I’ve been asked why I bother writing about anything in the NY Times. Don’t I know that they are predictably biased against Israel? Haven’t I seen David Gerstman’s analyses of Times op-eds (which last month came out 5 anti-Israel to 1 pro-Israel)?
Well, yes. But the Times is important because its positions are so closely correlated with those of the Obama Administration. At least on foreign affairs, the Times is Obama’s Pravda.
Right now the administration is being very, very careful about saying what it thinks about Israel, not wanting to upset the electoral applecart. But the Times isn’t afraid to let it all hang out, as it did in today’s editorial on Israel and Iran:
Israeli leaders are again talking about possible military action against Iran. This is, at best, mischievous and, at worst, irresponsible, especially when diplomacy has time to run.
Let’s see: recent intelligence reports are said to put Iran closer to the bomb than ever. Diplomacy has been ongoing with Iran for a decade, and Iran has made steady progress towards nuclear weapons. Sanctions — which “have not set back the Iranian program by one iota,” according to PM Netanyahu — are best compared to Swiss cheese, with 20 nations, including all of Iran’s major trading partners, having received waivers, and rogue financial institutions facilitating their violation.
Time, and therefore continued diplomacy, is on Iran’s side. Considering that the attainment of nuclear weapons is seen as a top-priority national goal, and understanding that unhappiness on the part of the Iranian middle class isn’t likely to deter a regime that is prepared to shoot down demonstrators (as it did in 2009), the Times’ contention that diplomacy and sanctions may yet stop Iran is what’s “irresponsible.”
Let’s not leave out estimates, well known to Israeli leaders, that Israel would suffer greatly from the consequences of attacking Iran — both casualties and major economic damage. They would not contemplate such action unless they believed that the alternative was far worse.
The editorial continues:
It is impossible to know what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning or why he has ignored American entreaties to give diplomacy a reasonable chance. There is, however, persistent speculation in Israel that Mr. Netanyahu wants to attack in the coming weeks in the belief that President Obama will be forced to support the decision because of his political needs in his re-election campaign. Such a move would be outrageously cynical.
Boy, do they have it backwards. Clearly the White House is applying maximum pressure (more than mere ‘entreaties’) to prevent Israel from doing anything upsetting before the election, regardless of Israel’s security imperatives. This is what is “outrageously cynical!” Unfortunately, Israel feels that it must strike in self-preservation before the hostile Obama has free rein to act on his demonstrated anti-Israel beliefs.
The editorial continues with some remarkably weak arguments against Israeli action. I won’t bother to quote any more; you can read it yourself. The important thing to keep in mind is that Israel would not undertake this, with all the possible negative consequences and dangers, foreseen and unforeseen, unless its leaders felt that there was no other alternative consistent with the continued survival of the Jewish state.
The Obama Administration has made the judgment that the danger to Israel is more than offset by the danger to the President’s reelection.
And its Pravda chimes in.