Save for a single columnist — Bret Stephens — the New York Times has no one on its staff, among its hundreds of reporters, columnists, and op/ed contributors, who could be described as willing to give Israel a fair shake. More on this grotesque imbalance in the coverage by the New York Times of the State of Israel and those who would destroy it can be found in a piece here: “Another Jewish ‘Timesman’ Doesn’t Let Facts Affect His Opinion,” by Mitchell Bard, Algemeiner, February 2, 2024:
I’m beginning to think that The New York Times must have a diversity, equity and inclusion policy that allowed the hiring of Bret Stephens as its token Jewish journalist without an anti-Israel agenda. It’s hard to otherwise explain how he got a column when you read the rest of the op-ed writers and reporters. The latest example is Ezra Klein, who, like a typical “Timesman,” opined on Israel’s failings while ignoring history and omitting inconvenient facts.
Like Old Faithful Thomas Friedman’s weekly eruptions expressing disdain for Israel’s democratically elected prime minister, Klein goes off on a rant against Benjamin Netanyahu. And, like Friedman, he is in high dudgeon over Netanyahu’s opposition to a Palestinian state.
Interestingly, he undermines the column’s entire case immediately after quoting Netanyahu’s position by citing Gallup’s finding that only 25% of Israelis support a two-state solution. Unsurprisingly, he omits the equally salient fact that only 34% of Palestinians favor it.
Klein ignores the latest poll of Israelis on the so-called “two-state solution.”
Netanyahu’s opposition to a Palestinian state, that Klein appears to think is the Prime Minister’s alone, is shared by three-quarters of Israelis. Netanyahu is not a “right-wing” outlier, but expresses the will of most Israeli when he insists that such a state would constitute a mortal threat to the existence of the Jewish state. Furthermore, Klein also hides the results of a poll taken among the Palestinians, two-thirds of whom oppose a “two-state solution” because they want a “one-state solution” — that is, a single Palestinian state, from which all the Jews will have been expelled, extending “from the river to the sea.”
Klein blames Netanyahu for a state not existing because he “allowed settlers to run wild and rendered Hamas’s rival, Al Fatah, feckless.”
There are some 500,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria (does he consider the 340,000 in Jerusalem wild settlers as well?). A tiny fraction are troublemakers, and I’ve written about the need to rein them in, but they are not the reason that the Palestinians don’t have a state. And like the U.S. Secretary of State, Klein doesn’t say where they’re supposed to go to make way for one.
How many “settlers” are behaving badly in Judea and Samaria? Of the 500,000 Israelis living in that area — “settlers” all — no more than a few hundred, that is, less than .001%, have behaved aggressively toward the Palestinians. And the Palestinians, let’s not forget, are also aggressive toward their Jewish neighbors in the West Bank, erecting structures on Jewish-owned land, letting their sheep graze on land owned by Jews, building illegal Palestinian homes in Area C, and of course, throwing rocks at Israeli cars which have sometimes caused fatal accidents.
Also, Netanyahu did not make the Fatah Party “feckless.” Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas did that all by himself. He allowed Hamas to take over the Gaza Strip, made himself a dictator by preventing elections and created a kleptocracy. An overwhelming majority of Palestinians want him to resign.
Netanyahu did nothing to help Hamas take over the Gaza Strip in 2007. He did not encourage Mahmoud Abbas to set himself up as the dictator of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, where Abbas is now in the 19th year of his four-year term as president. Abbas needed no push from Netanyahu to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from the aid money meant for the Palestinians. Greedy Abbas and his equally greedy sons Tarek and Yasser now have accumulated a business empire worth $400 million. Because of his colossal corruption, 80% of Palestinians want Abbas to resign; again, Netanyahu had nothing to do with the world of woe that Abbas has created for those in whose name he presumes to rule.
The Palestinians don’t have a state for one simple reason: They have rejected every opportunity to have one because they insist on replacing Israel. Hamas wants to destroy Israel, not live beside it, and Fatah wants to “liberate” Palestine in stages.
In 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered a generous territorial settlement to Yasser Arafat. Because the offer did not require Israel to give up every inch of territory Israel had won in the Six-Day War, including east Jerusalem, Arafat turned it down flat. In 2008, Ehud Olmert made Mahmoud Abbas an even more generous offer, including putting the Old City of Jerusalem under a five-nation trusteeship. That offer, too, was not even discussed — Mahmoud Abbas, like Arafat before him, simply walked out.
Like others making the argument lately that Netanyahu was strengthening Hamas at the expense of the PA to prevent the creation of a state, Klein makes misstatements and omissions. He says Netanyahu “allowed Hamas to hold Gaza” and “kept the Palestinian leadership divided.”
First, Hamas took over Gaza without Israel’s help. Afterward, Abbas refused to confront Hamas to avoid a Palestinian civil war. Netanyahu didn’t need to do anything to keep the Palestinian leadership divided. Hamas and Fatah repeatedly talked about reconciliation and never could agree because of disagreements unrelated to Netanyahu.
Netanyahu did nothing to help Hamas take over Gaza. He had nothing to do with Abbas’ unwillingness to confront Hamas; Abbas was afraid of starting a civil war that his side, Fatah, would likely lose. The divide between Hamas and Fatah was not in their ultimate aims — both share the same goal of eliminating Israel, though they differ on tactics and timing — but in the fact that each side wanted to monopolize the Palestinian leadership. It was simply a fight over power and money.
Second, until the massacre, Netanyahu preferred to keep Israel out of a war to eliminate Hamas, which was popular with everyone but the far-right. Those now complaining about what Israel is doing would have been even more upset if Israel had taken the same steps before Oct. 7.
Klein likes to depict Netanyahu as a warmonger. He has been the very opposite. He was unwilling to launch an attack on Hamas, as some in the IDF and in the right-wing parties in his coalition had urged, until the atrocities of October 7, which changed everything.