It will be interesting to see what Rupert Murdoch does to the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, particularly if long-standing rumors that he intends to distance itself at least a little from its thinly veiled Likudist line. This week’s op-ed by Shalem Center senior fellow Michael Oren entitled “Israel’s Lebanon Disaster” was particularly â€“ extravagantly, embarrassingly â€“ transparent in its implied championship of former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is predictably calling for the resignation of the Olmert government and new elections. An unsparing indictment of Olmert’s performance during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, the op-ed apparently anticipated a much more damning verdict in the long-awaited Winograd Commission report than what the Commission actually produced, one day after Oren’s screed. Oren, whose bizarre comparison last September (also published in the Journal) of George W. Bush to the Old Testament prophet Jonah as part of the neo-conservative campaign to rally support for the Surge I noted in a September post, even blames the fact that his rifle fell apart during Israel’s eleventh-hour ground offensive in Lebanon on Olmert.
An Israeli nationalist historian who was born and raised in the U.S., is a protege of Natan Sharansky, the director of the Shalem Center’s Adelson Institute, named for its founder-funder, casino multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who reportedly is also the biggest financial backer of Freedom’s Watch, which launched its own campaign to save the Surge at the same time that the Journal published Oren’s Jonah article. It’s really all part of the same Netanyahu network: the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, the Shalem Center, Freedom’s Watch, and you can add the Middle East specialists at the American Enterprise Institute, Sharansky’s One Jerusalem, etc. etc. Aside from the fact that Oren clearly failed to anticipate the Commission’s exculpatory findings, what’s remarkable about this most recent column is the Journal‘s willingness to be so openly partisan in Israel’s internal politics. Is Bret Stephens, who, before becoming the Journal‘s “Global View” columnist, served as editor of the Conrad Black-owned Jerusalem Post, responsible? Will Murdoch retain him when he assumes full control?
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