NY Times runs a smear against him

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat

The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, is visiting the United States this week, at a time when the holy city is arguably in graver danger than at any time since its reunification by Israel in 1967. A sneering April 29 report in the New York Times, however, tried to portray Mr. Barkat himself as the danger.

When Mayor Barkat visited Capitol Hill, the Times reported, he “unfurled maps that showed development in his city’s Jewish and Arab neighborhoods.” In other words, contrary to the image projected almost daily by the international news media, it is not only the Jewish neighborhoods that are being developed by Israel, but both the Jewish and Arab areas.

Lest readers linger too long and realize that inconvenient fact, the Times quickly emphasized that the mayor’s real “message,” however, is that he “will not stop construction in East Jerusalem, regardless of whether it hurts American efforts to restart peace negotiations.” Get it? Construction hurts peace, Barkat is stubbornly proceeding with construction, thus Barkat is an enemy of peace.

Barkat is also to blame for problems in the America-Israel relationship, the Times alleges: “Jerusalem’s ill-timed announcement that it planned to build 1,600 Jewish housing units in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo spoiled a good-will visit to Israel by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. last month and led to a deep chill between the United States and Israel.”

(Perhaps if the Times correspondent, Mark Landler, had been allotted a few more column inches, he would have found a way to blame Mayor Barkat for the Icelandic volcano eruption.)

Barakat at the Western Wall - HaKotel HaMa'aravi

Let us attempt to parse exactly how many falsehoods and distortions the Times found fit to print in just that one aforementioned paragraph.

First, the fact that many residents of Ramat Shlomo are “ultra-Orthodox” is as irrelevant as the fact that many residents of the city’s Arab neighborhoods are “ultra-Muslim”, a point (though there is no moral equivalence between the two) that the Times never mentions. A more interesting fact is that Mayor Barkat, here blamed for building “ultra-Orthodox” apartments, is himself not Orthodox, much less “ultra.” Indeed, the fact that he is a “secular” Jew speaks volumes about the fact that the city is dear to Jews of all persuasions.

Second, Ramat Shlomo is in northern Jerusalem, not “East Jerusalem,” a geographic fiction which the Times and other news media perpetuate, suggesting there is a separate part of Jerusalem that rightfully belongs to the Arabs. There is no such thing.

Third, according to whom did the construction in Ramat Shlomo “spoil” Vice President Biden’s visit? It was the Obama administration which CHOSE to obsess on it, evidently as a pretext for racheting up diplomatic pressure on the Israeli government. The administration could just as easily have regarded the construction as a run-of-the-mill development in a city that the U.S. Congress’s Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 specifically recognized as being under united, legitimate Israeli sovereignty.

The administration could have announced that Biden’s visit was spoiled by the decision, that same week, of the Palestinian Authority to name a square in its capital city of Ramallah after a terrorist who murdered a relative of a U.S. senator and dozens of other innocent people. Instead of spending 45 minutes on the phone chewing out Prime Minister Netanyahu, Secretary of State Clinton could have spent 45 minutes chewing out PA president Mahmoud Abbas and demanding that the PA pay compensation to the families of the more than 100 Americans whom Palestinian terrorists have murdered since the 1970s. The “spoiling” was choreographed by President Obama and his advisers.

Comments (3)

  1. Gill says:

    Jerusalem is and has been the capital of Israel since King David. The fact that the Jews were forcibly expelled during the Romans @ 72ad is undeniable. Thus they have simply taken back what has always been their’s. Keeping this in mind, what part of Jerusalem is Palestinian? None. By the way what palestinian can trace their lineage back well over 3000 years to Jerusalem. None. The term palestinian is less than 60 years old at the most. Time for us Americans to acknowledge not the Judeo-Christian relationship, but to rather just support a legitimate coutry taking back what is their’s. In fact what had been stolen from them.

  2. hugh marks says:

    Typical US media attack…how may we sanction these decievers?