Guardian editorial removes Tzipi Livni from new Israeli government

On Jan. 22, shortly after exit polls were being published on the evening of the Israeli election, we posted a piece titled ‘The Guardian gets it wrong: Exit polls indicate no rightward political shift in election‘, observing that the Guardian’s predictions about the elections – warning of a dangerous shift to the right – were proven entirely inaccurate.  

We cited scare passages from their analysts and contributors, in the weeks before Israelis went to the polls, which included predictions of “a more hawkish and pro-settler governmenta more right-wing and uncompromising government than Israel has ever seen beforeand “the most right-wing government in its history“.

Exit polls, the results of which were confirmed when all the votes were counted a few days later, in fact showed a slight move to the left in comparison to the 2009 results. 

The Guardian invested heavily in promoting their desired political narrative of a Jewish state lurching towards a far right abyss, and they got it completely wrong.  In fact, the new Israeli government coalition, presented on March 16, is decidedly centrist and, for only the third time since 1977, actually excludes ultra-orthodox parties. 

Well, this being the Guardian, we didn’t expect a mea culpa, but today’s official Guardian editorial on Obama’s visit to Israel, ‘Obama in Israel: waiting for Godot‘, which lamented the ‘dim prospects’ for a breakthrough in peace negotiations, made a quite telling mistake.  They completely omitted one member of the new government.

Here’s the passage:

Rarely has a US president prepared to visit Israel amid such low expectations of what he can achieve there. By the time Barack Obama arrives, Binyamin Netanyahu’s government will have been sworn in, a coalition composed of the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu bloc: Yesh Atid, founded by former TV personality Yair Lapid; and Jewish Home, a party linked to the West Bank settler movement led by Naftali Bennett. The coalition is uniquely suited to dealing with domestic issues, such as the exemptions to military service granted to the ultra-orthodox. But it is uniquely unsuited to unravelling the occupation in the West Bank

Somehow, in the above passage as well as in the rest of the op-ed, they failed to mention the one coalition partner which is clearly the most dovish on the Palestinian issue – Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party.

While conducting “research” for the editorial, Guardian editors  must not have read a newspaper published since the new government was formed, nor seen their paper’s own Israel page, where they would have read a Phoebe Greenwood March 14 report noting Livni’s inclusion – which, remarkably, was embedded as a link in the op-ed passage cited above.

Livni

Greenwood noted that the former foreign minister under Ehud Olmert will be in Bibi’s inner cabinet, be a member of the security cabinet and will lead a small team of personally appointed staff into peace talks with the Palestinians.

So, is it possible that the Guardian innocently forgot the one coalition partner whose political presence in the new government just happens to contradicts their previous disproven narrative regarding a dangerous lurch right prior to the election, as well as the new editorial’s gloomy predictions about a resumption of new peace talks?

Anything’s possible, but I think we can be excused – familiar as we are with the Guardian habit of tidying up facts to comport with their ideological brand – for being just a bit skeptical.

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