New York Times Doing What They Do Best on Obama's U.N. Speech

Leo Rennert
The Washington Post headlines that Obama's speech at the U.N. was his strongest yet in support of Israel, but the New York Times doesn't like the speech one bit.  In fact, the Times spreads its utter distaste across no fewer than three articles in its September 22 "news section."  The only one of the three articles that even remotely deals with the contents of Obama's speech is relegated to the inside.

The main front-page article instead is all about Obama isolating himself at the U.N., abdicating his global role as the primary Mideast peace mediator, and letting himself be dragged along by an uncompromising Israeli government.

The other front-page piece is an adoring profile of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, depicted as a peace-seeker betrayed by Obama:

At times, this moody, brooding man seems to have found a kind of liberation, evident in a spring in his step, in deciding to defy Washington and force his people's plight into international consciousness. ... He has displayed humor. At other times, however, he has seemed utterly lonely[.] ... Mr. Abbas has worked hard to counter Hamas's focus on resistance and instill a political culture of non-violence among Palestinians[.]

Not a word about how this Gandhi-esque disciple of nonviolence keeps glorifying terrorist killers and teaching Palestinian children to revere them as holy "martyrs," nor how he names public places after these monsters.  Not a word about how he also teaches Palestinian kids that Tel Aviv, Haifa, and the rest of Israel are part and parcel of Palestine.

Instead, the Times can't shed enough tears for Abbas and empathizes when he engages in self-pity -- "I am not happy with anybody, not with the Americans, not the Arabs.  I am fed up with all these people and I don't know what to do when I return back."

Finally, we come to page A12 and what purports to be a "news" article about Obama's actual speech to the U.N.

Instead, right at the top, in her lead paragraph, author Helene Cooper indicts Obama for "throwing the weight of the United States in the path of the Arab democracy movement even as he hailed what he called the democratic aspirations that have taken hold throughout the Middle East and North Africa."

What she means is that Obama is speaking out of both sides of his mouth -- supporting democracy for everybody in the region except for the Palestinians.  This, of course, is simply balderdash.  Obama wants an independent, democratic Palestinian state.  He just is convinced that getting there can be achieved only by direct negotiations with Israel -- not by grandstanding at the U.N.

But Cooper is unrelenting in her attack on Obama.  His speech, she reports, is full of incongruities:

[T]he president who committed to making peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians a priority from Day One, now unable to get peace negotiations going after two and a half years; the president who opened the door to Palestinian state membership at the United Nations last year, now threatening to veto that membership; the president determined to get on the right side of Arab history but ending up, in the views of many Arabs, on the wrong side of the Palestinian issue.

As to the real purpose of the president's speech -- well, it's just a balancing act between two irreconcilables: "support for democratic movements" in the region "against support for Israel."  No mention that by supporting Israel, Obama is throwing his weight behind a Middle Eastern nation that was democratic from Day One of its founding.  Indeed, the Arab democratic movement is really trying to catch up with Israel's  solid democratic values.  There's a perfect compatibility -- not an incompatibility -- between Israel and the Arab democratic movement.  The Israelis already have what the Arab revolutionaries say they want to achieve.

But Cooper is too intent on bashing Obama to recognize this obvious fact.   Nor does she mention that in line with the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel has fostered autonomy for the Palestinian territories with an elected legislature and an elected president whose main problem in maintaining any semblance of democratic rule is Hamas control of Gaza, which prevents any further meaningful elections. 

So, a "news" article about the president's speech ends up failing to report the essence of what he actually told the U.N. gathering -- that the world must "acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day, that world statesmen should be "honest without ourselves" and recognize that "Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against It," that "Israel's children have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses," and that "the Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland."

Yes, this was Obama for the first time acknowledging Israel's sovereign claims on the basis of a Jewish presence in the Holy Land over the last 3,000 years -- in the Jews' "historic homeland."

This was the real news about Obama's speech.  But Cooper and the Times, in their all-out attacks  on Obama, censored it from their coverage.

