JPost Editor: Netanyahu Considers Haaretz, New York Times Israel’s Greatest Enemies

PM Netanyahu Meets with Dutch PM Mark Rutte in the Hague, Holland. During a meeting with Holland’s parliament, Netanyahu dismissed allegations that he had referred to the New York Times and Haaretz as “Israel’s greatest enemies.” (Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom, Israel Government Press OfficeAccording to one media source, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu identified Israel’s “two greatest enemies” as the New York Times and Haaretz newspapers.  These allegations come courtesy of Jerusalem Post editor Steve Linde, who claims Netanyahu made the remarks in a private meeting within the last couple of months at the Prime Minister’s office.  Netanyahu has since denied making the remarks and Linde has backtracked on his comments, saying that his claims were more an interpretation of the Prime Minister’s words than a direct quote.

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.