Linde made the comments in a speech to a conference for the Women’s International Zionist Organization in Tel Aviv, telling the crowd that during a private meeting, when Netanyahu brought up Israel’s two main enemies, Linde thought Netanyahu was referring to Iran or Hamas. Instead he was surprised to find that Netanyahu believed the two biggest enemies to be newspapers, the New York Times and Haaretz. In addition, Linde said Netanyahu was adamant that these two papers had a powerful sway over international opinions regarding Israel. “They set the agenda for an anti-Israel campaign all over the world,” Linde quoted Netanyahu as saying, “Journalists read them every morning and base their news stories … on what they read in the New York Times and Haaretz.”
Netanyahu, in a meeting with the Dutch Parliament, addressed the allegations, denying that he had ever named the New York Times and Haaretz as Israel’s primary enemies and reaffirming that Iran and its allies were Israel’s main threats. When pressed about his comments, Linde stepped back from his original language, saying “That was my interpretation; the prime minister never used that language.”
This is not the first time Netanyahu has had issue with the New York Times. Last month, Netanyahu turned down an opportunity to pen an op-ed piece in the paper. Netanyahu senior adviser Ron Dermer explained in a letter why Netanyahu declined. In the letter, printed by the Jerusalem Post, Dermer accused the New York Times editorial staff of having an overwhelmingly negative view towards Israel and asserted that 19 of the last 20 pieces to be written about Israel consisted of attacks against the state of Israel and its government. Dermer scathingly chastised the paper for failing to publish a number of positive editorials, including a bipartisan submission from the Minority and Majority Whip of the House of Representatives opposing Palestinian action in the United Nations.