Ben-Dror Yemini’s Obsession, My Obsession

| 11 בנובמבר 2015

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



5 thoughts on “Ben-Dror Yemini’s Obsession, My Obsession

  1. David, London

    Raviv, Ben Dror made a career (and money) out of the BDS – without BDS existence Ben Dror would have stay a unknown local freelance…

  2.'William Shakespeare

    Mr Drucker, you should not publish posts in English without having them edited by someone whose English is less pathetic than yours. Thank you

  3. ...

    כן, זה כמעט מגוחך כמו לכתוב טור באנגלית על אותו פרשן איזוטרי ומקומי.

  4.'B. Bohbot

    What you are saying regarding Olmert's offer is unfortunately inaccurate. Bush asked Abbas to sign an agreement in principle with Olmert so the Kadima Party could win the 2009 election. What's more, it does not change anything whether Olmert was running for Prime minister of not. A controversial peace agreement must be approved by the population either by calling a new election or a referendum (this is how it works all over the world for good reason, a peace agreement that is not accepted by the population can lead to a civil war). This is exactly what Olmert wanted to do: he wanted to sign an agreement in principle with Abbas and call an election both in Israel and the Palestinian territories that would serve as a de facto referendum on peace. By the way, Abbas too could not ratify a peace agreement in 2008 without calling a new election or a referendum, as he lost control of the Parliament after Hamas won the 2006 legislative election.

    Now if you want to talk about the 2014 elections, you can't just tell part of the story. True, the first draft presented by Kerry in February 2014 (approved by Netanyahu) referred to the 1967 border but remained unclear with regard to the status of Jerusalem. However, Obama presented a second draft a month later (on March 17, 2014) that explicitly called for the partition of Jerusalem. Abbas never responded. Israel never saw the second draft but the US government told Yitzhak Molcho that they were about to present a second draft that explicitly mentioned that Jerusalem would be divided. Molcho did not protest. He merely said no whatever you want, the Palestinians are going to refuse anyway. This is exactly what happened. Strangely enough, Kerry blamed Israel publicly (probably because of Netanyahu's bad relations with the Obama administration), but in his memoirs he clearly blames the Palestinians.

    It's about time for the Israeli left to stop making spurious excuses to justify Palestinian rejectionism. The Kurds or the Tamils would have never wasted so many opportunities. There will always be spoilers. The Israeli political system is just not stable (neither is the Palestinian one). If you think that the Palestinians should negotiate with Israel only
    when there is a left-wing majority government that is both stable and popular, there is no need to wait. That will never happen. That said, I'm still puzzled to see people arguing all the time that Israel should negotiate with Hamas arguing also that Palestinians should not talk to Netanyahu!

    The Israeli left has lost its credibility by blaming Israel no matter what. No wonder most former left-wing voters have moved to the centre of the political spectrum

    While the whole world questions Israel's right to exist, I'm glad that somewhat like Ben Dror Yemini heps Israelis and Jews understand the nature of this threat. Perhaps, you are more comfortable with Gideon Levy and Ilan Pappe… So be it! You are still a great journalist!

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