The Washington Post headlines that Obama's speech at the U.N. was his strongest yet in support of Israel, but the New York Times doesn't like the speech one bit.  In fact, the Times spreads its utter distaste across no fewer than three articles in its September 22 "news section."  The only one of the three articles that even remotely deals with the contents of Obama's speech is relegated to the inside.

The main front-page article instead is all about Obama isolating himself at the U.N., abdicating his global role as the primary Mideast peace mediator, and letting himself be dragged along by an uncompromising Israeli government.

The other front-page piece is an adoring profile of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, depicted as a peace-seeker betrayed by Obama:

At times, this moody, brooding man seems to have found a kind of liberation, evident in a spring in his step, in deciding to defy Washington and force his people's plight into international consciousness. ... He has displayed humor. At other times, however, he has seemed utterly lonely[.] ... Mr. Abbas has worked hard to counter Hamas's focus on resistance and instill a political culture of non-violence among Palestinians[.]

Not a word about how this Gandhi-esque disciple of nonviolence keeps glorifying terrorist killers and teaching Palestinian children to revere them as holy "martyrs," nor how he names public places after these monsters.  Not a word about how he also teaches Palestinian kids that Tel Aviv, Haifa, and the rest of Israel are part and parcel of Palestine.

Instead, the Times can't shed enough tears for Abbas and empathizes when he engages in self-pity -- "I am not happy with anybody, not with the Americans, not the Arabs.  I am fed up with all these people and I don't know what to do when I return back."

Finally, we come to page A12 and what purports to be a "news" article about Obama's actual speech to the U.N.

Instead, right at the top, in her lead paragraph, author Helene Cooper indicts Obama for "throwing the weight of the United States in the path of the Arab democracy movement even as he hailed what he called the democratic aspirations that have taken hold throughout the Middle East and North Africa."

What she means is that Obama is speaking out of both sides of his mouth -- supporting democracy for everybody in the region except for the Palestinians.  This, of course, is simply balderdash.  Obama wants an independent, democratic Palestinian state.  He just is convinced that getting there can be achieved only by direct negotiations with Israel -- not by grandstanding at the U.N.

But Cooper is unrelenting in her attack on Obama.  His speech, she reports, is full of incongruities:

[T]he president who committed to making peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians a priority from Day One, now unable to get peace negotiations going after two and a half years; the president who opened the door to Palestinian state membership at the United Nations last year, now threatening to veto that membership; the president determined to get on the right side of Arab history but ending up, in the views of many Arabs, on the wrong side of the Palestinian issue.

As to the real purpose of the president's speech -- well, it's just a balancing act between two irreconcilables: "support for democratic movements" in the region "against support for Israel."  No mention that by supporting Israel, Obama is throwing his weight behind a Middle Eastern nation that was democratic from Day One of its founding.  Indeed, the Arab democratic movement is really trying to catch up with Israel's  solid democratic values.  There's a perfect compatibility -- not an incompatibility -- between Israel and the Arab democratic movement.  The Israelis already have what the Arab revolutionaries say they want to achieve.

But Cooper is too intent on bashing Obama to recognize this obvious fact.   Nor does she mention that in line with the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel has fostered autonomy for the Palestinian territories with an elected legislature and an elected president whose main problem in maintaining any semblance of democratic rule is Hamas control of Gaza, which prevents any further meaningful elections. 

So, a "news" article about the president's speech ends up failing to report the essence of what he actually told the U.N. gathering -- that the world must "acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day, that world statesmen should be "honest without ourselves" and recognize that "Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against It," that "Israel's children have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses," and that "the Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland."

Yes, this was Obama for the first time acknowledging Israel's sovereign claims on the basis of a Jewish presence in the Holy Land over the last 3,000 years -- in the Jews' "historic homeland."

This was the real news about Obama's speech.  But Cooper and the Times, in their all-out attacks  on Obama, censored it from their coverage.