeli public into opposing Israeli  measures against Iran's nuclearization…

"Friends, they are trying to portray Netanyahu as messianic, delusional, crazy, irresponsible. Based on personal acquaintance with him, let me state clearly: Netanyahu is taking care of the future of the nation of Israel in its land, responsibly.

"What do they think? That Netanyahu wants to send people to their deaths? That he yearns for missiles to fly into Tel Aviv? That I and people like me are excited about wearing uniforms again, saying goodbye to our families and fighting again?"

In the News1 website, founded by independent investigative journalist Yoav Yitzchak, pundit Itamar Levin has penned two articles attacking Yediot and Ynet as "traitors" and "liars," no less. Levin says Yediot reported that Barak held a meeting with the Mossad's senior leaders in an attempt to convince them of the necessity of a strike on Iran, but failed to win them over. It later turned out that the meeting took place three years ago, but no apology or clarification was issued, Levin wrote.

Levin accused Yediot of endangering Israeli pilots by publishing the dates for a planned attack and the possible routes to be used by IAF jets. He explained that Yediot is motivated by commercial considerations, as it is fighting for its life in the face of the growing popularity of Israel Hayom – the competing newspaper owned by pro-Netanyahu Sheldon Adelson.