From Bibi’s Lips to Ben Smith’s Ears (and Computer)
I wasn’t going to post this but I was so stunned when I read it that I thought it deserved special mention (not in a good way), particularly in light of some of the conversations we have been having in the comments about whether there is, if not outright media bias, a media blind spot when it comes to Israel and also the issue of Israel’s general treatment of the U.S. of late.
Ben Smith came out with a doozy today- it’s not really journalism, it’s really more stenography. He serves up quite an impressive anti-Obama hit piece which seems to be sponsored at least in part by the Israeli far right. Despite the title of the article being “View from Middle East: President Obama is a Problem”, a more accurate title would have been The View from Bibi Netanyahu’s Office: President Obama is the Problem. A subtle, but accurate change to reflect the true nature of the perspective of the article.
Among Ben Smith’s main sources are “Beni Begin, a cabinet minister from Netanyahu’s own Likud Party,” “a top Israeli official involved in diplomacy with the U.S.”, “a hawkish Netanyahu ally”, “Eyal Arad, the architect of Livni’s campaign for prime minister” the “deputy director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs,” “former party chairman and Knesset ally Yohanan Plessner” and “Netanyahu’s closest adviser.” Sadly, Ben Smith wasn’t able to find more than two Palestinians in all of Jerusalem to interview. We get a quote from chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erakat and Ghaith al-Omari of the American Task Force on Palestine. I guess we shouldn’t complain because they could have been left out of it entirely.
The other thing Smith does which drives me nuts – and it’s something pretty much everyone in the MSM does- is they refer to the fighter jet deal with Israel as a “sale”- it’s not a sale. A sale implies they are buying the fighter jets. The media likes to reference it to the Saudi arms sale as though they are similar and they are not. The Saudis are buying the fighter jets. There is a difference- in one deal we make money and in the other deal we lose money. The only issue is apparently whether any of the funds will come out of the 3 billion in foreign aid we’ve already given Israel this year and the US is apparently leaning towards saying that this will be on top of the 3 billion.
Ok, here are a few of my favorite quotes from this hit-piece:
“Israelis really hate Obama’s guts,” said Shmuel Rosner, a columnist for two leading Israeli newspapers. “We used to trust Americans to act like Americans, and this guy is like a European leader.”
Yeah, we want a real man as POTUS, not some effeminate European-acting guy!
Now, imagine an American journalist saying that about an Israeli leader. Would never happen. Nor should it, really.
“He’s like rain,” said a top Israeli official involved in diplomacy with the U.S., speaking of Obama’s role in negotiations. “You can do all kinds of things to cope with it.”
Yeah, right back at ‘ya buddy. Again, imagine an American official speaking on the record to a journalist, even if anonymously, about an Israeli PM that way. Wouldn’t happen.
“The naive liberals who are at the heart of the administration really believe in all the misconceptions the Palestinians and all their friends all over the world are trying to place,” said Yossi Kuperwasser, a former high-ranking military intelligence officer who is now deputy director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.
Somewhere in Judea and Samaria right now, Bibi Netanyahu is smiling.