How lucky are we that Ahmadinejad exists. Without him Haaretz might be seen as an enemy of the people, or even "Israel's biggest enemy."
I have no idea who this Steve Linde, editor of the Jerusalem Post, is, but there is no doubt the man is making things up. Are his fabrications published in his newspaper as well?
Linde was invited to the Women's International Zionist Organization conference in Tel Aviv this week and told the attendants about a private conversation he'd had recently with the prime minister. Netanyahu told him in that conversation, the editor said, "Israel's main enemies are the New York Times and Haaretz." He went on to explain "the two newspapers set the agenda for an anti-Israel campaign all over the world."
This was reported on Thursday, and suddenly it transpires the words attributed to Netanyahu had never been said. The Jerusalem Post editor reneged instantly and said "it was my interpretation - the prime minister never used those words." And this is a newspaper's editor-in-chief, who is responsible and vouches for the information's reliability. He just dreamed up from his imagination the content of a conversation; just fed the audience nonsense, for no reason.
Netanyahu himself also hastened to send a statement from The Netherlands, saying no such thing ever happened. Was he not in the habit of denying so much - not a day goes by without clarifications and denials - we might have believed him more. With so many ducks in the pond, it's hard not to hear them quacking from the prime minister's office.
The truth is that the denied statement actually sounds natural to its owner. It fits in with previous statements of his, such as "they are scared" or "the left has long forgotten what being Jewish is." For a moment it seemed Netanyahu was completing the series. True, in the past he has expressed regret over these nasty little jabs, but his impulses keep getting the better of him. For him the enemy is always within and if only we could get rid of it first, the battle with the enemies without would be much more straightforward and easier.
I am not authorized to speak for Haaretz, so I'll speak for myself: I take great pride in serving as the only opposition-in-principal to the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Yishai-Barak government; of dreaming and fighting for another Israel, one that doesn't occupy, isn't corrupt, doesn't persecute minorities, isn't racist, doesn't devour its poor and middle-class people. That is our dream, and we don't really care that it is also Netanyahu's nightmare.
We've had worse slurs directed at us in our lifetimes. It's not so awful to be in the same company as the world's best newspaper. If forced to choose between the New York Times and Israel Hayom, then we have made our choice. Roger Cohen, Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof's writing is extremely important to us - they are all friends of Israel and share its dream, although they are not dedicated Bibi followers.
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