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May 24, 2011

New York Times Conceals Partisanship of "Nonpartisan" Source

CAMERA has increasingly focused attention on the New York Times' biased coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An article appearing on May 23, 2011, "Obama Presses Israel to Make 'Hard Choices,' " demonstrates how this bias seeps into what is ostensibly objective news reporting. For a summary assessment of President Obama's message to attendees at an AIPAC conference, reporter Helene Cooper turned to Daniel Levy, without disclosing his partisan views and affiliations.

Cooper described Levy as "a former Israeli peace negotiator and a fellow at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan research group." While technically not wrong - Levy did serve as an assistant to former Prime Minister Ehud Barak during peace negotiations in 1999-2001 and the New America Foundation does describe itself as non-partisan - Cooper left out some important and relevant information.

Levy was a co-founder and a key policy formulator of J Street, an organization set up in opposition to AIPAC, which advocates a tougher American stance towards Israel on the peace process. Earlier this year, J Street tried to block a U.S. veto of a UN Security Council Resolution that, had it passed, would have redefined Israeli settlement over the 1949 armistice lines as illegal. This would have amounted to a repudiation of a key provision of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which has served as the basis for American policy since 1967. Considering that the main source of controversy stirred up by President Obama's speech on May 19, 2011 was his reference to the "1967 lines," failing to disclose Levy's advocacy on this issue is deceptive to say the least.

Levy was also invited to provide his opinion on what President Obama should say in a May 18, feature piece, in which he opined,

The business-as-usual approach, indulging dangerous and anachronistic illusions of Israeli impunity, does the greatest disservice not only to the Palestinians but also to American national interests, and notably, to Israel itself.

Levy's views have stirred up controversy before. He was quoted during a discussion in Qatar, “I believe that where Jewish history was in 1948 excused, for me – it was good enough for me – an act that was wrong.�? Some interpreted this statement as indicating Levy thought the creation of the State of Israel was a mistake.

At J Street's 2011 conference, he stated,

If we’re all wrong, if we’re all wrong and a collective Jewish presence in the Middle East can only survive by the sword, it cannot be accepted, it’s not about what we do. Sound familiar? They hate us for what we are, not what we do. If that’s true, then Israel really ain’t a very good idea. (American Thinker)

A news article reporting on President Obama's speech to AIPAC should have disclosed that the analyst summing up the President's message has an extensive record of opposition to AIPAC and disagrees with its ideological underpinnings.

Posted by SS at May 24, 2011 01:39 PM


Levy was interviewed last week on the overnight edition of CBS News. There, too, his J Street connection was not mentioned.

Posted by: Js_lapidus [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2011 04:27 PM

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