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May 24, 2011

Bibi's Speech to Congress and Media Reaction

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a very warm reception in Congress during his forceful, forthright speech, which laid out just what Israel is prepared to do -- make painful concessions -- and not prepared to do -- put itself at risk of annihilation -- to achieve a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Daled Amos provides a transcript and video of the speech here.

What was the reaction in the press?

The Los Angeles Times couldn't wait to editorialize by proclaiming Netanyahu's vision to be "hardline." The article slyly implied flattery and chicanery on the part of Netanyahu with such phrases as "Netanyahu adopted the persona of an old friend"; Netanyahu "played to" ...and "presented himself as"...

The New York Times article explained away Congress' warm response -- not by assuming that members might share Bibi's vision, but -- by reverting to a knee-jerk implication of a powerful Jewish lobby controlling them:

With elections coming up next year, lawmakers appeared eager to demonstrate their support for Israel as part of an effort to secure backing from one of American politics’ most powerful constituencies, American Jews.

The comments on the online article included, as is usual for the New York Times, many spiteful, and hate-filled diatribes against Israel, its leader, and the alleged powerful Jewish lobby, but there were also thoughtful and positive comments. Times editors, however, typically chose to highlight only an anti-Netanyahu comment.

But perhaps the most ludicrous media reaction was that of the AP's Josef Federman, who faulted Bibi for presenting an Israeli vision and perspective, but not the Palestinian, anti-Israel arguments . Federman supplies the anti-Israel arguments himself and has the chutzpah to call his article " FACT CHECK: Netanyahu speech ignores rival claims". This is a new low for the AP, who have never levelled such criticism at Palestinian leaders. Nor has the AP "corrected" Palestinian claims with a "fact-check" that relays Israel's claims. Unbelievable.

Posted by rh at May 24, 2011 04:13 PM


Here is a refutation of Federman's lies at AP re: Bibi's speech:

Here is a sampling of Netanyahu's claims along with what he did not mention.
NETANYAHU: "You don't need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves."
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: Israel is a leading recipient of American foreign aid, including more than $1 billion in military assistance each year.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: AP’s statement avoids the issue. The fact is, no member of the United States armed forces has ever been killed defending Israel against attack. Israel defended itself in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and against all the terrorist actions directed against it from surrounding countries before, during and since without asking the United States to supply troops to protect it. Not so Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq or any of the other Middle Eastern countries in defense of which the blood of our young men and women has been shed. As for the amount of military assistance provided to Israel, it comes with a critical caveat. Nearly all of the aid must be spent in the United States, which creates high paying defense industry jobs for Americans.
NETANYAHU: "In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo."
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: While the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria, is promised to the Jewish people in the Bible, the international community considers the West Bank occupied territory. Israel captured the area in the 1967 Mideast war but has never annexed it. Its occupied status is underscored by the presence of tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers who protect Israeli settlements and control the movement of Palestinian residents in the name of security.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: Again, AP avoids the issue. Contrary to the blatantly false accusations by Israel’s Arab enemies and their mindless pseudo-leftist fellow travelers that Israel is a foreign “colony�? implanted in the region, Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out the fact that Jews have a historical connection to Israel, including Judea and Samaria, and that Jews have had an unbroken presence in the land for thousands of years.
NETANYAHU: "You don't need to export democracy to Israel. We've already got it."
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: Israel does give its Arab minority full civil rights, including participation in elections. But Israeli Arabs suffer from systematic discrimination in housing and the workplace. Also, more than 2 million Palestinians living in the West Bank do not have Israeli citizenship and therefore cannot vote in Israeli elections.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: If all groups in a country have full civil rights, including the right to vote, then that country is a democracy (or at least what we commonly refer to as a democracy). In fact, Israel’s Arabs have full access to the government and legal systems. They have the right to vote for whomever they choose and are represented in the Knesset by those for whom they vote. Israeli Arabs have full access to the courts and have served at all levels of the judiciary, including on the Supreme Court. Israeli Arabs have served as deputy prime ministers and, in one notable instance, as acting president of Israel. By any objective measure, Israel is a democracy. That it has imperfections does not change this basic fact. By AP’s definition, no country, including the U.S. is a democracy.
NETANYAHU: "The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and greater Tel Aviv."
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: Nearly all of these communities were built in the face of overwhelming international opposition and are considered illegal settlements by the world, including the U.S. There are 300,000 Israelis living in the West Bank and 200,000 in east Jerusalem, making a total of 500,000.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: AP avoids an apples to apples comparison, by failing to disclose where Israelis living beyond the 1967 Green Line reside. In fact, the prime minister is correct that the vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and greater Tel Aviv.
NETANYAHU: "The Palestinian economy is booming. It's growing by more than 10 percent a year."
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: The West Bank economy is indeed growing rapidly. But the World Bank has noted that the growth comes after years of contraction during fighting with Israel and has been fueled by huge amounts of foreign aid. It warns the growth is unsustainable unless Israel does more to encourage the Palestinian private sector.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: AP whitewashes the facts by referring to the economy having contracted “during fighting with Israel�?, as though that was forced upon the Palestinians. Of course the economy contracted when, as a result of attacks by Palestinians, Israel stopped giving Palestinian residents unfettered access to jobs in Israel proper and Israelis reduced purchasing Palestinian goods and services. The fact remains, however, that Palestinian economy is, n fact booming, just as it did during the period between the signing of the Oslo Accords and the beginning of the fighting directed by Yasir Arafat in 2000.
NETANYAHU: "Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of al-Qaida."
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: While Hamas and al-Qaida have killed hundreds of people in religious holy wars, they have no connection, and Hamas has in fact come under criticism from the global terror network for being too moderate. Al-Qaida preaches global jihad. Hamas says its struggle is solely against Israel, not the West at large. In its Gaza stronghold, Hamas has violently clashed with smaller armed groups that claim inspiration from al-Qaida.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: Contrary to the false comparison by AP, Prime Minister Netanyahu did not say that Hamas and al-Qaeda are allies or that they are at all friendly with one another. What the prime minister said is that Hamas, like al-Qaeda, is a militant terrorist group pursuing a radical pan-Islamist ideology. In that, the prime minister is absolutely accurate.

Posted by: Susan at May 25, 2011 01:31 AM

Here's an excellent factual fact check of AP's so-called "fact check":

Making George Orwell Proud -- AP: FACT CHECK: Netanyahu speech ignores rival claims

Posted by: Krishna109 [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 25, 2011 03:49 AM

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