Maybe you missed it ...
In a loathsome July 30, 2016 guest New York Times op-ed entitled "How Benjamin Netanyahu Is Crushing Israel’s Free Press," Ruth Margalit, an Israeli living in the United States, would have us know:
"Efforts to stifle freedom of the press can be seen as part of a broader attack by Mr. Netanyahu and his ministers on Israel’s democratic institutions, including the Supreme Court and nongovernmental organizations. Dissent from the official government line is consistently called into suspicion. In this climate, the news media has become a personal battleground for Mr. Netanyahu. Nahum Barnea, a pre-eminent Israeli columnist, said last year that Mr. Netanyahu’s 'obsession' with the news media showed him to be 'gripped by fear and paranoia.'"
Evidence of this stifling of freedom of the press? Margalit says it can be found in "the outsize influence of Israel Hayom ('Israel Today'), a free daily newspaper owned by the American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and widely believed to promote the views of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu." Oh my goodness, Israel allows a free newspaper, owned by Adelson and supportive of Netanyahu, to be disseminated! Publication of this popular newspaper should be banned immediately ... not!
I am no fan of Netanyahu, and I don't read Israel Hayom, but I'll be damned if publication and dissemination of Israel Hayom or any other newspaper should be halted. This would be an attack on freedom of the press.
In response to Margalit's op-ed, David Keyes, Netanyahu's spokesman, retorted yesterday:
"Ms. Margalit’s attack obscures the real story: A longstanding media monopoly in Israel with one-sided views seeks to shut out alternative voices by stifling market competition that would give choices to viewers and readers.
The introduction of the newspaper Israel Today broke this enduring monopoly in the print media and gave Israelis the same choice that readers have in other democracies."
But in fact, Keye's letter misses the real point, to which he, owing perhaps to the proximity of an arms deal with the US, cannot refer: How dare darling Ruth complain of the stifling of the Israeli press when back in the US, from where she is writing, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes recently acknowledged that the Obama administration built an "echo chamber" within the media to sell the unsigned nuclear deal with Iran. And Margalit finds fault with Netanyahu?
You might also want to have a look at a Tablet article entitled "Sorry, ‘New York Times,’ But Israel’s Press Is Doing Just Fine" by Liel Leibovitz. Providing hard facts evidencing the left-leaning tendencies of Israel's media, Leibovitz concludes:
"Did you hear the one about the Middle Eastern country that really cracked down on its freedom of the press? Not Turkey, where 42 journalists were arrested last week in the latest assault on the tenets of democracy; I’m talking, of course, about Israel, the subject of yet another grim opinion piece this weekend in The New York Times.
. . . .
It’s sad to see a reporter [Margalit] who should’ve known better abandon any attempt at insight or nuance and turn instead to the Times for the most banal sort of affirmation, and it’s sad to see the Times continue to publish such drivel without attempting any real depth or understanding. Nevermind, and godspeed: Keep your opinion pages, which, like your opinions, are but sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing."
"Sad to see"? How about sickening?