(JTA) – The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denied that Benjamin Netanyahu told the editor of The Jerusalem Post that Israel’s two greatest enemies are The New York Times and Haaretz, and the editor has backtracked.
On Wednesday, the editor, Steve Linde, addressing a conference in Tel Aviv of the Women’s International Zionist Organization, said that Netanyahu made the remark to him about the newspapers at a private meeting "a couple of weeks ago" at the prime minister’s office in Tel Aviv.
"You know, Steve, we have two main enemies,” Linde said Netanyahu told him, according to a recording of the WIZO speech provided to JTA. “And I thought he was going to talk about, you know, Iran, maybe Hamas. He said it’s The New York Times and Haaretz. He said they set the agenda for an anti-Israel campaign all over the world. Journalists read them every morning and base their news stories … on what they read in The New York Times and Haaretz.”
Linde told the audience that he asked Netanyahu whether he really thought that the media had that strong a role in shaping world opinion on Israel, and the prime minister replied, “Absolutely.”
But on Thursday, the Prime Minister’s Office told JTA that Netanyahu "did not make the remarks attributed to him," and Linde backtracked, telling JTA that his speech a day earlier constituted his own interpretation of the prime minister’s remarks and that Netanyahu had never said that the two newspapers "set the agenda for an anti-Israel campaign all over the world."
Linde also clarified that the meeting took place a few weeks ago.
"This was my interpretation of the prime minister’s remarks," Linde told JTA. "He didn’t use the language that was quoted. His remarks were taken out of context."