The journalist Ben-Dror Yemini of Yediot always seem like a reasonable man. I never understood him, but he seems reasonable. I never understood what compelled a journalist to write an opinion piece that 99% of his Israeli readership would agree with though it was directed against an international community that would never read it. It is like a soccer reporter reading Yediot to find out about how the coach of Juventus has been fired. Yemini is practically like an Israeli BDS reporter. Again and again he will convince us that the boycott is not fair, drive by anti-Semitism, not targeted precisely, and dangerous. Hell if I know what the point of that is. Aren’t we supposed to challenge the existing discourse? Criticize the centers of power? Expose what the powers that be don’t want us to know? If Yemini was a writer for an important British paper, I would understand. He would really be showing the British public what’s what, but in Yediot? Fine, each person has his own issues. It sure has made Yemini popular. Tzipi Livni wanted him to run with her for Knesset, Yediot Ahronot bought him from a crumbling Maariv (which really wanted Yemini to continue with the newspaper under its new ownership) and I just read that Miri Regev ordered that his book, The Industry of Lies, be purchased so it could be disseminated by those who are convinced of his views to those are convinced of his views. Great.
Since 2008 Yemini has been writing obsessively, rivaled only by Dan Margalit’s fixation on the Harpaz Affair, that PM Abbas’s rejection of Olmert’s 2008 offer proves he is not a true partner for peace.
That is the nature of journalists these days, barely conducting interviews or research and living off of the media’s need for them and their extensive knowledge Google. I already tried to correct Yemini’s stance on this issue, to explain to him how Olmert’s offer wasn’t serious because when it was offered there was no real chance for an agreement after Olmert had declared that he would not run for chairmanship of Kadima (July 2008) and even high-level American officials thought so and said as much to Abbas and his staff. Nothing helped. Yemini continued to write more of the same.
One day I met him at “Suzanna,” a cafe in Neve Tzedek. He lived in the neighborhood, and at that time I was living there too. We began to talk. He said he was finishing his book. We got sucked into a conversation about Olmert’s offer again. I tried to convince him by quoting memoirs but nothing helped. I told him that if he was actually open to changing his position, I would send him some relevant material. He said “Sure, send it.” So I went home, and I also became fixated. I worked, wrote, attached links, and sent him a detailed email. It didn’t help. Yemini still writes the same thing. Since then, I have started to doubt his intellectual honesty. I understand that sometimes it can be hard to let the facts destroy a good thesis, but still, maybe he should start writing about other topics like BDS.
There is no doubt that Olmert’s offer in 2008 approached the maximum that Israel could give, and it is doubtful as to whether the Israeli public would have agreed to such an offer in a referendum. If a Palestinian leader gives an outright “No” to such an offer then there is a problem. However, it was clear at the time the offer was made, even if Olmert was serious and committed, there was no chance to make an agreement out of it, and so it is absurd to expect an affirmative answer from a Palestinian leader who wants to stay in office for even another minute. We will broadcast today what the Palestinians heard in real time on this issue and what the Americans told them. Perhaps Ben-Dror will be convinced.
Translated by Mr. Ari Heistein