The New York Times is at it again. The paper that advertises “All the news that’s fit to print” published two pieces on December 2 that were designed to topple the Netanyahu-led coalition and to defeat him in a future election. The first was an op-ed by Ehud Barak titled “Save Israel From Its Government.” This was a vicious and uncalled-for attack on a sitting prime minister of Israel in a foreign liberal newspaper. I do not think there is precedent for this ever in Israel’s 70 years. This is an attempt to sway public opinion in Israel via America. Last I checked, Americans do not vote for the prime minister of Israel. If Ehud Barak is trying to influence the president of the United States, he might be surprised to learn that the relationship between the prime minister and President Trump is rock solid. On top of that, American Jews, for the most part, like Prime Minister Netanyahu. For Barak to call the Netanyahu coalition “irrational, bordering on messianic” is completely bizarre and absurd. Barak should stay out of politics. The fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu has remained in power longer than any other prime minister in the history of the State of Israel speaks volumes (1996-1999, 2009-2013, 2013-2015, and 2015-present). The fact that he has opened up and cultivated good relations with over 160 countries is unbelievable but true. Barak fails to mention any of this. In contrast, Ehud Barak lasted barely two years (1999-2001). Barak claims that Prime Minister Netanyahu “jeopardizes Israel’s very future.” Under Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israel’s future is brighter than ever. It is indeed Ehud Barak who jeopardizes Israel’s future. It is fair to say that Ehud Barak lives in an alternate universe, where facts are rarely on display.
The second piece appeared in the very same issue of the Times, written by David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner, titled “Leading Israel’s Left While Appealing to its Right.” It is clearly straight out of Madison Avenue. It tries to paint Avi Gabbay, who was elected leader of Israel’s Labor Party in July, as the “savior” of Israel. He served as minister of environmental protection from the Kulanu Party (supposedly center-right) until he resigned in May 2016 after the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister. He is a marathon runner with a tattoo of a runner under his suit.
The Labor Party has had many who thought they could defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu, including Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Tzipi Livni, and Isaac Herzog. Prime Minister Netanyahu outlasted them all. He remains the best hope for Israel until he says he has had enough. Israel has thrived under his leadership.
The New York Times keeps trying to unseat him. They tried especially hard in March of 2015 with President Obama working as a tag team. President Obama interfered in that election more than any president of the United States before him. President Obama and The New York Times were thoroughly embarrassed when Prime Minister Netanyahu won. That has not stopped The New York Times from trying again. My prediction is the more they try, the more likely they will be embarrassed again.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.