Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to write an op-ed piece for the New York Times recently because the paper has an anti-Israel bias in it's opinion section, his senior advisor indicated.
Ron Dermer, an adviser to Netanyahu, wrote a letter to the Times explaining why the prime minister "respectfully declined" to write the article. That letter was published in the Jerusalem Post.
In it Dermer said the NYT prints opinions as facts regarding Israel. The case in point is that of an op-ed piece by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the letter said.
Abbas said that the last time the United Nations General Assembly posed the question of Palestinian statehood was in 1947, when it recommended the division of "our homeland" (British Mandatory Palestine) into Jewish and Arab states.
"The General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative. Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued," Abbas was quoted as saying.
Dermer wrote that the paragraph "effectively turns on its head an event within living memory in which the Palestinians rejected the UN partition plan accepted by the Jews and then joined five Arab states in launching a war to annihilate the embryonic Jewish state. It should not have made it past the most rudimentary fact-checking."
Dermer further said that some of the regular columnists "consistently distort" the positions of the Israeli government and ignore steps they've taken toward peace.
They "cavalierly defame" Israel "by suggesting that marginal phenomena condemned by Prime Minister Netanyahu and virtually every Israeli official somehow reflects government policy or Israeli society as a whole," he said.
He also said that the Times doesn't seem to be interested in balancing these views with another opinion, of which there seems to be no shortage.
According to Dermer, "Majority leader and minority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives jointly submitted an op-ed to your paper in September opposing the Palestinian action at the United Nations and supporting the call of both Israel and the Obama administration for direct negotiations without preconditions.
"In an age of intense partisanship, one would have thought that strong bipartisan support for Israel on such a timely issue would have made your cut," he said.