NY Times manufactures a crisis in U.S.-Israel relations

Leo Rennert
With scant real evidence, but with plenty of opinions from the usual suspects, the New York Times would have its readers believe that the turmoil in Egypt has led to one of the sharpest splits in the history of U.S.-Israeli relations.

The scaremongering headline reads:  "Crisis in Egypt tests U.S. ties with the Israelis."

In similar vein, the article, by Helene Cooper and Mark Landler, claims that the demonstrations in Egypt are "rocking a fundamental relationship with the U.S. -- its 60-year alliance with Israel."

So what accounts for this "crisis" that is shaking U.S.-Israeli relations to the core?  According to Cooper and Landler, the Americans were displeased with Israel's failure to adopt President Obama's stance that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak must resign immediately.  Team Obama supposedly got tired of Israeli warnings that such precipitous regime change might open the door to rule by the Muslim Brotherhood -- a replay of the 1979 Iranian revolution.  Some U.S. diplomats -- not identified by the New York Times -- told their Israeli counterparts to "chill out."

Determined to paint Israel in the darkest hues possible, Cooper and Landler point to "the irony of Israel, which long portrayed itself as the only democracy in its neighborhood, voicing concerns about the birth of a democracy next door."

This, of course, is a patently false accusation against Israel.  Prime Minister Netanyahu is not voicing concern about "the birth of a democracy next door."  He is voicing concern about the possibility of a radical Islamist regime next door.  But if you're determined to make trouble for U.S.-Israel relations, even a lie becomes permissible at the New York Times.

The real irony is that, just as the Times fabricates a great divide between the U.S. and Israel, the views of the two allies are actually converging.

The White House is moving away from Obama's bluster that Mubarak must quit immediately and instead is joining the European Union in support of a compromise cobbled together by Omar Suleiman, Egypt's new vice president, to initiate a gradual process of assembling a successor regime, leaving Mubarak in office for the time being, with Suleiman really in charge.  The idea behind this plan, of course, is that it could midwife a broadly based secular regime capable of checking the Muslim Brotherhood and allay Israeli concerns about a quick, abrupt Mubarak exit amid all the current tumult.

Suleiman, a former Egyptian intelligence chief, is well known in Israeli circles.  And he commands a lot of respect in Netanyahu's inner circle.

As Obama backtracks from his imperious demands for an immediate departure by Mubarak, whatever differences there may have been between Israel and the U.S. are fast diminishing.

There was no crisis to begin with and Obama, if anything, now seems to concede that Israel's concerns about undue haste in changing regimes in Egypt actually may have been the sounder course all along.
With scant real evidence, but with plenty of opinions from the usual suspects, the New York Times would have its readers believe that the turmoil in Egypt has led to one of the sharpest splits in the history of U.S.-Israeli relations.

The scaremongering headline reads:  "Crisis in Egypt tests U.S. ties with the Israelis."

In similar vein, the article, by Helene Cooper and Mark Landler, claims that the demonstrations in Egypt are "rocking a fundamental relationship with the U.S. -- its 60-year alliance with Israel."

So what accounts for this "crisis" that is shaking U.S.-Israeli relations to the core?  According to Cooper and Landler, the Americans were displeased with Israel's failure to adopt President Obama's stance that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak must resign immediately.  Team Obama supposedly got tired of Israeli warnings that such precipitous regime change might open the door to rule by the Muslim Brotherhood -- a replay of the 1979 Iranian revolution.  Some U.S. diplomats -- not identified by the New York Times -- told their Israeli counterparts to "chill out."

Determined to paint Israel in the darkest hues possible, Cooper and Landler point to "the irony of Israel, which long portrayed itself as the only democracy in its neighborhood, voicing concerns about the birth of a democracy next door."

This, of course, is a patently false accusation against Israel.  Prime Minister Netanyahu is not voicing concern about "the birth of a democracy next door."  He is voicing concern about the possibility of a radical Islamist regime next door.  But if you're determined to make trouble for U.S.-Israel relations, even a lie becomes permissible at the New York Times.

The real irony is that, just as the Times fabricates a great divide between the U.S. and Israel, the views of the two allies are actually converging.

The White House is moving away from Obama's bluster that Mubarak must quit immediately and instead is joining the European Union in support of a compromise cobbled together by Omar Suleiman, Egypt's new vice president, to initiate a gradual process of assembling a successor regime, leaving Mubarak in office for the time being, with Suleiman really in charge.  The idea behind this plan, of course, is that it could midwife a broadly based secular regime capable of checking the Muslim Brotherhood and allay Israeli concerns about a quick, abrupt Mubarak exit amid all the current tumult.

Suleiman, a former Egyptian intelligence chief, is well known in Israeli circles.  And he commands a lot of respect in Netanyahu's inner circle.

As Obama backtracks from his imperious demands for an immediate departure by Mubarak, whatever differences there may have been between Israel and the U.S. are fast diminishing.

There was no crisis to begin with and Obama, if anything, now seems to concede that Israel's concerns about undue haste in changing regimes in Egypt actually may have been the sounder course all along.