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Netanyahu Reportedly Rejects NYT Op-Ed Invite While Adviser Slams Paper for Anti-Israel Pieces

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“set a new bar that will be hard for you to lower in the future”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected an invitation to pen an op-ed for The New York Times, according to The Jerusalem Post, which reports he’s “fed up with the influential newspaper’s editorial policy on Israel.”

The Post on Thursday obtained a letter Netanyahu’s senior adviser Ron Dermer wrote to the paper’s editorial board saying the prime minister would “respectfully decline.” The Post writes:

Dermer made clear that this had much to do with the fact that 19 of the paper’s 20 op-ed pieces on Israel since September were negative.

Ironically, the one positive piece was written by Richard Goldstone – chairman of the UN’s Goldstone Commission Report – defending Israel against charges of apartheid.

“We wouldn’t want to be seen as ‘Bibiwashing’ the op-ed page of The New York Times,” Dermer said, in reference to a piece called “Israel and Pinkwashing” from November. In that piece, a City University of New York humanities professor lambasted Israel for, as Dermer wrote, “having the temerity to champion its record on gay rights.”

That piece, he wrote, “set a new bar that will be hard for you to lower in the future.”

Strengthening the prime minister’s case, on Thursday, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote that when Netanyahu received a standing ovation in Congress earlier this year, it “was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

Dermer blamed the Times for distorting the positions of the Netanyahu government while ignoring steps it’s taken to advance the peace process:

Dermer also took the paper to task for running an op-ed piece by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in May that asserted that shortly after the UN voted for the partition of Palestine in November 1947, “Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued.”

Those lines, Dermer wrote, “effectively turn on its head an event within living memory in which the Palestinians rejected the UN partition plan accepted by the Jews, and then joined five Arab states in launching a war to annihilate the embryonic Jewish state. It should not have made it past the most rudimentary fact-checking.”

Dermer criticized not only the information the paper chooses to include in its pages but what it omits. He wrote that in September, the Times turned down an op-ed co-written by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) expressing bipartisan support for direct peace negotiations and opposition for the Palestinian application at the UN for statehood.

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