November 22, 2014

Middle East Media Sampler for September 2, 2012


New York Times Op-Ed Index for August 2012

 

A) Egypt’s Sinai Problem - Editorial – August 7, 2012

To substantially beef up military assets in the region, the government may have to modify its treaty with Israel. Meanwhile, Mr. Morsi has been confronted with the anger of Egyptians who consider him and the Brotherhood sympathetic to the soldiers’ killers, in part because he has made overtures to Gaza’s Hamas leaders. Protesters forced Mr. Morsi to drop plans to attend funerals for the soldiers on Tuesday.

and President Morsi’s First Crisis - Editorial – August 10, 2012

If Palestinian militants from Gaza were responsible for the attack, it would be a particular affront to Mr. Morsi, an Islamist. His party, the Muslim Brotherhood, is allied with Hamas, which rules Gaza, and he has made a special effort to work with leaders there. This relationship also makes his decision to shut down the tunnels used to smuggle food, household goods, weapons and militants themselves between the Sinai and Gaza, which is under Israeli blockade, so sensitive.

Though these are two separate editorials, they cover the same events. It is true that they are not primarily about Israel, but they very much address the relationship between Egypt and Israel. The casual suggestion in the first of these, that Egypt modify its treaty with Israel is shocking, in that if Israel were to do something comparable, the editors of the New York Times would be expressing outrage, not sympathy.

 

In the second editorial after referring to the Israeli blockade of Gaza, the editorial asserts that Israel “views” the smuggling tunnels into Gaza as a threat. By acknowledging that Hamas uses the tunnels to smuggle in weapons and terrorists, the Times acknowledges the threat, but still presents it as an Israeli “view.”

 

Taken together these editorials seriously underplay the threats to Israel and seem more concerned about Morsi’s ability to work well with Hamas.

 

Current scores – Anti-Israel – 1 / Pro-Israel – 0


B) Israel and Iran – Editorial – August 13, 2012

It is impossible to know what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning or why he has ignored American entreaties to give diplomacy a reasonable chance. There is, however, persistent speculation in Israel that Mr. Netanyahu wants to attack in the coming weeks in the belief that President Obama will be forced to support the decision because of his political needs in his re-election campaign. Such a move would be outrageously cynical.

This has been a long running theme on the opinion pages of the New York Times: regarding Iran, Israel is a burden on the strategic interests of the United States. (Amos Yadlin’s Israel’s last chance to Strike Iran is one of the few exceptions to this theme.) There is plenty of speculation in this editorial, but little in terms of facts. Of course, it would be “outrageously cynical” if Netanyahu’s sole calculation for the timing of an attack on Iran on the American election. It’s outrageously cynical of the New York Times to accuse Israel’s Prime Minister of being so shallow.

 

Current scores – Anti-Israel – 2 / Pro-Israel – 0


C) Iran’s nuclear quest - Editorial – August 16, 2012

Washington’s caution is well-placed, especially when set against the overheated statements of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, that time is running out. He has never warmed to the idea of negotiations between Iran and the United States and other major powers. The speculation now is that he is escalating his warnings before the United States election in a cynical gambit to get President Obama’s agreement to act against Iran soon.

Despite terming the latest revelations about Iran’s nuclear progress “unsettling” the editors claim that it’s “sensible” to maintain diplomatic pressure on Iran and not consider stronger action. Netanyahu’s argument is that negotiations haven’t worked; which would be a good reason for him not to “warm” to negotiations. Again this editorial is part of a campaign to portray Israeli fears and reactions to Iran’s nuclear threat as unwarranted and counterproductive.

 

August’s totals – Anti-Israel 3 / Pro-Israel – 0


Methodology: I searched for all opinion articles in the New York Times from August 1 – 31, 2012, using the ProQuest database. (The New York Times is currently re-indexing its archives so I can’t get the necessary results from the paper’s website.) I surveyed these opinion articles and assessed the ones that were substantially about Israel. The impetus for this research was Clark Hoyt’s The Danger of the One sided debate from 2007, in which he defended publishing an op-ed by a Hamas spokesman as necessary for balance.

About Daniel Goldstein

Daniel Goldstein is a media critic and recovering blogger. He has been critiquing media bias against Israel since his first letter to the editor in 1987.