Benjamin Netanyahu Wins Easily, New York Times Writers Spill Vitriol

The morning after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's surprisingly easy and comprehensive victory against left-wing opposition, the New York Times was still sore. After Tuesday's sour news reports from Jerusalem, the paper's columnists and editorial writers spilled their own spleen in Wednesday's edition.

Columnist Thomas Friedman, who in a 2011 column offensively stated that the Likud Party leader's standing ovation for his then-recent speech to Congress "was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby," showed similar hostility in Wednesday's "Go Ahead, Ruin My Day."

....Netanyahu clearly made an impressive 11th-hour surge since the pre-election polls of last week. It is hard to know what is more depressing: that Netanyahu went for the gutter in the last few days in order to salvage his campaign -- renouncing his own commitment to a two-state solution with the Palestinians and race-baiting Israeli Jews to get out and vote because, he said, too many Israeli Arabs were going to the polls -- or the fact that this seemed to work.

Friedman eventually generously admitted that yes, the terrorists of Hamas may have something to do with Israel voting for security with Netanyahu.

It would be wrong, though, to put all of this on Netanyahu. The insane, worthless Gaza war that Hamas initiated last summer that brought rockets to the edge of Israel’s main international airport and the Palestinians’ spurning of two-state offers of previous Israeli prime ministers (Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert) built Netanyahu’s base as much as he did.

Iconoclastic columnist Roger Cohen, once a notorious supporter of the Iranian government, who in 2009 accused Israel of lying about the nuclear threat posed by Iran, went relatively light on Netanayhu in "An Uneasy Coalition for Israel," crediting him with realpolitik and "political guts," but then accused him of winning by having "played on fear and incendiary division."

But it was an editorial, "An Israeli Election Turns Ugly," where the disappointment truly curdled into blind anti-Netanyahu rage.

Israel’s election has done a lot to reveal the challenges facing the country and the intentions of the men who seek to lead it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s outright rejection of a Palestinian state and his racist rant against Israeli Arab voters on Tuesday showed that he has forfeited any claim to representing all Israelis.

Israel must count itself fortunate indeed that the liberals on the Times editorial page know what's best for a country thousands of miles away and surrounded by enemies who want it wiped off the map

With the choice of the word "subversive," the Times' editorialists desperately suggested Netanyahu was trying to formally undermine America's government by criticizing it (the same thing the Times unsuccessfully tried to do to Netanyahu's leadership).

Mr. Netanyahu’s demagogy further incites the rage that has torn the country apart. There were other inflammatory moments in recent days. Mr. Netanyahu claimed that nefarious foreign sources were trying to overthrow him and also promised to build more settlements, which most of the world considers to be illegal. Earlier this month, he made a subversive speech before Congress to castigate the Obama administration for seeking a nuclear deal with Iran, but that seems to have done little to enhance his support in Israel.

In his desperation, Mr. Netanyahu resorted to fear-mongering and anti-Arab attacks while failing to address the issues that Israelis said they were most worried about, namely the high cost of housing and everyday living in Israel. Although the economy has grown, the country has experienced widening income disparities and is now one of the most unequal societies in the advanced world.

Reporter Isabel Kershner followed up with more of the same on Wednesday's front page, "Deep Wounds in Bitter Race":

The prospect of a right-wing government prompted a hostile response from the Palestinian leadership, which has been inflamed by Mr. Netanyahu’s provocative campaigning tactics, including a reversal of his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state and scaremongering about the high turnout of Israeli Arab voters.

Kershner allowed a Palestinian negotiator to accuse Israel of racism.

“The results of the Israeli elections show the success of a campaign platform based on settlements, racism, apartheid and the denial of the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people,” Saeb Erekat, the longtime chief Palestinian negotiator, said in a statement.

Speaking of racism, official Palestinian Authoritarian descriptions of Jews as apes and pigs was left unremarked upon by the hypocritical Times.

Opinion Journal's James Taranto performed a similar analysis of the Times' Israel coverage Wednesday, and summarized the mood with his typical headline flair: "Annoy the Media, Vote Likud -- Bias magnifies Netanyahu’s victory."

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections Israel/Palestine New York Times Isabel Kershner Jodi Rudoren Roger Cohen Thomas Friedman
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