It sounds like a laughable question but last night, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the editor of The Jerusalem Post that the two main enemies facing Israel are The New York Times and Israeli newspaper Haaretz. In short time, the prime minister's office issued a statement Thursday rejecting the claim, noting that "Iran and its extensions" were the country's greatest adversaries. However, in a statement to The Atlantic Wire, Jerusalem Post editor Steve Linde says the gist of what JTA reported was accurate. "Yes ... it's my interpretation of what the PM was saying," Linde said, noting that the exact phrasing wasn't precise because he "didn't record him."
That phrasing comes from an address Linde gave on Wednesday at the Women's International Zionist Organization. JTA obtained a recording of Linde's remarks in which Linde described a private meeting two weeks ago at Netanyahu's office in Tel Aviv.
"He said, ‘You know, Steve, we have two main enemies,’ ” Linde had said on Wednesday ... “And I thought he was going to talk about, you know, Iran, maybe Hamas. He said, ‘It’s The New York Times and Haaretz.’ He said, ‘They set the agenda for an anti-Israel campaign all over the world. Journalists read them every morning and base their news stories … on what they read in The New York Times and Haaretz.’ ”
"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," he said. The letter included a systematic breakdown of the Times' columns on Israel:
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.”