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Netanyahu denies saying Israel’s biggest enemies are N.Y. Times, Haaretz

JTA

January 19, 2012 | 10:33 am

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem January 15, 2012. REUTERS/Oded Balilty/Pool

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem January 15, 2012. REUTERS/Oded Balilty/Pool

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denied that Benjamin Netanyahu told the editor of The Jerusalem Post that Israel’s two greatest enemies are The New York Times and Haaretz.

On Wednesday, the editor, Steve Linde, addressing a conference in Tel Aviv of the Women’s International Zionist Organization, said that Netanyahu made the remark to him about the newspapers at a private meeting “a couple of weeks ago” at the prime minister’s office in Tel Aviv.

But on Thursday, the Prime Minister’s Office told JTA that Netanyahu “did not make the remarks attributed to him,” and Linde backtracked, saying the remarks he had attributed to the prime minister had been Linde’s own interpretation.

“He said, ‘You know, Steve, we have two main enemies,’ ” Linde had said on Wednesday of Netanyahu, according to a recording of the WIZO speech provided to JTA. “And I thought he was going to talk about, you know, Iran, maybe Hamas. He said, ‘It’s The New York Times and Haaretz.’ He said, ‘They set the agenda for an anti-Israel campaign all over the world. Journalists read them every morning and base their news stories … on what they read in The New York Times and Haaretz.’ ”

Linde said he and other participants at the meeting asked Netanyahu whether he really thought that the media had that strong a role in shaping world opinion on Israel, and the prime minister replied, “Absolutely.”

On Thursday, Linde was quoted in Haaretz as saying, “That was my interpretation; the prime minister never used that language.”

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