Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s longtime adviser Ron Dermer has penned a delicious letter to the New York Times, declining its invitation for the prime minister to write an op-ed. It can be read in full (over and over again) online at the Jerusalem Post. Below is the most delectable portion:
The opinions of some of your regular columnists regarding Israel are well known. They consistently distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace. They cavalierly defame our country by suggesting that marginal phenomena condemned by Prime Minister Netanyahu and virtually every Israeli official somehow reflects government policy or Israeli society as a whole. Worse, one columnist even stooped to suggesting that the strong expressions of support for Prime Minister Netanyahu during his speech this year to Congress was “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby” rather than a reflection of the broad support for Israel among the American people.
Yet instead of trying to balance these views with a different opinion, it would seem as if the surest way to get an op-ed published in the New York Times these days, no matter how obscure the writer or the viewpoint, is to attack Israel. Even so, the recent piece on “Pinkwashing,” in which Israel is vilified for having the temerity to champion its record on gay-rights, set a new bar that will be hard for you to lower in the future.
Not to be accused of cherry-picking to prove a point, I discovered that during the last three months (September through November) you published 20 op-eds about Israel in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. After dividing the op-eds into two categories, “positive” and “negative,” with “negative” meaning an attack against the State of Israel or the policies of its democratically elected government, I found that 19 out of 20 columns were “negative.”
The only positive piece, Dermer points out, was a mea culpa from the infamous Richard Goldstone.
That is a letter friends of Israel all wish that they had written. But coming from the office of the prime minister of the Jewish state, it carries a moral seriousness that makes it all the more powerful.
I’m one who usually thinks the best antidote to vile, hateful speech is more speech. But shunning has its place as well. Think of it as the only Israeli boycott worth honoring.
Perhaps the New York Times’s editors will self-reflect. Maybe Tom Friedman will repent. Ah, forget it. Who am I kidding?