Bibi takes on Time
As I have reported, Time magazine's serial slimes on Israel have not gone unnoticed or unremarked upon. But today, in a perhaps unprecedented fashion, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu advisor Ron Dermer pens a very, very tough letter to Time's managing editor. It should be read in full to appreciate the exquisite skewering of Time's misleading and inaccurate reporting. He begins with this:
I wanted to bring to your attention a recent article in Time entitled "Israel's Rightward Lurch Scares Some Conservatives." I hope that you will agree that the article's obvious bias and numerous distortions are not worthy of the standards of your prestigious magazine.
He then goes point-by-point through the Time article, debunking and dismantling the hatchet job. On loyalty oaths, Dermer observes, "But your correspondent did not find it necessary to inform your readers of a few facts. Oaths of allegiance are commonplace in most democratic countries, including the United States."
On the issue of legislation to require transparency in funding of NGO's in Israel he suggests:
As for questioning the legitimacy of foreign government funding of Israeli NGOs, mentioning America's Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) may have presented a more balanced picture.
FARA requires that any organization engaged in lobbying in the U.S. that receives money from foreign individuals, let alone foreign governments, must among other things register as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice and permit the Attorney General to inspect all of its activities.
It is hard to imagine any democratic country accepting foreign governments intervening in its domestic affairs by funding domestic groups engaged not merely in criticism of a particular government's policy but also attacking the very foundations of the State.
He also directly rebuts a particularly heinous allegation against Netanyahu: "Contrary to the implication of your correspondent, Prime Minister Netanyahu has publicly and forcefully condemned the racist sentiments that were mentioned in the article." Dermer then documents the double-standard applied to the only country in the region that can say that it "protect[s] the rights of women, gays and minorities, including the 20% of Israelis who are Arabs, who enjoy freedom of speech and religion and the protections afforded by independent courts and the rule of law."
Dermer doesn't use the word, but I (as others have done) will. When a critic defames Israel, tries to delegitimize the Jewish state, and holds it to a different standard than all other countries, it is anti-Semitism. There is no other word for it.
A final note: Multiple sources familiar with the letter's drafting tell me its release was unrelated to any development in the U.S. A knowledgeable source tells me that it was entirely driven by the government in Jerusalem. Another person close to Dermer tells me, "This was in the works going back to moments after the Time piece hit."
The Time article was an especially egregious slur on Israel, and the response was appropriately robust. The time for letting scurrilous attacks roll off their backs is perhaps coming to an end in Jerusalem. It is long overdue.
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