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How the anti-Netanyahu daily actually brought him to power

Enhance a fear of Iran. Promote a privatization policy. Encourage the view that Israel has no peace partner. If you do all that, don’t expect the voters to reject the person who represents this very worldview.

Daniel Dor (translated by Sol Salbe)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud minister Israel Katz at a campaign event in Raanana. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud minister Israel Katz at a campaign event in Raanana. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

I recently heard some people saying that we now have the proof that the media really does not have any sway over the voting public. Look how much effort it invested in the campaign against Netanyahu, and once again he won. A generation of media professionals will now be raised on this so-called insight. It fits the industry’s capitalist instincts like a glove: if it really doesn’t matter what we do, then why not continue selling some marketing content, regurgitate cliches and call it a day.

But this so-called insight is not only dangerous — it is also wrong. There is, of course, the minor matter of Israel Hayom: only those in-crowd of the media bubble think that everyone knows the paper belongs to Netanyahu. It is reasonable to assume that it carries as much weight in the broad community as the old established papers.

The main point, however, revolves around the very essence of the media’s impact: it works in the long term. Take Yedioth Ahronoth, which day after day markets to its readers a perspective that strengthens the fear of Arabs and Iranians. It is a perspective which ignores the occupation and its horrors and continually reiterates that there is no partner for peace and there is unlikely to be one any time soon. The paper’s viewpoint expresses open contempt and reasoned disdain for the social protest movement. It may be somewhat afraid of a quarrel with the U.S,, but is convinced that the whole world is against us because of its anti-Semitism. It visualizes economic reality from the perspective of a child’s version of capitalism (the newspaper itself, not its sister publication, Calcalist, devoted to financial matters), and so on. The list is long.

In this way, Yedioth creates the ideological basis upon which Bibi is perched. You can keep on calling it a “leftist” newspaper till the cows come home. The ideology it portrays is undoubtedly a right-wing one.

And then Yedioth Ahronoth suddenly decides to get rid of Bibi the individual, but not what he stands for. It embarks on a campaign to convince people to toss him out on the basis of some minor scandal. This well and good, responds the public, but we also need to remember life itself. The whole world is against us. We are threatened by the imminent dropping of The Bomb. Who would be best able to cope with all this? Of course it’s Netanyahu. And if he is the only one who can do so, why are you raving all of a sudden about his wife Sara pocketing loose change from some recycled bottles? In other words, the long-term impact of the content of the paper is enormous. Even the paper itself cannot simply switch it off when it feels like it.

Likud youth hold a protest against Yedioth Ahronoth.

Likud youth hold a protest against Yedioth Ahronoth. (photo: Nir Gontarz)

So Yedioth wants a “regime change?” By all means. Let them now start unravelling their cocoon of intimidation, concealment and deception that they have woven for many years (of course not on their own) around the Israeli public consciousness. Let them work on it gradually and thoroughly, over a good many years. Sometime in the future, God willing, they will get to sit in front of the television at 10 p.m. on election night, watch the exit polls and see how their influence sent Bibi packing.

Daniel Dor is a linguist and scholar of communication, head of the Department of Communications at Tel Aviv University, author of “The Press Under the Influence,” and co-founder of the Social Guard with Lia Nirgad. This article was first published on +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

Translated by Sol Salbe of the Middle east News Service Melbourne Australia.

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    1. Bruce Gould

      Ok, back to business as usual: “Civil Administration demolishes structures, confiscates water tanks in Palestinian communities in northern Jordan Valley”


      This morning, Civil Administration bulldozers returned to the Jordan Valley, demolishing the homes of four families and farming structures in Khallet Makhul and a farming structure in the village of al-Hadidiyah. The Administration also confiscated two waters tanks in the 200-person village of al-Farisiyah, which is not connected to a water supply network.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Richard Witty

      Right now, he is one of 30 likud members of knesset, not yet prime minister, not yet enacting ANY policy.

      Please don’t feed his spin. He did not receive a “mandate”.

      He got 17% of the eligible Israeli vote, 25% of the actual. The right parties cannot form a coalitiion of the right. They require a centrist, and that is not a no-brainer.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Brian

      “…Mainstream Jewish groups go ballistic when they hear the term because of what it implies: an official policy of unfairness so profound that a fractious world unites against it with sanctions, boycotts and a pariah label for the perpetrators.

      Once, it was possible to argue that Israel’s policies were not the same as apartheid because their stated goal, however imperfectly pursued, was to end the occupation. No more: Bibi’s reelection makes it clear that Israeli voters, more clearly aware of Netanyahu’s intent than ever, have chosen the apartheid path, and will now have to live with the consequences.

      American Jewish groups, key players in the coalition against South African apartheid, will resort to verbal gymnastics to argue that it’s not the same. Or they will simply use the convenient ploy of pointing out all the bad decisions made by Palestinian leaders over the years. When the inevitable violence erupts and when the Palestinians, left with no other options, renew their push to condemn Israel in international bodies, they will circle the wagons to defend a Jewish state they claim is unfairly treated by a hostile world. They will ratchet up efforts to stifle even moderate dissent in the Jewish world. They’ll blame the deepening divisions in the Jewish community on J Street.

      Or they will say the no-statehood pledge was just politics as usual in Israel’s fractious democracy, as meaningless as most other campaign promises.

      And nobody outside an increasingly narrow pro-Israel tent will buy it. Because apartheid is apartheid, and that’s exactly what Israeli voters chose this week as a course for their nation.”

      James Besser was Washington correspondent for the New York Jewish Week and other Anglo-Jewish newspapers for 24 years before his retirement in 2011.


      Reply to Comment
    4. Weiss

      WE Americans did not help to defeat the Fascist-Nazis for Israel to turn around and embrace the Far Right where Fascism lies.

      And ANY Jew who embraces the Far Right is desecrating the memory of every single Jewish victim of the Holocaust.

      This American JEW is ashamed of you Israel…

      Reply to Comment
      • broit

        This American Jew is ashamed of you, Weiss. Information is out there for you to learn, yet you fail to do so. You speak of Fascists and Nazis. Their heirs are all over the Middle East. The Nazis inspired Arab nationalism – the Baath parties, and the precursors to the Fatah of Palestine. Amin Al Husseini worked for Goebbels in Berlin. He is a hero for Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas denies the Holocaust, while supporting a Juden Frei Judea. Nazi symbols are used by Palestinian demonstrators and during parades (at Al Kuds University, for example), Nazi style caricatures are used to vilify the Jews in Arab press. Have you seen or read the indoctrination to hatred the Arabs receive from their own educators? It is not against Israel, it is against the Jews, every one of them, including you (if you are really Jewish…)
        Arabs around the Middle East perpetrated a huge ethnic cleansing against the Jews in the few years after Israel was established. Who is speaking about it? How many Jews are left in Arab lands?

        Reply to Comment
    5. Bruce Gould

      Even in just the last few days the more-or-less mainstream press has gotten a lot more friendly with apartheid language. This article appeared in the Washington Post a few days ago – it has some amazing things to say about Iran, too:


      Khamenei understands that Israel can deter and respond to military threats. But it cannot, as a democracy, unendingly keep control of territories with 4.5 million people against their will. This is why he has chosen as his weapon the persistent call for a referendum. I would hope that Netanyahu takes this threat to Israel’s existence seriously and has some answer to it, beyond a retweet.

      Reply to Comment