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Ron Radosh

Today, the New York Times published an editorial  on the special election in New York’s 9th congressional district, which was won by Republican Bob Turner. The district historically went Democratic.

In the editorial, the editors write that they fear Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will take the victory as a message that he can ignore President Obama’s plea that Israel makes compromises with the Palestinians. As they put it,

[W]e fear that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, will read the election as yet another reason to ignore the president’s advice and refuse to make any compromises with the Palestinians, no matter how essential for Israel’s own security.

As expected, the paper’s editorial writers assume that all of the paper’s left-liberal constituency already believe that it is the Israeli prime minister, and not the Palestinians, who has refused to make compromises on behalf of peace. Therefore they can repeat this calumny without fear of rebuttal from their audience.

Next, they write the following paragraph, which was specifically addressed to former New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch, who had publicly endorsed and campaigned for Turner, rather than the Democratic candidate David Weprin:

Mr. Koch played a cynical game in urging special-election voters to choose the Republican as a rebuke to Mr. Obama for saying that Israel’s pre-1967 borders — with mutually agreed land swaps — should be the basis of any peace agreement. That has been the basis of every deal sought by American presidents for more than a decade.

This argument has been answered time and time again since President Obama first made it — when Netanyahu and Obama had a fairly cold White House meeting, and at his AIPAC speech last year. Again, the so-called paper of record counts on its readers not ever having read any of these rebuttals on the issue of where the 1949 borders were set at the time of Israel’s victory over the invading Arab armies.

The editors’ only criticism of the Palestinian leadership is that they “certainly waited too long to begin negotiations.” This is false, since they have never really agreed to participate in actual negotiations. Their demands are ones that Israel can never accept: the “right of return” and advance agreement on indefensible borders. Of course, to the Times’ editors, all blame belongs to Netanyahu alone, who, they say, “has been the most intractable, building settlements and blaming his inability to be more forthcoming on his conservative coalition.”

Netanyahu actually made his real position available to all yesterday. The Israeli PM said,

The only way for a Palestinian state to come to be is through negotiations. The PA’s decision (to appeal to the UNSC) could change tomorrow. I’ll be at the UN. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be at the UN. We could save the trip – Ramallah is only 10 minutes away. Direct negotiations are the simplest way to achieve peace. I hope that the Palestinians will eventually understand that there is no other alternative.

Referring to the PLO’s ambassador to the United States’ recent statement that any Palestinian state would have to be free of all Jews, Netanyahu added that  he “regretted to hear a Palestinian official speak of Judenrein. It is a disgrace and I expect the Palestinian Authority to denounce the statement.” I think he will be waiting a long time to hear any denunciation of the ambassador’s view from Mahmoud Abbas, who privately says such much the same thing to his own constituency.

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