New York Times to Israel: Let Terrorists Be

In his New York Times Op-Ed, the discredited, fringe Israeli columnist Larry Derfner (more on his dubious career below) argues that the only reason terrorists attack Israel is because Israel defends itself from them, and won’t, “simply let them be.”

Think about that for a moment.

In one example of his characteristic, twisted reasoning Derfner claims:

Hezbollah and Syria are well and truly deterred, and if Israel were to simply let them be, they would have to be crazy to strike first….But if Israel keeps rubbing their noses in their weakness…national honor at some point will compel them to hit back with force. The “inevitable” next war will begin.

Even the terrorists disagree

Larry Derfner

Mainstream Israeli society roundly disagrees with Derfner, yet even more tellingly, so do the terrorists themselves.

Hamas and Hezbollah, the main focus of Derfner’s column, are designated as terror organizations by nearly all of the Western world, including the United States and the European Union.

Both Hamas and Hezbollah proclaim that one of their primary reasons for even existing is the total annihilation of Israel within any borders. Hamas adds to its platform the additional goal of murdering all Jews in the world.

This isn’t just idle talk: both organizations back up these goals by working tirelessly to acquire (and frequently to use) enormous arsenals of highly destructive weapons: such as major shipments from Iran to Hamas in Gaza, and the numerous convoys from Iran to Hezbollah via Syria, to which Derfner himself refers in his column.

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Derfner misstates objective facts

Derfner attempts to support his nonsensical argument with a number of “facts” that are simply untrue. For example, he states that Syrians and Hezbollah are “not attacking Israel” and “don’t dare bomb…Israeli military figures,” even though they sometimes do exactly that, in one case killing two Israeli soldiers.


An utterly discredited journalist

With his “Alice in Wonderland” style logic, and tendency to utterly misstate objective facts, Derfner managed to destroy his own career as a mainstream journalist in Israel. His final crash came in 2011 when Derfner defended a Palestinian terror attack as “justified,” saying that Palestinians had the “right” to carry out such attacks.

This event proved the “nail in the coffin” of Derfner’s reputation as a mainstream Israeli journalist. In firing Derfner from his position at the mainstream newspaper, the Jerusalem Post’s then editor-in-chief Steve Linde explained that the wayward columnist had crossed the line into “hate speech.” Though Derfner later penned a partial apology for his statements, Linde responded that:

He used ludicrous logic to defend his position, repeating the same obscene sentiments that made many readers sick to their stomachs in the first place.

Derfner has since been relegated to writing for left leaning, non-mainstream venues such as the Haaretz newspaper, (which accounts for only 3.9% of Israel’s newspaper readership), the agenda driven advocacy web site +972 (which is read by about 0.1% of Israel’s population), and his own blog.

Why is this in the New York Times?

All of which begs the question: why did the New York Times print Derfner’s column at all, or at least without proper context?

The New York Times describes Derfner as a “journalist and author,” yet Israelis understand that he is at best, a highly opinionated fringe advocate, or at worst, a roundly discredited propagator of hate speech (as described by the Jerusalem Post’s editor-in-chief, above). Even this most recent column reflects highly fringe views as well as Derfner’s trademark distortion of objective facts.

Don’t New York Times readers have a right to know who Derfner really is?

Share your considered comments with the New York Times via a letter to the editor by following the instruction at this link.

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